mobile menu mobile search

Elon Musk could build Tesla ‘gigafactory’ in Cape Town: report

Elon Musk could build Tesla ‘gigafactory’ in Cape Town: report

South African born Elon Musk  is considering a plan to build a “gigafactory” in Cape Town to manufacture Tesla Powerwall batteries, Times Live has reported.

News of the potential Gigafactory in the Western Cape comes after a report that Evan Rice, former CEO of GreenCape, has been appointed Tesla’s business development manager for SA.

Tesla Motors is already planning to open an office in South African in early 2016, aimed at providing its energy storage solutions to local consumers and businesses.

Powerwall is a home battery that charges using electricity generated from solar panels, or when utility rates are low, and powers your home in the evening. It can be used to power the home during power outages, and ‘you can even go off the grid,’ Tesla claims.

According to MyBroadband, Tesla has already produced its first batch of Powerwalls at its Gigafactory in Nevada, and stock of the batteries is due in South Africa by the end of January 2016.

Greg Blandford, sales director at Rubicon, an authorised Tesla Energy reseller in South Africa, told MyBroadband: “We estimate the selling price to be in the region of $3,600-$4,000, depending on external factors.”

Western Cape MEC for economic opportunities Alan Winde told Times Live: “We very much want to have a gigafactory here. If we get that right, it will make nuclear power generation obsolete.”

Musk said that the Nevada Gigafactory, a $5 billion dollar project, would be known as ‘Gigafactory 1’, and that there would be others.

It has been reported that the facility in Nevada will be the world’s second-largest production plant, second only to Boeing’s airplane assembly building, also in the US.

More on Tesla

Tesla to open South Africa office

Tesla home battery coming to South Africa

Bad news for Tesla fans in South Africa


BusinessTech's Staff Writer is directly plugged into the South African Internet backbone, and spits out press releases and other news as they receive it. They are believed to be cl...
Join the Conversation (25 comments)
  • corkyciv

    I’m a big Tesla fan, but a gigafactory the size of the one in Nevada makes no sense for SA at this time. Next will be in Europe, followed by Asia.

    • Sonja

      Why not, we have a car manufacturing here. Just think the secondary industries that will pop up around it. I think it would be awesome if we could get a gigafactory here. Maybe it will not be the same size, but if its got room for growth, why not?

      • corkyciv

        It’s the size and scale of the gigafactory that makes the whole build worth it. If South Africa can’t meet the need of 500,000+ cars worth of batteries per year (which it can’t at this time) it isn’t worth it to build it there. Makes more sense to build the huge factories where the cars will be built, and subsequently sold. America, Europe, or Asia.

    • Archerbald

      It makes no sense to you. Nor me.

      But it makes sense to Elon Musk. And he has a better track record than either you or me.

      20 years ago people said it made no sense investing in a comminications satellite in South Africa.

      A few brave investors bought into the project. A year later the cellphone network that needed the satellite bought them out. For a 9 figure hit.

      “Ignorance is bliss, my friend. Don’t burden yourself with these secrets of scary people.” – Carmine Falcone

    • Glocalisation

      I tend to agree, however, based on the minerals required, he has stated that almost 30% of the cost of manufacture is chewed up by inefficient logistics of shipping minerals port to port, custom duties etc. Africa has many of these resources that are required …maybe, just maybe…but labour law…EISH.

  • Xileer

    “an authorised Tesla Energy reseller in South Africa” listed the price in USD to South Africans.. ?

    • If he listed the Rand price, he would have to amend it every few hours.

      • Xileer

        ROFL – Fair point :p

  • PhlyBoy OhSoMazinG

    Bring it

  • Pieter

    Think twice Elon, South Africa is not the place to invest right now. The labour cost and hassle will dramatically increase cost. As long as Zuma and Kie are in charge the politics are extremely unstable. Ask yourself if you will build the factory in Zimbabwe; if not, then don’t do it in South Africa either, RSA is fast going the same road as Zim.

    • hernandayoleary2

      Way to help the economy dummy. Maybe if we get more foreign investors, the economy will rise and people wll change their views.

      • Pieter

        You mean get more foreign investment to loose money and have half their businesses given away. What we need is a save, friendly business environment, one which businesses can trust. One where business know the tax they pay are used to build the country, not the private collection of president luxuries. Then foreign investment will flow in by itself. Even as South African business owner, the last place in the world I want my money right now is in South Africa, but I do not have much of a choice.

  • Andrew Newman

    Wonder what his conditions will be?
    30% subsidy for all products as in the US and no company taxes?

    • Macafrican

      The $5b probably applies across all Musk-related businesses, but you are 100% that they would be bankrupt without subsidies in various forms

      It will be hilarious watching SolarCity try and compete in SA. Their reported US average rooftop solar cost is $3.50 per watt and they still make losses. In SA we do it for under $2 and make a profit. Plus, I’m talking SMA + Solarworld components here vs no name Chinese modules and obscure Israeli inverters in SolarCity case.

      • Glocalisation

        That is a really ignorant comment. The Solar Panels they manufacture have the highest efficiency rating of any mass produced panels. What’s clear is that their competitors are clearly ( as is the case with your post here) running scared…understandably, as he’s changing the game completely.

        • Macafrican

          OK genius:

          Q1: how many MW of solar panels did SCTY produce in the past year in their own facilities? Careful now…

          Q2: they intend to assemble modules using Chinese Silevo modules. They make zero cells.

          Q3: what efficiency do you refer to? The present record average production belongs to Panasonic at 23.8% which they took from I think Sunpower last month. There are lots of experimental modules at the high 30’s but only NASA can afford them

          What matters in solar is installed cost, which per SCTY own SEC filings runs over $3/watt. That would be R45/watt in SA whereas I regularly oversee R22/watt this year in SA.

          I get that you have Musk fever but hold back on the insults when you have no facts

          • Glocalisation

            A little tense Macafrican?
            You’re still sounding defensive (very defensive).
            1. Manufacturing their own PANELS, (Now, re: cells)
            2. Solar City ACQUIRED Silevo (FYI) & your example of Panasonic, they use a “thin-layer” tech (far more expensive) & not yet a commercial product. (not sure why you reference this?)
            3. Cost – Is 100% relative to a range of factors (including Warranties). A quick search indicates SunPower slightly higher than SCTY…There are many other “cheaper” alternatives.
            My current bias toward Musk & SCTY is the “other” businesses that support a holistic business model (Batteries/Gigfactory) and therefore STORAGE as well…NOT these silly lead acid batteries of a bygone era.

            I’m sure you have a great business and great products, but to promote them on forums like these by slating an upcoming leader in the field is beyond the pale.

            Musk Fever – ummmm nope, but as I watch the progress of Musk’s business against others…He is certainly earning more and more respect…
            Open up to the fact that maybe YOUR “Cheese is moving” and you’re feeling threatened…Maybe?

          • Macafrican

            So they don’t actually manufacture anything. Their hetero junction module is a lab special, you cannot be taken seriously unless you produce 500 million of them. Well not in any intelligent conversation

            I have no own intetest : I select vendors for large system owners – agnostic subject only to Math. The great Equalizer

            If you pay me a % of project fee I will gladly put up up a Musk battery solar system for you. Quickest way to earn 300% of my normal fee…

            Lesson finished?

          • Glocalisation

            Oops, missed your Q1:
            Answer: Irrelevant.

    • James

      The fine print is the killer.

    • Glocalisation

      You must be wondering how Tesla has now received orders valued at over $14B in just a few days with his mass market Model 3? It’s called a long-term plan.

  • The_Punisher

    Wait until they learn what cut AIDS Shower Boy Zuma and his band of ANC miscreants demand.

  • Macafrican

    You have to wonder about (even DA) politicians when they can come up with such idiocy as saying that a gigafactory will make nuclear obsolete. Probably got it from the Tesla tool that reckons PowrWall is for going off grid.

    Technically yes, any battery tech in the world can be used to go off-grid, even rechargeable AAA batteries. Financially, the PowerWall makes about as much sense as Duracell batteries.

    • Andrew Newman

      “No plans for a Gigafactory in SA: Tesla confirms.” (memeburn)
      So it was all just hype and hot air to get attention and headlines?
      Don’t know what the DA MEC Alan Winde was smoking.

  • Mezwell

    That’s a huge price tag for a deep cycle battery to power the home. At 4 000 dollars thats about 4 times the price for an equivalent battery bought off the shelf antwhere

Join our newest FREE BusinessTech newsletter today!
×