back to article Tesla and Panasonic to build NOT-SO-SECRET GigaFactory in US

Tesla has signed a deal with Panasonic which will see both firms collaborate on the construction of one of the world's biggest battery factory. The GigaFactory, as it's been called, will build lithium-ion batteries to satisfy an anticipated boom in demand for electric vehicles. Tesla hopes that the GigaFactory – located in …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But will the technology be obsolete by then?

    Other people have questioned this before. One of the competing technologies is the nano flow cell.

    It has been around for awhile but if the cost issues have been fixed by 2017 then Musk and Panasonic might have spent $5 Billion for nothing.

    I am also sure that Musk is working had to get large Government subsidies.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: But will the technology be obsolete by then?

      Given the commercialisation of technology is invariably a multiyear process they'll have to go some to hit the kind of volumes and prices Tesla needs. Plus if Tesla launches the model 3 at the price and volumes he wants they will be able to drive the profits into whatever the next battery technology is.

      Do you really expect flow cells to be that cheap that fast?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But will the technology be obsolete by then? @Gordon 10

        Please re-read my most. I never said that I believed that the technology will get that cheap that fast.

        I said it was a possibility. This could be the great AC vs. DC war of the 21st century. Musk is very good at getting subsidies so the taxpayer will end up holding the bag if it fails. Actually they will end up holding the bag anyway. Most of the power grids in the U.S. are at capacity during extreme weather conditions. Large numbers of cars charging at those time periods is not good and no one is willing to discuss this problem.

        If it moves to Texas I am sure Rick Perry will figure out a way to use eminent domain to steal peoples land to give to Musk to build his factory.

      2. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: But will the technology be obsolete by then?

        The answer to this question is ALWAYS YES. If we let that hold us back, we'd still be chipping out stone axes.

        Heck, right now I'm test driving the Zero and Brammo electric motorcycles. They are far more impressive than I expected.

        It's not much different from the "smaller process every year" that semiconductor firms face, and Intel apparently doesn't see an issue with it's multi-billion-dollar factories (fabs)

  2. David Kelly 2


    They haven't said where the Gigafactory will be built.

    If they build in California then I'm dumping my TSLA stock.

    1. O RLY

      Re: Where?

      There are several states wooing the Tesla plant. The leading contender is rumoured to be Texas.

      Tesla cannot currently sell their cars through showrooms in Texas due to laws about auto dealerships and a change in law is part of the negotiations. In spite of that limitation, Texas has been the second-largest market for Teslas in the US.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Where?

        Maybe they can buy Googlerola's new Cell plant that just opened and is now closing. It is in Fort Worth. I am not sure if Google is allowing Fort Worth to remain open, but this might be an opportunity to avoid another Texas Ghost Town.

  3. G R Goslin

    Rather a reversal of roles

    Rather an odd choice. It's the usual business practice to develop where the skills are and to produce where the labour costs are lowest, then sell where the price is highest. Isn't this situation somehow against the laws of Thermodynamics? Perhaps the magic word 'subsidies' and the other magic word, 'tax holidays' might have something to do with the decision.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Rather a reversal of roles

      Or maybe.... local control

  4. JeffyPoooh

    Will the giant battery factory be solar powered?

    [innocent blink-blink] Hmmmm?

    Why not?

  5. Sureo


    Does that mean they are planning to make 1,000,000,000 (or more) batteries? Or that it will be the size of 1,000,000,000 normal factories? Or perhaps some imaginative PR's use of hyperbole?

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: Gigafactory

      I don't know how many cells per battery pack. If it's a thousand, and they sell a million EVs, that's a gig of cells needed. If it's a hundred (in series, for 300V HT ) then the target would be 10 million EVs, which isn't an impossibility.

  6. Breen Whitman

    I like those "urban exploration" videos on you tube where people go into abandoned buildings and film all the interesting stuff.

    I am looking forward to this giga factory being on there in a couple years. It should be pretty interesting.

  7. Anomalous Cowshed


    Tesla Bod - Hello? This is Tesla Motors. Am I speaking to Factory Zinc? I mean Factories Inc?

    Factories Inc. - Yes. What can we do you for today?

    TB - Well we want a factory, to make batteries, like, if you see what I mean...for cars.

    FI - Aha. What kind of factory were you thinking of?

    TB - Well, a biggish one, like, big, you know, kind of thing.

    FI - Can you be more specific? Do you want a maxi factory, a mega factory, a giga factory? Or a monster factory?

    TB - Er...I don't know, tell me how much do they cost?

    FI - The maxi is $ 50 million. The Mega is $ 200 million. The giga is $1 billion and the monster is $10 billion.

    TB - We were thinking more around the lines of $ 12.5 million.

    FI - Oh I see. Well, actually, we've got a special promotion on giga factories running next week. If you can do without a few unnecessary bits and bobs, we can bring the price right down.

    TB - What, you mean like no car park, no lobby, that kind of thing? It would be difficult for us to cope without these things.

    FI - On the contrary, this would be a US factory. There's got to be a car park and a lobby. But do you really need a production line?

    TB - Er...I thought that's the whole point of a factory.

    FI - It used to be, but these days many of our clients are opting for new-style PR factories. You can do away with the production lines, the machines, the safety equipment, the big shed that normally covers it all, and of course the pesky blue-collar workers. All you need is a nice car park, some landscaping and a lobby with a few offices behind. You can import the goods from China. We can set it all up for you for $ 12 million. That means you get your giga factory AND you have some change to buy yourself some cake and eat it.

    TB - That's amazing. We'll go for that!

  8. sausagemaker

    Pour in a few electrons and away you go

    "Panasonic's lithium-ion battery cells combine the required features for electric vehicles such as high capacity, durability and cost performance. And I believe that once we are able to manufacture lithium-ion battery cells at the Gigafactory, we will be able to accelerate the expansion of the electric vehicle market."

    The Chinese and Indians are the most likely market. Seems like China is dedicating a new

    coal-fired power plant every week. They don't have to worry about a Handicapper-in-Chief's war on coal, radical environmentalists, or global warming (or the buzz-word du jour).

  9. John Sturdy

    Panasonic batteries? With DRM? And pyrotechnics? and price-fixing?

    When I saw "Panasonic" and "battery" mentioned in the same article, I was reminded of the incident of Panasonic patching cameras to block rivals' batteries, and while looking for that article, I also found Panasonic pulls pyromaniac batteries (well, I suppose it's better than denying the problem) and Sanyo (a subsidiary of Panasonic) fined for price-fixing laptop batteries

    I wonder whether Tesla use DRM on their battery packs?

  10. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Where, Maybe

    The Transport Evolved website reported previously about a site rumored to be being prepared for the Tesla-Panasonic(-US Government) Gigafactory. The report also stated that the construction company had been sacked after several weeks of running 24/7. Elon trying to be as mercurial as the late Steve Jobs?

    The above link also states that Tesla's current production shut down to retool for the Model X should help boost annual projected shipments over the currently predicted 35,000 units. For reference, Ford builds ~35,000 F150 trucks every 36 hours.

    Given that Tesla has situated their production facility in an area with one of the highest cost of living indexes, finding employees that can afford to work for reasonable wages might be a bigger stumbling block than the claimed limitations in battery supplies.

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