RENO — Tesla Motors says it has started producing lithium-ion battery cells at its $5 billion factory in Nevada.
The company says it began making high-performance cells in December and production started Wednesday for cells used in Powerwall energy-storage products.
Tesla plans to start making batteries for its Model 3 sedans later this year.
The massive Gigafactory outside Sparks is coming online in phases, with a goal of full operation in 2018.
Officials say it could almost double the world’s production of lithium-ion batteries, making them more affordable as the company looks beyond the luxury niche market.
The electric carmaker says it has more than 850 full-time employees, plus more than 1,700 construction workers.
Nevada has promised Tesla $1.3 billion in state tax incentives based on projections that it’ll employ 6,500 people at full production.