Tesla’s earnings report for 2016 was released moments ago, with information regarding two, possibly three future gigafactory plants. Tesla’s current “Gigafactory 1“, which will be the largest factory building in the world by footprint, isn’t even finished yet and Tesla is already looking to finalize the locations of future plants by the end of this year.
This is the first solid announcement of additional gigafactories which Tesla has made. They’ve referenced the future need for “several” gigafactories before, and talked about choosing a location for Gigafactory 2, but this is the first time, in writing, that they have solidified an actual count of multiple additional gigafactories and a timeframe for these future gigafactories.
The relevant section of the earnings report is here:
Installation of Model 3 manufacturing equipment is underway in Fremont and at Gigafactory 1, where in January, we began production of battery cells for energy storage products, which have the same form-factor as the cells that will be used in Model 3. Later this year, we expect to finalize locations for Gigafactories 3, 4 and possibly 5 (Gigafactory 2 is the Tesla solar plant in New York).
Interestingly, Tesla has sidestepped the “race to get Gigafactory 2” with their announcement today. As we have reported on before, many European countries have been lobbying Tesla to be the home of “Gigafactory 2,” but as far as we are aware today is the first time Tesla has used that name to refer to the New York plant recently acquired in the SolarCity merger. This leaves Europe competing for one of the next few gigafactories. Since Tesla now has two announced Gigafactories in the US, it is likely that numbers 3 and 4, and possibly 5, will be in Europe and Asia, to expand Tesla’s production worldwide.
With all this use of the word “Gigafactory,” it is perhaps useful to remind readers where the word comes from. “Giga” is a metric prefix meaning “a billion,” so “Gigafactory” was originally a reference to a single factory capable of producing billions of cells.
You can listen in to Tesla’s earnings call today at 2:30pm PST – about 15 minutes from now at time of publishing – at a livestream available on Tesla’s investor relations site. We’re sure there will be a question regarding future Gigafactories at some point on the call.
In an interview with Leonardo DiCaprio below, Tesla CEO Elon Musk noted that it would take 100 Gigafactories to build enough batteries to move the world to sustainable energy. Looks like we’re almost 5% of the way there.