How many electric cars can we pack onto the road? Among other factors, it depends on how fast we can scale production. Elon Musk, the man behind Tesla, is now calling for “gigafactories” to build batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles.
The initial goal of reducing the cost of lithium-ion batteries by 30% is easily possible, according to Musk. “I think we can probably do better than 30 percent” he said, adding “there’s going to need to be lots of gigafactories. Just to supply auto demand you need 200 gigafactories”. These factories don’t come cheap, though.
Tesla is contemplating where to build the first of these factories, with an estimated cost of $5 billion. Musk said work could begin as soon as June on this factory, which has a dual purpose: they will also supply stationary power storage devices to SolarCity, another Musk company.
To offset the cost of building such factories, Tesla is partnering with other companies in a “gigafactory” pledge, with Panasonic being the only other company noted to have signed on. For this to scale quickly, Musk and Tesla will likely need more partners, especially those who have a specific interest or technical expertise on battery production.