Here’s what Tesla execs told Gigafactory employees Thursday night about plans and management changes

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  • Leaked audio from Tesla’s internal meeting confirms that Gigafactory Operations VP Chris Lister has left the company. Hrishikesh “Sage” Sagar was promoted to oversee the Gigafactory.
  • In an address to employees heard by CNBC on Thursday, Sagar and other leaders talked about production rates at the company’s car factories and its battery products, the Powerwall and Megapack.
  • He also talked about improvements, which include a new wastewater treatment plant and more electricity from its solar roof.

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Tesla has shaken up leadership at the Gigafactory, its massive battery plant outside Reno, Nevada, and is setting new targets for the facility.

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Chris Lister, the former vice president of Gigafactory operations, left Elon Musk’s electric vehicle and clean energy business this summer, and Hrishikesh “Hrushi” Sagar was promoted to oversee the Gigafactory, according to audio of Thursday’s meeting and CNBC’s According to the documents shared with, which were shared by the people. work in the factory. Sea reports directly to CEO Elon Musk and will simultaneously oversee Tesla’s vehicle assembly plant in Fremont, Calif.

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

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Sagar briefly addressed Lister’s departure, saying, “I really appreciate Chris’ contribution to Chris Lister here. I’m very grateful, like Elon, and Tesla for his contribution, but at the same time Now we are moving on to the next stage.”

Gigafactory workers build battery packs and power trains for Tesla’s electric vehicles, as well as the larger backup batteries, the Powerwall and Megapack, sold by Tesla’s energy division.

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During the meeting, Sagar celebrated the fact that Tesla built about 134,000 cars at its Fremont, Calif., factory in the second quarter of 2022, and said that August was one of the record months for Fremont in terms of production. He said the Fremont factory is now capable of making about 12,000 cars per week and has a target of 14,000 per week as the next target.

He also said that Tesla’s team in Brandenburg, Germany, recently achieved a milestone of being able to produce 1,000 cars on a seven-day basis. Musk recently visited the German factory and the company expects to ramp up production to produce 5,000 cars per week by the end of 2022. Initially, Renault was sending drive units to Germany to aid in that effort.

Tesla’s new factory in Austin, Texas, also hit a 1,000-per-week production rate.

In terms of drive unit production, the Gigafactory produced 283,473 power trains to “feed” the company’s Fremont and Austin factories in the second quarter of 2022.

“You all have played a big role,” Sagar said. “I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

New Leaders and Goals for Gigafactory

Before joining Tesla in late 2017, Chris Lister spent 22 years at PepsiCo in precision manufacturing roles. During his tenure at Tesla, the Gigafactory experienced rapid construction and growing pains that included high amounts of scrap, fires and oil spills. But in increasing production there, he helped Tesla become the best-selling battery electric vehicle brand in the US and the world. Lister and Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Sagar’s new designation is Senior Director of Vehicle Operations and Manufacturing Engineering.

Sea told employees on Thursday that they should think of the Fremont factory as their “customer,” noting whether vehicle production succeeds or hinders Gigafactory shipping volume and quality.

While Sagar doesn’t plan to spend most of his time in Reno, he does plan 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 be managing things. Day to day in Nevada. Other top leaders at Gigafactory now include Jeff Jackson, who is leading infrastructure for the facility, and Burt Somsin, director of human resources for the plant.

At the same meeting Thursday, Montgomery told Gigafactory employees that they needed to achieve a steady production of 8,800 high-voltage battery packs per week to support Fremont’s new production goals, and “all-wheel-drive builds.” Maximize.” He said August 2022 was Gigafactory’s second best month for production, second only to October 2021.

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

Tesla is aiming to produce 442 megapacks during the third quarter of 2022, representing an 85% increase in megapack production over the previous three-month period.

The Gigafactory was also affected and exceeded the production rate of 6,500 Powerwalls per week. The Powerwalls are tiny backup batteries for home use that were recently promoted on Twitter by CEO Elon Musk amid the heavy heat in California. A heat wave threatened a blackout, and the state urged residents to reduce their electricity consumption during peak hours.

Tesla previously needed customers who wanted to buy the Powerwall to buy solar roofs from the company. The Nevada Gigafactory built 37,600 Powerwalls in the second quarter, Montgomery said, and added that the facility is on target to grow the facility by 22% in the third quarter.

In terms of the facility, Jackson spoke about a new, advanced water treatment facility Tesla is building on site.

“It’s going to eliminate the discharge of our site process water, or wastewater, and it’s going to allow 98% of the water recycling and evaporation,” he said. “It’s a big deal, it aligns with our mission.”

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

Tesla also has a new food vendor on site that offers poke bowls, is building a meditation room for employees, and is making street improvements and installing more EV chargers on the streets around the facility. .

On the human resources front, workers were urged to reduce the number of labor hours it takes to produce a single unit of products made in their teams, and to discuss ways to improve safety and reduce costs. Enter more “take over” notices in Plant.

Sagar said the company is moving on from the massive cut in the second quarter this year, and is in the middle of an extensive, performance review process.

An employee asked management whether their equity grant would be tied to the company’s milestones this year, and management said no. But human resources teams and managers are still figuring out who may be eligible for promotions, raises and bonuses. Sagar said that by the end of September, managers should talk with their teams about their performance assessments.

Employees asked management to discuss whether Tesla’s next factory could be built. Tesla’s lobbying activity in Canada and the company’s investments in the north have fueled speculation about a Canada-based plant.

“I have some information about the candidates, but I don’t think I’m free to disclose those candidates right now because there’s secrecy around some of those things,” Sagar said. He proposed, “North America and America as a whole have an exciting future.”

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