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Tesla Gigafactory Nevada Leaked Audio Meeting: New Leaders, Goals

Tesla Gigafactory Nevada Leaked Audio Meeting: New Leaders, Goals

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is trying to buy Twitter and manage multiple companies at once.

James Glover II | Reuters

Tesla has shaken up leadership of the Gigafactory, the sprawling battery factory outside Reno, Nevada, and is setting new goals for the facility.

Former Vice President of Gigafactory Operations Chris Lister left Elon Musk’s electric vehicle and clean energy company this summer, and Hrushikesh “Hrushi” Sagar was promoted to oversee the Gigafactory, according to audio from a Thursday meeting and documents. those shared with CNBC by people who work in the factory. Reporting directly to CEO Elon Musk, Sagar will simultaneously oversee Tesla’s car assembly plant in Fremont, California.

Sagar spoke to a group of hundreds of Gigafactory employees Thursday afternoon about management changes, performance reviews, factory milestones and aggressive new targets for the facility. He also revealed some information about progress at Tesla’s plants in Austin, Texas, and outside of Berlin, Germany.

Briefly commenting on Lister’s departure, Sagar said: “I really appreciate what Chris Lister has done here, Chris’s contribution. I am very grateful, as is Elon, and Tesla is very grateful for his contribution, but at the same time we are going now on to the next phase.”

Gigafactory employees produce battery packs and powertrains for Tesla’s electric vehicles, as well as the large backup batteries, Powerwall and Megapack, sold by Tesla’s Energy division.

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At the meeting, Sagar celebrated the fact that Tesla was making about 134,000 cars in the second quarter of 2022 at its factory in Fremont, California, and said August was one of Fremont’s record production months. The Fremont plant can now make about 12,000 cars a week, and is aiming for 14,000 a week as the next target, he said.

He also said Tesla’s team in Brandenburg, Germany, recently reached a milestone by being able to produce 1,000 cars on a rolling seven-day basis. Musk recently visited the German factory, and the company expects production to reach 5,000 cars per week by the end of 2022. Initially, Reno sent drive units to Germany to help with that.

Tesla’s new plant in Austin, Texas also reached the production rate of 1,000 per week.

In terms of power unit production, the Gigafactory produced 283,473 powertrains in the second quarter of 2022 that “powered” the company’s Fremont and Austin plants.

“You all played a really big part,” Sagar said. “I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart,” told the Reno team.

New leaders and goals for the Gigafactory

Before joining Tesla in late 2017, Chris Lister spent 22 years in precision manufacturing positions pepsi co. During his tenure at Tesla, the Gigafactory experienced a rapid build-up and growing pains, including large amounts of scrap metal, fires and oil spills. But by ramping up production there, he also helped Tesla become the top-selling battery-powered electric vehicle brand in the US and the world. Lister and Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Sagar’s new title, according to his LinkedIn profile, is senior director of vehicle operations and manufacturing engineering.

Sagar told workers Thursday to see the Fremont plant as their “customer,” noting that vehicle production there succeeds or is hindered, depending on Gigafactory’s shipping volumes and quality.

While Sagar doesn’t plan to spend most of his time in Reno, he plans to work closely with leaders at the plant, including energy leader Matt Reddick, who joined the company about six months ago, and site leader Eric Montgomery, who will manage the business. daily in Nevada. Other top leaders at the Gigafactory now include Jeff Jackson, who leads infrastructure for the facility, and Bert Somsin, a human resources director for the plant.

At the same meeting on Thursday, Montgomery told Gigafactory employees that they need a steady output of 8,800 high-voltage batteries per week to support Fremont’s new manufacturing goals and “maximize four-wheel drive building.” He said August 2022 was also the Gigafactory’s second best month for production, second only to October 2021.

Reddick said Tesla can now produce 42 giant Megapack batteries in a seven-day period. Megapacks are about the size of a shipping container and are used for large-scale energy storage, often to store excess energy generated by wind or solar energy.

Tesla is on track to produce 442 Megapacks in the third quarter of 2022, up 85% from Megapack production in the previous three-month period.

The Gigafactory also struck, surpassing a production rate of 6,500 Powerwalls per week. Powerwalls are the smaller home backup batteries that CEO Elon Musk recently promoted on Twitter during a massive heatwave in California. The heat wave threatened power outages and the state urged residents to reduce their power consumption during peak times.

Tesla previously required customers wishing to purchase a Powerwall to also purchase a solar roof from the company. The Nevada Gigafactory made 37,600 Powerwalls in the second quarter, Montgomery said, saying the facility is on track to increase that by 22% in the third quarter.

As for the facility itself, Jackson touted a new state-of-the-art water treatment facility that Tesla is building on site.

“This will eliminate the discharge of the process water or wastewater from our site, and it will allow 98% water recycling and evaporation,” he said. “It’s something huge, it fits our mission.”

Jackson also provided an update on the Gigafactory’s sunroof. “Right now we have about eight megawatts on the roof that we can use on a daily basis, which is really exciting,” said the infrastructure leader.

Tesla also has a new food vendor onsite that is supplying poke bowls, building an employee meditation room and making improvements to the roads, and installing more EV chargers along the roads around the facility.

In the human resources field, workers were urged to reduce the number of labor hours required to produce a single unit of the products they build in their teams, and to submit more “take charge” notices on how safety can be improved and costs can be reduced. the plant.

The company is moving past the steep staff cuts that occurred in the second quarter of this year and is in the midst of an extensive performance review process, Sagar said.

An employee asked management if their share awards would be tied to company milestones this year, and management said no. But HR teams and managers are still figuring out who is eligible for promotions, raises and bonuses. Sagar said managers should talk to their teams about their performance ratings by the end of September.

Employees asked management to discuss whether and where Tesla’s next factory could be built. Tesla’s lobbying efforts in Canada and the company’s investments in the North have previously sparked speculation about a Canada-based factory.

Sagar said, “I have an idea about the candidates, but I don’t think I have the freedom to disclose those candidates right now because of the confidentiality around some of those things.” He did offer, however, “There is an exciting future for North America and all over America.”