Friday, August 4, 2017

Tesla's Revolutionary Gigafactories

Tesla is building some of the biggest lithium-ion batteries and electric car manufacturing facilities in the world. These highly efficient, self-reliant manufacturing plants are so massive they are being called "gigafactories". Their capacities are so great that Forbes quotes Tesla Founder Elon Musk as saying 100 such facilities could completely transition the entire world to renewable energy.

The first facilility known as gigafactory 1 is under construction in Nevada and it is expected to exceed five billion square feet when complete. This will be the world’s largest building by footprint. The $1 billion factory is located in Tahoe Reno Industrial Center (TRIC) in Storey County, Nevada. The factory is already producing a limited number of energy storage systems (Powerwalls and Powerpacks). Tesla's production of cost effective and efficient batteries are revolutionizing renewable energy.

In addition to energy storage, Gigafactory 1 makes lithium-ion batteries for Tesla cars (Roadster Sport 2.5, Model S, Model X, and Model 3). The net zero and carbon neutral Nevada manufacturing plant is entirely powered by renewable energy. This facility has sustainability incorporated into its design. The fact that it has been aligned to facilitate the use of solar panels with GPS imaging clearly illustrates this point. In addition to solar, the facility will be powered by a combination of wind and geothermal energy.

The Nevada facility is expected to produce $100 billion in economic benefits over two decades. Tesla projects that Gigafactory 1 will also reduce the production cost for their batteries (EVs, Powerwall and Powerpack) by 30 percent. The anticipated capacity for 2018 is 50 GWh/yr and its final capacity upon completion of the entire factory is 150 GWh/yr. This would meet the battery requirements of 1,500,000 cars per year.

The SolarCity facility in Buffalo, New York, is being called Gigafactory 2. A total of at least five gigafactories are on the drawing board. In July 2017 at the National Governors Association, Summer Meeting Musk stated that there will be 2 or 3 more gigafacturies in the US. In Europe, there are already two facilities planned and a third was announced by Musk at the end of 2016.

Tesla's corporate leadership is good for the climate, good for the economy and good for jobs. Tesla's Fremont California factory employs over 6,000 people and they will soon add 3,000 more bringing the total to 9,000 once the latest expansion plans are realized. According to Business Insider the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California is capable of producing between 500,000 and a million electric vehicles per year.

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