Tesla to name possible sites for planned battery “gigafactory” in two US states

Article by Christian A., on May 1, 2014

Tesla Motors Inc. will soon name locations in at least two states for its planned battery "gigafactory." The carmaker will also soon break ground at each site to make that one of them will be ready to supply lithium ion battery packs within three years. Tesla is aiming to hike global output of the Model S by 56 percent in 2014 and is planning to introduce a volume electric vehicle.

The carmaker announced in February that it was planning the largest battery plant in the world and was assessing sites in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said that lower-cost battery packs are vital in ensuring that Tesla's planned less costly model arrives to market on time.

He told Automotive News in an interview that their strategy entails having sites in at least two states, “just in case there's last-minute issues."

He remarked that they want to minimize the risk timing for the gigafactory to get up and running. Tesla plans to spend up to $5 billion in the gigafactory and intends to employ up to 6,500 workers at the site.

The gigafactory will produce batteries that are 30 percent less expensive than currently ones and will also supply packs to Musk's SolarCity Corp. In March, Tesla in March raised $2.3 billion from selling convertible notes for financing the battery plant.

Musk remarked that while breaking ground at different locations with an initial goal of using only one could be considered unusual, the carmaker may ultimately need more than one gigafactory in the US.

Tesla plans to sell its third-generation electric -- following the Model S sedan and Model X electric SUV due next year – at a price comparable to the BMW 3-Series Sedan, or around half the starting price of the Model S.

Built to be an electric vehicle from scratch, Tesla revealed that the new Model X is also designed to be one of the safest cars out there. Based on the brand’s own crash tests, Tesla expects that this model could likely receive in all categories a 5-star safety rating. If it does, this will make the Model X the first SUV to get such ratings. One advantage of the Model X is that because the battery is positioned on the floor, it results in a center of gravity that is truly low.

This means that the risk of a rollover is lowered, a problem most SUVs experience. In addition, without a need for any big gasoline engine beneath the hood, this model has a large crump zone that can absorb any energy in the event of a high-speed impact.

Further, having aluminum pillars that have steel rails reinforcing it makes sure that the battery and the occupants are protected. This also helps enhance the stiffness of the roof. Active safety is another feature in the Model X. These include the automatic emergency braking, that when combined with the side collision avoidance, ensures that accidents are prevented.

In fact, Tesla is the only automaker so far that offers a standard AEB system that functions even when running at high speeds. Other features in the Model X include the radar, forward-looking camera, and the 360-degree sonar sensors, all of which allow cutting-edge autopilot features. With software updates made available over-the-air on a regular basis, the sophistication of the different features is improved.

The updates also increase many of the capable safety and convenience features, examples of which are Autopark and the Autosteer. What this means is that the Model X becomes even that closer to autonomous operation. On the inside, Tesla disclosed that the Model X is the cleanest SUV in the world. Take the front fascia. It has been designed to come with a fully-functional duct.

This duct then channels the air through what can be described as the first-ever genuine HEPA filter system fitted in an automobile. Thus, the cabin gets medical-grade air regardless of the situation outside.

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