Tesla Gigafactory expected to produce batteries late this year
RENO — Tesla officials on Thursday clarified earlier remarks and said Tesla’s Gigafactory under construction east of here is expected to begin producing lithium-ion batteries late this year for the electric car maker’s Model 3.
Daniel Witt, senior manager of business development and U.S. policy for Tesla Motors, on Wednesday said the battery storage side of the Tesla Motors business plan received a big boost last week when it was announced that the company won a contract to provide Southern California Edison with 80 megawatts of battery storage at one substation.
The storage units will be produced at the company’s Nevada Gigafactory, which now has to ramp up more quickly to fulfill the contract.
“This is a big deal for Nevada,” Witt said. “There is a one-to-one correlation between the growth of energy storage products and the growth of the Gigafactory project.”
The New Energy Industry Task Force, re-established by Gov. Brian Sandoval to review green energy policy issues, is considering a recommendation that Nevada’s utility, NV Energy, procure energy storage products to offset the need for new grid infrastructure by 2020.
The Legislature is likely to consider a similar policy when it convenes next year.
“What we’re looking to do, in going back to the mission, is catalyze an entire shift over to more sustainable energy,” Witt said. “The problem, if you want to call it that, with the sun, is that it is only up 12 to 14 hours a day.
“This is transformative in a way frankly that the vehicle application has been in the previous five years,” he said. “Where this is most transformative, most applicable today, is in the commercial and industrial market.”
But it also works for home use, he said.
Witt made his comments at the second annual “Building a Stronger Nevada” conference held at the University of Nevada, Reno.