By Bill Maher
Tesla just made some news by announcing the construction of the world's biggest battery factory. As great and sexy as their Model S is, as cool as their roadster looks, this humble factory is actually the thing that's going to transform the auto industry.
Actually, the factory isn't going to be all that "humble." It's probably going to be built somewhere around here, in the southwest corner of the country. CEO Elon Musk says his "gigafactory" will be "heavily powered with renewables - wind and solar." And there's little doubt that Tesla is moving into new corporate territory, as they're going to be able to sell their wares to other companies and drive up the availability and drive down the pricing of high capacity lithium ion batteries.
The economics are simple: Tesla wants to introduce a $30,000 car within the next three years. They might be on pace to sell 35,000 cars this year, which is great, but the goal is to sell a half million. The only way to do that is to cut the price of the battery in half, and the best way to do that is to build a factory.
So far, Tesla has pretty much done everything Musk has said they were going to do, and there's absolutely no reason to believe this is going to be an exception. We're looking at a world where clean, fast, efficient, all-electric vehicles are going to be widely available and affordable before the decade is out, and many Americans are going to add "going to the gas station" to the list of tiresome chores they no longer have to do. Oh well, when that Keystone pipeline is finally completed, maybe Canada can use it to ship us maple syrup.
By Bill Maher