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28 Jul 2016

Elon Musk’s Visionary Gigafactory

Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon-who has been in negotiation to merge with solar company SolarCity, Inc- has recently said that the final designs for Tesla’s $35,000 electric Model 3 were finalised two weeks ago; the company is moving forward on schedule to begin production next summer. Musk said the Model 3 may bring in revenue of $20 billion a year, which would be invested into the battery producing gigafactory he’s constructing. Musk gave an interview with reporters while standing in front of windows overlooking Tesla’s gigafactory, soon to become one of the world’s biggest buildings. Tesla’s $5bn (£3.8bn) 3,200-acre battery-manufacturing plant is expected to be fully working by about 2020. Panasonic is a partner, investing just under $2bn in the project.

Musk and Panasonic executives recently offered reporters a tour of the Gigafactory, where they reported:

The average price of batteries in 2010 was $1,200/kWh, but with production like his, Musk is confident the price in 2020 can fall to $100/kWh by 2020. This would make Tesla cars and battery backed solar power cost about 30% less, making them both better for the planet and highly economical. One way he can reduce the costs is to purchase raw materials, such as lithium on a massive scale, thus reducing the costs a smaller factory would incur. His plan is to invest billions in the design of a highly automated process that will ultimately prove highly profitable.

Musk has said he is pursuing acquiring other solar powered companies to fuel his gigafactory-but also go further than that- he’s set his sights on becoming a clean energy power producer that sells solar power to others at profit. The Gigafactory schedule is being accelerated to two years ahead of schedule, so Tesla can produce 500,000 cars in 2018. Tesla anticipates there will be more such gigafactories constructed worldwide.

Elon Reeve Musk, 45 is a Canadian-American, born in South Africa who has blazed a trail across business, technology, private space exploration and green technology. His net worth of US$12.7bn in June 2016 place him as the 83rd wealthiest person in the world. He’s stated that his companies revolve around his vision to change the world and humanity and reducing global warming is clearly a major motivator for him. His prolific, often eccentric flair for invention and forward thinking started early. By age 10, he developed an interest in computing and taught himself how to create programs. By 12 he had sold the code to Blastar, a video game to PC and Office Technology for $500.