Categories

A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Does Musk’s Gigafactory Make Sense?

Tesla’s audacious plan to build a giant battery factory may mostly be a clever negotiating tactic.

By Kevin Bullis on April 14, 2014

Why It Matters

Battery-powered cars could play a big role in reducing the world’s use of fuels that cause climate change.
Elon Musk of Tesla

Dream maker: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk hopes a massive factory will lead to cheap electric cars.

Lithium-ion batteries are just about everywhere—they power almost all smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Yet Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, says he intends to build a factory in the United States three years from now that will more than double the world’s total lithium-ion battery production. The plan is still in its early stages, but already four states are negotiating with Tesla in the hope of becoming the factory’s home.

People have come to expect bold plans from Musk. In addition to founding Tesla, he started his own rocket company, SpaceX, which now delivers supplies to the International Space Station. But even for him, the “gigafactory,” as he calls it, seems audacious.

First, Tesla sold 23,000 cars last year. The gigafactory, which would start production in 2017, would by 2020 make enough batteries for 500,000 electric cars. (It would produce enough batteries annually to store 35 gigawatt hours of electricity, hence the name). Second, battery companies normally announce factories only after they’re funded and a site is selected. And they typically scale up gradually. Why announce plans to build such an enormous factory —especially when electric car sales so far come nowhere close to justifying it?
More technologyreview.com

Share

Leave a Reply