Apple, Not Panasonic, As Tesla Motors’ Giga Factory Partner?

APR 27 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 26

Tesla Giga Factory

Tesla Giga Factory

“Having Panasonic as a joint venture partner would facilitate strategic access to Panasonic’s supply chain and reduce risks.”

Giga Factory Graphic

Giga Factory Graphic

Wrote an analyst at Wedbush Securitiesm, according to Motley Fool.

But with reports that Panasonic might not be in on the deal, who else could step in to assist Tesla?

Motley Fool thinks Apple is a prime candidate.  Here’s why:

“…the prospect of such a large-scale manufacturing facility is exciting, not only for Tesla but also for a number of other companies, such as Apple, whose consumer electronics products rely on lithium-ion cells. While this is purely speculative at this point, Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, met with Apple’s chief of mergers and acquisitions last spring.”

“…Apple holds valuable battery patents that could be interesting to Tesla down the road, including a new smart power-management system that aims to extend an iPhone’s battery life by learning users’ habits.”

“Additionally, Apple “could use the batteries to augment its huge solar installations at its data centers or factories” suggests Seth Weintraub of 9To5Mac.”

That’s all according to Motley Fool, who correctly points out that this is pure speculation.

Could Apple tie up with Tesla on the battery giga factory?  Sure Apple could, but we suspect a more likely candidate is Samsung SDI.  That is, provided Panasonic is not on board.

Source: Motley Fool

Categories: Tesla

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26 Comments on "Apple, Not Panasonic, As Tesla Motors’ Giga Factory Partner?"

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I want to believe. Apple & Tesla would be so much brand power that they would have no problem raising the money.

But doesn’t even make sense? I doubt the Li-Ion batteries in Apple consumer electronics use the same chemistry as the Li-Ion batteries in a Tesla car. And Tesla uses those little cylinder batteries whereas Apple uses batteries shaped to fit their particular product design.

But perhaps they can find some happy middle ground on chemistry and form factor?

Chemistry isn’t a big concern. But form factor is. Apple probably quit using 18650s (in their laptops) years ago, and no one would ever use 18650s in a phone.

Oh. Motley Fool. Those guys tend to be idiots.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Does Apple use 18650 cells in its laptop batteries? Cuz they look like custom prismatics to me. I don’t see them getting much use out of Tesla’s gigafactory unless it’s just a straight-up investment that expects returns.

Who is saying the Gigafactory will only make 18650s? I suspect the Gen III Tesla won’t use them.

The cells are prismatic in Apple’s laptops and mobile devices. I don’t even think the manufacturing for both types of cells is compatible.

Remember the old Star Trek where Kirk tells Mr. Spock: “Not Chess Mr Spock. Poker.”

Panasonic or Samsung will belly up to the table. They have no choice. They will lose the poker match. It’s all just jockeying for position.

I think I do remember that episode. I believe it was in the first season. I think just like they are doing for choosing the site, they will get as much input from each possibility as possible and then make a decision. There might even be multiple partners if there is enough of a benefit for all parties.

Yes! The Corbomite Maneuver, or something like that.

And, a good point. It’s probably all leverage. I’m sure that Musk is smart enough to realize that no single entity is going to just walk in on such a venture, and say, sure, here’s $3B!

All of the talk and reporting around the gigafactory normally left room for multiple partners in the project. I’m sure it would be simpler if Panasonic came on board and made up the difference, but it’s not without its risks, obviously.

Plus, from what I understand, Panasonic has not been doing well overall, except for their battery business, which was partly saved by Tesla to begin with, depending on who you want to believe.

I’m sure that Panasonic would benefit, but because of the business risk of the gigafactory, ongoing Tesla success, and their own poorly-performing divisions, I can understand reluctance.

That’s all I’m throwing out there for discussion – I’m out of my league, for the most part, on these issues.

Could you ever see Elon Musk bowing down to a sect leader?

Nah, there parters will be companies who know their place.

Panasonic just doesn’t want to invest that much money, they’re afraid they’ll lose their shirts in case things go wrong. Perhaps both Apple and Panasonic will take part in the Gigafactory, who knows. By the way, Telsa raised $2 billion a few weeks ago, $1 billion was for the Gigafactory and $1 billion was for the development of model E, so someone has to bring the rest to the table. Apple it seems to me (along possibly with Google) would the only company who can make such a risk without having care if things go south.

I can see Apple investing in the factory in some sort of pre-order for battery storage for their solar power arrays. Maybe to the tune of $250M for 1GWh of storage over the next 5 years.

Would an Apple store suffice as an independent dealer to satisfy the ICE gang in New Jersey and elsewhere?

I like your thinking, there is always a reason for a wedding you just have to find a bride and groom who are interested.

IMO, Tesla are a new kid on the block not wed to years of battery development they could go down any technical path they choose. If I was Elon I would be looking for a battery manufacturer that has a great product that fits the Tesla application but (the manufacturer) is small enough to be purchased out right. If I was Apple I’d be looking for the same. This could be the point where we get a wonderful new battery chemistry or it could be Panasonic/Tesla need money and Apple needs a sensible place to spend its sizable war chest or it could be something completely different.

What ever happens I have high hopes for the next decade in terms of exciting new technology.

Apple does not know how to make BEV batteries, it would be outright stupid to partner with them.

And Apple is probably not that idiotic to just write out a check to Panasonic.

I don’t think it’s about writing a check to Panasonic, it’s about investing capital and profiting for years to come…

Apple is not a pension fund, it is not supposed to go around “investing”

Ah, but Apple is rumored to be breaking into television, and Steve Jobs bragged (shortly before he died) that he cracked the code for photography.

Panasonic makes both televisions and a full line of cameras.

There will be no iCar…

Think how cool for Apple to have a core component – batteries made here in the United States – seems like it makes sense. I am sure the Mac Pro isn’t the only thing they want to build in the US.

Apple does not do the solar farms themselves – SunPower does.

This speculation makes no cents to me. BYD was making most of the cells for apple products and they seem to be quite happy with them. Why would they want the cells made in the USA and then ship them to China also having to pay a tariff. To my knowledge apple has never produced their own cells.

In order for this to be interesting to both parties you would need a new one fit all battery chemistry. More energy and more power for both phones and cars. Something versatile enough to be easily produced in prismatic form or cylindrical 18650 forms.

That could be another reason for the perceived reluctance. As far as we all know, Tesla is forging ahead with the 18650 form. Most of the auto industry is going with prismatic or other forms. Will Tesla continue with 18650s? Is there an advantage to prismatic cell structures that they may want to switch in time? Would the gigafactory be flexible enough to shift form factors?

And then the interface won’t be changed to the iCarOS. I bet it would get them off to flying start in combination with the solar power.
Maybe even beeing too successful and flying to close to the PV’s.

Aaargh… do not refer to Motley Fool…. they do not know anything on the technology, or the industry or anything that is relevant to the car companies.

Motley Fool is a site for the investors, and they publishing all kinds of hand waving speculations without any expert knowledge on the topic. They argue only from the basis of opinion.

This is the problem with internet, that people cannot separate relevant sources from bogus. And most sad thing that this kind of bogus often gets republished and webjournalists just google around and stuble upon interesting looking article without bothering to check backgroud if it is mere personal opinnion.

One good rule of thumb is that when ever you hear someone saying Tesla and Apple near each other, run from that conversation away as fast as possible.

Apple and Tesla has absolutely nothing in common. It is just the reflection of irrationality why some extremely ignorant people try to marry them.