At today’s shareholder meeting, we heard more from Tesla CEO Elon Musk about “the machine that builds the machine.”
While Tesla’s first Gigafactory is not yet fully operational, the company is currently finalizing three additional locations for future gigafactories, with an announcement to come about those locations. Musk mentioned that it is likely Tesla will eventually build 10-20 gigafactories worldwide, in the long-term.
Musk also stated that Tesla will have to find or build a new factory to manufacture the Model Y, while the Model 3 will still be built at Tesla’s main factory in Fremont, along with the Model S and Model X.
Currently the Fremont factory is effectively “bursting at the seams” with the work being done there according to Musk, and in particular, they are facing parking problems with all the employees reporting for duty. Tesla is trying to expand the facility and public transit options have been added, but if Model Y is expected to sell as many or more units than the Model 3 (as Musk claimed in today’s speech), then Tesla will need another facility, likely about as big as the Fremont plant, just to meet Model Y demand.
Given that Tesla is planning to build the Model Y on a separate platform than the Model 3, a new factory makes sense anyway. And Musk is confident that the capital expenditures required to build the Y could be cut in half through several manufacturing improvements which will allow Tesla to “build the car in a way that a car’s never been built before.”
As for the ambitious long-term gigafactory plans, in Tesla’s 2016 earnings report in February, Musk announced that the company was currently considering up to three additional gigafactory locations in addition to “Gigafactory One” in Nevada and the Buffalo solar factory which Tesla acquired along with SolarCity. This would bring the total up to five gigafactories currently in the works for Tesla. Today Musk confirmed that Tesla is giving serious consideration to three factory locations for these additional gigafactories.
But despite those three factory locations not yet being finalized, and the first gigafactory not being finished, Tesla isn’t standing still. Musk claimed today that Tesla would eventually have “at least ten, maybe as many as twenty” gigafactories worldwide.
In an interview with Leonardo DiCaprio below, Musk noted that it would take 100 Gigafactories to build enough batteries to move the entire world to sustainable energy. Tesla’s previous announcement accounted for 5% of that – it looks like Tesla is now hoping to meet 10-20% of worldwide sustainable energy demand, all on their own.