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Tesla's Gigafactory Isn't Big Enough to Make Its Preordered Batteries

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As Elon Musk revealed in an earnings call earlier this week, people preordered a shit-ton of Tesla’s new batteries: Over 50,000 Powerwall units were reserved. Now some interesting math, courtesy of Bloomberg: The five million square-foot Gigafactory planned outside of Reno probably isn’t big enough to make them all.

Take a look at the numbers, which Musk himself described as “like crazy off-the-hook.” Musk said “50,000 or 60,000” Powerwall batteries were reserved as well as about 25,000 Powerpack batteries for commercial applications. That’s about $800 million in preorders. A Tesla spokesperson agreed the math looked right. One important point: The “reservation” process was nothing more than entering an email and answering a few questions about what you might buy, so a more accurate way to describe this might be “interest list.”


This would mean Tesla’s batteries are likely already backordered for at least a year or more, according to analysis from Bloomberg:

There’s also no way for Tesla to keep up with the level of demand reflected by the early reservations. The company is sold out of storage batteries until mid-2016. Musk claimed the production of storage batteries alone could “easily” take up the entire capacity of Tesla’s $5 billion factory in Nevada, which is scheduled to open next year. The massive facility was originally slated to devote about two-thirds of its output to electric-vehicle batteries. “We should try to make the factory bigger,” Musk said.


Of course, reservations don’t mean cash, but even if half of these preorders turn into sales that’s going to keep the factory very busy. What’s funny is that everyone seemed to think Tesla jumped into the home battery market to keep the factory busy while waiting for the demand for electric cars to increase! Now Musk might have to build a whole new factory just to produce all the batteries for homes. [Bloomberg]