Lithium-Ion Battery Shortage Looming?

5 months ago by Steven Loveday 178

Chrysler Pacifica's 16 kWh battery (via LG Chem) -LG Chem will be building a plant in Poland to focus on supplying European automakers to help curtail the lithium-ion battery shortage

Chrysler Pacifica’s 16 kWh battery (via LG Chem).  LG Chem will be building a plant in Poland to focus on supplying European automakers to help curtail the lithium-ion battery shortage

Next Generation IDS/LEAF 60 kWh Battery (via LG Chem) - LG Chem will be building a plant in Poland to focus on supplying European automakers

Next Generation IDS/LEAF 60 kWh Battery (via LG Chem)

Now that several automakers are setting goals for larger-scale EV production, many are facing a lithium-ion battery shortage. This is a good problem, because it further establishes the exponential growth of the segment, but not so good for the future of EVs, if the problem can’t be solved quickly and economically.

Autonews cites Volkswagen as one of the automakers that has made mention of the issue. With the company beginning to unveil its new I.D. electric family of vehicles, and setting production goals in the millions, batteries are an obvious issue. VW head of group strategy, Thomas Sedran, said:

“The capacity is not there. Nobody has the capacity.”

VW is currently working on bids from six different suppliers. The possibility of making its own batteries, like Tesla, is on the table, but Sedran doesn’t believe it makes sense. He continued:

“Quite frankly, if we compare ourselves today with Samsung and LG, they are light-years ahead of us … We need to check whether they [the six suppliers] have the financial means to build the capacity.”

Samsung SDI has started construction of its battery plant in Hungary

Samsung SDI has started construction of its battery plant in Hungary

There is a possibility that VW will contract several companies to cover it needs. Otherwise, VW may have no choice but to build its own. Sedran estimates that would cost the company some $21 billion to pull off.

While Nissan is making its own batteries at three different production facilities, partners Renault and Daimler are not following suit. Marianne Bataillon, leader of Renault’s EV division claimed:

“We are a carmaker, not a chemist.”

Daimler CEO, Dieter Zetsche, told Autonews (in regards to whether or not Daimer may produce its own batteries):

“Politicians and unions are asking us to do that, but it would not make sense. … Today, the cell is almost a commodity good, so the cost is going down fast.”

The company began making its own batteries earlier on, but halted production over a year ago due to cost inefficiency.

VW’s Sedran pointed out another major obstacle that many aren’t considering. Battery factories should be near the automakers, because transporting is costly and high risk. He said:

“They are hazardous goods. You won’t find insurance for shipping lithium-ion batteries.”

Yet another reason that Tesla is handling its own production and transport. LG Chem will be building a plant in Poland and Samsung SDI has started construction of its battery plant in Hungary. This way, the Asian companies can more easily supply European automakers.

New Bosch/Seeo's battery made of solid-state cells compared to a battery of a netbook

New Bosch/Seeo’s battery made of solid-state cells

Sedran also mentioned that VW is seriously considering the potential of solid-state batteries as another option. He explained that solid-state batteries are projected to have 40 percent more energy density than the top-tier lithium-ion batteries by the end of the decade.

According to Volkmar Denner, CEO of Robert Bosch:

“They [solid-state batteries] are safer because there is no combustible electrolyte [liquid], they are 75 percent smaller and have reduced weight.”

Bosch purchased Seeo, a U.S.-based solid-state battery maker, in 2014. With the lithium-ion battery shortage looming, the company is looking to become a major supplier of solid-state batteries for European EVs in the coming years.

Source: Autonews

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178 responses to "Lithium-Ion Battery Shortage Looming?"

  1. no comment says:

    electric vehicles are a very small portion of the automobile market. if the segment is being capacity constrained already, that is a very bad thing.

    1. tosho says:

      The dude with the tiny car company from California is building a gigantic battery factory while one of the biggest car companies on the planet continues to whine how difficult it is to make EVs. And VW expects us to take them seriously…

      1. trololo says:

        You have said it all. Nothing to add

        1. jimjonjack&jill says:

          “We are a Car maker not a Chemist” People in General Don’t Like Change…The is a fairly Big change for the traditional auto makers, it will take some time adjusting and getting used to it..Tesla doesn’t know any other way to build a car, so they’re right at home with it …

          1. R.S says:

            We shouldn’t give Tesla all the credit. Panasonic has a big stake in this operation, too. They will do the cell manufacturing and will have to spend big money in the coming years.

            Tesla is of course the main driver behind this project, but they couldn’t have done it alone.

            1. jelloslug says:

              Yet they are the only ones that are actually doing it.

              1. R.S says:

                Who, Panasonic? II don’t know if other battery manufacturers would also agree to do something like that. I guess LG and Samsung are big enough to build their own Gigafactories, but maybe a smaller supplier would.

                I think Panasonic demanded of Tesla to take some of the risk, since their plans a huge and financially dangerous. If Tesla fails, Panasonic would sit on a gigantic factory in the middle of Nevada.

                1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                  You’ve got it backwards. Panasonic is by far the leading EV battery maker, by kWh per year. And it was Tesla’s idea to build the Gigafactory, not Panasonic’s. It was Tesla that begged and pleaded and arm-twisted a very reluctant Panasonic to pony up a large fraction of the capital needed to build the Gigafactory, but Tesla is footing over half the bill.

                  Other auto makers might have to fund an even greater percentage of the bill for their battery factories. But then, the large auto makers have much deeper cash reserves than Tesla does, so they should be able to afford it.

                  Going forward, building multiple large battery factories will just be part of the cost of doing business for large auto makers.

            2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              “Tesla is of course the main driver behind this project, but they couldn’t have done it alone.”

              Yes, but the point is that Tesla did not have to do it alone. Nissan didn’t do it alone; they partnered with Japanese electronics maker NEC to create their battery making company, AESC. Similarly, a Renault spokesman is quoted in the article above as saying “We are a carmaker, not a chemist.” That’s fine; let the battery maker be the chemist.

              Volkswagen and other large auto makers have two choices here: (1) Partner with existing battery makers, just like Nissan and Tesla have, to build their own large-scale battery factories; or (2) Eventually go out of business as gasmobiles become obsolete.

              “We need to check whether they [the six suppliers] have the financial means to build the capacity.”

              It’s not merely a matter of whether or not battery makers have the capital to build large-scale factories quickly. It’s a question of whether or not they’re willing to make that commitment. Commodity battery makers can’t ignore the fact that a very few years ago, there was a glut on the market of li-ion batteries, a period when Envia went bankrupt and A123 came close to it. So it’s understandable that they are reluctant to invest billions of dollars in making high-capacity factories for a market which is only just developing.

              The solution is obvious. Auto makers are going to have to foot most of the bill for building these new battery factories, just as Nissan and Tesla have. VW is just looking for excuses about why they aren’t building PEVs in large numbers. This is nothing but public hand-wringing and, as Tosho quite rightly said, amounts to whining.

              1. Banar says:

                Bottomline, lets not daviate. All cry from BMW/Daimler/GM etc going to increase as we approach 2020. Move you asses fast, or be ready to get kicked out by creatives brains like Tesla/Lucid/Farady Future.
                Supply chain builup takes a while, not dacades but few years and these guys have enough stake and incentive in market that it would be built.

              2. AussieAl says:

                I agree. But you also have to factor in the Chines. BYD who already produce more EVs than anyone else, have their own big battery plant and are expanding it rapidly. It will be as big as the Gigafactory within 2 years. The Chinese plan to steal a march on the western ICE manufacturers and become the manufacturer of choice for EVs for the whole world.

      2. jelloslug says:

        This.

      3. Nix says:

        /end thread

      4. Heisenberghtbacktotheroots says:

        You have are so right.

        Poor VW finds no one to insure the transport of li ion batteries?

        Come on VW… that sounds like EV-bashing bulls***

        One can insure the transport of liquid aluminium… Sounds far more hazardous than batteries which are shipped every day…

        VW, you make me laugh!

        1. Heisenberghtbacktotheroots says:

          “Your comment is awaiting moderation”

          Wow that is the first time I see that one…

          Maybe I should not call “bulls***” on a bulls***-statement…

          Well I guess VW won’t take it personal 😉
          Anyway, sorry Jay that I produced unnecessary work for you. I will in future avoid to say BULLS***

          ***mod edit (Jay Cole)***
          No worries…just add the little *** and you’ll be fine/avoid the filter
          ***mod edit***

      5. Michael says:

        That dude is also working towards making the machines that make the batteries into commodities as well. Elon talks about the three trips around the world that a battery pack takes before being fitted to a car. Ghosn also prefers to build Nissan factories close to their markets. Perhaps Panasonic/Tesla will offer inexpensive turnkey solutions given a bit of flat land, sunshine and ready access to raw materials.

      6. G2 says:

        Well said Tosho

      7. bogdan says:

        VW can’t make batteries themselves, nor are they willing to buy them from someone.

        “The capacity is not there. Nobody has the capacity.”
        Yes, nobody has the capacity to give VW baterries for free.
        Get real man, go to a battery supplier and take a truck full of money with u!

      8. Brad says:

        Personally, I wouldn’t buy a VW regardless of what they come up with going forward. They are the Trumps of the auto industry.

      9. Philip Reeve says:

        Perhaps this is part of a plan for VW to avoid having to actually build the millions of EVs it’s promised us. It can be seen to be ‘doing its very best’ to be keeping its promise to go electric, while realities ‘beyond its control’ will make it impossible. . .

    2. Mikael says:

      It’s not…yet… And any sensible automaker would put in major orders in advance to have the capacity when needed.
      But as usual, some who don’t want to see the change coming will be left behind.

      If you order the battery cell manufacturers will build the factory needed.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        But battery makers do not build new factories just because you put in a large order. If they did, then Nissan would not have needed to build two additional battery factories to supply the Leaf, and Tesla wouldn’t have needed to spend billions to build Gigafactory 1.

        Auto makers who want to build long-range PEVs in large numbers must take control of their own battery supply by building their own large battery factories. This isn’t a choice, it’s a necessity. History has already proven that.

        1. unlucky says:

          Of course they do. You can’t make batteries without factories.

          When you place a large order there are plenty of ways to go about paying for the order. If you want to structure the deal so that the battery maker builds the plant they will happily roll all the costs of the plant into the deal for you.

          It just so happens that there are ways to make the deal which end up costing you less. One is to put in your own money to build part of the plant (in Tesla’s case the structure itself). That means the supplier doesn’t have to spend that money themselves, mark it up and bill that back to you as NRE or roll it into the cell price (with more markup for the risk you won’t buy the cells you said you would).

          There is no necessity to do this any particular way. For one company it may make sense one way and for another company it may make sense another. For large companies taking on some costs yourself can make more sense.

          But you keep pushing the idea that if you aren’t doing it like Tesla it won’t work. That’s absurd. There are plenty of ways to go about it and Tesla’s isn’t always going to be the best way for everyone.

          Companies will have to secure supplies. How they go about it may differ but that doesn’t mean they won’t work.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            unlucky said:

            “But you keep pushing the idea that if you aren’t doing it like Tesla it won’t work.

            You mean, Nissan and BYD and Tesla.

            “That’s absurd. There are plenty of ways to go about it and Tesla’s isn’t always going to be the best way for everyone.”

            Denying reality does not actually change reality, Unlucky.

            If Tesla could have gotten Panasonic to ramp up production as fast as they needed, then Tesla wouldn’t be spending literally billions of dollars to build Gigafactory 1.

            And if Nissan could have bought enough commodity batteries off the market, they they wouldn’t have needed to build two battery factories whose primary purpose is to supply the Leaf.

            “If you want to structure the deal so that the battery maker builds the plant they will happily roll all the costs of the plant into the deal for you.”

            Quite clearly, actual battery makers such as Panasonic, LG Chem, and NEC don’t agree with your theory. It’s especially noticeable that LG Chem is not ramping up supply anywhere near as fast as they claimed they would just a year or two ago.

            But go ahead, to point to any EV maker which is building compelling EVs in large numbers but hasn’t built its own battery factory. How about BYD? Oh, that’s right… BYD started out as a battery maker, and only later started building EVs.

            It looks to me, Unlucky, as if your assertions amount to nothing but wishful thinking.

            1. unlucky says:

              Re: denying reality. Pushy, I can easily say the same of you. You don’t add anything by pretending you know better what is going on here.

              Nissan did it that way because that’s how Japanese companies do it. Look up keiretsu some time.

              You assert that Tesla couldn’t have gotten Panasonic to ramp up any other way. You do this blindly. You have no evidence of it. Just because that is the way they chose (and likely was their preferred way) doesn’t mean it is the only way.

              As to Nissan buying commodity batteries, no one buys commodity batteries. Not Tesla, not Nissan, no one. Even if they use a common form factor it doesn’t mean they are commodity batteries. A company with such specific needs as Tesla or Nissan cannot use commodity batteries, they must work with their own spec. You would never get sufficient reliability/performance from commodity batteries. And you’d spend far too much money trying to qualify commodity vendors.

              I have no idea why you think that battery vendors don’t agree with my theory. Just because some deals are done in a way doesn’t mean battery vendors won’t do deals another way. How do you think McLaren buys batteries? You think they paid for a plant? How about Ford for the Focus Electric? Did you hear of the plant Ford built? No?

              You have no idea how fast LG Chem is ramping up supply. You keep repeating your own argument that they cannot make many batteries. It’s just an opinion you have formed. We won’t know how much LG has ramped up until later. And no matter how many batteries they make we won’t know why they made that number, it doesn’t have to be because they couldn’t make more but could be because they didn’t want to make more due to lack of perceived demand.

              Any company making compelling blah blah blah. You’re hoping if you put enough qualifiers on there you can make your statements hold up?

              1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                @unlucky:

                I wonder if you’re mostly just talking past the points I have made here, rather than actually disagreeing with what I’m saying? If you are trying to make the point that it’s theoretically possible that some battery maker will take the initiative to build out vast production capacity on its own, then okay, that’s theoretically possible. It’s just not a practical scenario; it’s very unlikely to happen due to real-world economics and market conditions.

                I’ve cited plenty of evidence for that, not only that it is happening this way, but why it’s happening this way, including the glut on the li-ion battery market just 2 or 3 years ago. So your claim, that I’ve provided no evidence to support the reality of my scenario, is factually incorrect. Now, if your point is that the evidence I’ve cited does not rise to the level of proof that the scenario I describe is the only way it will happen, then you’re correct. This is not robust proof of something as clear-cut as 2 + 2 = 4; nor is it as clear-cut as the physical laws which prove cars powered by compressed hydrogen will never be practical.

                However, your attempt to handwave away the economic reality here is, as I said, nothing but wishful thinking. My scenario describes reality, and I’ve given historical examples of why it’s happening that way — and will continue to happen that way. It’s not that the way you want it to happen is mathematically or physically impossible, it’s just that the economic reality is that your scenario is not going to happen in the world as we know it.

                Nor is my opinion an outlier. Look again at an exchange in this very thread:

                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                Mikael asked:

                “Why would car manufacturers buy Tesla batteries (with Panasonic cells) when they could buy the cells straight from Panasonic and make their own batteries?”

                Rob Stark replied:

                “For the same reason that Panasonic isn’t building Gigafactories all over the world on its own.”
                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                [end quote]

                Rob is making exactly the same point I am. It’s not that battery makers can’t build large battery factories on speculation, in the hope that they will attract large customers; it’s that they are not doing so.

                You can’t cite any counter-examples, Unlucky, because there aren’t any. If you want to convince us, or convince any informed person, that this reality is going to change, then explain what is going to cause that change.

                Closing your eyes and wishing really, really hard isn’t going to change the economic reality, nor is it going to convince anyone that my scenario is wrong.

                * * * * *

                “As to Nissan buying commodity batteries, no one buys commodity batteries. Not Tesla, not Nissan, no one.”

                I think you’re splitting hairs here. Tesla motors cited using commodity batteries in its original mission statement, back even before 2008. Now, it’s true that the actual 18650 cells Panasonic currently makes for Tesla are not quite the same as consumer grade cells; they lack certain safety features, which are not needed because Tesla’s battery packs provide those same safety features, or even better ones. By making the cells without those safety features, Panasonic can make them cheaper, and Tesla saves a bit of money.

                However, if you will bother to Google [tesla motors commodity batteries], you will see that plenty of people do describe the Panasonic 18650 cells which Tesla currently uses as “commodity” battery cells.

                However, as for Nissan and GM and other EV makers: It’s true that Tesla is very nearly the only EV maker outside China that uses standard format cells, such as the 18650. Other EV makers mostly (almost all, again except some in China) use pouch or flat “prismatic” cells, and I think you’re right that it wouldn’t be appropriate to call those commodity cells, as the size and shape is made to the exact specification of each EV maker. Or at least, that’s my understanding.

                I do seem to recall that a few months ago, one EV startup said they planned to use 18650 cells. But again that would be the exception and not the rule.

                1. unlucky says:

                  As I’ve said before, they’ll do it if they need to do it. There are many ways to go about it. Tesla prefers it one way because they feel it is best for them. Other companies may find other ways are best for them.

                  This is in direct contradiction to your statements that if a company isn’t making cells in house they will never get capacity (with your implications that this will be a problem for GM). Your statements on this point just aren’t true.

                  There are many ways to structure the deals. And you can go ahead and you say you feel one sort of deal is better than another and give your reasons for it. But to go further and say that other companies who don’t do it that way won’t and cannot succeed in the large market is just making assertions you can’t back up.

                  To be more specific, you are a big fan of Tesla and how they did it. But just because Tesla wants to build a large building doesn’t mean the same thing cannot be done with multiple buildings or even multiple buildings in multiple cities. It doesn’t even mean that it costs more to do it in multiple cities. Also you indicate that you can demand a scale up if you do something in house but don’t consider that you can also demand a scale up from a supplier. In both cases you might be able to scale up or you might not, there isn’t really much difference other than who you are writing checks to.

                  There is no “economic reality” you refer to. It is just you thinking that the way you like must be the best way for everyone.

                  As to Rob Stark’s comment, it doesn’t mean a thing. You don’t need to build Gigafactories. Putting all your production in one spot doesn’t make sense if you are selling to customers all around the world. There is no reason companies would buy from Tesla when Panasonic makes the cells.

                  Yes, Tesla said they were using commodity batteries. They were full of bull. As a small-time company they weren’t in a position to get good contracts so they claimed they were making lemonade by using commodity cells. But that was never realistic due to their requirements. And as a buyer of large volumes now it wouldn’t save them any money anyway.

                  And a google fight means nothing. You can find anything on the internet. If you search “moon green cheese” you will discover the makeup of the moon.

                  The cells Tesla uses are specific to Tesla’s specifications. They aren’t commodity cells and they can’t use commodity cells. Also note, that 18650 cells technically don’t have the safety features. The safety features make the cell longer and make it not an 18650. Although they are frequently called “protected 18650s”. You can buy protected or unprotected 18650s easily on the spot market, on alibaba or eBay. They are not specific to Tesla, never were. There are commodity 18650s, but Tesla can’t use them, it’s not practical for them.

                  Prismatic and pouch cells are other options and most companies feel they are cheaper. I’m not sure why Tesla has kept with cylinders so long. I presume they have their reasons.

                  I expect the new format Panasonic developed with Tesla to be very popular. It’ll become a de facto standard produced not just by Panasonic but by many companies and things like those cylindrical external USB batteries will likely start to use them because it’s a cost-effective way to make a slightly larger unit.

                  1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                    You’re just repeating yourself. I’m happy to stand on what I’ve already said.

                    We can revisit this argument when the reality finally sinks in for you that GM can’t just turn a knob and crank up Bolt production; that GM’s production of the Bolt is limited to just a fraction of Chem’s battery production.

    3. Mike says:

      I seem to remember that EVs currently use only about 2% of world wide lithium ion battery production. If this is even close to correct, then this is just another smokescreen.

      1. trololo says:

        A diesel one.

      2. Mikael says:

        No, not even close. EVs use most of the lithium batteries.

      3. Nix says:

        Mike, I think what you read referred to total Lithium consumption, which is different than lithium battery consumption. Because Lithium itself is used for other uses, like lubricants, glass and ceramics, and medicines.

        2% might be a bit out of date by now though. I seem to remember seeing that number quite a while back. Long enough ago that my memory slips on exactly where and when.

        But your point is well taken. There is no true shortage, just an industry that is fighting to keep up with the growth curve.

        1. jimjonjack&jill says:

          Nix, you are very very close. There is so much Lithium on this planet that we will never run out & Prices will stay low for a Long time to come.I spoke a Miner friend that I’ve known for many years & he said that there are mega lithium mines Proven Up & they’re just sitting awaiting to be extracted & Many more on the way to be discovered . , Plus Lithium Is a very very Minute Part of the so called Lithium battery..The shortage is all a Myth & lots of Hype ..

      4. Someone out there says:

        You have your numbers mixed up. About 2% if a battery is lithium but this isn’t about a lithium shortage but a battery shortage

        1. jimjonjack&jill says:

          Battery shortage , Meaning they can’t produce Batteries Fast Enough is a true statement as well and I agree but.,Hopefully that should change soon .

  2. goodbyegascar says:

    Tesla could eventually become a big supplier of batteries to global carmakers.

    And if global carmakers decide to build their own Gigafactories, Tesla could go into business as a Gigafactory builder for global carmakers.

    1. Mikael says:

      Why would car manufacturers buy Tesla batteries (with Panasonic cells) when they could buy the cells straight from Panasonic and make their own batteries?

      1. Rob Stark says:

        For the same reason that Panasonic isn’t building Gigafactories all over the world on its own.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          ^ this.

      2. gizmo84 says:

        because i’m pretty sure Tesla has a patent on the chemistry it is using for the 2170’s. i have no source for this. just makes sense. i think that’s why Tesla opened up its patents for their cars. so people would build on the platform that uses the battery cells they are producing…

        1. Mikael says:

          I would love to see such a patent. I am pretty sure panasonic could sell the same cell with little to none change in chemistry to any manufacturer, Toyota for example.

        2. Nix says:

          It isn’t the chemistry itself that Tesla has patented, it is the other parts of the battery that Tesla holds patents for.

          But that still isn’t an obstacle, since Tesla opened up their patents.

          The obstacle from buying directly from Panasonic, is that other companies would have to buy batteries built at some other site besides the jointly owned gigafactory. Because Tesla already has claim on those batteries. Batteries built elsewhere would not be built at the same economy of scale as the gigafactory, and would cost more (unless Panasonic built another gigafactory elsewhere).

          But to be clear, Elon Musk would be more than happy to have other companies become very successful at building EV’s, and for Panasonic to sell lots of batteries for lots of EV’s. He is fully aware that no single car company can build enough cars fast enough to have the EV market blow wide open. Just like we don’t have just 1 ICE car maker.

      3. trololo says:

        1. They do not want to build EV
        2. They do not want to take risks (short term earning for the shareholders)

        1. Mikael says:

          That would make sense. A laggard needing a compliance car in limited numbers.

          Mazda maybe?

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Tesla has certainly shown its willingness to build battery packs and supply them to other auto makers; witness the RAV4 and the Mercedes B-class EV.

            But as Nix rightly points out, Tesla will have “first dibs” on battery cells coming from the Gigafactory. Panasonic is building a limited number of 2170 cells for Tesla at one or more of its other factories, but only for testing purposes. It makes no sense for Panasonic to crank that up to large volume production. Why would Panasonic want to compete with the Gigafactory when it’s a partner in the Gigafactory? With the Gigafactory’s lower costs, Panasonic will make a better profit margin on cells made at the Gigafactory, so will have no good reason to increase 2170 cell output at its other factories.

            Another auto maker coming to Panasonic for 2170 cells would be in the position of Oliver Twist, watching Mr. Bumble — that is, Tesla — feast, and having to beg “Please sir, I want some more” for a bowl of gruel!

            That analogy can be extended: If other auto makers try to depend on battery supply from factories controlled by existing battery makers, then they will be fighting for little more than table scraps, starving while Tesla feasts.

      4. unlucky says:

        They wouldn’t. There is no chance another maker would buy cells from Tesla when Panasonic makes the cells. It would just be more markup.

        Tesla could make packs for other makes. It’s possible for small-market makes (Aston Martin, etc.) they might end up doing that.

  3. PK says:

    “They are hazardous goods. You won’t find insurance for shipping lithium-ion batteries.”

    So how does Tesla get those batteries from Japan into the current model S/X ?

    1. MrEnergyCzar says:

      Space-X

    2. Mike says:

      Never mind that an iPhone has a 7 Wh battery and a laptop is between 45-70. There are multiple kWh of batteries on every commercial plane, train, or boat. Don’t even get me going on how hundereds of millions of smartphone are distributed around the world every year.

      My BS indicator is going crazy!

      1. pjwood1 says:

        I think Mr. Loveday may be in charge of European ad revenue, at IEV. Soon, the floodgates…

        I’m on pinky swear, to stay positive. So, while I won’t be waiting for batteries which are “safer”, “75 percent smaller” and “reduced weight”, I will enjoy the prospect of no longer staring at a Bosch triggered engine light.

        Glorious days are these. Cake for every one!

      2. jimjonjack&jill says:

        It’s Rocket science…. lol

      3. Heisenberghtbacktotheroots says:

        “My BS indicator is going crazy!”

        I should have read your post before posting. Now my “bulls***” post is awaiting moderation because I was not aware of that abbreviation…

    3. trololo says:

      Musk is teleporting lithium from Japan thanks to its magical power …

    4. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “You won’t find insurance for shipping lithium-ion batteries.”

      Yeah, my B.S. detector went off on that too. Li-ion batteries can no longer be shipped air freight, but obviously they are shipped around the world in large quantities every day, carried by ships and trucks, and I would guess by river barges too. And not just for EVs either; li-ion batteries are used in everything from cordless vacuum sweepers to electric shavers to iPods these days… and of course, cell phones.

  4. SJC says:

    Build ten 6 kWh PHEVs instead of one 60 kWh EV. Less imported oil, less pollution.

    1. Bob Nan says:

      Makes perfect sense.
      Ultimate objective is to put the batteries to fullest use everyday.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        No, the objective is to stop burning gasoline and diesel to power everyday transportation. That needs vehicles with large battery packs, not small ones.

        The solution to too few batteries for too many cars isn’t to spread them into a larger number of cars. The solution is to make more batteries.

        1. Boris says:

          I agree that we need more batteries, and that PHEVs are not solution for the future, but speaking as PHEV owner, I can say that my VW Golf GTE enabled me to cut my daily gas consumption by 80%. Basically only using gas on very intensive days and road trips. And that is coming from its tiny 8.8KWh battery. So there is definitely a point in using PHEVs in transition to BEV future.

        2. SJC says:

          Ten cars, one is an EV 9 are ICE, 10% less fuel and pollution.
          Ten cars, all are PHEVs, 50% less fuel and pollution.

    2. Kdawg says:

      6kWh is not enough.

    3. Mikael says:

      Make that 5 PHEVs at 12 kWh instead. But it is still the same point.

    4. Scott Franco says:

      “Build ten 6 kWh PHEVs instead of one 60 kWh EV. Less imported oil, less pollution.”

      Put down the funny cigarettes and come back to reality.

      6kWh is a hybrid, dude.

    5. Nix says:

      I definitely get your point. But I would move it up to 10 instead of 6.

      With one 100 kWh battery in one car driving around on a regular commute, you take 1 car’s worth of pollution out of the air, and cart around 80-90 kWh of battery that isn’t used.

      Built 10 PHEV’s with 10 kWh batteries, and you take the equivalent of 5-7 cars worth of pollution off the road, and the entire battery will likely get used on each day.

      With that said, that definitely isn’t a reason to stop building 60 or 100 kWh pure EV’s, just a good reason to build both EV’s and PHEV’s.

  5. WadeTyhon says:

    Dammit, Jim! “We are a carmaker, not a chemist.”

    1. Kdawg says:

      LOL, well they weren’t programmers either, but the times keep changing.

      1. Scott Franco says:

        Yea really. Carmakers are changing from ICE to pure electric. Talk about re-education. The car makers will need to take the standard advice:

        Get in.

        Sit down.

        Shut up.

        Hang on.

        And enjoy the ride…..

        1. Kdawg says:

          Regarding EV propulsion, luckily some Major OEMs have been working with it for nearly 30 years.
          #EV1

    2. trololo says:

      “We are assemblers, not carmakers”.

  6. pjwood1 says:

    Trying to reconcile these:

    Sedran: “Quite frankly, if we compare ourselves today with Samsung and LG, they are light-years ahead of us.”

    Zetsche: “Today, the cell is almost a commodity good,”

    Maybe our Korean friends need to discover better marketing. That, or Mr. Sedran needs to be brought “on message”.

    1. Kdawg says:

      I think they are saying current battery suppliers are light years ahead at making a commodity good. Meaning, they’ve already explored most/all the efficiency gains and trying to be a newcomer, with a big learning curve, would be a waste of time/money.

      1. Kdawg says:

        Though, logistics, as mentioned in the article is one avenue. So I could see the big players forcing suppliers to relocate near auto centers. This will require some large contracts though.

      2. Scott Franco says:

        GM: We could do commodity, but we suck compared to Asia. Let them do the work.

        Tesla: We can do it all, feel the force.

        Wonder who will win….

        1. Kdawg says:

          Zetsche works for Daimler, not GM.

  7. Get Real says:

    More whining by laggard OEMs caught flat-footed by the impending transition to sustainable transportation via electrification of first light-duty, but eventually heavy transport too.

    The solution is to stop complaining and rather start building up battery manufacturing capacity to supply yourselves.

    The Tesla or Nissan model building their own battery factories/partnering with established battery manufacturers would certainly be an option.

    Complaining, whining and making excuses only shows how behind the curve many of the laggard OEMs are in both embracing and implementing this transition.

  8. Spider-Dan says:

    This is basic market forces at work.

    Nissan went gung-ho with battery manufacturing… only to see demand fall far short. GM had multiple manufacturing lines building Volts, and then had to shut them down because of lack of demand.

    EVs are demand-constrained, not supply-constrained. When that changes and we are faced with actual battery shortages (instead of hypothetical shortages), you will see a lot more companies joining LG, Panasonic, and Samsung in the battery market.

    That’s how capitalism works.

    1. Rob Stark says:

      Crappy electric vehicles are demand constrained. By design by legacy automakers.

      Compelling electric vehicles are production constrained.

      Incumbents are risk averse and no legacy automaker is willing to be first to make the lurch into the unknown by making a decisive transition to electric vehicles and cannibalizing ever larger portions of their ICEv business.

      Battery makers aren’t willing to make large investment in capacity until there is guaranteed demand and legacy automakers are unwilling to make the switch until there is large, cheap, and safe supply of batteries.

      That is how capitalism works.

      1. Alan says:

        And that’s exactly the reason Tesla partnering with Panasonic has got them by the short n curly’s for the foreseeable future !

        If it turns out that solid state batteries or some other kind of battery technology turns out to be more cost effective & efficient, it’s likely that Panasonic will be able to change accordingly, if not Tesla will simply partner with someone else within their gigafactory.

        It’s almost certain they are in a win win situation with the set up they have and will never be production constrained.

        1. Kdawg says:

          Going to solid state batteries would be a major change for Tesla. The whole gigafactory is built for their current technology. It’s not as simple as “change accordingly”.

          1. Alan says:

            Do you not think it’s possible that Panasonic are also working on solid state battery technology at the same time ?

            I doubt their eggs are all in one basket but I could be wrong of course.

            1. Kdawg says:

              I’m saying it’s not a simple task to retool an entire factory (esp a gigafactory) for a completely different product.

              1. John says:

                They have taken this into account according to Musk.

              2. Damocles Axe says:

                The Tesla Gigafactory is only 1/3 built, so of course they could accomodate a different battery technology when it becomes available!

                1. Kdawg says:

                  A technology that doesn’t exist is hard to accommodate for.

              3. Nix says:

                Yes it is difficult (and expensive) and yet the major car makers all retool an entire automobile assembly line with only around 3-6 weeks of actual downtime, and switch over to building a new generation of a car model when the factory re-opens.

                With a less complex product like batteries, I suspect they could do rolling downtime and slowly transition from building one battery design to another battery design without having any significant impact on total production numbers

                1. Kdawg says:

                  Do you know how many months (years) go into the work for that 3-6 week of downtime?

                  And retooling to assemble different sheet metal pieces is not the same as making a completely different product, a product, as I stated above, that is still vaporware at this point, for the auto industry.

            2. LOL says:

              I think they’re focusing on amplifying the alteady existing levels of powers and investigating transistors connected in series. Once they succeed in it, then it’s of a lesser importance what their main source is.

          2. Get Real says:

            That is because the current battery tech is more then adequate for now. Yes technology will change/improve in the future and the Giga(s) will change to adapt. After all, the building itself, the rail line into and out of the building will still be used. Some but probably not all of the equipment will need to be changed but this happens anyways as time goes on.

            1. Alan says:

              Exactly !

              You just have to admire the forward thinking of Tesla.

          3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Kdawg said:

            “Going to solid state batteries would be a major change for Tesla. The whole gigafactory is built for their current technology. It’s not as simple as ‘change accordingly’.”

            That’s true, but what is the alternative? Companies don’t succeed by waiting around for a tech breakthrough to happen. They succeed by marketing the best product they can with the tech currently available, and upgrading it when something better becomes possible.

            Why did Eastman Kodak go bankrupt? It was not because it couldn’t afford to switch its manufacturing from film cameras to digital cameras. It went bankrupt because it waited too long to make the switch.

            1. Kdawg says:

              There is no alternative (if you are going to make your own cells). In for a penny in for pound. Just stating a fact.

          4. unlucky says:

            The Gigafactory itself is little more than a pole barn. Only the stuff inside is specific to any technology. And companies are used to changing that stuff out.

            Don’t sweat solid state batteries. They have been 2 years away for 7 years now. I worked with a company that went so far as to begin to design a product to use them in 2010 in anticipation of them coming out in 2012.

            When solid state batteries even come, you will see them in smaller uses first where the risks from failure are smaller. Until you see one the market I don’t think you have to even consider the possibility of them in EVs.

      2. ffbj says:

        A fair assessment.

      3. Spider-Dan says:

        The Gen1 Volt was the most-awarded car in the history of American automakers. But according to your logic, since it was demand-constrained, it must have been a “crappy car”?

        If this is the standard you have set for EV market acceptance, you should go buy stock in ExxonMobil, as EVs are destined to fail. If one of the best cars ever produced doesn’t qualify as a “good effort,” there is no such thing as a good effort and EVs will forever be chariots of the ultra-wealthy.

        1. Damocles Axe says:

          The Volt has to be one of the most Un-advertised cars in history. Not all dealers carry the car, and not all dealers that carry it make any real effort to sell it. There have been published studies that show this to be true.

          1. Spider-Dan says:

            I’m pretty sure it’s advertised much more than, say, a Model S. So I don’t think advertising is a sufficient explanation.

        2. Scott Franco says:

          The Volt is a good hybrid but a bad EV.

          Sorry, that’s just the truth.

          1. pjwood1 says:

            For its battery size, it is an exceptional EV.

            EREV, with cheap backup, is better than BEV, anyway.

            Flame suit on.

          2. Spider-Dan says:

            Ironically, you’ve hit upon part of the problem: there is a sizable percentage of people who claim to be “EV advocates” who do not evaluate EVs based on their fitness as a transportation vehicle, but instead on some other nebulous purity criteria.

            GM crushed the EV1 and sells a lot of trucks, so the Volt is an amazing car that runs almost entirely on electricity, but it’s not a very good “EV.”

            Nissan is another member of the hated ICE cartel, so even though the electric-only Leaf has globally outsold every BEV outside of China, the Leaf is also a crappy EV.

            Only Tesla, whose motives are Pure and whose leader is Noble, offers a true quality product worthy of consideration. The fact that it is priced outside of the reach of the vast majority of people is mere nitpicking.

            1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              I honestly don’t know what you mean by saying the Volt “isn’t a good EV”. The engineering of the Voltec 1.0 powertrain was exceptionally good, and the reliability of the Volt 1.0 was superb. Apparently, according to reports, the Volt 2.0 ain’t so good, but that does not in any way alter the point that the Volt was an exceptionally well made car with an exceptionally well designed powertrain, which nonetheless had disappointing sales.

              I think it would be better to say “The Volt is not a very competitive passenger car.” The overall size is surprisingly tiny, the back seat is famously cramped, and of course it’s much more expensive than a gasmobile with comparable levels of comfort and luxuries (or lack thereof).

              1. Scott Franco says:

                How many times do I need to say it.

                It is NOT an EV. It is a hybrid.

                1. ziv says:

                  It doesn’t matter a bit how many times you say it, Scott. A PHEV-53/EREV is an EV. It may not be a BEV, but the vast majority of car buyers understand this.

                  1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                    Thank you, ziv.

                2. Kdawg says:

                  In 4.5 years my Volt has been 85% EV, 15% hybrid.

                  1. ClarksonCote says:

                    Right, and this is what Scott F. fails to accept.

                    Heck, Voltstats.net extends your example to a great statistical level, but he’ll just keep saying it’s not an EV until he’s blue in the face. Doesn’t make Scott any more right, just makes him appear biased and ignorant of the facts.

                    The Volt is one of the best EV’s out there, because it gets consumers using full electric propulsion for the majority of their commuting without the concern about charging or being stranded for infinitely longer trips.

                    It’s the perfect gateway drug to a BEV when they have sufficient range and low enough cost for any given person to make the switch.

            2. Scott Franco says:

              “Ironically, you’ve hit upon part of the problem: there is a sizable percentage of people who claim to be “EV advocates” who do not evaluate EVs based on their fitness as a transportation vehicle, but instead on some other nebulous purity criteria.”

              One of those “nebulous criteria” being

              IT HAS A TAILPIPE.

              1. Spider-Dan says:

                Precisely!

                Your argument is that it has a tailpipe, therefore it is necessarily a terrible car and that’s why it didn’t sell.

                But GM sells millions of other cars that have tailpipes. And those cars didn’t win a table full of awards. So why the relatively low sales of the Volt?

                1. stan1 says:

                  Because it is a cramped, 4 seat, compact car with limited load space and poor visibility. The only reason it sells as well as it does is the drivetrain.

                  1. stan1 says:

                    They did improve the vehicle on the redesign including improving visibility and adding a “5th seat” but to offset the improvements they made it look more like other low end compacts.

                    1. stan1 says:

                      To cover the down market design, htey had marketing claim they made it look more upscale. It is all part of the plausible deniability. Make it appear like they are trying while doing as little as possible.

              2. ziv says:

                LOL! I haven’t heard that silly bit of monomania in weeks.
                You would have made a passable Inquisitor back in the day, Scott. Blind faith and an unwillingness to accept any views dissimilar to your own…

        3. Nichen says:

          Dont forget that PHEV-technology was brand new in 2010. And dont forget what a Volt was priced at back then: around 42K. Just like Toyota Prius which only sold by the thousands for the first years, Volt will only increase its sales from now on. Last month was the best month ever for the Volt.

        4. stan1 says:

          Being highly awarded means nothing at all regarding how well the car will sell in the market: http://www.caranddriver.com/features/dishonorable-mention-the-10-most-embarrassing-award-winners-in-automotive-history

          GM designed the Volt to sell poorly. It was purposely handicapped through its DESIGN to limit demand. A tiny 4 seat, hatchback with limited load space and poor visibility sold primarily in the U.S. market IS going to have limited demand regardless of drivetrain. There are almost no other 4 seat cars sold in the U.S. market. Visibility particularly on the the previous version is terrible. Small cars generally do poorly in the U.S. market. The rear seat legroom of the Volt is particularly bad as is its cargo space: “The Volt’s front seats are comfortable, critics say, but its rear seats are cramped, and the Volt has less cargo space than most small cars.” http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/Chevrolet_Volt/Interior/

          GM then priced the vehicle quite high for the vehicle offered. Tesla’s “secret plan” is hardly a secret. Starting at the high end is generally the only way to hide the higher costs of most advanced technologies.

          The engineering and build quality are excellent but GM’s management clearly was trying to avoid selling too many of these products by offering the drivetrain in the Volt design at an inflated price. The Nissan Leaf also has a “polarizing design”, limited range and relatively high price for exactly the same reasons. The i3 literally looks like a clown car. The Bolt has similar handicapping.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Some of your criticisms of the Volt are valid, but many are not. Cramming two separate (well, partly separate and partly unified) powertrains into a compact car didn’t leave a lot of legroom or luggage room.

            Your claim about an “inflated” price is particularly unfair. Voltec was expensive to develop, and batteries were — and still are, to a lesser extent — expensive. One can reasonably argue that the Volt is overpriced for its market segment, but it’s simply not true to say the price was inflated. That’s simply how much it cost to make the car and sell it at a profit.. and likely not much of a profit, at that.

            The price was inflated on the Cadillac ELR. But not on the Volt.

            Now, regarding the size of the Volt, I’m not sure it’s clear-cut whether making it so small was intended to limit demand… or make it “designed to fail”. On the one hand, it’s been said that GM made the Volt tiny because that was a market segment not well serviced by GM, so the Volt wouldn’t compete with existing offerings. On the other hand, it’s obviously true that if the Volt had been a larger and heavier car, it would have needed a larger battery pack and thus would have been significantly more expensive than it already was.

            So I can see reasonable arguments on both sides, as to whether the Volt 1.0 should have been made larger, or not. Given the number of complaints about the cramped back seat, I’m inclined to lean in favor of the argument that it should have been larger. But that’s being an “armchair general”; I have the benefit of hindsight which GM did not at the time.

            However, I will certainly agree that GM should have made the rear seat of the Volt 2.0 large enough for three adults. That GM chose not to, certainly does suggest they deliberately limited demand for the car.

            1. stan1 says:

              The two powertrains do not make the vehicle so small. It is cramped because GM’s brass made a design choice to make it that way. Adding 3 inches in vehicle length to accommodate normal human legs in the back seat would have had almost no impact from an engineering or cost perspective. The performance numbers and cost to build the vehicle 3 inches longer would have been nearly identical. GM intended the car to be cramped and is hiding behind the costs as an excuse for the ridiculous limitations.

              Likewise, it is an inflated price compared to similar products. You can call it overpriced if you prefer, but they put that expensive new powertrain in an econobox! A Chevy! GM isn’t debuting their new advanced driving features in Chevy’s! GM’s brass knew quite well the price was going to be too high for the vehicle they were going to offer. And when they set the price, they literally set it as high as they could. They wanted it to cost too much.

      4. Heisenberghtbacktotheroots says:

        “Crappy electric vehicles are demand constrained. By design by legacy automakers.

        Compelling electric vehicles are production constrained.”

        This!

        This is exactly what we shall explain to all the people who believe all the anti EV propaganda!

        Spread the word!

        There is so much propaganda. Isn’t VW supposed to educate people about EV or something?

      5. Scott Franco says:

        “Crappy electric vehicles are demand constrained. By design by legacy automakers.”

        Second that.

    2. Tech01x says:

      Well, Nissan went gung-ho with crappy cell chemistry and high cost batteries. And they weren’t able to bring down the costs and increase the longevity as compared to the competition. So, it makes sense for them to shift to sourcing cells from someone more competent. It really isn’t much about the ownership structure… either LG has to own the plant, a joint venture owns the plant, or Nissan owns the plant and LG helps them make the cells. The ownership structure really doesn’t affect much, other than who is willing to put up the money.

      If Nissan’s vehicles sucked less, they would sell more of them.

      1. William says:

        True on The Nissan Leaf making The Tesla Model S, X, and The GM Bolt look terrific on just about everything EV! Nissan, they Were trying for a while there, not too long ago.

        1. Alan says:

          I wouldn’t write them off just yet !

          1. William says:

            Not writing Nissan off yet. I am once again adjusting the “innovation that exites” book mark, that has been tucked under the same page, of the first chapter, second paragraph, of The Book Titled “EV-OLUTION”. For quite some time now, I have been getting good at repositioning said stationary bookmark!

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “It really isn’t much about the ownership structure… either LG has to own the plant, a joint venture owns the plant, or Nissan owns the plant and LG helps them make the cells.”

        I’m sorry, but that’s just not correct. It really is about the ownership structure.

        If the battery maker owns the factory, and thus controls the battery supply, then the battery maker is going to ramp up supply only to the extent that he can be sure he will be able to sell that many batteries going forward. The global glut of li-ion commodity batteries just a few years ago is still very fresh in the minds of battery makers, and they’re not going to stick their financial necks out again, betting on an increase in demand for EVs which (from their viewpoint) may not happen.

        Tesla didn’t spend billions of dollars building a Gigafactory just so they could marginally reduce the cost of batteries; nor just so they could put the T≡SLA name on it, instead of Panasonic’s name. Tesla spent those billions so that they could control their own supply of batteries, rather than keep trying — and failing — to get Panasonic to ramp up supply as fast as Tesla needs.

        Nissan did the same. Other auto makers will have to follow, unless they want to fight for what amounts to little more than table scraps from LG Chem.

        1. Spider-Dan says:

          Yes, Nissan made the same bet several years ago when they went into battery manufacturing. They lost that bet, which is why they got out.

          Tesla built a Gigafactory because, unlike the rest of the automakers, they can afford to bet their entire business on whether the EV market will ~quadruple in the next 2 years. (One could argue they basically have to.)

          For everyone else, they can afford to let demand drive supply and build the factories as the demand exists. Tesla NEEDS hundreds of thousands of people to enter the EV market in the next couple of years, and so accordingly, they can build a multi-billion dollar factory designed to meet sales levels that do not yet exist.

          When Nissan’s battery manufacturing failed, Nissan could still pull up stakes and continue to let the market mature. If the Gigafactory fails (i.e. the demand does not immediately materialize), it won’t really matter because Tesla is still playing with house money at this point.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            “Nissan made the same bet several years ago when they went into battery manufacturing. They lost that bet, which is why they got out.”

            Don’t look now, but Nissan is now once again making batteries at all three of its battery factories.

            Looks to me like Nissan won that bet, even if they did have a bad patch there for a few months right after LG Chem started selling its new, cheaper battery cells.

  9. William says:

    Chicken and Egg Capitalism at work! Market Forces are busy laying the next EV clutch! This Free Market sure is wetting my EV appetite!

  10. Yogurt says:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/bertelschmitt/2016/12/16/carlos-ghosn-explains-why-making-your-own-batteries-is-dumb/#692d51072276

    Nissan doesnt even want to make their own batteries and Tesla doesnt make there own either they will just own the factory were Panasonic makes them for Tesla…

    That might be the way to so it for legacy auto companies to bjild and own a big factory where you have a third party like LG make the batteies themselves because it seems like the battery companies are highly risk adverise to putting fourth the capital to make huge battery production plants…

    Even Panasonic seemed like Tesla dragged them into the gigafactory…
    But if LG Samsung Panasonic is not careful the Chinese are all to willing to take the risk and reap the rewards as some of their battery companies are already building or have plans for building huge plants in the next couple of years but I guess on this fourm that just means its vaporware…

  11. floydboy says:

    The ‘S’ curve is starting its uptrend and it’s only going to get steeper! When it REALLY starts going like gangbusters, those who haven’t got their ‘supply house’ in order, are going to deeply regret it!

    1. William says:

      Wow! Buggy Whip Hangers On!
      This ride might get a little bumpy!

    2. ziv says:

      With the Bolt finally arriving and the Volt looking email even better now, but given the fact that the limited range FFEnergi is still in the top 4, there really aren’t that many great choices under $50k.
      Here is hoping the III gets here soon! It may take a couple months to ramp up but within a few months of its arrival the electric car world will be a very different place.

  12. unlucky says:

    Just because VW can’t get batteries doesn’t mean no one else can. VW mentions they are years behind. They failed to secure contracts early and now find themselves in a bad spot.

    In an environment where we still need to give $7000 rebates (or 2/3rds discounts in Norway) to move EVs I can’t believe people are worried about a pricing/supply problem. If demand really rises to where people will pay the full price it costs to make them then we can move on to worrying about shortages.

    1. floydboy says:

      Well, you could wait until demand outstrips supply, then jump to making EVs, then notify a battery supplier that you need a crap ton of batteries. On the other hand, you better hope to Zeus that someone else(Tesla/Panasonic) isn’t already ahead of the curve, to provide your potential customers with the electric cars they desire right now!

      1. Spider-Dan says:

        Given the last half-decade of experience, why should any auto manufacturer (especially GM!) believe that it’s even possible for them to generate demand that outstrips their existing supply?

        GM has made an EV North American Car of the Year – twice, even. At some point, one must acknowledge that the quality of the car isn’t the issue.

        Now, you might be inclined to point at Model III pre-orders, and that’s fine… but that car had hundreds of thousands of pre-orders before anyone had even seen it. Again, the car itself isn’t what’s being evaluated… people are pre-ordering the Tesla name.

        GM and Nissan could build three gigafactories each and that part of the equation still wouldn’t change.

        1. floydboy says:

          If you think GM has been trying to push demand for electric cars, you’re sadly mistaken! GM is a legacy car manufacturer that pays lip service to EVs and it shows in their advertising. Not only that, GM’s actions toward Tesla, GM’s distribution model with the Bolt and their attempts fight increased fuel economy standards, shows(at least to me) that they’re in ‘stalling’ mode.

          This tells me NOT to be looking at demand from a GM centric point of view, but to look to manufacturers who aren’t WAITING for demand, but DRIVING it, by making EVs that are DESIRABLE! Making EVs to compete with gasoline cars on their own terms. For various reasons, that AIN’T gonna be GM!

          When that DRIVEN demand reaches a tipping point, from technical necessity, governmental and environmental fiat and just plain old desire for a better product, some are going to be in a position to take advantage of the new marketplace, while those in the ‘Excuse me for a minute while I pop out and build a Gigafactory’ category, simply are not!

          1. Spider-Dan says:

            So GM’s diabolical plan to stall EV adoption was to sandbag their EV offerings by… making the most awarded car in GM’s history. Right.

            And then just to make sure, they followed it up by making another highly-awarded EV – with the most miles of range for the buck on the planet, by far – that ALSO won North American Car of the Year.

            A dastardly plan.

            1. floydboy says:

              You keep posting about awards as though that’s the main criteria for demand! It is not! DESIRE and NEED are the main criteria for demand! If a company can stoke desire(Model S/X/3) or fulfill need(supercharger network/destination charging) then that company is going to sell a WHOLE BUNCH of EVs, even at Model S/X prices.

              Yes, slowing down Tesla where they can and dribbling out Bolts IS stalling!
              Making Bolts in the numbers it currently does, allows GM to do many things at once. Get the ZEV/CARB credits it needs(without using too many up) to recoup R & D and increase the number of bread and butter gas guzzlers it sells. Be first to market(bragging rights) with a more affordable long range BEV. Gauge consumer interest in the Bolt, while simultaneously observing the competition’s success with their sales of lower cost, long range EVs.

              So yeah, GM is going to ‘hang around’ but not commit, ie stall, until they see others fail or be successful. Nothing dastardly(except the anti-Tesla part) about it! If those others ARE successful, then(back to my original point) what’s the battery situation going to look like when GM does decide to jump in with both feet.

              1. Kdawg says:

                You need to check your anti-GM feelings and look at the facts.

                Here’s one: GM has sold more Volts in the US than any other plug-in. THOSE BASTARDS!

                1. stan1 says:

                  Do you really believe GM is installing the Voltec drivetrain in a small, overpriced, 4 seat, compact car because they are trying to sell as many as possible? Does GM usually introduce advanced drivetrain tech via cramped Chevy compacts? Do you really believe they cannot sell the NVH attributes of EV tech in highend products?

                  1. Kdawg says:

                    I believe in physics.

                    1. Kdawg says:

                      I also believe you should order a Cadillac CT6 PHEV.

                    2. stan1 says:

                      The CT6 seems like it could sell. There is no legitimate reason it comes after the Volt. The compromised trunk and Chinese manufacture might hold it back in the U.S. market. It comes across though more as an attempt to counter and slow Tesla than an attempt to really sell plug-ins. It is hard to take it any other way based on the Bolt’s range and price and the other actions GM has taken to date.

                    3. stan1 says:

                      Great! Then you should be able to understand that 3 inches of rear leg room has almost no impact from an engineering perspective. Omitting that 3 inches however can kill a vehicle’s sales prospects.

                    4. Kdawg says:

                      You need to understand (and remember) the situation in 2007. The idea was to make an everyman’s EV, that wasn’t priced in the stratosphere and would cover daily driving. That limited what the car could be; size, battery, engine, etc. Even going w/the compact car format, and a 16kwh battery, the prices of batteries and associated EV tech was still high enough that the MSRP of the Volt was $40K. Gen 2 got the price down to $33K and also increased the range to 53 miles. This process continued w/the Bolt EV which has even more passenger space and an unmatched 238 mile range for a car that costs less than $30K after tax credits. That’s how engineering works. Improvements with each iteration. Just because GM didn’t want to build a $100K *luxury* car like Tesla, doesn’t mean they want EVs to fail. In fact what they have done in the last 10 years shows they are a leader when it comes to EVs.

                    5. stan1 says:

                      “You need to understand (and remember) the situation in 2007. The idea was to make an everyman’s EV, that wasn’t priced in the stratosphere and would cover daily driving. That limited what the car could be; size, battery, engine, etc.”

                      I fully understood the situation in 2007. The reason to make the vehicle an “everyman’s EV” was so the car would be limited and overpriced.

                      “Even going w/the compact car format, and a 16kwh battery, the prices of batteries and associated EV tech was still high enough that the MSRP of the Volt was $40K.”

                      And GM knew from the outset that the price level they could sell a competitive vehicle required an upscale product. All of the firms have known it from the outset. There is a reason Tesla’s “secret plan” starts at the top. To be competitive the products have to compete at the top of the market. This is no different than the other advanced tech the firms routinely introduce to the market.

                      “Gen 2 got the price down to $33K and also increased the range to 53 miles. This process continued w/the Bolt EV which has even more passenger space and an unmatched 238 mile range for a car that costs less than $30K after tax credits. That’s how engineering works. Improvements with each iteration.”

                      The Gen 2 Volt and Bolt remain hamstrung products selling above the price level of comparative products. That isn’t “how engineering works”. It isn’t engineering at all. It is an executive marketing decision and it is contrary to the normal product roll out pattern of all of these firms.

                      “Just because GM didn’t want to build a $100K *luxury* car like Tesla, doesn’t mean they want EVs to fail. In fact what they have done in the last 10 years shows they are a leader when it comes to EVs.”

                      Sure! GM knew it could sell the vehicle competitively as a Caddy but instead sold it as a gimped, overpriced Chevy to be a leader. It is likely they did it to undermine startups like Tesla while simultaneously “proving” the lack of demand for plug-ins to CARB.

                      At this point, they appear to be solely trying to slow down change to preserve value from their sunk investments in ICE production. It is a losing game. Somebody is going to eat their lunch. They better make sure it is them.

                  2. ClarksonCote says:

                    “Do you really believe GM is installing the Voltec drivetrain in a small, overpriced, 4 seat, compact car because they are trying to sell as many as possible?”

                    No, they’re installing it in a smaller car because that’s where battery prices and energy densities allow for right now with a still reasonable price point.

                    Overpriced? Haha. The Gen 1 Volt, at $37k, had a 5 year total cost of ownership that was cheaper than a Cruze.

                    The Gen 2 Volt has seating for 5, better styling, better acceleration, more EV range, better MPG, … and it’s much less expensive.

                    You’re letting your biases pick your “facts” instead of looking at the data to arrive at an unbiased conclusion. It’s the all-time best selling plug-in for crying out loud.

                    1. stan1 says:

                      “No, they’re installing it in a smaller car because that’s where battery prices and energy densities allow for right now with a still reasonable price point.”

                      Nonsense. They are selling the vehicles via their budget brands to try to hide ridiculous decisions as necessary cost cutting. The Volt did not need to be 3 inches too short.

                      “Overpriced? Haha. The Gen 1 Volt, at $37k, had a 5 year total cost of ownership that was cheaper than a Cruze.”

                      Yes, overpriced. Automotive consumer’s don’t make purchase decisions based on 5 year cost of ownership. You may not know that but GM certainly does. Likewise, only uncle stumpy can ride in the back seat of the Volt. Consumers do notice that sort of thing.

                      “The Gen 2 Volt has seating for 5, better styling, better acceleration, more EV range, better MPG, … and it’s much less expensive.”

                      The Gen 2 was made better in some areas but handicapped further in others. It now looks like an econobox. Despite claims to the contrary, its styling has gone down market compared to the Gen 1. Likewise, it does not have a 5th seat. It has a 5th seating position. It is still 3 inches too short.

                      “You’re letting your biases pick your “facts” instead of looking at the data to arrive at an unbiased conclusion. It’s the all-time best selling plug-in for crying out loud.”

                      You are certainly trying to dismiss my arguments by asserting bias on my part. You haven’t shown any whatsoever however. It will be quite impossible to do so since I have pointed to objective facts and given reasoned answers.

                      The Volt being the best selling plug-in is no proof at all that GM has really been trying to sell it “for crying out loud”. The gist of my argument is that the Volt and many other plug ins could have sold at much higher levels had GM, Ford, BMW, Nissan, etc. not been trying so hard to handicap them. Plug-ins are barely over 1 percent of the market. They could have been much, much further along.

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          “Now, you might be inclined to point at Model III pre-orders, and that’s fine… but that car had hundreds of thousands of pre-orders before anyone had even seen it. Again, the car itself isn’t what’s being evaluated… people are pre-ordering the Tesla name.”

          If GM had been pushing forward the EV revolution, if GM had made a commitment to making and selling long-range, compelling EVs, then perhaps GM would have created as much excitement for the Bolt as Tesla has created for the Model ≡.

          But no, GM has made only a lukewarm commitment to building EVs. The Volt is tiny and cramped, and overpriced for its market. GM refused to put a Voltec drivetrain into a larger PHEV… except the vastly overpriced Cadillac ELR.

          The Bolt may have better sales potential, but GM quite clearly has made decisions which will limit production. Decisions including the very subject of the discussion here. At least companies such as Ford and Volkswagen have started talking about serious plans for building their own large battery factories. GM hasn’t even done that!

          1. unlucky says:

            Isn’t Voltec in the CT6 also?

            1. Kdawg says:

              And in the Malibu Hybrid, 46mpg.

              1. unlucky says:

                But Pushy said that GM hasn’t used it in any other plug-ins (PHEV). The Malibu hybrid isn’t a plug-in.

                GM is starting to use Voltec in other plug-ins. I think it’d be wonderful if they would find a way to put it in a some sort of small utility vehicle. I had hoped to see that happen at NAIAS this year but it didn’t happen.

            2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              unlucky asked:

              “Isn’t Voltec in the CT6 also?”

              Right you are. Thank you for the correction.

              And yes, as you noted, I ignored the Malibu hybrid because it’s not a plug-in EV.

          2. Spider-Dan says:

            The Volt is tiny, cramped, overpriced… and was still the most-awarded car in American automaker history. I’m sure if GM had made a $90,000 Volt, it would have been bigger.

            The people who are making a decision on purchase of a Bolt based on how many battery factories GM owns are a demographic not worth chasing. Most of these people still hate GM for crushing the EV1 and insist that the Volt is a filthy gas guzzler.

            They cannot be reasoned with.

            1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              I think you’ve got the tail wagging the dog, there. Plus, I don’t recall seeing a single comment posted to InsideEVs saying “I’m not going to buy a Bolt because GM isn’t building its own battery factories.”

              Rather, GM refusing to even consider building its own battery factories is just a symptom of the company’s resistance to making and selling compelling PEVs in large numbers. Other symptoms include its political and lobbying support for new State laws intended to block Tesla’s sales.

              I submit, Spider-Dan, that it’s GM’s very obvious anti-EV policies which are causing so many posting comments here to swear they’ll never buy a Bolt or any other GM car. And not because GM hasn’t committed to building its own battery factories… yet. But we can be pretty sure they will, and likely within just a few years.

              1. Kdawg says:

                I don’t see any anti-EV policies. All I see are anti-GM people. Or put another way, “if it ain’t Tesla it’s wrong!” people.

                Heaven forbid customers evaluate a product for what it is. (sigh.. EV politics)

                1. stan1 says:

                  “Ad hominem (Latin for “to the man” or “to the person”[1]), short for argumentum ad hominem, is a logical fallacy in which an argument is rebutted by attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.”
                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

                  1. Kdawg says:

                    Here, I fixed it for you:

                    “a logical fallacy in which an argument is rebutted by attacking the corporation rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself”

                    1. stan1 says:

                      Your ad hominem attacks are pathetic misdirection.

                      I already pointed out it isn’t just GM. Ford has used goofy trunks, high prices, and low availability.

                      Tesla, Mitsubishi, and BYD have all proven the “no demand” shtick to be a lie.

                    2. Kdawg says:

                      Reading above, all is see is GM this.. GM that.

                      If EVs were as popular as you seem to think they are, they would sell better than 1% of market share.

                      We are getting there, but to blame automakers is a “misdirection”.

                    3. stan1 says:

                      My point is that they are not much more popular than now because Ford, Nissan, GM, BMW, VW, etc. are purposefully gimping their products to restrain demand. This is the exact opposite of saying they are widely popular.

                    4. stan1 says:

                      They damned well deserve that blame too.

              2. Spider-Dan says:

                To recap: you are accusing the automaker with the single highest-selling EV in the U.S. (as well as the first long-range BEV under $40,000) of “resistance to making and selling compelling PEVs in large numbers.” This is a religious position, free from fact.

                Whether GM (and others) are attempting to hamstring Tesla into the same dealer requirements that every other automaker has to meet is irrelevant; Tesla is not a stand-in representation for the EV market. Just as Tesla built a network of charging stations specifically designed to be incompatible with existing charging standards that every other automaker uses, I expect every automaker to make decisions that they feel helps their sales and hurts their competitors’ sales.

                1. stan1 says:

                  They have NOT sold large numbers of these products. Their current sales of plug-in products are a rounding error on their overall volumes. And, there are solid reasons given on this thread to fully support the contention that they’ve been foot dragging. Most of the counter responses have simply tried to discredit those well supported arguments and hand wave them away. This response is no different.

            2. stan1 says:

              There is no support for your assertion of a connection between awards and marketability. Being highly awarded does not equate at all to marketability. Many highly awarded vehicles have sold poorly and many questionable products have received awards: http://www.caranddriver.com/features/dishonorable-mention-the-10-most-embarrassing-award-winners-in-automotive-history

              There is no connection at all.

              1. Spider-Dan says:

                I cite awards because of the repeated claims that GM is somehow intentionally sabotaging the EV market by making terrible cars.

                The Volt (and the Bolt) are outstanding cars, and you don’t have to take my word for it. The reason why EV sales have not exploded is not because the Volt is a bad car; it’s because the demand simply isn’t there yet.

                1. stan1 says:

                  And people pointed out that your assertion was unsupported. Bad cars get awards. The Chevy Vega was the 1971 Motor Trend “Car of the Year”. The Chevy Citation was the 1980 Motor Trend “Car of the Year”. (Gotta laugh at Car and Driver pointing it out.) Both were lousy cars.

                  Awards have nothing whatsoever to do with marketability. The U.S. market for clown cars is very small. The U.S. market for 4 seaters is very small. Cramped 4 seaters sell very poorly in the U.S. Ugly, overpriced cars sell poorly. Cars with big boxes in their trunks sell poorly. Very few of these vehicles are sold in the U.S. market irrespective of drivetrain.

                  1. Spider-Dan says:

                    Somehow, I doubt that your “bad cars can still get awards” logic applies to the Model S.

                    The Volt didn’t win one fluke award; it won a table full of awards, more than any other American car had ever won. To the extent that one CAN argue that a car is objectively good (without simply pointing at sales), the Volt is a good car.

                    1. stan1 says:

                      The Model S is production constrained. The Volt, Leaf, and plug-in Ford’s pug-ins are all demand constrained because they are all purposely gimped products. No matter how many awards the Volt won, it remains aimed at a ridiculously small market segment.

  13. agzand says:

    in 4-5 years Chinese will start dumping subsidized s***** (but adequate) batteries on the market. It is not rocket science. The battery technology is well established and cost is more important than having the highest energy density. Besides since Tesla has enough batteries to put Li-ion batteries on the ground in Powerpacks, where weight is not a factor (comparing to lead acid), I think there is little evidence that there will be shortage for automotive applications.

    1. Yogurt says:

      And speaking of the Chinese…
      “CATL plans to grow its battery capacity sixfold by 2020 to 50 gigawatt hours, which could put it ahead of Tesla Motor Inc’s gigafactory in Nevada.”
      “Company representatives say that because of non-disclosure agreements they can only list BMW as a customer for now”

      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-autos-batteries-idUSKBN14E0K1

      1. floydboy says:

        Isn’t Tesla’s pack production slated to be 3 times that in 2020?

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        It has been only a year or two since LG Chem was talking big about ramping up production even faster than Panasonic/Tesla. The reality has lagged very far indeed behind their claims.

        Will CATL actually build out the capacity it’s bragging about, or will it — like LG Chem — be just more empty claims from a battery maker?

        Talk is super cheap; the battery industry has to have more B.S. in it than any industry I’ve ever encountered. It’s insane. — Elon Musk, Nov. 5, 2014

        1. Kdawg says:

          Where is the quote where LG said they would ramp up more than the Gigafactory, or did you just make that up?

          Note LG did increase production in Holland MI, they just build a plant in China, and they are completing a new plant in Poland.

          So it seems like increasing production was not an “empty promise”.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Hey, thanks for making me do homework, Kdawg. 😉

            Okay, mea culpa, it was BYD and not LG Chem which claimed it was going to be ramping up li-ion production even faster than Panasonic/Tesla, in GHw per year of increased capacity.

            See, for example:

            http://www.electric-vehiclenews.com/2015/03/byd-to-build-battery-gigafactory-to.html

            Sometimes the hard drive in the wetware (i.e., my memory) malfunctions. 😳

  14. FPD says:

    The fundamental reality behind this article is a company lead by an engineer thinks differently than a company lead by a defacto accountant. Musk sees the battery issue as a solution to exploding EV growth. The other automakers see batteries as the issue stopping EV growth.

    It is just amazing that some legacy automakers see a market willing to pay money as being unserviceable because they cannot figure out how $$$ being available for battery demand could result in increased battery production. At least it is a self solving problem.

  15. Bob Nan says:

    Kia Niro is supposed to come with Hybrid, Plugin and Electric powertrains.

    For now, the Niro Hybrid is priced @ $22,890 which is nearly $1,700 less than Prius Hybrid. So we can expect Niro Plugin and EV also to be priced economically.

    http://www.kia.com/us/en/vehicle/niro/2017

    In fact, Niro will now become the most economic Hybrid SUV. It has lot more space than Prius and a decent 50 MPG.

  16. Someone out there says:

    Fools! The battery is by far the most important component and something that any EV manufacturer must have a firm grip on.

  17. Another (Euro) industrial point of view says:

    Making lithium batteries for car is a huge financial risk no one is willing to take except Tesla. We can’t really blame OEM’s not wanting to take this risk alone as they are putting their hard won’t cash into it and not someone’s else cash as Tesla does (by raising cash on the markets). Now as always with risk they need to be mutualised (many parties taking part of the risk). So funding should come not from one OEM but from several AND the “chemists” (LG, Samsung or Panasonic. So sooner or later all those car makers will become nothing more than coach designers, a thorough transformation of the industry. Car makers often sharing same motors and batteries. Car makers won’t be able to make a profit margin if they make their own batteries and motors except if selling $100K+ cars.

    1. Alan says:

      I can just visualise Tesla hoovering up all the EV business from the OEM’s & eating their lunch, which is probably what Elon thought long ago !

      1. jimjonjack&jill says:

        The Machine that Ate the machine , That Built The machine……HA!

  18. JeffD says:

    It seems funny to me that these automakers are complaining of a shortage of batteries for millions of vehicles that they haven’t built yet. In fact they keep telling us that they won’t be building the millions of EVs till 2020 or beyond. Battery companies are not going to make batteries for cars that don’t exist. If a battery company is well managed, they will work hard and be serious about ramping up production when they see the automakers actually be serious and ramp up production. The cars that are being built right now are not having a shortage of batteries because those automakers have shown that they are making a certain amount of commitment to building the vehicles and have earned enough trust from the battery companies that they have partnered with in order for the battery companies to make the commitment to build the batteries the automakers need. Whining about a shortage now just tells me and any battery company that you may want to partner with that you are not ready to make that kind of commitment. Stop lying to us and telling us you are going to build a million EVs if you are not serious about it.

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