Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) said the electric car manufacturer will pick the final site for its proposed $5 billion gigafactory until the end of 2014.
According to Musk, the electric car manufacturer aims to start the preparation for the construction of its huge battery factory in as much as three states starting with completing the plans, gaining approval and “all the way to creating a foundation.”
“It might actually be three states that we do it in. I would expect that we do a down-select for gigafactory 1 before the end of the year,” said Musk during the annual shareholders meeting of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) on Tuesday.
Musk also emphasized that the electric manufacturer’s plans for the gigafactory are “quite advanced. He added that Panasonic Corporation (TYO:6752), its primary battery supplier is actively involved with the project and conducts daily discussion with Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA).
Panasonic Corporation (TYO:6752) wants to become the major partner/sole manufacturer of batteries for the gigafactory. Last month, the Japanese conglomerate indicated that it has no time frame for its investment, but signals a small expenditure related to the project this year.
“As we’re not anticipating any sudden tenfold increases in demand or anything like that, we think it is right to break it up step-by-step and invest gradually,” said Yoshio Ito, the senior managing executive officer and president of Panasonic, last month.
During the annual meeting, Musk said Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is examining potential locations in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas for the gigafactory. He reiterated that the gigafactory should reduce the costs of lithium-ion cell by at least 30%.
In addition, Musk inform investors that he is scheduled to travel to the United Kingdom this week to commemorate the beginning of Tesla’s deliveries of the first right-hand drive Model S vehicles.
According to him, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) will also follow the deliveries of the right-hand drive Model S vehicles in other countries including Japan, Hong Kong and other markets.
Furthermore, Musk said the electric car manufacturer is preparing software upgrades for the Model S to enhance owner customization. The company is also making advancement on its plans to add self-driving or auto-pilot features to its vehicles.
“I’m confident that you’ll be able to go from highway on-ramp to highway exit without touching any controls,” said Musk.