In a meeting with the Oscar award-winning actor, Leonard DiCaprio, the chief executive officer of Tesla, Elon Musk has revealed that it would take about 100 gigafactories to equip the world with a capacity to fully transition to sustainable energy. DiCaprio has been an advocate of environmental conservation and even used the occasion of his inaugural Oscar acceptance speech to promote climate change awareness.
“We actually did the calculations to figure out what it would take to transition the whole world to sustainable energy. You’d need 100 Gigafactories,” said Musk in a video released recently.
In the next one year, Tesla hopes that the Gigafactory will have reach full capacity enabling it to manufacture lithium ion batteries whose annual production figures will be higher than what was produced the world over in 2013. Tesla also intends the battery prices to keep falling and make the use of renewable energy attractive to even more people.
According to Musk, the higher the capacities for energy storage equipment the better for the world as it will make it harder to justify the construction of electricity plants. But besides the energy storage equipment, the energy collection facilities such as solar panels are also becoming increasingly efficient.
Only recently, scientists took a leaf from photosynthesis and combined principles of biology with those of quantum physics to improve the present capabilities of solar cells. So advanced is the technology that solar cells could soon become obsolete as scientists have come up with a synthetic leaf which captures solar energy and then converts carbon dioxide into another gas – carbon monoxide.
The high hopes Musk is placing on the gigafactories come at a time when a smart industrial city in Estonia is pitching to Tesla to build Europe’s next gigafactory in the tiny Eastern European state. Pakri Smart Industrial City is positioning itself as the best location for the gigafactory because of the Estonian values that will no doubt resonate with those of Tesla.
Besides its strategic location, the smart industrial city touts tax benefits that Tesla is likely to enjoy as well as an abundance of skilled labor force that will be drawn from the Baltic and Nordic regions.
While Estonia may be the latest country to try to lure Tesla into building a Gigafactory in Europe, it is not the only one. Other countries that have pitched Tesla include Spain, France, Lithuania and Sweden. Tesla has, however, remained quiet but is likely to disclose locations for three more Gigafactories by the close of this year.