Tesla Motors has proven many electric-car naysayers wrong with the award-winning Model S, but it’s just getting warmed up. The company plans to break ground on a lithium-ion cell “Gigafactory” later this year to support increased car production.
The Gigafactory will be the largest of its kind in the world, and is expected to lower the cost of an electric-car battery pack through sheer volume. This will help Tesla price its next car, the Model III, in the $30,000 ballpark, significantly less than the roughly $70,000 Model S.
The factory will be located in the Western United States and is expected to cost $5 billion. Construction is supposed to begin next year, and everything should be fully up and running by 2018.
Once it’s at capacity, the Gigafactory will produce an estimated 35-gigawatt-hours of batteries per year. That’s equivalent to the entirety of global lithium-ion cell production in 2013. Hopefully Tesla will be able to pull that off, or it could end up with a lot of battery-less cars.