US electric car maker Tesla has said one of two battery “gigafactories” is likely to break ground next month.
Tesla announced last month that it plans to build the two factories on a range of potential sites in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. More recent news indicates that California may also be a potential location having been rejected at first due to excessive red tape.
Tesla’s first gigafactory is expected to cost around $2bn, create around 6,500 US jobs and manufacture 500,000 lithium-ion batteries a year by 2020.
It is also intended that the factories will enable a 30% cost reduction for battery manufacture. In part this will be achieved through production efficiencies, but also through material innovation and partnerships with mining companies – particularly for nickel.
It is hoped that both factories will be completed by 2018 when Tesla’s third generation electric vehicle is planned for launch.
The innovative new battery pack designs could also be used for domestic energy storage.
“We are trying to figure out what would be a cool stationary [battery] pack,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “Some will be like the Model S pack: something flat, five inches off the wall, wall mounted, with a beautiful cover, an integrated bi-directional inverter, and plug and play.”