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These 9 Slides Put the New Tesla Gigafactory in Perspective

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Title slide Tesla Gigafactory

This week, Tesla Motors officially unveils its massive new Gigafactory 1 at a grand opening event on July 29, 2016.

The ultimate objective of the first Gigafactory is simple, but it is not for the faint of heart. Battery costs are the most expensive component of electric vehicles, and the multi-billion dollar Gigafactory aims to add scale, vertical integration, and other efficiencies together to bring lithium-ion battery costs down.

Costs have already come down faster than most analysts have predicted, and the Gigafactory could be the final catalyst to get below the industry’s holy grail of $100 per kWh. Cheaper battery packs could make electric vehicles competitive with traditional gas-powered vehicles – and if that happens, it is a game-changer for the auto industry.

It’s important to note that the Gigafactory is fairly modular by design, and construction is not completed in full yet. That said, here is what we know about the new Tesla Gigafactory and its possible impact.

1. The Tesla Gigafactory 1 will be the largest building in the world by footprint.

Tesla Gigafactory the largest building by footprint

The Gigafactory will take up 5.8 million sq. ft of space, making it bigger than Boeing’s giant facility in Everett, WA. That’s roughly equivalent to 100 football fields.

While the Gigafactory will certainly be one of the largest factories by volume, it will be hard to compete with Boeing for first place there. Boeing’s Everett facility, which is six storeys high to accommodate the construction giant planes, has a total of 472 million cu. ft of volume.

2. The scale will make production of lithium-ion batteries way cheaper.

Tesla Gigafactory battery production

Tesla recently stated that its current battery cost is $190 per kWh for the Model S.

The Gigafactory aims to reduce battery costs by 30%. Tesla expects this to happen through vertical integration, adding economies of scale, reducing waste, optimizing processes, and tidying up the supply chain.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also stated that the company is changing the form factor of the batteries away from the industry standard. Lithium-ion cells used for notebook computer batteries are typically produced in an 18650 cell format (18mm x 65mm), but Tesla will produce them in a 20700 cell format (20mm x 70mm).

3. Tesla initially planned to produce 50 GWh of battery packs by 2020.

Tesla Gigafactory battery production

4. However, Tesla has now moved that target forward by two years.

Tesla Gigafactory battery production

Now, it’s anticipated that Tesla could triple battery production to meet this demand. This means it could produce up to 105 GWh of battery cells, and 150 GWh of completed battery packs. Musk says the current factory size will be sufficient for this ramp-up.

5. This will require serious amounts of raw materials.

Tesla Gigafactory raw materials

We previously showed the extraordinary amounts of materials needed to build a Tesla Model S. The batteries, which currently use an NCA cathode formulation, need lithium, graphite, cobalt, nickel, and other base metals that aren’t used as much in an internal combustion engine.

This has created a significant rush for suppliers of these raw materials. It’s also something we are covering in our five-part Battery Series, in which we are looking at lithium-ion battery demand, as well as the materials that will need to be sourced as electric cars go mainstream.

6. If Tesla hits its 2018 projection, it will be a serious milestone for EVs.

Tesla milestone for EVs

Tesla aims to sell 500,000 cars in 2018. If it hits the mark, it will be a big milestone for the electric vehicle market.

To put that number in perspective, the total amount of sales (all-time) for the three most popular EV models (Leaf, Volt, Model S) added up to only about 404,000 cars as of December 2015.

7. This would also put Tesla on par with major auto brands.

Tesla milestone for EVs

Tesla is still a small auto manufacturer – but if it meets its stated production goal of 500,000 vehicles in 2018, that will be comparable with brands like Chrysler, Land Rover, Isuzu, Volvo, and Lexus.

This still doesn’t compare to a giant like Ford, which sold 780,354 F-series pickups alone in 2015. But, it is a step in the right direction for Elon Musk’s company.

8. For every 500,000 electric cars on the road, 192 million gallons of gas is saved.

Impact on environment

That’s equal to 290 Olympic-sized swimming pools filled with gasoline, or 21,333 tanker trucks.

Even taking into account coal power and pollution, driving a Tesla is already far better for the environment in most states.

9. Other Giga-facts

Other Giga-Facts

The Gigafactory will be 100% powered by renewable energy. It’ll have solar panels covering the roof, while also drawing power from wind and geothermal.

It will employ 6,500 people, and it will have a state-of-the-art recycling system to make use of old battery packs.

Elon Musk says the “exit rate” of lithium-ion cells from the Gigafactory will literally be faster than bullets from a machine gun.

BONUS SLIDE:

Elon Musk's Master Plan for Tesla

Last week, Elon Musk unveiled the “master plan” behind Tesla.

The Tesla Gigafactory will ultimately help to make these ambitions possible.

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Oil and Gas

How Oil Is Adding Fuel to Geopolitical Fragmentation

Which countries and regions decreased, banned, or increased Russian oil imports following the 2022 invasion of Ukraine?

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A preview Sankey chart showing Russian oil imported by country from 2021 to 2023.

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The following content is sponsored by The Hinrich Foundation

How Oil Is Adding Fuel to Global Fragmentation

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 led to severe bans or restrictions on Russian oil from the West. Meanwhile, other nations—including China, India, and Türkiye—opted to deepen trade ties with the country.

This graphic from the Hinrich Foundation is the final visualization in a three-part series covering the future of trade. It provides visual context to the growing divide among countries shunning Russian oil versus those taking advantage of the excess supply.

Which Countries Have Decreased or Banned Russian Oil Imports?

This analysis uses data from the IEA’s February 2024 Oil Market Report on Russian oil exports from 2021 to 2023.

Following the invasion, both the U.S. and the UK enacted a complete ban on Russian crude. Imports dropped from 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2021 to zero by late-2022. 

Country/Region2021 (bpd)2022 (bpd)2023 (bpd)Change; 2021-2023 (bpd)
EU3.3M3.0M600K-2.7M
UK & U.S.600K100K0-600K
OECD Asia500K200K0-500K

Similarly, the EU, which has historically been more reliant on oil from Russia, dropped imports by over 80%, from 3.3 million bpd in 2021 to 600,000 bpd in 2023.

OECD Asia-Pacific—which includes Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand—also slashed their Russian oil imports. 

Which Countries Have Increased Imports of Russian Oil?

The pullback in demand for Russian crude from the West created a buying opportunity for countries and regions that chose not to support Western sanctions. 

Country/Region2021 (bpd)2022 (bpd)2023 (bpd)Change; 2021-2023 (bpd)
India100K900K1.9M+1.8M
China1.6M1.9M2.3M+700K
Türkiye200K400K700K+500K
Africa100K100K400K+300K
Middle East100K200K300K+200K
Latin America100K100K200K+100K
Other800K600K900K+100K

India increased its imports of oil from Russia, by the largest amount from 2021 to 2023—up to 1.9 million bpd from only 100,000 bpd

China, the biggest net importer, also saw a large uptick. The country boosted imports for Russian oil by over 40% over this timeframe. Türkiye increased imports of Russian crude by an additional 500,000 bpd

Several other regions—such as Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America—saw slight upticks in imports. 

Shifting Trade Dependencies

The dynamics present in the global crude market underscore broader trends in Russia’s trade relationships. Russia is becoming increasingly less economically reliant on the West and more reliant on China. 

From 2022 to 2023, the largest upward shift in the UNCTAD’s bilateral trade dependency estimates was Russia’s increased reliance upon China (+7.1%). 

DependentDepending OnAnnual Change
RussiaChina+7.1%
UkraineEU+5.8%
BrazilChina+3.0%

Note: Trade dependencies are calculated by UNCTAD as the ratio of two countries’ bilateral trade over the total trade of the dependent economy.

In fact, China threw a lifeline to Russia in the aftermath of the Ukraine invasion. The Atlantic Council reported that Chinese exports to Russia have grown 121% since 2021, while exports to the rest of the world have increased by only 29% in the same period.  

In contrast, Russia also exhibited a large decrease in reliance on the EU (-5.3%). South Korea and the U.S. have made shifts to further distance themselves from China as geopolitical tensions continue to mount.

DependentDepending OnAnnual Change
RussiaEU-5.3%
South KoreaChina-1.2%
U.S.China-1.2%

As the Russian oil market shows, geopolitical tensions have the potential to significantly impact trade. Though Russian crude exports remained steady amid the conflict, this necessitated a shift in its main trading partners. 

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Visit the Hinrich Foundation to learn more about the future of geopolitical trade

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