Jason Shawhan, Tesla’s Director of Manufacturing at Giga Texas, recently took the stage at the State of Manufacturing conference and expo organized by the Austin Regional Manufacturers Association. In this rare appearance, Shawhan shed light on the current operations at the facility and Tesla’s future plans, unveiling key insights that have piqued the interest of both Tesla enthusiasts and industry observers.
Tesla, with its CEO Elon Musk at the helm, stands as the world’s most valuable automaker by market capitalization. Yet, the company is known for its tight-lipped approach when it comes to divulging operational details. Therefore, when high-ranking executives like Shawhan, serving as the Director of Manufacturing at Gigafactory Texas, make public appearances, it becomes a noteworthy event in itself.
During his address, Shawhan delivered several significant revelations about Giga Texas. According to a report from the Austin Business Journal, he confirmed that Giga Texas has ascended to become the second-largest private employer in the region, boasting a workforce exceeding 20,000 employees at present. This marks a remarkable surge from the 12,277 employees Tesla reported at the close of 2022. The facility’s rapid expansion seems to be outpacing even Elon Musk’s initial estimations.
However, Giga Texas’s growth trajectory is far from reaching its zenith. Shawhan emphasized that despite its current status as the second-largest private employer in the region, trailing only behind grocery chain H-E-B LP, which employs 22,955 individuals in the metro, the Model Y and Cybertruck factory is poised for further expansion. Once the production of the highly-anticipated Cybertruck hits full throttle, Tesla anticipates employing a staggering 60,000 individuals within the confines of Gigafactory Texas.
In line with Tesla’s approach at its other manufacturing facilities, Shawhan revealed that Giga Texas is currently undergoing upgrades aimed at bolstering its Model Y production. Additionally, the factory is gearing up for the commencement of Cybertruck production, slated to kickstart deliveries in the near future.
Notably, Gigafactory Texas is making strides toward sustainability by incorporating a melt center into its operations, enabling the recycling of casting scraps and old wheels. These recycled components are expected to find a new purpose as the front underbody of Tesla vehicles. Furthermore, Tesla is reportedly exploring innovative ways to repurpose minerals from battery packs, demonstrating its commitment to environmental stewardship.