Is Tesla’s Gigafactory the MMA Octagon?

Bloodshed and controversy in the sands of Nevada.

byClifford Atiyeh|
Electric Vehicles photo


Tesla’s battery factory is so exciting, people may be spilling over the construction fence just to see the dirt moving from one pile to another. And by people, we mean a newspaper photographer who allegedly snuck onto the Reno, Nevada, work site and left a Tesla employee bloodied.

According to accounts by Tesla and the Reno Gazette-Journal, the photographer’s employer, Andy Baron, was arrested for battery with a deadly weapon after being caught trespassing by Tesla security. Baron and another unidentified person allegedly ignored requests by two security guards to wait for police to arrive. Baron then put his company-owned Jeep into reverse and knocked one of the guards over, causing several cuts and bruises, according to Tesla. The other guard was struck after he dismounted an ATV that Baron hit after trying to escape, the company said.

David Calvert/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

It’s not the first time people have peeped on the company’s $5 billion manufacturing facility, known as the Gigafactory, which when completed would be the world’s largest center production for lithium-ion batteries for cars, backup power generators and portable electronic devices. It’s planned to open in 2017 and reach full capacity in 2020.

“We appreciate the interest in the Gigafactory, but the repeated acts of trespassing, including by those working for the RGJ, is illegal, dangerous and needs to stop,” Tesla said in a statement.

Beyond its sheer size—the Gigafactory is supposed to cover 10 million square feet of factory space and employ 6,500 people—it’s essential for Tesla to increase its scale and lower prices. The electric automaker’s coming Model 3 sedan, which Tesla says will cost $35,000, hinges on this very factory to churn out cheaper batteries at scale, which would help defuse the critique that Tesla only cares about building $100,000-plus luxury cars.

The (more) affordable Tesla should be en route before decade’s end, presuming alleged attackers cease and desist.

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