Tesla is already making a big impact in renewable energy, and they aren’t slowing down anytime soon. After launching the Gigafactory last summer, they’ve made plans to construct four more around the world. At the annual shareholder meeting a week ago, the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, said there could be anywhere from 10 to 20 Gigafactories built in the future.
The first Gigafactory began operation at Storey County in Nevada back in January 2016. It began producing Powerwalls and Powerpacks throughout the year on a limited basis until this year, where it now also creates battery cells that were formerly imported. Another Gigafactory, located in Buffalo, New York, will be the main producer of solar panels beginning this summer.
Musk first hinted at up to four gigafactories during a TEDtalk back in May. Depending on what other car manufacturers do, there is a chance of Tesla building up to 20 Gigafactories. Their goal is to take as much of the market share on electric vehicles as possible until everybody else catches up. The CEO has noted that it would take about 100 Gigafactories to produce all the EVs and battery storage needed for the entire world.
writes that by looking at just the Gigafactory 1, it has the potential to produce as many lithium-ion batteries as the competition altogether: “If another EV automaker wanted to go to bat against Tesla, it could tap into every single lithium-ion battery source on the planet, and still fall short.” If there are going to be this many Gigafactories in production, they’ll likely remain the frontrunner.
The Gigafactory was first created to meet demand for their EV sales, which is expected to reach an annual rate of 500,000 cars by the end of the decade . By 2018, the first factory will create more lithium-ion batteries by itself than what was manufactured worldwide just five years ago.
Musk plans to announce the sites for the three other Gigafactories and more information about them sometime in 2017. The only piece of information we have is that one of the next three will be located in Europe. Places like Portugal, Finland, and Sweden have been linked as a potential host for a Gigafactory.
A few other nuggets from the shareholders conference was Musk announcing the ability to upgrade batteries in older Tesla vehicles. However, reports that it might be better “to just sell the older Tesla and to buy a new one” as Musk warned that the process of upgrading the battery would be pricey. The company continues to research the ability to create a fully autonomous vehicle that can drive cross-country from California to New York.
Musk also brought up safety issues that have been in the news, specifically at the Fremont, California manufacturing plant. He said that the safety rate is still better than the competition and that an additional shift will be added to increase performance.