The billionaire entrepreneur and CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk has revealed he is close to naming the site for its future battery factory, but in an interesting twist he said the company would break ground at two sites.
Tesla is moving ahead with its schedule to start next year sales for its electric Model X crossover and aims to bring to the market an affordable model within three years, and the CEO emphasized speed in the unusual decision to start the construction for the battery factory in two different locations at once.
The Californian electric car company is assessing five US states – Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas – for its future battery factory – dubbed “gigafactory” – because it should be the worlds biggest.
“What we’re going to do is move forward with more than one state, at least two, all the way to breaking ground, just in case there’s last-minute issues,” Musk, Tesla’s chief executive officer, said in an interview this week. “The No. 1 thing is we want to minimize the risk timing for the gigafactory to get up and running.”
The battery factory is needed to ensure the company can grow its rather low current production, as Musk envisions Tesla as the global dominant electric car company. The plant would allow Tesla to source much faster the battery packs, and produce them 30% cheaper – with the final aim at delivering them to other businesses – like Musk’s SolarCity Corp. which sells batter packs to homes or buildings with solar panels.
“There’s no doubt that this type of sourcing strategy is unconventional,” said Michael Robinet, managing director of industry consultant IHS Automotive. “But Tesla is good at breaking a lot of practices that are standard in the industry.”
The third Tesla model, following the $71,000 Model S sedan and Model X electric SUV would be slotted against the likes of BMW’s 3 Series sedan, which means it should have around half the price of the Model S to become competitive.