Tesla’s new battery manufacturing factory

Automotive and energy storage pioneers Tesla have unveiled part of their new battery-manufacturing “Gigafactory”, currently only 14% complete.

The factory, estimated to be fully operational in 2020, will cover 13 sq. km cost £3.8bn and is being worked on by 1,000 construction workers. Through the factory, Tesla aims to provide 35GWh of battery power by 2018 – more than the combined global production of batteries in 2014.

The factory is the offspring of existing partners Tesla and Panasonic, the main aim of which is to reduce costs in the creation of Tesla’s power cells. Currently, Panasonic creates the cells and ships them across the Pacific Ocean to Tesla in America – creating them on site and passing them through “a hole in the floor” will reduce production costs by around 30%.

Despite Panasonic paying c. £1.5bn towards the production of the factory, their name is not on the door.

Despite its enormity in scale, scope and cost, Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla, sees more than one Gigafactory being created. Musk apparently needs one “in Europe, in India, in China…ultimately, wherever there is a huge amount of demand for the end product”.

“Where the shipping costs start to become significant, the obvious way to combat that is to at least put a Gigafactory on the same continent”.

Also on Mr Musk’s “master plan” are electric buses & trucks, easy-install solar-roofing, energy storage for the public, and self-driving Teslas to compete with Uber.

While some of Musk’s ideas are a way off, some more than others, the Gigafactory is “a solid vision of the future of manufacturing” and “a way of making batteries quicker”.



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