Tesla mulls plan for giga factory to build battery packs for its EVs

Article by Anita Panait, on November 7, 2013

Tesla Motors Inc. is considering creating a "giga factory" to build electric vehicle battery packs for its own use, according to chief executive Elon Musk. He remarked that Tesla's long-term ambitions to produce 500,000 electric vehicles annually could “chew up” majority of current lithium ion battery supplies in the world.

Tesla’s CEO remarked that the new site would be "something comparable to all lithium ion production in the world, in one factory." While Musk didn’t provide a timeframe for the site, but with the smaller third generation cars set to arrive in 2017 with a $35,000 price point, Tesla production is expected to ramp up rapidly.

Musk said in a conference call with analysts that if Tesla was to build half a million cars, it would need cell capacity matching that. Since that capacity would be at more or less at par with the current global lithium ion production, there might be a need for a “giga-factory.”

Tesla’s CEO said the factory would take "raw materials to finished packs, with partners, in North America." He remarked that raw materials are not an issue and there would be no need to worry about lithium supply.

Musk remarked that the plant would be "a green factory, a lot of solar power,” with no toxic elements coming out. Tesla recently signed an agreement for Panasonic to increase cell supply volumes for the carmaker. While Panasonic has "got it covered" for Tesla's battery demand for 2014, it is for expected volumes of 40,000 global units.

It is pretty safe to say that the new Tesla Model S electric sedan is an evolution in automotive engineering. It doesn’t just combine performance and efficiency; it has also managed to earn the highest possible safety ratings. Apart from the over-the-air software updates that make the Model S better through time, the sedan also boasts of having the longest range among electric vehicles.

Sitting on Tesla’s unique architecture, the Model S features a battery pack that is located low on the floor, thereby giving the sedan a very low center of gravity. This means the Model S has a minimal risk or rollover and boasts of higher levels of performance and handling. As designed, the Model S has no mill sitting on its engine bay, which means that its crumple zone is much larger than other performance sedans. This design allows the Model S to better absorb impact energy when involved in a frontal collision.

The electric sedan’s low center of gravity is also thanks to the fact that its electric drivetrain is located beneath the car. With this, the Model S could be considered as one of the safest cars on the road, as proven by its top safety ratings from the NHTSA and the Euro NCAP. In fact, the Model S boasts of having the lowest chances of occupant injury following tests in the United States.

Also contributing to the high safety level of the Model S are a number of active safety features offered as standard like collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and blind spot detection. It is also offered with optional convenience elements such as traffic-aware cruise control, summon, autosteer and autopark.

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Topics: tesla, electric car

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