A gigafactory is a massive factory that produces lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), energy storage and other battery-powered devices on a gigantic scale.
The term was coined by Tesla founder Elon Musk to refer to his factories, of which there are 4 currently built and a 5th underway. But in common parlance, the word has expanded to include any large-scale battery factory (not just Musk’s).
Why is it called a gigafactory?
The word gigafactory comes from the notion of a gigawatt, or one billion watts.
And one billion watts is enough energy to power 700,000 homes for an entire year!
So technically speaking, a gigafactory is a battery factory capable of producing more than 1 gigawatt (GW) of continuous power per year. However, most gigafactories around the world are producing between 10-30x this amount as you can see by the chart below.
Ranking of the largest lithium-ion battery factories worldwide in 2020, by production capacity