A new documentary segment from Discovery’s Science Channel offers a rare, brief look inside Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. The 10-minute segment, part of an episode of the Super Factories series, features a bit of new footage from inside the Gigafactory, where few mortals have been permitted to tread.
Highlights include some cool shots of robots assembling battery packs, and comments by VP of Operations Chris Lister about the robot/human balance on the production line.
However, as numerous viewers quickly pointed out, the segment is poorly written and carelessly edited. The problems begin in the opening sequence, as the voiceover talks about Model 3 over footage of Models S and X, and refers to Tesla’s induction motor (the company’s newest vehicles use a permanent magnet motor).
Throughout the piece, the narrator incorrectly refers to the Model 3 as “the M3” (the M3 was a model from BMW). [Note to fellow journalists: It’s important to say, and spell, the names of companies and products exactly the way the company does—it’s not alright to make up your own versions.]
There are other similar inaccuracies, as well as grammatical errors and poor language. Furthermore, while the couple of minutes of new footage are worth watching, the rest of the show is what you might call boilerplate—stock B-roll footage of Tesla’s vehicles and the exterior of the Gig, and talking heads making comments that seem to be aimed at viewers who’ve never heard of an electric car before.
These weaknesses may annoy Tesla fans and pedantic journalists, but the producers made another gaffe that seems to have caused consternation at Tesla’s battery partner, Panasonic (which was not mentioned in the segment). The program reports that the Gigafactory produces “13 million individual battery cells per day.” However, a spokesperson for Panasonic told Electrek that this figure is not correct. The battery-maker declined to confirm the current cell production capacity, for “competitive reasons.” However, Electrek’s Fred Lambert noted that the most recently disclosed production figure was 54 GWh of battery cells per year, which would translate to approximately 8 million cells per day.
[Second note to fellow journalists: Companies tend to be sensitive about production figures, as they represent important financial information, which is relied on by investors and others. If you’re going to report them, you need to double-check that they’re accurate.]
[Editor’s note: Neither are we infallible. A previous version of this article stated that Models S and X used an induction motor, but in fact, some newer versions use a permanent magnet motor. We’ve revised the article to clarify this point.]
Sources: The Science Channel, Electrek