Tesla Motors unveiled its $5 billion battery plan in the desert of Nevada that will support a future of electric cars. Joe White reports.
Tesla, the luxury electric carmaker, has had a rough ride in the last few weeks. But today, chief executive Elon Musk said the company should go faster and not slow down. SOUNDBITE: JOE WHITE, TRANSPORTATION EDITOR, REUTERS, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I'm Joe White, transportation editor with Reuters and I'm here in Reno, Nevada ..." ... where Tesla is building a giant battery factory, designed to produce batteries for 500,000 cars a year as well as battery packs for energy storage at home and in factories. It's hugely ambitious. This is a giant installation out in the middle of the desert that's got 1,000 people working on it right now. Musk today in an unusually expansive press conference said that he believes Tesla could ultimately build a million or a million and a half cars a year using this Gigafactory as the central production point for batteries. And eventually the company could have Gigafactories in Europe or China ... SOUNDBITE: JOE WHITE, TRANSPORTATION EDITOR, REUTERS, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "... where raw materials go in one end and cars and battery packs come out the other. It's a vision very similar to the old Henry Ford idea of a factory where pig iron came in one end and model Ts came out the other." Key is for Tesla in the next week or two are: Can they put to rest concerns about the safety of its auto pilot system that's being investigated by the National Highway Safety Administration? Equally crucial will be showing in its second quarter earnings that come out August 3 that it is on a path toward becoming cash flow positive at least in its operations and start to generate the money to fund the product vision that Musk has outlined for shareholders.