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 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.