Tesla’s Gigafactory Project – Does This Imply Another Musk Victory?

elonmusk occupy mars
Elon Musk and bold business plans are almost inseparable.

30 percent cost decrease is “probably conservative at this point” – Elon Musk

In fact, no one expects Musk to tread soft territories or come up with unchallenging business models. Now that Elon Musk has announced the most ambitious plan of his career, that of building a giant battery factory, no one is raising eyebrows!

Rather all major States like Nevada and Texas have shown willingness to play hosts to the plant, by offering prominent sites in San Antonio and Reno.

Main objective behind Elon Musk’s dream Gigafactory

The name ‘Gigafactory’ is derived from the fact that this factory would produce enough Lithium ion batteries per annum to store 35 GigaWatt hours of electricity. The announcement is considered to be one of the most ambitious business plans declared by the Tesla CEO till date. The $5 billion battery plant is expected to start production from 2017 onwards.

By 2020, Musk claims to produce enough batteries in this factory to support 500,000 electric cars. Already prominent States like New Mexico, Nevada, Texas and Arizona have put forth their claims to play hosts. Right now Tesla motor is revving up its production of the latest Model S, sensing extensive global demand. Also a new crossover Model X is due next year and another mass market Model E will hit marketplace in 2017. Naturally Elon has to think of innovative strategies to keep costs down. Thus Gigafactory has become a major part of Musk’s cost reduction plan.

Technology behind the Lithium ion Gigafactory

Li-ion batteries are already vastly used in hi-tech gadgets like Smartphone, laptops and tablets. Yet when Musk announced to build up a giant factory in the United States which would double world’s total lithium-ion battery production, many wondered what could be the real aim behind this!
Some thought this is just a smart negotiating tactic while many appreciated his commitment towards the society.

During a recent presentation to investors, Musk explained how his dream project will surprisingly bring down battery costs. He aims at setting up the Gigafactory in an unusual manner whereby batteries will be directly built from raw materials. The reason why battery costs are so high is because components are brought from different places and then assembled in the battery plant. Musk plans to complete the entire production under one roof. For this all necessary components like raw materials, electrolytes, containers, etc. will be made available in the plant itself. To keep the project green, he proposes to use solar and wind energy.

Future of Lithium ion battery and how Gigafactory will benefit from it

According to a latest press release, researchers at the University of California(UC Riverside) have come up with a uniquely cost effective lithium ion battery that can outperform the current ones by almost three times.
What is the key material?

Hold your breath It is sand only!

Sand Schematic

Sand Vials

Mihrimah Ozkan, Cengiz Ozkan and Zachary Favors, University of California - Riverside

The research is mainly centered on personal electronics and electronic vehicles. Indeed this is great news for Tesla’s dream Li-ion Gigafactory project!

“This is the holy grail – a low cost, non-toxic, environmentally friendly way to produce high performance lithium ion battery anodes,” said Zachary Favors, a graduate student working with Cengiz and Mihri Ozkan, both engineering professors at UC Riverside.

There is no doubt that battery manufacturing is a complicated process. However going by current research status, sand based Lithium ion batteries will make further headway in coming years. Thus Elon Musk and his Gigafactory will surely benefit from these research advancements.

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