At 500k Units, Tesla Model 3 Battery Needs Exceed All Global Plug-Ins Combined

4 months ago by Steven Loveday 31

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

According to Tesla CTO J.B. Straubel, at peak production the Tesla Model 3 will use more lithium-ion batteries than even exist in the world today.

As we previously reported, Straubel recently delivered an informative keynote speech at the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s Annual Energy Fair. He verified that battery cells for the upcoming Model 3 are already being manufactured at the Gigafactory, which is positive news related to the car’s upcoming production timeline. Straubel said:

“We’re starting to make model 3 cells right now.”

Tesla Gigafactory

Tesla Gigafactory Aerial (April 2017)

The cells are the new form factor 2170 cells, which the automaker starting making in January for its home energy products. The batteries that are currently in production are only for the Model 3 (and Tesla Energy products).

We had thought that eventually these new cells would make their way into the Tesla Model S and X, but Elon Musk just confirmed that this is not to be the case.

At the moment, Tesla is functioning with one Gigafactory (or two sort of), and the battery factory is far from complete. Once it’s at full production capability, it will make more lithium-ion cells than all other makers combined. This is just the tip of the iceberg, as Tesla plans to build many, many more Gigafactories around the globe.

Let’s get back to Straubel’s comments, which may have come across a bit confusing. He was trying to paint a picture of the scale of the Tesla Model 3, and the lithium-ion cells needed for its production. He explained:

“The Model 3 alone, when it’s at half a million vehicles per year, will use the world’s entire lithium ion battery supply.”

Musk had previously said something very similar in relation to the Gigafactory. What the two are trying to say is that the Model 3 will need more batteries than all other global lithium-ion battery needs combined. Also, if another automaker dove in headfirst to try to catch Tesla in the EV segment, there simply wouldn’t be enough batteries.

Keep in mind that Straubel’s statement was only in reference to the Model 3. Factor in the Model S and X, upcoming Model Y, Tesla pickup truck, and Tesla Semi … it’s substantial.

Source: Teslarati

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31 responses to "At 500k Units, Tesla Model 3 Battery Needs Exceed All Global Plug-Ins Combined"

  1. Alaa says:

    You forgot stationary batteries too.

    1. And…..Elons ‘Vertical Take-off Electric Jet!’

      1. Alaa says:

        What I like most about this story is that if any current car manufacturer wants to make electric cars with the same volume like Tesla, then they have to collect all the Li ion batteries from the whole world to make 500,000 cars. So this is yet another prof that no one will be able to compete with Tesla for a long time to come.
        And by the time Mercedes or LG etc make other factories to make batteries then Tesla will be far head of them, with more factories and more cars. As for your VTOL idea I think it will take some years but it will come and no one other than Tesla will have enough batteries to make these VTOL machines.

        1. Mario says:

          Lilium has a working model now of VTOL

        2. Someone out there says:

          You are ignoring that other companies are building battery factories as well. Especially in China there are a lot of capacity underway.

        3. ramon leigh says:

          That is a ridiculously nonsensical view of productivecapacity, of anything. The only reason more batteries aren’t produced right now is because there hasn’t been the demand.
          Chevy will build plenty of Bolts and doesn’t need bateries from Tesla – right now GM pay less than Tesla for their batteries and their Bolt has a bigger battery pak than the new Model 3. Tesla hasn’t got a lock on ANYTHING related to electric cars. And their supercharger staions are becoming overcrowded and now we learn that Tesla Model 3 owners won’t get free recharges.
          We can assum, based on Musk tendencyto act like apirate, that rechrages will cost a pretty penny for Model 3 owners. Musk will use Model 3 owners as perpetual streams of income.

          1. You are “funny”…
            First: it’s not news to anyone that superchargers would cost for use. That’s the only (business) sensical and logical progress. It’s still cheaper to “fill up” your car with electricity, than it is the equivalent of gasoline.
            Second: GM will need more and cheaper batteries if they want to compete with the Model 3 production capacity and revenue with a car people actually would like to buy (you know, having fast-DC charging as standard), as well as dealerships knowing how to sell them.
            Third: Show me proof that GM’s battery pack is cheaper than that of the Model 3. Bear in mind, we don’t know the price of either right now, so I’m quite interested what you are going to dig up, given your overly confident statement.
            Fourth: You don’t know what batterypack is bigger. You base that on assumption and dated hints from Tesla management. Most likely they will have the same or very similar battery pack sizes, and Midel 3 will be offering a upgrade to a bigger battery pack. Does Bolt EV offer that?
            Fifth: Tesla is aggressively expanding their supercharger stands to accommodate more vehicles. Bear in mind, these are not quintessential for Tesla drivers to move from A to B either, they only serve to offer a better and quicker experience “filling up” electricity on your car. Does GM offer this? Besides, when more DC stands become available to other EVs, Tesla owners will be able to use those as well, just like today. Win win…
            Sixth: What are you talking about Musk and pirate?!
            Please elaborate on this statement of yours.

          2. Forgot to mention: I seem to recollect that the price of Bolt EV’s batterypack was made publicly known…it is somewhere in the $200+/kWh…Tesla is very likely closer to half of that, than it is to more than that…

  2. Warren says:

    I am going to suggest that those 300K-500K preorders represent the majority of potential sales for the Model 3. Clearly, if it is half as good as people hope, there will be more orders continuing to come in, but more like 5K-10K a month. Think about it. At this point, the Model 3 is a fantasy projection for every car geek on the planet. Like their dream wife, the reality won’t be nearly as exciting.

    1. Alaa says:

      I like that wife part. Are you divorced?

      1. Warren says:

        No. Our marriage has lasted much longer than our cars, and those typically went 15-20 years.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “I am going to suggest that those 300K-500K preorders represent the majority of potential sales for the Model 3.”

      Wow, deja vu all over again. That’s exactly what Tesla detractors said about the Model S pre-orders, back in 2011-2012.

      How did that work out, again? 😀

      Go Tesla!

      1. Warren says:

        Yes, 2011-2012 when oil was twice the price it is now, and gas was 50% higher, and people thought the Age of Aquarius was really here this time, and the middle class would come roaring back. Unless you figure the top ten percent are going to be scaling back to $35-$40K cars?

        1. Warren says:

          I am not saying it couldn’t happen. After four full years of production, they have captured almost a third of the full size luxury market. The US, and European mid-size, premium market is about 2 million cars, so almost a third of that market would be 500K. However, if tax credits go away, and interest rates rise, I don’t see their share being that large in the more competitive midsize market.

      2. Fidelis says:

        Oil price has very little to do with people buying EVs and it will be even less in the future. As EVs continue to grow Oil can fall to 25 dollars and it will not matter.

        1. Robert Middleswarth says:

          Oil prices do have an effect. They just aren’t the only thing effecting sales. If the price of Oil were to double (Not that I think they will) then EV sales would increase at a faster rate. If it gets even cheaper then the rate of growth will likely slow down.

  3. Anders Oesterholm says:

    500k units with 60kWh packs makes 30GWh. However China is projected to have the capacity to produce 180GWh in 2017 according to Caixin http://www.caixinglobal.com/2017-06-23/101104607.html
    Sure, there is overcapacity in China, but I think Straubel got this one wrong.

    1. Alaa says:

      Could it be that they will make more than 500k cars? I find it strange that JB gets something like this wrong and you with the help of google gets it right!

      1. Anders Oesterholm says:

        I was referring to this quote “The Model 3 alone, when it’s at half a million vehicles per year, will use the world’s entire lithium ion battery supply.”

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          The actual, original claim was that when finished, the goal for Gigafactory 1 is to produce more lithium ion batteries in a year than were produced in the entire world in 2013.

          (emphasis added)

          Those last two words, “in 2013”, are usually omitted when the claim is repeated. If they are included, then it certainly could be true, altho we’ll have to wait and see if Gf 1 does actually produce that many GWh when it’s finished.

          Of course, the worldwide output of li-ion batteries for EVs keeps increasing every year, a fact that Tesla spokesmen ignore when repeating that claim.

      2. DJ says:

        Why? Their MO is to lie to the consumer over and over.

        No way will 500k Model 3s require more lithium ion batteries then there are in existence today.

        But hey that lie has you talking about them so they got what they wanted…

        1. DJ says:

          Holy crap, I just realized Tesla is the long lost Kardashian sister…

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          “Their MO is to lie to the consumer over and over.”

          A serial Tesla basher calling out somebody else for repeatedly lying?

          Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? … You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

          — Matthew 7:3,5 (Revised Standard Version)

          1. James says:

            +1

            You can’t go wrong when quoting the highest authority ever!

          2. DJ says:

            Hey I bash those who deserve it just as I praise those who deserve it.

            No real surprise that your response didn’t have any actual substance to it.

            Do the math and you will realoze it is BS. Then again that would require you to use your brain and not just be a sheep and believe whatever these guys tell you so no real chance of that happening.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Or maybe Caixin got it wrong. Perhaps that 180 GWh they’re projecting includes all li-ion batteries, including the ones for cellphones, laptops and other consumer electronics… and not just EVs.

      1. DJ says:

        Oh here we go. Begin the qualifications and try and interpret what the guy actually meant and how the truth can be conformed to fit the lie.

        Why not just do the math? Oh wait like I said that would require you to use your brain.

        1. Now now, children! This is not CNN here!

          Regardless, 500,000 Model 3’s might likely not all be 60 kWh Packs!

          I intend to go for the max, which, suggestions are, going to be 75 kWh, so there is that! I expect I am not the only one thinking on that plan.

          At some point, Tesla Semi will come out as well (18-24 Months?), and I am pretty sure it will help increase the consumption of 2170 cells from GF1!

  4. Four Electrics says:

    Comparing Tesla’s future plans for battery production to today’s existing battery production is nonsensical. It ignores future plans from other manufacturers. Either compare today vs today or future vs future. Don’t mix and match.

  5. Rex Irby says:

    Lets assume that World wide 2016 LCE production was 50,000 tons.
    Lets assume that 50% of world LCE production goes to EV batteries.
    Lets assume that it takes 400 grams of LCE per KW
    This comes to 190,000 60KW battery pack EV’s per year World wide. Approx 110K EV’s sold in the US – 2016.
    If China sold more than 80K EV’s then we are likely at WW LCE production limits already. If Tesla has NOT invested in material mine ownership as the China has they have a serious problem. 8 times 2016 WW LCE production would have to occur to be able to sustain 1,200,000 annual EV production. This capacity of LCE does not exist today!!

  6. Rex Irby says:

    Lets assume that World wide 2016 LCE production was 50,000 tons.
    Lets assume that 50% of world LCE production goes to EV batteries.
    Lets assume that it takes 400 grams of LCE per KW
    This comes to 190,000 60KW battery pack EV’s per year World wide. Approx 110K EV’s sold in the US – 2016.
    If China sold more than 80K EV’s then we are likely at WW LCE production limits already. If Tesla has NOT invested in material mine ownership as the Chinese has they have a serious problem. 8 times 2016 WW LCE production would have to occur to be able to sustain 1,200,000 annual EV production. This capacity of LCE does not exist today!!

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