White House to expand Covid-19 testing and manufacturing
President Biden laid out his new plan to increase domestic manufacturing of Covid-19 testing supplies, expand testing capacity, and better prepare for the threat of variants. “As the Administration is working around the clock to vaccinate the population, we need to continue to do what we know works to protect public health: universal masking, physical distancing, and robust testing. These down payments will serve as a bridge to comprehensive testing investments in the American Rescue Plan.” read the announcement issued by the White House.
The Biden-Harris administration will invest $650 million to expand Covid-19 testing for K-8 schools and underserved populations. To help organise the distribution of Covid-19 testing supplies, in partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will partner with laboratories across the country, to collect specimens, perform tests and report results to public health agencies.
“Too often, testing can be hard to implement in non-medical settings or it can be hard for schools or other congregate settings to find the right partner to make testing work. These coordinating centres will identify existing testing capacity, match it up to an area of need, and fund that testing.”
Increasing Domestic Manufacturing
To help with raw material shortages and increase domestic manufacturing of testing supplies, the HHS and DOD will invest $815 million. The raw materials being targeted include filter pipette tips, nitrocellulose used in antigen point-of-care tests, and specific injected moulded plastics needed to house testing reagents.
Expanding Virus Genome Sequencing
To identify, track and mitigate risks posed by emerging strains variants of SARS-CoV-2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will invest nearly $200 million into genome sequencing, the “down payment” will increase CDC’s from approximately 7,000 samples per week to about 25,000.
Increasing samples will improve the ability to detect emerging variants and gain a better understanding of how they spread. As sequencing only occurs after a Covid-19 test shows as positive, expanding testing is critical to increasing genomic sequencing.
The announcement concluded, “These investments are only the beginning of what is needed to expand testing nationwide and get the pandemic under control. The American Rescue Plan will invest $50 billion to expand and support testing, including in priority settings like schools and shelters, and invest in U.S. testing capacity so that public health officials can track the virus in real-time and Americans can efficiently get results.”
Timeline: Tesla's Construction of Gigafactories
Tesla's mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy
Founded in 2003, Tesla was established by a group of engineers with a drive to "prove that people didn’t need to compromise to drive electric – that electric vehicles can be better, quicker and more fun to drive than gasoline cars." Almost 20 years on, Tesla today is not only manufacturing all electric vehicles, but scaleable clean energy generation and storage too.
"Tesla believes the faster the world stops relying on fossil fuels and moves towards a zero-emission future, the better," says Tesla. "Electric cars, batteries, and renewable energy generation and storage already exist independently, but when combined, they become even more powerful – that’s the future we want. "
In order to deliver on its promise of "accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles and energy products," Tesla's Gigafactory journey began in 2014 to meet its produciton goals of 500,000 cars per year (a figure which would require the entire worlds supply of lithium-ion batteries at the time).
By ramping up its production and bringing it in-house, the cost of Tesla 's battery cells declined "through economies of scale, innovative manufacturing, reduction of waste, and the simple optimisation of locating most manufacturing processes under one roof." With this reduction in battery cost, "Tesla can make products available to more and more people, allowing us to make the biggest possible impact on transitioning the world to sustainable energy."
2014: Giga Nevada and Giga New York begin construction
Born out of necessity to meet its own supply demand for sustainable energy, Tesla began the construction of its first Gigafactory in June 2014, in Reno, Nevada, followed by its Buffalo, New York facility the same year. "By bringing cell production in-house, Tesla manufactures batteries at the volumes required to meet production goals, while creating thousands of jobs," said Tesla.
2016: Reno, Nevada grand opening
Tesla’s construction of Giga Nevada came to an end in 2016, the first of its Gigafactories to complete its construction project. The factory’s grand opening took place in July 2016, and by mid-2018 reached an annual battery production rate of 20 GWh, which made it the highest-volume battery plant in the world that year.
2017: Giga New York begins production
Two years after Tesla’s second Gigafactory began construction, Giga New York was complete, and started its production operations in 2017.
2019: Giga Shanghai construction to production in record time
In 2019, Tesla selected Shanghai as its third Gigafactory location. The company constructed the factory in record time, taking just 168 working days from gaining permits to finishing the plant's construction.
2019: Giga Berlin begins construction
Announced in November 2019, Tesla began the construction of its first European Gigafactory in Berlin. The Gigafactory is still under construction.
2020: Giga Texas begins construction
The following year in August 2020, Tesla began the construction of its Giga Texas factory. The company’s third Gigafactory in the US is still under construction.
2021: Giga Texas and Giga Berlin expected completion of construction
Looking to the future, Tesla expects to complete the construction of its Giga Texas and Giga Berlin factories in May 2021 and July 2021 respectively.