Elon Musk: A Giga Factory for electric vehicle batteries needs to be built

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has long warned that the biggest problem facing Tesla is not a lack of demand from consumers. It’s the lack of enough lithium ion battery cells in the world to feed all of the cell phones, laptops and electric vehicles being built. Tesla recently expanded its agreement with Panasonic.

On Tuesday’s third quarter earnings call, Musk said that Tesla is considering building a lithium-ion cell production facility – a “Giga Factory” that would make battery cells for Tesla’s battery packs. The plant, which Tesla would likely develop with partners in North America, would be a “giant facility,” “something comparable to all lithium ion production in the world, in one factory.”

Tesla plans to introduce a more affordable “Gen III” sedan in 2017 that would cost roughly $35,000.

“If we were to produce 500,000 [cars], we need cell capacity commensurate with that,” said Musk during the conference call with analysts. “That might be more, or at least on par with, all lithium ion production in the world today. We’re in the process of figuring that out. There might need to be some giga-factory built.”

Musk said the factory would be “very green” with a lot of solar power and zero emissions. All battery packs would be recycled.

Photo: Lithium ion batteries



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  • Irina Saveliev

    Tesla is the next Google

    • Steven Sibley

      What a generic statement. Tesla makes cars; Google delivers (and gathers) information to (about) people. With this distinction in mind, how can you even begin to compare the two?

    • Doreen Gaydoon

      No, it isn’t. Good news. In 12 months time, or less, you will have clarity as to why you are wrong. Meanwhile, this is about money, and TSLA is headed down.

      • EdwardInFlorida

        It is not about the money. Elon stated himself that starting an electric car company is a stupid way to try to get rich. Of course it must reach a stage of profitability but in major industries such as car manufacturing, it does take years to recoup the investment. Drive, focus, vision, and the faith to see things through, that is what separates the 1% from the rest of the population. Tesla is not going down in 12 months or anytime this decade so get over it.

        • Doreen Gaydoon

          Well you have not been to bel air, or burning man. If you had, you would realize it is all about the money, period. this babble on camera is just for public consumption. his business model is to ape, collect govt cash, and siphon off wealth for himself. He has had luck thus far, but we are a half century away from delivering on EVs to 70 percent of the auto driving public. Extension cords here and there. refueling out in the open, all night long. Tax credits are required…. that means for these rich folks, who need no tax credit… whilst they smugly buy their Li metal fireball, everyone else has to pay for it. You do not read clearly. Tesla and SpaceX will be gone in a year, and Solar city will be gone by 2016. Print it out. You will learn really, in a lot more time than your public school ego stroking will permit you to sit still for, but really very little time before you realize that I am right. If it were not all about the money, why would he siphon off NASA dollars to fund Tesla… why not just use his own money, or put out a secondary, or nth offering? Not that many people want to buy a 100,000 dollar car. He has no plan to generate EV demand for apt dwellers. no plan at all. All you low information ‘bama voters are fist pumping atavistically from empty minds. The morning after for you simpletons is going to be worse than larry clark’s epic KIDS.

          • EdwardInFlorida

            I think you have a problem with successful people. You envy their money and I really feel sad for you. No you are not right, and your motivation to continue this discussion is just to try to “win” an argument. Never mind that your logic is seriously flawed, and childish. You’re also paranoid. The US government conspires against the human race just to “fund Tesla”. (Sarcasm) Please consider either stop trolling or get some help. I’m serious.

          • Doreen Gaydoon

            Oh Edwin, I’m disappointed that you operate at such a feeble level. Rise above and beyond the money-work and materialistic fabrication that is dangled in front of you to prevent clear thinking. Stop chasing the shiny object, and puzzle on the mechanism and its motivation. With just a little bit of time, and so vary little exercise of memory, you can reflect on the above in just a little over 2 years time. Spoiler – On Thursday will come the explosion of the Falcon 9. 2 more Tesla fires before Christmas. Discovery of safety qualification fraud at Tesla. Congressional investigation into accounting fraud over at Solar City. These are facts. – Remember

          • Steven

            You’re absolutely freaking adorable! So, which Falcon 9 exploded 6 months ago and where are the news stories about the additional two fires?! Considering “these are facts,” I will take that as evidence that you do truly live in an alternate reality. Thanks for a good laugh tho.

  • Irina Saveliev

    I suppose you didn’t get the point my friend. Tesla is the next Google in electrical car category.

    • Doreen Gaydoon

      Uh, next Solandra.

  • Doreen Gaydoon

    Tesla will be gone by 2016

    • Peter Mortensen

      You need to wake up. Consumer reports gave Tesla Model S the highest score ever of any car. NHTSA gave Tesla Model S the highest safety rating of any car ever. Tesla Model S is car of the year for Motor Trend and Automotive magazine. As oil is becoming more expensive and batteries are becoming cheaper, while the electric grid is becoming greener, Tesla is leading in the direction of where the future will be. It doesn’t take much trend analytics to identify Tesla Motors as one of the best brands to hugely succeed over the coming decade. Rather there are plenty of quite conservative car companies that will be challenged as more consumers realize the huge benefits of these next generation cars.

      • Doreen Gaydoon

        Oil is becoming more and more expensive, only by fiat of Obama’s “policies”, not by market forces or demand. Trying to load up the resource with ecobabble fees is a distortion, not a market force. As one who influenced such an award over at aviation week and space technology in 2003, I can tell you that such unearned fame is also here constructed out of policy. How else would TSLA avoid being required to have a halon system on board. 3 fires from now, one with occupants trapped, is what is just ahead on the road for TSLA. If we added nuclear to the mix to manage the 100x demand increase of EVs, I would agree with you on greener… than petro/coal, but that isn’t going to happen. To have even the most modest penetration into the US fleet, all those apartment dwellers are going to need to be outfitted with secure charging. Vandalism to theft, you don’t see cars on the street overnight hooked up to a gas pump hose. This is a fad of the rich, that, without access to advanced in battery technology… which remains 20+ years out on the horizon like fusion, will fade once he has sold his few 10k of cars in each EC (Europe, asia, US). As Elon pointed out. He needs a Giga factory… but before that factory is built, the unreliability of the cells will drive the nails into it. In terms of conservation of resources, American’s buy cars way too often. If you are a lefty, look at cuba for an example. Loving tender care of 50 and 60 year old cars prevents squander of resources. Keep the tiny TD and follow the example of Europe. Buy less. Make them last more. Tesla’s offerings will never compare on total CO2 footprint to a VW Lupo 1.2l TD with 3l/100km. Never.

        • EdwardInFlorida

          Do you see the “glass half full” or “half empty”?

    • The_Random_Sample

      Here it is 2017, and Tesla is still with us. Guess you were wrong.

  • tvarad

    The twit running Bolivia where massive lithium deposits have been found is already salivating at the thought of holding the world by it’s huevos like the middle east tyrants and milking them for all the money they are worth.

    • rafaeltoral

      You’re just ignorant. The actual amount of lithium in a cell is miniscule. There is no shortage of lithium needed for battery production, even if everyone drove electric vehicles. Also, lithium batteries are recyclable. They usually aren’t though, because lithium is cheap, and readily available.

  • Manuel Foronda

    i wanted to see a green tire.

  • Kobra

    wrong point of view, what is needed is a performant battery, not necessarily a “lithium ion battery”. Elon is narrow minded, he obviously can’t see the big picture …

    • EdwardInFlorida

      Really? Elon is “narrow minded”? If that’s not the most ironic statement I have read about this visionary entrepreneur, I don’t know what is!

      Battery technology is evolving, and we’ll see higher energy density storage capacities before the end of this decade. Elon merely mentioned “lithium ion” cells because at the moment that is the prevalent battery technology. You have to plan according to “what is” not what might come some time in the future.

      • Kobra

        ha, you must be kidding (although involuntarily), right? A creative dude DOES NOT care much about *”what is”*, but about what it COULD be. Elon didn’t invent/innovate anything (and surely doesn’t look like he’ll ever do it), he just was able to get the funding. Electric vehicles are roaming around for decades, now YOU try and get the funding for YOUR *original* idea related to that and let me know how it worked out …

        • EdwardInFlorida

          No I am not kidding! Of course Elon thinks about “what could be”, and that’s how he found the will to start and build Tesla motors, and his other ventures. But we’re talking about technology here, and you have to work with what you got, and be open to moving to the next level WHEN IT BECOMES AVAILABLE!
          If and when Elon decides to move forward with that “giga battery” factory, and the new tech (lithium air, lithium sulphur, etc.) is available, then I guess that is what they will manufacture. And your last remark is laughable. Very few ventures got started without some type of outside funding. Have you ever taken any business courses? With out a solid business plan, Elon would have never gotten even one cent from any sources. And by the way, the loan was paid off years before it’s due date.
          Electric vehicles have been “roaming around since the early 20th century, not just “decades”, before you or I were born! But no one up to now has ever been able to take it up to the level Tesla has. That’s something not even you can deny. Let’s see you do better!

          • Kobra

            haha, it’s either you’re Elon, or his PR buddy. AS you might have noticed, I never attacked him, I just correctly identified the truth: there’s NO invention/innovation there, but just his ability (you called it ‘his glorious business plan’) to get the funding. Good for him. I know how to asymptotically approach the Absolute Knowledge (an insane scientific research idea) but nobody would listen, since I don’t have Elon’s ability to open doors …

          • EdwardInFlorida

            If that’s the best reply you can come up, I feel for you buddy.

          • Doreen Gaydoon

            Having worked with Elon for 2 years. he has ideas, but none of the details or mechanics for making them reality. he gets pissed. swears and screams, and fires people like the immature person that he is. He will do the perp walk before this is over.

    • Jeff Siegel

      Narrow-minded? Seriously? Yeah, you’re probably right. He should probably not waste his time making the world a better place, but instead spend his time leaving comments on message boards. Haha.

  • Alouisis1

    Great idea. Once the factory is in place, it would encourage the development of improved battery technologies. Integrating this piece into Tesla would pay huge dividends in reduced cost and product development.

  • Whitman Lam

    We’re close to hitting an energy wall w/ lithium ion batteries, where there is no more energy capacity to squeeze out of them, The next revolution is installing charging wires built underneath major streets, freeways, and corridors. That way, the electric vehicles can be powered and charged while they are driving on the freeway.

    • Doreen Gaydoon

      Public school eh?

    • Jonas

      There is a new source lof Lithium Ion in Wyoming. Enough to convert all cars in the US and offer supply for 700 years, according to the news.

  • Neville Chamberlain

    Given the time it takes to build factories, particularly large ones, graphene supercapacitors may already be in commercial production, replacing the older and dangerous LI-ION cells, at least according to recently published scientific papers.

  • Under sedation

    While you are building that mega battery factory, build a mega waste and by product disposal plant to clean up the mess this is going to create