Tesla surprised its shareholders earlier this year when they wrote in their quarterly letter that they plan to announce 2 or 3 more Gigafactories by the end of the year.
Considering the ‘Gigafactory 1’ in Nevada is one of Tesla’s biggest and most important projects, it was surprising that the company would build 2 to 3 more, but now CEO Elon Musk said that it will “probably be 4”.
He made the comment during his interview at the TED conference last week:
“I will announce locations for between two and four Gigafactories later this year – probably four.”
That’s one more than announced in February.
There have been a lot of speculations about the possible locations for the giant battery factories, but Musk only said that Tesla “needs to address a global market” when asked about which continents will get the new factories.
He previously hinted that the US could get a second Gigafactory, or a third if you count ‘Gigafactory 2’ in Buffalo which produces solar products, and that a tristate border is a possibility.
One of the 4 new locations is expected to be in China, where Musk recently met with the Vice Premier. Another is expected to be somewhere in Europe, where several countries already launched efforts to attract Tesla and the thousands of jobs associated with a Gigafactory.
The fourth one is anyone’s best guess at this point.
Furthermore, when talking about the next Gigafactories, Musk said that Tesla will build them to produce not only battery cells and battery packs, like the one in Nevada, but everything from the cells to full vehicles. They already started moving that way with the Nevada factory by adding Model 3 powertrain production to the plant’s manufacturing responsibilities.
The actual announcement about the planned locations is expected by the end of the year. A few things that will be important to look out for beyond the locations will be if Tesla continues to partner with Panasonic for the battery cell manufacturing at the plants and if the factories will have similar planned capacities as Gigafactory 1, which Tesla says could produce 100 GWh of battery cells and 150 GWh of battery packs at full capacity.