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Tesla Gigafactory Wont Be In California

February 26,2014

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 2.26.31 PMToday Tesla Motors based in Palo Alto revealed details about their proposed $2 billion gigafactory to make Lithium-ion batteries.
The headline for California is that our state is not in the running to site the 6500 employee plant. In the running are Nevada, New Mexico ,Arizona and Texas.

No word yet if Jerry Brown has given Elon Musk a call.

Here is what Tesla  said to in a blog on their website.
“As we at Tesla reach for our goal of producing a mass market electric car in approximately three years, we have an opportunity to leverage our projected demand for lithium ion batteries to reduce their cost faster than previously thought possible. In cooperation with strategic battery manufacturing partners, we’re planning to build a large scale factory that will allow us to achieve economies of scale and minimize costs through innovative manufacturing, reduction of logistics waste, optimization of co-located processes and reduced overhead.”

“The Gigafactory is designed to reduce cell costs much faster than the status quo and, by 2020, produce more lithium ion batteries annually than were produced worldwide in 2013. By the end of the first year of volume production of our mass market vehicle, we expect the Gigafactory will have driven down the per kWh cost of our battery pack by more than 30 percent.”

The good new for California is that according to the flow chart of the plant located in the Southwest, the batteries will be shipped back to the Tesla plant in Fremont California for assembly into vehicles with enough batteries to produce 500,000 vehicles in the year 2020.  That compares to annual production today of 34,000 in 2014 at the same plant.

Here is a rendering of how the plant site will look fed by renewable energy at a site that could be just as easily be Kettleman City or Arvin in the middle of California.That’s a lot closer to Fremont than Texas. Tesla wants to have construction of the plant completed by the end of 2015 meaning they will likely select the site soon. Clearly they have no time to waste,which is the point.

Perhaps it comes as no big surprise they would not choose to do this time sensitive mega battery plant in the Golden State considering our reputation for legal challenges at the drop of a hat

Consider what Kings County EDC director John Lehn says about how long it has taken for  Chemical Waste Management to get a permit to expand their facility in the Kettleman Hills.”I attended  another permitting hearing for the project that has taken 9 years to get a potential approval to expand the life the facility for just another eight years.” The still don’t have that permit.

Tesla wants to bring in raw materials like lithium from brine deposits in the southwest that may include Nevada and SW Wyoming.

Besides supplying Tesla Motors the new longer life batteries will be put to use by another Elon Musk company Solar City. According to their website “ SolarCity® (Nasdaq:SCTY) provides clean energy. We are disrupting the century-old energy industry by providing renewable electricity directly to homeowners, businesses and government organizations for less than they spend on utility bills. SolarCity gives customers control of their energy costs to protect them from rising rates. We offer solar power, energy efficiency and electric vehicle services, and make clean energy easy by taking care of everything from design and permitting to monitoring and maintenance. We currently serve 14 states and sign a new customer every three minutes.”

Adding storage to renewable energy enables customers to use the power when they need it – bypassing the utility.

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