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The giant Gigafactory will span 500-1000 acres of land

Tesla Motors' all-electric auto business heavily relies on batteries, so it makes sense that the company has placed a lot of emphasis on that area with Supercharger stations, replaceable battery tech and road trips to relieve range anxiety for customers. Now, Tesla is finally revealing some details on its huge, upcoming battery plant.

According to Tesla, its new factory -- dubbed "Tesla Gigafactory" -- will be located in either Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico or Texas. Tesla is likely choosing among these Southwestern states because the factory will be largely powered by solar and wind power, and the Southwest has plenty of sunshine to feed the plant.

The giant Gigafactory will span 500-1000 acres of land and have a space requirement of 10 million square feet. It'll employ around 6,500 people and aims to produce 35 GWh of cells and 50 GWh of battery packs a year. 

Tesla added that it's getting ready to produce 500,000 EVs a year in 2020, and the Gigafactory will supply those battery packs. What's more is that Tesla expects the per-kWh cost of a Tesla battery pack to be lowered by more than 30 percent once the factory is up and running for the first year. 

This is huge for Tesla, since the cost of batteries is a large fear of potential EV customers. Tesla has been working hard to ease such fears, since this will lead to more sales in the future.

The automaker recently addressed range anxiety associated with road trips by placing Supercharger stations from Los Angeles to New York, allowing for a coast-to-coast trip free of worry. 

Tesla will invest around $2 billion in the plant through 2020 while investors will pay another $2-3 billion for a total $4-5 billion investment. 

This year will be a busy one in the Gigafactory's timeline, as Tesla plans to select a location, start intial project design, engage in partner discussions, begin zoning and design, and finally start construction. 

Construction will continue through 2015, and in 2016, equipment installation is set to begin. The year 2017 will finally see production launch, and will gun for the half million EVs produced in 2020. 

Tesla has proven time and time again that being the small guy in the auto race doesn't mean coming in last. In May 2013, Tesla repaid its $465 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) nine years earlier than expected from the original 2022 due date. 
Tesla is currently rocking the auto world by fighting auto dealers around the U.S. in order to sell its Model S on its own without any middlemen. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he'd make the fight a federal case if he had to.

For Q4 2013, Tesla reported a profit of $46 million and saw its loss decrease to $16.2 million, which is much slimmer than the $90 million loss a year earlier. 

Tesla shares rose $34.65 to close at $252.30 Tuesday, and kept rising in premarket trading early Wednesday hitting $258.60. 

Source: Tesla Motors

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RE: Talk about dreaming big...
By SublimeSimplicity on 2/27/2014 11:00:53 AM , Rating: 2
Tesla filed a few patents about using Primary (non-rechargeable) batteries as a range extender for the main pack of lithium ion batteries.
The idea is that Aluminum-Air or Magnesium-Air would be able to provide 200 miles of reserve range with little weight or space. The Primary could be exchanged for recycling at a total cost that might be around that of gasoline per mile.
If they offer a range extension option, it would probably be this.

RE: Talk about dreaming big...
By Mint on 2/27/2014 11:48:11 AM , Rating: 2
That'll be interesting if it pans out, but it's not a certainty yet, and certainly not as convenient as unlimited range via gas stations.

Once you use the primary battery, you have to find a place to recycle and replace it, and that's not going to be as ubiquitous as unmanned superchargers.

RE: Talk about dreaming big...
By SublimeSimplicity on 2/27/2014 11:58:10 AM , Rating: 2
There's no reason the recycling exchange/collection couldn't be unmanned and right at the supercharging station. The aluminum plates would need to be sealed. I'm sure some RFID system could be setup and the "recycling center" could look a lot like a red box machine.

Recharge, swap the plates, and you're good for another 300 mile leg. The lithium ion battery could be LEAF sized in that scenario.

RE: Talk about dreaming big...
By Mint on 2/27/2014 12:18:29 PM , Rating: 2
Such a system sounds pretty expensive to me (not only constructing but also resupplying these boxes), and again it won't have anywhere near the coverage of gas stations.

The whole point of a range extender is to completely alleviate range anxiety and let you drive anywhere today's cars can when you feel like paying for it.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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