Elon Musk’s giant battery factory in Nevada is absolutely key to Tesla's future because it will help the company cut the cost of its batteries.
The Gigafactory, which is some 5.5 million square feet, will help the company dramatically cut the cost of its batteries by “using economies of scale, innovative manufacturing, reduction of waste, and the simple optimization of locating most manufacturing process under one roof.”
“The record right now for the Model S is 800 kilometers (497 miles), that is the furthest that anyone has driven a Model S… we are pretty close,” Musk told the Danish news site Borsen in September. “My guess is probably we could break a 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) within a year or two. I’d say 2017 for sure.”
It should be noted that while the record for hypermiling in a Tesla is almost 500 miles, the official range of Tesla’s Model S is about 265 miles per charge, according to ratings by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The company rolled out its semi-autonomous Autopilot system at the end of October and in November Musk said he was ramping up the team developing the technology and that Autopilot is a “super high priority.”
Musk has said that he is still looking at a two-year timeline to achieve “level 4” autonomy in Tesla’s cars, however, he added that while the technology may be there, the user may not get full access to it.
Musk said it’s unlikely regulators will have laws in place by the time Tesla’s autonomous cars are ready, so drivers may have to wait a little longer before getting to go completely hands-free.
Tesla made a little more than 50,000 vehicles in 2015, but Musk said in May that his company plans to be producing no less than 500,000 by 2018.
To help put this in perspective, consider that Tesla only delivered about 50,000 vehicles last year and its aiming to deliver 80,000 to 90,000 cars this year.
Tesla acknowledges this is an aggressive target, but it's not shying away from the challenge.
"Increasing production five fold over the next two years will be challenging and will likely require some additional capital, but this is our goal and we will be working hard to achieve it," the company said in its letter to investors.
With more Tesla vehicles on the road, Musk also aims to build out Tesla's charging infrastructure.
During the Model 3 unveiling in March, Musk said the company plans to increase its Supercharging network. Superchargers, of course, are the electric filling stations that are capable of charging a Tesla vehicle enough to give it almost 200 miles of range in just 30 minutes.
Musk said during his presentation that Tesla would double the number of its Superchargers worldwide from some 3,600 to more than 7,000 by 2018. At the time of writing this article, Tesla had already increased the number of Superchargers to just over 4,000.
Turn Tesla into an energy company.
Musk doesn't just want Tesla to make electric cars — he also wants the company to produce the energy that power his cars.
While the deal has yet to be approved by shareholders, Musk has made it clear that his longterm vision for Tesla is for it to become a full-service sustainable energy company.
“The opportunity here is to have a highly innovative sustainable energy company that answers the whole energy question from power generation and storage to transport,” Musk told reporters during a call shortly after the announcement in June.
“We are a sustainable energy company, this is, broadly speaking, right in line with that. In order to solve the sustainable energy problem you need generation, storage, and electric cars,” he said.
Musk says the company will also begin the second phase of its Tesla's "Top secret masterplan," which could be a mobility service.
Last Sunday, Musk teased the company's 'materplan' on Twitter.
"Working on Top Tesla Materplan, Part 2. Hoping to publish this week," he said.
As of Friday afternoon, Musk had yet to publish his post revealing details about Tesla's ongoing "masterplan." However, there's speculation that Tesla might be working on some sort of on-demand mobility service.
Musk also hinted at the possibility of a mobility service last November during the company's third quarter conference call.
When an analyst asked Musk about the possibility of Tesla getting into an Uber-like service, Musk gave the following response:
“There is a right time to make announcements and this is not that time,” Musk said, adding that such a service was not yet “fully-baked."