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Tesla Gigafactory to Break Ground – in Two States?

Tesla GIgafactory, a Pretty Big Deal
Tesla GIgafactory, a Pretty Big Deal

Tesla Motors is planning some big developments in the future, and a lot of those changes hinge on the Tesla Gigafactory.

The Tesla Gigafactory, of course, could be Tesla Motors’ key to an affordable mass-market electric vehicle. Currently, Tesla Model S production takes up barely half of the Fremont, California, Tesla Motors factory, but Tesla Model E production would eclipse even Tesla Model S and X production by a factor of ten. Importing millions of Panasonic 18650 lithium-ion cells to produce battery packs isn’t, in truth, an efficient way to build an electric vehicle. It works, but Tesla Model S buyers pay a premium for that inefficiency.

The Tesla Gigafactory could change all of that. Moving lithium-ion battery pack production as close as possible to the vehicle assembly buildings in California, as well as sourcing most of its raw materials from North America, should drive battery pack pricing down enough to make the planned Tesla Model E, a 200-mile range $35,000 electric vehicle, a reality. The Tesla Gigafactory started out with five possible building locations, but California was, somewhat surprisingly, knocked out right from the get-go. Four other states, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada, were left in the running, possibly to gain thousands of jobs and residual income.

In a recent discussion with Bloomberg News, Tesla Motors mentioned that the Tesla Gigafactory would move forward “in at least two [states], all the way to breaking ground, just in case there’s last-minute issues. The number one thing is we want to minimize the risk timing for the gigafactory to get up and running.” [mine] So, that’s good news for at least two states, which will be announced, soon I’m guessing. Interestingly, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk even hinted that a second Gigafactory might be necessary, effectively doubling battery production for electric vehicles and SolarCity backup power supplies, as well as possibly tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs.

Image © Tesla Motors

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