Tesla’s Gigafactory mission: to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transportation.
Google’s Googleplex mission: to build a better, more sustainable way of working.
Apple’s Campus 2 mission: Building the best office building in the world – Steve Jobs
Are all of these grand “missions” impossible? Are these gigafactories and megaworkplexes just tech giant egos out of control? Or – do we have something here? You decide.
According to Tesla Motors, it has a planned “production rate of 500,000 cars per year in the latter half of this decade, Tesla alone will require today’s entire worldwide production of lithium ion batteries.” And the Gigafactory was born.
As of June 2014, outside Sparks, Nevada (an area resembling Luke Skywalker’s fictional desert planet), Tesla has plans to begin cell production in 2017. They hope that by 2020, Tesla will produce “more lithium ion batteries annually than were produced worldwide in 2013.” The estimated 5M to 10M square foot Gigafactory:
- Will produce batteries for less by locating most manufacturing processes under one roof.
- Be powered by renewable energy sources, such as wind farms and solar panels, with the goal of achieving net zero energy.
- Is estimated to be a 5 Billion dollar project.
- $1.25 billion in tax incentives to Tesla over 20 years, allowing it to effectively operate tax free in Nevada for 10 years.
- Will drive down the per kilowatt hour (kWh) cost of their battery pack by more than 30 percent.
As of May 9th, Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk stated, “the Gigafactory should be thought of as a product” and as such is now renamed “Gigafactory 1.” A significant sign that Tesla plans to build additional factories. Maybe on the Moon next time?
Google submitted a truly unconventional $120M proposal, dubbed Googleplex, to the Mountain View City Council to redevelop a 1.1M square foot headquarters (North Bay Shore, CA) from scratch. The hopes of this vision, led by European architects: Bjarke Ingels at BIG and Thomas Heatherwick at Heatherwick Studio, will lead to “a better way of working” according to David Radcliffe (VP of Real Estate and Workplace Services at Google). That is a huge understatement.
A better way of working may be the intention, but the overall vision and final design could be the next big attraction to see in California besides Disney Land or Hollywood. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the expected key features of the Googleplex design:
- As Google departments change and expand, it will use lightweight block-like structures that can be moved around easily with portable crane-robots, called crabots.
- An artificial sky made from four enormous glass canopies, pool tables, and bowling alleys.
- Trees and bike paths weaving through the sites.
- Giant floor plates for open-air offices while doubling as ramps so 20,000 employees can get from one floor to the next without using stairs.
- A low-energy heating and cooling system supplies 100 percent fresh air, solar panels will also reduce energy consumption, and most employees will work with natural light.
- Roof gardens. Abundant plant life within the sites and around offices as well as outside the building.
- Exercise equipment and yoga studios on balconies overlooking central courtyards.
- Cafes, stores, and 5,000 units of proposed housing.
According to Google’s proposal, “we want to create office spaces that don’t just provide a great home for Google, but which also work for the city that has given us so much.”
Apple Campus 2
The Apple Campus 2 (slated to be ready by 2016) was the late Steve Jobs’ vision. He stated in a final public appearance, “I think we have a shot at building the best office building in the world.” The new site, designed by British architects Foster+Partners, will result in the replacement and rebuilding of the entire approximately 176-acre site.
According to the Cupertino City website, the future Apple Campus 2 plans are to “create an innovative campus near Apple’s Infinite Loop facility that consolidates up to 14,200 of Apple’s engineers and support personnel in a single distinctive office, research and development building.”
Okay, now the cool stuff. Apple Campus 2 (dubbed “The Spaceship”) plans:
- 300,000 square feet of research facilities and underground parking
- 1,000 bikes kept on the site and available to staff to get around the campus.
- Each of the more than 4,000 pieces form the floor, ceiling, and mechanical interstitial space of the building’s four stories, and will be slotted together in a purpose-built factory nearby.
- 120,000 sq ft “assembly space” with seating for 1,000, and kitchen facilities.
- To be 2.8-million-square-foot in size and surrounded by inspiring landscaping featuring open space and walking paths.
- An approved $848 million dollar deal with First Solar to have 130 megawatts for 25 years. It should be enough to power almost all of Apple’s operations, including the Apple Campus 2, which will have its own roof-mounted solar array.