When we watched Leonardo Dicaprio’s documentary in class last Thursday, one of the many parts of the movie that caught my eye was the scene where Leonardo interviewed Elon Musk. Tesla is one of those companies that engineers, environmentalists, and health workers all tend to be drooling over. The more I see Elon Musk on the internet, the more involved I seem to get in the company. Tesla is a company that is driving technology forward, and promotes a safer environment for our future generations. When Leonardo and Elon started to discuss the idea of a gigafactory, I was really interested in what a gigafactory had to offer.
For those of us who missed what Tesla’s Gigafactory is, it’s a physical factory dedicated to transitioning their products into using sustainable energy, supplying enough batteries to be used for every single vehicle they produce. The batteries that the Gigafactory produces are lithium ion, and according to Tesla’s website (link below), “will produce batteries for significantly less cost using economies of scale, innovative manufacturing, reduction of waste, and the simple optimization of locating most manufacturing under one roof.” This is a huge step in the direction for sustainable energy, and it’s exactly how vehicles need to be produced. Tesla has a goal to produce zero net energy from producing vehicles and running the factory.
The energy used to produce itself comes from solar, geothermal, and wind energy, making it a self sustainable factory. Because of this ability to self sustain, Tesla is reducing the cost of their electric battery packs by 30%, and enables Tesla to produce roughly 1,500,000 cars in a year. Elon Musk states in Dicaprio’s film that, “it would take 100 Gigafactories,” in order to provide the entire world with sustainable energy. 100 Gigafactories! Tesla has taken only three years to produce the Gigafactory 1 in Nevada, and I can imagine that the success will bring production to more factories. The only problem is money. Hopefully, the success of the Gigafactory 1 will bring in incredible revenue once the Model 3 and Model S cars are being shipped to the masses. But, right now we have to rely on just one Gigafactory, because other vehicle production companies aren’t currently willing to spend the money to produce sustainable factories. So, Tesla’s Gigafactory will be a huge step in the right direction towards a sustainable future, but will we have enough time to mass produce them before it’s too late?