As much as South Africans would like to see their electricity woes disappear with the construction of a lithium-ion battery factory, it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. In fact, contrary to recent reports, Tesla Motors has confirmed to Memeburn that it is not planning to build a Gigafactory in the Western Cape.
The speculation-turned-fact comes after it was revealed that the major US-based electricity car and battery manufacturer has appointed South African Evan Rice as the regional business development manager.
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Tesla is rapidly scaling its operations with hundreds of vacancies available around the world. Rice, who is ex-CEO of non-profit GreenCape, will be responsible for introducing Tesla Energy in the market.
Introduced last year by South African-born Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Tesla Energy includes the Powerwall, which is a residential battery pack that can help households store electricity. The Powerwall will be available to purchase around the world this year, including South Africa.
“We are focused on finalising construction of the Gigafactory in Reno, Nevada. There are no current plans to build another factory,” Tesla spokesperson Ricardo Reyes told Memeburn.
The Gigafactory in Nevada is valued at US$5-billion and is estimated to be completed by 2017.
According to Tesla, the Gigafactory will produce batteries for significantly less cost using economies of scale, innovative manufacturing, reduction of waste, and the simple optimisation of consolidating most manufacturing process under one roof.
In partnership with Panasonic and others, the factory will supply enough batteries to ultimately support 500 000 of Tesla’s electric vehicles per year.