Certain corporate announcements explode across the headlines and shock us all with the realization that we are entering a new world. The emergence of McDonald’s in the old Soviet Union, for instance, embodied the triumph of capitalism over communism. And Steve Jobs’ introduction of the iPad, for example, epitomized the emergence of the mobile internet.
Although it received far less publicity, Tesla’s announcement of the construction of a $5 billion battery “gigafactory” in Nevada (USA) last week may be recognized, eventually, as another such announcement. After all, on several different levels, it exemplifies the emergence of a new world of energy.
How does it do so? Well, Tesla itself is a creature of the age of clean energy. Although electric automobiles were first built in the 1800s, Tesla was formed a decade ago to address environmental concerns like climate change by replacing gasoline powered vehicles with zero carbon emission cars. Elon Musk, its founder and owner, also launched SolarCity with the same goal in mind.
Furthermore, Tesla’s decision to built the gigafactory was necessitated by its plans to introduce its first mass market all-electric automobile, the Model 3. The firm’s senior officers are convinced that environmental concerns will compel middle class buyers to embrace automobiles with zero carbon emissions.
Perhaps most significant, though, is Tesla’s decision to build the factory in Nevada, a state with a very limited manufacturing footprint because of its distance from traditional carbon based energy sources. Nevertheless, the site was chosen because of its ability to generate renewable solar, wind, and geothermal power.
A gigantic factory powered by renewable energy sources, producing massive numbers of batteries for mass market vehicles that emit no carbon pollutants? That is certainly a project that can serve as a harbinger of the emerging new world of energy, one that may be remembered for years to come.