Tesla Motors Inc is serious about tackling the problem of pollution and the firm is trying to lock down all the aspects of its business to avoid burning fossil fuel. The latest move by Tesla to be a “net zero” energy user was revealed in Tesla’s plan to avoid the use of fossil fuel in its Gigafactory. Tesla’s “Gigafactory” might end up as the biggest building on earth if the original plan is expanded. The aim is to have the factory alone produce as many batteries as the whole world produced in 2013.
The tech space has been impressed by the enormity of the Gigafactory and by what Tesla intends to achieve with the factory. However, very few people outside of Tesla understand the lofty ideals that Elon Musk has in mind for the project – until now that is. JB Straubel, CTO at Tesla details about the net zero energy and carbon neutral features of the factory in a recent talk at the University of Nevada TreeHugger reports.
How will the Gigafactory be a net zero energy unit?
Straubel says the plan to make the Gigafactory net-zero energy and carbon neutral started from the drawing board. He says, “from the get-go, from the first concept of this factory, we wanted to make it a net-zero facility… The whole roof of the Gigafactory was designed from the beginning with solar in mind… and it’s a very, very clean surface that we can completely cover in solar.” He goes on to discuss how they have gone on to cover the surrounding hillsides with solar panels.
Straubel also talks about the Tesla Motors’ plan to handle emissions in the Gigafactory by making a firm decision to never burn fossil fuel. Straubel says, “we wanted to manage the emissions… we took kind of a radical move in the beginning and said we are not going to burn any fossil fuels in the factory… We just said we are not even going to have a natural gas pipeline coming to the factory, so we didn’t even build it. And it kind of forced the issue”. Tesla placed itself it a tight spot and the firm was forced to think up a solution for its energy needs without burning fossil fuels.
Gigafactory is the key to Tesla’s survival
The Gigafactory that Tesla Motors is building in Nevada sits right at the heart of the firm’s plans to promote the widespread use of EVs. Tesla currently has two cars in production (the Model S and Model X) but the firm is not able to make the cars as fast as it sells them. The first group of people to order the Model X still don’t have their cars, and the average wait time for a Model S is about 3 months. Tesla plans to unveil its mass-market Model 3 by March 2016.
Tesla has been trying very hard to avoid being labelled as a carmaker that makes luxury EVs (read toys) for the elite. The firm says it is mainly concerned with ending pollution from cars running ICEs. However, the firm won’t be able to attain economies of scale that can sustain mass-market EV pricing until its Gigafactory is churning out the batteries it needs for its cars.