Tesla Plans To Spend Up To $3 Billion A Year On Gigafactories Over Next 24 Months

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In its latest 10-Q filing with the SEC, Tesla says it is planning to spend big on upgrading Gigafactories 1, 2, and 3 — up to $3 billion a year over the next two years, in fact. It also says it expects to pay for most of that from current earnings. Here’s the relevant paragraph:

“Considering the pipeline of new products planned at this point, and consistent with our current strategy of using a partner to manufacture cells, as well as considering all other infrastructure growth and expansion of Gigafactories 1, 2 and 3, we currently estimate that capital expenditures will be between $2.5 to $3.0 billion annually for the next two fiscal years. Moreover, we expect that the cash we generate from our core operations will generally be sufficient to cover our future capital expenditures and to pay down our near-term debt obligations, although we may choose to seek alternative financing sources. For example, we expect that much of our investment in Gigafactory 3 will be funded through indebtedness arranged through local financial institutions in China. As always, we continually evaluate our capital expenditure needs and may decide it is best to raise additional capital to fund the rapid growth of our business.”

That part about Gigafactory 2 is interesting. GF2 is the factory near Buffalo, New York, where Tesla intends to produce its Solar Roof tiles. We haven’t heard much about that initiative in a while. Perhaps the company is finally ready to get serious about ramping up Solar Roof production? In the recent Tesla conference call, Elon Musk highlighted that it simply takes a long time to do appropriate testing for a roof product.

In addition to increased spending on its factories, Tesla also announced recently it intends to significantly expand its service network, particularly in places outside of major urban areas. That will take even more money. According to Electrive, the company says it is leveraging what it has learned about manufacturing to date to allow it to manage its money more wisely and efficiently. Here’s more from the 10-Q filing itself:

“In 2019, we expect to continue to increase the Model 3 production rate in our Fremont factory while needing only limited additional capital expenditures. As we continue to expand our existing manufacturing capacity, introduce new products, expand our retail stores, service centers, mobile repair services and Supercharging network, we will continue to utilize our increasing experience and learnings from past and current product ramps to do so at a level of capital efficiency per dollar of spend that we expect to be significantly greater than historical levels.”

Tesla is not resting on its Q3 laurels. Moving forward, the company is looking for ways to make every dollar available to it work as efficiently as possible to support its overall mission — driving the electric car revolution forward at the fastest possible pace. Tesla has a lot on its plate and still has plenty of detractors who think it is continuing to bite off more than it can chew.

New ideas always unsettle the status quo and invite negativity from those who wish things would just continue going along they way they always have. It’s human nature. One minute you’re Kodak or Polaroid or Xerox with a hammer lock on the market, the next minute you’re out in the cold looking in. It’s painful to fall from grace. But creative destruction is one of the bedrock principles of modern capitalism. And creative destruction is what Tesla does best.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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