Elon Musk: World Will Eventually Need Hundreds Of Battery Gigafactories

MAY 16 2014 BY JAY COLE 9

While at the World Energy Innovation Forum on Tuesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk continued to map out his vision for the future of the planet by stating that the world will need many Gigafactories in the future.  Hundreds of them – just like the one the EV maker is planning to complete itself in 2017.

We'll Just Go Ahead An Color California Back Into The "Gigafactory" Running

We’ll Just Go Ahead An Color California Back Into The “Gigafactory” Running

The demand for these gigafactories will come primarily from two sources; initially from the automakers who will look to these super plants to churn out lower cost batteries at a higher rate, and secondly from the world’s increasing power storage needs as the grid’s energy profile changes.

Tesla’s first “gigafactory” will be located in one of four five US states; Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada as well as newly re-introduced California (as per the company’s last financial update).   Tesla expects the savings on volume production of cells to be in the neighborhood of 30%

“I think we can probably do better than 30 percent,” Musk said yesterday at the company’s Fremont, California, plant according to Bloomberg.  As carmakers increase demand for batteries “there’s going to need to be lots of gigafactories. Just to supply auto demand you need 200 gigafactories.

Tesla themselves plan to not only build batteries for their cars, but as part of renewable green energy storage solutions (such as solar and wind power) with partners like Elon Musk-related company SolarCity.


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9 Comments on "Elon Musk: World Will Eventually Need Hundreds Of Battery Gigafactories"

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George Bower

Just give me one for now and I’ll be happy.


Me too, but I guess we think too small George! 😉


Sounds like we need a terafactory then.

Lou Grinzo

The more you know about climate change and the energy infrastructure in various countries (both “developed” and “developing”), the more clear it is that Musk is right about the future role of batteries.

Researchers have been working for a long time on various ways to store electricity generated by wind and solar installations so it can be dispatched when actually needed. Flywheels, compressed air, molten salt, etc. — you name it, someone has tried it. The only reason all that work is ongoing is that the most obvious solution, batteries, was simply too expensive. If battery prices fall enough, it could literally reshape the entire world’s energy infrastructure. Will that happen? No one knows for sure, but the cost trend is pointing in the right direction.

The future is going to be a lot of things, but “dull” ain’t on the list.


The methods you describe are in search of 2c/kWh-cycle or less. That’s what you need for grid storage to compete with on-the-fly generation.

EVs only need cost to come down to ~10-15c/kWh-cycle to beat gasoline, as the latter is around 30c per mechanical kWh in an efficient engine.

Once most cars are EVs/PHEVs, only then will we start seeing these types of cells used for the grid.

But there will be a few percent of homes that would like to disconnect from the grid entirely, and for them batteries will be useful.


“The methods you describe are in search of 2c/kWh-cycle or less. That’s what you need for grid storage to compete with on-the-fly generation.”
But isn’t that at today’s prices? Battery cost curve goes down, on-the-fly costs go up; at some point they cross.

Dan Gallagher

Hundreds? Elon, if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times, don’t exaggerate.

Micke Larsson

It’s not exaggeration. To cover all cars there will be at least 30 needed in the US, 25 in Europe, 60-100 in China and then there is the rest of the world including future large markets like India.
And that doesn’t include grid storage need which will surely bring a few more factories.

It’s just a matter of the time frame.


I wonder if Elon is taking future economic issues into account.