With sales growing rapidly in the US, ramping in Europe and just stating in Asia Tesla has growing pains.
Each car requires a great deal of battery capacity. With a Model X next year and a lower priced car on the horizon, Tesla needs lots on batteries. Given a production target of half a million cars by 2020 Tesla will need more batteries that the world produces. That’s a fundamental problem. Easy solution build a giant battery plant and call it a Giga Factory.
Yesterday Tesla announced the first details on a blog post: The goal of the factory is to reduce cell costs much faster than the status quo and, by 2020, produce more lithium ion batteries annually than were produced worldwide in 2013. Tesla expects the Gigafactory to drive down the per kWh cost of our battery pack by more than 30 percent. That is critical in producing a lower cost Model E.
The details are:
- The factory will encompass every step of battery cell and pack fabrication, from precursor materials–electrodes, separators, electrolyte, cases–to cell, module, and pack assembly
- Tesla has already been talking to partners–most likely Panasonic and its suppliers–about collaborating on the gigaplant
- One of the “raw material” inputs will be existing battery packs broken down during recycling
- Cell output will be up to 35 gigawatt-hours per year, or 35 million kilowatt-hours
- Pack output (possibly including some reused modules from recycled battery packs) will be up to 50 GWh
- Cost per kilowatt-hour will be driven down 30 percent over current levels by the huge integrated plant
- The factory site will cover 500 to 1,000 acres and employ up to 6,500 people
- Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas are shown as candidate locations for the plant
- Once a site is selected, the company expects to complete design and zoning approvals this year
- Construction would also start this year, with equipment installation in 2016, and production launch and ramp-up during 2017