Analyst: Renault-Nissan and Tesla Positioned to Deliver Low-Cost Batteries in Near Future

MAY 7 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 24

Tesla Giga Factory graphic

Tesla Giga Factory graphic

According to Benzinga, Bernstein analyst Max Warburton reported that electric vehicles may actually have a future now that automakers like Tesla Motors and Renault-Nissan are driving down battery costs.

LEAF Battery Pack Gets Assembled

LEAF Battery Pack Gets Assembled

As Benzinga states:

“Warburton noted Tesla Motors “extraordinary” claims regarding low battery costs. The analyst remarked that, if proven correct, suggests that the cost of batteries may decline to enable a competitive electric vehicle cost.”

This may convince Warburton to change his future outlook for electric vehicles.  Back in 2011, Bernstein put out a note on electric vehicles saying that they would not become cost competitive in the near future.

Now, Warburton feels that electric vehicle could represent a “much larger part” of the automotive fleet in the coming years, due mainly to reduced battery costs.

Warburton notes that both Tesla and Renault-Nissan are best positioned to deliver on the promise of low-cost batteries.  More specifically, Warburton says that Renault-Nissan is likely the only mainstream OEM with the capability of delivering low-cost batteries in the near future.

Source: Benzinga

Categories: Battery Tech, Nissan, Renault, Tesla

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24 Comments on "Analyst: Renault-Nissan and Tesla Positioned to Deliver Low-Cost Batteries in Near Future"

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This just in: Financial analyst misses blindingly obvious economic trend, gets forecast wildly wrong, then has to correct when reality becomes undeniable.

Sigh.

(Please note: My frustration is aimed at the analyst, not this site.)

+1. Max Warburton who?

EV’s will take over once they come out with a 150 mile Nissan Leaf and a Electric. BMW that can go 180 miles on a charge.

Perhaps a Leaf owner that understands Nissan’s battery manufacturing could explain this.

Nissan makes its own batteries and as far as I know their battery facility at Smyrna is very large and capable of manufacturing in quantities large enough to bring down the price.

What is the max capacity of Nissan’s battery manufacturing plant in Smyrna.???

How does Smyrna compare to Tesla’s giga plant??

Smyrna’s nominal capacity is 200,000 Leaf-sized (24kWh) batteries per year. That’s 4.8MWh / year. 1GWh is 1000MWh. So the gigafactory is larger by a few orders of magnitude.

Correction – that’s 4.8GWh / year. So I guess they’re about the same?

Exactly. All this fuss for Tesla about something Nissan has had for a while now. If Nissan really wants to, they can probably beat Tesla to a 150 mile family car by a couple years. They do have to bring the energy density up though, or they are never going to be able to make a car large enough to hold them.

Nissan assembles their batteries from components it purchases from suppliers.

Tesla will manufacture the batteries from raw materials.

The current constraint in battery pack prodcuction for Nissan is based on constraint from suppliers.

I’m sure they buy separators in bulk…

but what about the electrodes??

Usually the anode and cathode are copper and aluminum sheet that is then coated with the active materials. (like carbon on the anode) and LMO on the cathode.

I thought I read that Nissan coats their own anodes and cathodes.

Just answered my own question. Nissan buys the electrodes in huge roll already coated and then cuts them and stacks them.

Tesla will make their own electrodes from scratch.

The Tesla Gigafactory is not 1GWh/y, it’s 1 billion cells/year. As the graphic above in the article shows that’s 35 GWh/y, so it would be one order of magnitude larger than Nissan’s 4.8GWh/y.

I wasn’t as sure on the Tesla numbers. So if Tesla’s factory has 10x the capacity of Nissan’s, all the fuss would make sense. Also Smyrna is nowhere near that 200,000 limit today. As DeeAgeaux pointed out, they assemble the batteries from components sourced elsewhere. Tesla is looking to take raw materials into the Gigafactory and pump out finished automotive batteries.

There is a significant population at Nissan who honestly think that 24kWh is all one would ever need for an EV (hence the “healthy debate” comments by Andy Palmer). Tesla, on the other hand, wouldn’t hesitate to stuff 240kWh into a car if they could fit it and do so economically. Tesla’s approach will require many more batteries than Nissan’s.

I doubt anyone thinks 24KWH is ‘all you ever need’. It is a decent amount for a base car. But if they want people to buy EVs instead of gassers, they need to provide options for larger batteries. I don’t need Tesla’s 85KWH . . . but something above 40KWH would be nice.

To completely displace gasoline, I agree. However, what is “good enough”? If Nissan believes that near to medium term, they only need to have some percentage (less than 50%) of their sales be EVs, then maybe 24kWh is enough. If the goal is to reduce gasoline consumption by 90%, we could do that with a combination of short-range BEVs and EREVs. (Most Volt drivers have reduced their own gasoline usage by a huge margin).

If the goal is to 100% replace gasoline, again you’re right. We need much more. To replace my second car with a BEV, I would need at least 85kWh, coupled with better infrastructure than even Tesla has planned within their supercharger rollout plan.

Nissan has other cars that they will sell less of, if they introduce battery tech one for one with Tesla. So, your “if” is well placed.

Yes, but I’m willing to bet that for every gasoline car sale they lose to an EV, they would pick up at least 1-2 conquest sales from another manufacturer’s gas cars. They really don’t have any competition in the EV space today from the traditional OEMs.

Uuuh, Tesla already beat Nissan on the 150 mile family car. You can easily fit a whole family in a Model S.

“if Nissan could” yeah, right, but ask yourself: why don’t they do it then? (hint 1: $, hint 2: Wh/kg).

So Tesla will be the first with an affordable 200 mile family car. Not Nissan.

Thx Brian. That’s what I thought.

but they make their own batteries at the plant is Spain also…yes? I wonder what capacity that plant is.(AFAIK eNV will be made there)

Do they actually make the cells or just assemble the packs?

Didn’t Tesla state that the “Giga factory” would be producing 100GWh, with about 50GWh for automotive purposes?

So still an order of magnitude larger and designed to churn out far more energy dense batteries as well (more volatile chemistry). Nissan has a lot to do if they want to compete in a few years time.

Ah I’ve just seen the image at the top of the article and I got some of the numbers a bit wrong. It is actually 50GWh total 35GWh for automotive. Still a differnt level from Nissan though.

The auto analysts don’t think the same as the utility analysts. Oil, autos and utilities are all followed somewhat myopically by their respective “group thinkers”. Hugh Wynne, who covers utilities for Bernstein, is a really bright guy I’d love to hear more from, for instance. When I hear “it’s the auto guy”, these days I get cynical about how limited the sphere is. Warburton is an example, where I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t talk much with his colleague, and may not be equipped to value the influence of batteries. Instead, he’s probably sat in the meetings with auto company execs, CFO’s, etc, and then parroted what they want perception to be. Needless to say, that’s not being a good analyst.

The guy missed the point to begin with – the Tesla Model S IS competitive – has been from Day 1. That was the whole point and why everybody talks about it. Except for some luxury add-ons, it’s toe-to-toe with BMW 7-series, Audi A8, etc., etc., etc., in price and performance.

Mental Note:

Death toll for gas cars occurs when other manufacturers begin producing their own batteries.

No company will want to pay Tesla (or Nissan) for batteries for long.