Tesla have announced that they are looking into creating new Gigafactories over the coming year, and have been actively scouting locations across the globe.
The first Tesla Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, will be the world’s largest building when finished. It will take up 15 million square feet of space when complete, fuel all of its own power needs, create thousands of jobs and enable Tesla to produce as many cars as the world’s leading auto manufacturers. Tesla boss, Elon Musk, once told Leonardo DiCaprio in a conservation documentary that 100 Gigafactories could power the world. So why doesn’t he build them? At roughly 5 billion dollars per Gigafactory, they don’t come cheap. Even Musk’s gargantuan wealth couldn’t create more than a handful without significant investment from partners and governments.
“One way to think of manufacturing efficiency is how long a journey did that molecule take from when it was mined. So if it was mined in one part of the world, and eventually does several trips around the world before it ends up in a finished product, that’s fundamentally expensive.” Elon Musk
They might not be building a hundred new factories, but Musk has revealed that they want at least 4 more in the years to come.
“What really matters to accelerate a sustainable future is being able to scale up production volume as quickly as possible. Tesla focuses heavily on designing the machine that makes the machine – turning the factory itself into a product.” Elon Musk
Musk did reveal last year that Tesla was looking at Europe for a second Gigafactory, as a way to ramp up production of their industry-leading cars globally. European groups and governments clamored to Tesla officials and several campaigns were launched to bring the Gigafactory 2 to Portugal, France, Czech Republic and Finland amongst other nations.
An announcement is expected later this year, although sources have indicated that Finland and the Czech Republic seem the most likely options. This is due to a range of factors including geography, abundance of natural resources, economy, availability of staff and access to markets. Tesla officials have been spotted in both Prague, Czech Republic and Vaasa, Finland.
The Mayor of Vaasa, Tomas Häyry, announced that they would launch a campaign to bring Tesla to Finland. The Finnish government got behind the idea and will likely offer limited investment and tax breaks for Tesla to begin production of the plant. Nordic countries are known lovers of Tesla vehicles and the market is strong in these countries, where governments have pledged to do away with fossil fuels altogether in the next few decades.
“We will begin work immediately; apart from being a project for the Vaasa region, it is also a project for the whole of Finland.” – Tomas Häyry, The Mayor of Vaasa
“I am very excited about this vision and will support the project as much as possible.” – Mika Lintilä, The Minister of Economic A airs, Member of Parliament
The Czech Republic is also a location that ticks all the boxes when it comes to the needs of a Gigafactory. Prague has a cheap economy, skilled workers, great access to all of Europe and huge deposits of lithium. The rights to mine the lithium were purchased by investment groups who specifically cited Elon Musk as the reason they were excited.
A third Gigafactory would likely be constructed in China. Tesla has started to sell cars in China, albeit at a slower pace than expected. It did take a few years to bring up the level of car sales, partly due to heavy regulation on foreign imports, which could be worked around by building the cars in China. Electrek recently reported that Musk’s meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang could’ve included discussions around a possible Gigafactory site, which follows a recent significant investment by giant Chinese Internet firm Tencent.
It is expected that Tesla will make an announcement over the coming months and then give a timescale as to when the new factories will start to be built. A fourth Gigafactory could go elsewhere in the US, China, Europe or Japan.