Is Tesla Motors’ battery plant east of Reno, Nev. going to be called “Gigafactory 1?”
That’s what Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk called the facility during Thursday’s Tesla Energy live event, complete with an onscreen image of the factory with the words “Gigafactory 1.”
Tesla’s new Powerwall and Tesla Energy line of storage batteries may have gotten top billing during the live event in Hawthorne, Calif. But Nevada’s $5 billion Gigafactory got some love as well, including a bit of fawning from a proud Musk.
For starters, thinking of the Gigafactory — which is currently undergoing construction — as just a building with equipment is the wrong approach, according to Musk.
“The way we’re approaching the Gigafactory is really like a product,” Musk said. “What we’re designing is a giant machine.”
A giant machine that doesn’t happen to move but is still a machine nonetheless, according to the Tesla CEO. It’s also a machine that will be integral to Tesla’s future plans and viability as a company. In addition to lowering battery costs and serving as the linchpin in Tesla’s goal to build 500,000 electric cars per year, the Gigafactory also will enable Tesla to scale up production of its Tesla Energy home, commercial and utility batteries by 2016.
“Initially, the ramp up will be slow because (the batteries) are being made in the Fremont factory,” Musk said. “But next year, the transition will be much higher as we transition to the Gigafactory in Nevada.”
The fact that Musk called the battery plant “Gigafactory 1” also implies that there will be more Gigafactories in the future. The surprise, however, is that some of those factories don’t have to necessarily be built by Tesla, according to Musk. Instead, the company will continue its policy of open sourcing its technology so others can use it.
“There will need to be many Gigafactories in the future,” Musk said. “Many companies will build Gigafactory-class plants of their own.”
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