It's giga and it's a factory, but what does Gigafactory really mean?

Giga factory is a term that we can first trace back to it being used by Elon Musk's Tesla. Back in the year, 2013. But why is it called a Giga factory. What is a Giga factory? Why are they so important, why is everyone talking about them?

Welcome to the Vox Network and I Speak Electric – let's find out some answers.

The name Giga factory can be split into two. You understand factory, right, so let's take on Giga. The word Giga is a unit of measurement, representing billions.

In this case, you can apply the word Watts. After, so we're talking about a  Gigawatts of power – equal to one million watts - and Giga watt-hours of energy storage.

But Giga also comes from the Greek word gigas, which means giant. So rather than saying it's a. billion of anything. Maybe it's just saying it's a giant factory.

You could even say it's simply a new word that is a very good marketing phrase that seems to have taken on a life of its own well beyond Tesla. And in fact if we'd like to trace it back to the exact point in history. When the word was first used. Our research shows that it was probably first used during an investor's call in November, 2013, when Elon musk told investors there is going to need to be some kind of Giga factory built. At the time, they were planning on their first Giga factory being comparable in size to all the other lithium-ion battery production in the world. All under one room.

And a Giga factory for Tesla is at the heart of what Elon musk likes to call the machine that builds the machine. In fact recently Elan has seemed more excited about building Giga factories, than the actual cars themselves.

The original Tesla Gigafactory is being built in Nevada. Where Tesla create batteries for its electric vehicles. They also recycle unused materials back into the beginning of the process.

There are other carmakers who have said that they will have their own Giga factories, for instance, the carmaker p s a group who make Peugeot and Citron recently announced plans for two Giga factories in Europe, there's going to be one in France. There's going to be one in Germany, and combined those two Giga factories will make 48 gigawatt-hours of batteries every single year when they're running at full capacity

And whilst other companies haven't totally taken on the use of the phrase Gigafactory completely, they are certainly building them. The biggest one in Europe will produce 32-gigawatt hours of EV batteries, a year, and it's being built by Northvolts. They're a Swedish battery firm, founded by former Tesla executive

Giga factories aren’t just making batteries for our cars, they’re at the the hearts of our renewable energy future because if we want to store the renewable energy to use when supply isn't available, then we need to store that energy somewhere, and many people are saying the batteries are the perfect solution.

So let's talk about Tesla. The first Giga factory was in sparks, Nevada. And they broke ground on initial construction. In June, 2014. There is an often forgotten about Gigafactory two, which is where their solar panels are produced in Buffalo, New York. The third Giga factory is in Shanghai in China, and the first of Tesla's Giga factories to be built, outside of the United States. Then there's Giga factory Berlin, which will make both cars and batteries. And finally, production just started on Gigafactory Austin, which will make the new Tesla's Cybertruck and semi-trucks amongst their other cars, as well as batteries. So whereas the first Giga factory made only batteries and the Tesla vehicles were then assembled in Fremont, California, all future Giga factories will make both the batteries, and the vehicles themselves from Tesla's model three to the largest of semi-trucks.

Incidentally, the Nevada Gigafactory also has areas to make the electric motors for Tesla's model three, and the home storage and grid storage solutions which they call power wall and power pack.

Some analysts predict that by the end of the decade, there will be 16 Giga factories operated by many different companies in Europe alone with an annual production capacity of 446 Giga watt-hours. This would put Europe, only second behind China.

Companies like LG Chem already operate a Giga factory in Poland and SK innovation operates a Giga factory in Hungary. Germany plans to be the center of Giga factories with 200-gigawatt hours of capacity. By the end of the decade.

But the real story of Giga factories is China. Of the very large battery plants around the world. And there are 142 large enough for us to say that they are a Giga factory 109 of them are in China, 70% of the world's Giga factories, based in China.

And if you felt the European figures were high. Wait till you hear what China has planned by the end of the decade. Their Giga factories want to be making 1887 gigawatt-hours of batteries for use in our electric vehicles, and energy storage.

And that’s our guide to a Gigafactory. Let us know what you think in the comments section. If you enjoyed this video, give us a thumbs up, and hit Subscribe & the bell so you never miss a show.