Tesla's $5 billion battery Gigafactory: And the winner is... Nevada! Who will be next?
After months of speculation and of various state representatives trying to get a deal done, it looks like Nevada will be the location of the Tesla lithium-ion batter Gigafactory. The official announcement hasn't been made yet, but Tesla and the Nevada governor have scheduled a press conference for this afternoon and the Associated Press cites "a person familiar with the company's plans" saying that Nevada got it. So there's still a small chance that all this smoke exists without fire, but that would be very surprising. Sorry Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas. Better luck next time (there will no doubt be many more, if this project works out).
In fact, Elon Musk has said that he thinks there will be at least 200 gigafactories needed for electric car demand alone, and he's planning to build different kinds of gigafactories to bring down the cost of solar panels further too.
Tesla had already started doing site-preparation at the Reno Tahoe Industrial Center, but that's because it wanted to start work on multiple sites ahead of making a choice to speed things up and preempt any problems with a single site. But if the company did pick Nevada, it looks like that will be the site of the plant.
As you can see above, the battery cells produced at the Gigafactory won't be used just for electric cars. Tesla, which said it sees itself as not just an electric car maker but also as an energy innovation company, wants to make all kinds of energy storage solutions.
Here's the timeline. The factory should be operational by the end of 2017, and full ramp up should occur by 2020, with about 6,500 employees and 50GWh per year of battery packs produced at peak! Whoa!
As you can see above, the goal is for the Gigafactory alone to make as much lithium-ion cells when fully operation as the whole world is producing right now, thus driving big economies of scale and lowering costs by around 30%.