Secret weapon to dramatically lower EV costsLooks like we have a double-dose of Tesla for you today. We just reported that Consumer Reports named the Model S the 'Overall Best' car for 2014, and now Tesla has released more details on its ambitious battery 'gigafactory' plans.
On its blog, the company writes: "As we at Tesla reach for our goal of producing a mass market electric car in approximately three years, we have an opportunity to leverage our projected demand for lithium ion batteries to reduce their cost faster than previously thought possible. In cooperation with strategic battery manufacturing partners, we’re planning to build a large scale factory that will allow us to achieve economies of scale and minimize costs through innovative manufacturing, reduction of logistics waste, optimization of co-located processes and reduced overhead."
They estimate that by 2020, the Gigafactory alone will produce as much lithium-ion battery cells as total worldwide production in 2013 (as you can see in the slide above). And we're producing a lot in 2013, so it's no small challenge...
Tesla forecasts that by the end of the first year of volume production of their mass market vehicle, they expect the Gigafactory will have driven down the per-kWh cost of their battery pack by more than 30 percent. That's just the first year. As production ramps up, costs should drop further.
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!
Here's a diagram of the manufacturing process, with raw materials on one side and completed battery packs being sent to be assembled into cars in California on the other side.
These are the states that are finalists for the factory, and the start represents the Tesla factory in California where the batteries will be sent.
As you can see in the slide at the very top of this post, Tesla intends to run it on renewable energy, and not just by buying credits, but by actually building the solar and wind capacity locally.
Tesla just raised $1.6 billion to help finance this. They're serious!