The Tesla Gigafactory, Tesla Motors brainchild, not only holds the promise of an electric-vehicle future in the United States, but much more.
Tesla Motors has been extolled, by some at least, as an American success story and, in many ways, it is. True, a few hundred million dollars went out in loans, but the company successfully paid them off far ahead of the deadline. In spite of its small size, Tesla Motors is worth well over $20 billion and is the most successful automobile startup in the United States, as well as the youngest. Of course, Tesla Motors’ success is thanks, partly to solid engineering, but partly for its customer service, a winning combination that is sorely lacking in the majority of the automotive world.
The Tesla Roadster, Tesla Model S, and upcoming Tesla Model X, however, are just a small part of Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk’s overall plan. Currently producing less than 30,000 units per year, Tesla Motors plans on upping that number nearly ten times with a mass-produced electric vehicle for the masses. Expected to cost around $35,000 and have a range of 200 miles, the Tesla Model E needs a boost if it is to become a reality.
In order to force prices down, Tesla Motors will build, in conjunction with other investors, the so-called Tesla Gigafactory, somewhere in the Southwest United States, which will put the supply of lithium-ion batteries in control of Tesla Motors. The final location hasn’t been determined yet, but Tesla Motors suggests that some 6,500 will be created in the state wherever the Gigafactory is built, but that’s not all.
In addition to generating local jobs, Tesla Gigafactory operations will generate jobs across North America. Recently, Tesla Motors representative Liz Jarvis-Shean, in an email to AutoblogGreen, said that the Tesla Gigafactory would be sourcing as much raw materials as possible from North America. Of course, this makes sense, since lithium-ion batteries require hundreds of pounds of graphite per battery pack, as well as lithium and other raw materials. Local suppliers mean lower costs, and benefits all around.