The Tesla Motors company is betting big on the power of its lithium-ion batteries.
In what’s set to become the largest energy storage battery project in history, the electric automaker has invested $500 million in a battery factory in North Dakota.
Tesla said in a statement on Tuesday that the $500m investment in the plant would make the company the largest U.S. energy storage developer with a combined capacity of more than 1.6 billion kilowatt hours.
The investment comes just weeks after Tesla said it was testing a battery that could store up to 50 percent more energy than its existing batteries.
Tesla has been trying to scale up its lithium battery production for the last five years, and this is the first time that the company has built its own factory.
Tesla says it has more than 4,000 employees, and it will be investing at least $1.2 billion over the next 10 years in building batteries for use in cars, trucks, boats and homes.
The company also has been experimenting with battery-powered cars.
Tesla said it is testing a lithium-sulfur battery, the same type of battery that it is investing in.
It said the new battery would store up 10 times more energy in an enclosed space than the existing battery, and will be up to 1,500 times more efficient than existing batteries, with a peak efficiency of 60 percent.
Tesla also said it would be investing $1 billion in research and development in electric vehicle batteries.
The investment includes $400 million in funding for research into new energy storage technologies, including new batteries that can store and discharge electricity.