Published on August 6th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Gigafactory Infographic

August 6th, 2014 by  

Originally published on EV Obsession.

The Tesla Gigafactory is one of the hottest cleantech stories of 2014, if not the hottest. Someone recently passed along a cool Tesla Gigafactory infographic that includes quite a bit of interesting info about the lithium-ion battery gigawatt-scale factory.

Of course, it notes that the best way to bring down the price of electric cars is to bring down the price of batteries, and quotes the Tesla estimate that the Gigafactory will reduce battery cost by about 30% per kWh.

One fun fact is that the Gigafactory is supposed to have the same lithium-ion battery production capacity as was produced in all of 2013 by all producers all around the world. (That’s one reason why this is such a big deal.) Of course, this is just the first, and Elon Musk projects that we will need “hundreds of gigafactories” worldwide for electric car demand at some point.

The Gigafactory infographic also notes that graphite demand for the Gigafactory will be about ⅓ of total global graphite demand in 2013. Tesla’s lithium-ion batteries are also already responsible for 42% of global cobalt demand.

Lithium, of course, is another key input. But lithium is very abundant and Tesla’s lithium supply stream seems stable. It surely comes from Chile, as 96% of global lithium supply has come from Chile since 1996.

Aside from the inputs, the infographic notes that the Tesla Gigafactory will recycle old battery packs in order to reuse the remaining goodies inside, will be solar powered, will employ about 6,500 Earthlings (no Martians are scheduled to be employed there), and will take up about 10 million square feet of space (~174 football fields).

For more, or if you skipped my text just to see the infographic anyway, here’s the Tesla Gigafactory infographic from


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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Zach

    As energy density improves with the new chemistry and cell design, material costs will probably go down significantly. This info graphic presumably takes existing chemistry and design uses it justify future material needs, as those factors are not known.

  • Sorry about multiple comments, but one more thing. Mining can be done responsibly. There’s been so much work on improving mining practices for at least 50 years. The problem is following those practices. Many mining ventures are done through many layers of corporations starting at the top and ending with the actual mine operator. EVs and batteries have to get on top of this or this whole venture won’t be any different than any other third world, and now first world, mining operation. I don’t have an issue with mining the third world, if first world practices are in place. The problem is that much of the third world is run by corrupt dictators and politicians that let international mining concerns exploit at will. Between digging the ground and making an iphone call, there’s indecipherable trail of responsibility. Both for safe mine practices and mined land reclamation post mining. How to implement and instill safe and environmentally sound mining practices is the stumper. There’s a lot of banks and commodity traders that may know. A tax on metals and materials trading would be a good place to start.

  • Boris

    I remember Elon saying that raw materials in 1kwh of battery are at $80. The UBS numbers above show the raw material cost at 70% of the cost of the battery itself. They use $175 as the cost of 1kwh battery. That would make the raw material cost to be at $122. I was not able to find the video where Elon mentions the $80, but can someone knowledgeable shed some light on this?

    • Bob_Wallace

      I recall “under $100” but not an exact number. Elon might have been talking about cost at large volume and UBS about current costs.

    • No way

      I would also like to know how they get that number. I can’t imagine the raw material price being much of the total price of a battery.
      For example the lithium is like 1% or less of the battery cost.

      • Boris
        • No way

          I see a pie chart but I’m still missing the explanation. I would like to know how much of that chart each raw material takes up. And also what is included in “materials”. I mean if there is some kind of material process and not just the raw materials or what.
          It just doesn’t make much sense. Or maybe I’m just confused. Or maybe it’s just the difference of talking about the batteries and battery packs that is the difference… I don’t know… I give up, just bring me cheap EV’s. 😛

        • EnTill

          I guess Elon Musks next endeavour will be in the mining industry…

    • hmm, i don’t remember that statement, but thanks for adding it in here. no idea on where the discrepancy is, but Bob’s guess seems like a good one.

      • Boris
        • tibi stibi

          so if $80 is the material cost per kwh
          and according to the pie chart the material cost will be about 80% than a battery will cost $100 per kwh

        • I remember this video now, but didn’t remember that figure. Good catch/memory. Though, it’s not 100% clear that’s the actual price. Seems that way, but…

  • As an engineer, I’m always leery of marketing. But this is good marketing. Good presentation of data. Excellent data and information relay. I’ll give it an A-. I’d give it a B+, but marketing types are sensitive.

    So what is natural graphite v. synthetic graphite? I didn’t know. So I always go to the USGS for everything minerals:

    “Graphite is one of three forms of crystalline carbon; the other two are diamond and fullerenes. Graphite occurs naturally in metamorphic rocks such as marble, schist, and gneiss. It is a soft mineral, also known by the names of black lead, plumbago, and mineral carbon. The word graphite is derived from the Greek word “graphein,” to write.”

    “Graphite is mined from open pit and underground mine operations. Open pit operations are more economical and, thus, are preferred where the overburden can be removed economically. Mines in Madagascar are mostly of this type. In the Republic of Korea, Mexico, and Sri Lanka, where the deposits are deep, underground mining techniques are required.”

    Synthetic graphite:

    “Synthetic graphite is a man made substance manufactured by the high temperature processing of amorphous carbon materials. The types of amorphous carbon used as precursors to graphite are many, and can be derived from petroleum, coal, or natural and synthetic organic materials. In some cases graphite can even be manufactured by the direct precipitation of graphitic carbon from pyrolysis of a carbonaceous gas such as acetylene (pyrolytic graphite).”

    Given this and all the other minerals, it looks like Colorado School of Mines departments of mining, metallurgy, and material sciences will be happy with Tesla.

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