As Tesla grows, it will have to make some important decisions surrounding battery production.
We've shared several articles about Tesla and its battery situation as of late. This is because it's a really big deal as the electric automaker moves forward. Tesla is already far ahead of all other automakers in terms of overall EV technology and production, and it's the global leader by a massive margin as far as battery capacity is concerned.
It seems to be at the point that Tesla's Gigafactory — with the help of Panasonic — is barely able to crank out enough battery cells and packs to satisfy necessary production. This is due to the massive popularity of the Model 3. With the Model Y and Tesla Pickup Truck coming, an exponentially greater number of cells and packs will certainly be necessary.
While we don't have a ton of solid information yet, it appears that Tesla is already planning to eventually manufacture cells. Reportedly, the company will do this on its own, but not without the help of a few companies it has already acquired: Hibar Systems and Maxwell Technologies.
Our good friend Sean Mitchell discusses the situation with the help of Galileo Russel (Hyperchange TV). Mitchell jokes that eventually, Tesla may have to change the name of its Gigafactory to the Terafactory.
Check out the video above and the written analysis below. Then let us know what you think by leaving a comment.
Video Description via Sean Mitchell (AllThingsEV) on YouTube:
The case for Tesla becoming their own battery cell supplier
Gali’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1LA...
How does Tesla fulfill cell demand for their upcoming products, the pickup truck, Model Y, Semi, and Roadster when Panasonic is struggling to produce 30 GWh for their current lineup of the Model S, X, and 3.
My hypothesis: Tesla needs to become their own cell supplier
This is why Tesla’s upcoming battery and drivetrain investor day is so important.
Gali from Hyperchange and I were talking about it the other day and here are his thoughts since he just returned from an exclusive tour of Giga 1:
Tesla’s vehicle lineup is directly tied to battery cell production and supply chain. If the cell supply chain is the current bottleneck, Tesla must find a why to control their own destiny.
This sounds exciting but why is Tesla doing this if they’ve been married at the hip with Panasonic?
Tesla product lineup in the next two years: ‘Model B’ (Pickup truck), Model Y, Semi, Roadster. Along with their current lineup of S, X, and 3, Tesla will need more than 1 TWh of cells in the very near future.
Panasonic at least for the last year has been underperforming with cell output.
-Back in August 2018 cell output was only at 20 GWh with a goal to get to the theoretical capacity of 35 GWh by the end of 2018
-In September 2018 Panasonic said it would add 3 new cell lines to the Gigafactory by end of 2018
-In April of 2019 the Nikkei reported that Panasonic would not be making any new investments in Giga 1 or 2
-As of April 13 2019 Elon said that Panasonic was only producing 24 GWh
In other words, Tesla wants to move faster but Panasonic either can’t or doesn’t want to.
This is where the Maxwell acquisition becomes valuable
-Maxwell’s DBE tech will increase production capacity density by 16x and provide a 10-20% cost reduction in manufacturing
-Maxwell also claimed to have an cell energy density increase from Tesla’s current ~250 Wh/kg to 300 and a pathway to 500
Tesla’s most recent acquisition of Canadian company Hibar Systems further solidifies my theory. I’ll let their CEO explain what they do:
As a result of Tesla becoming their own battery supplier, I believe they will give them more control over cell volume and costs - and not to mention single handedly drive down the cost per kWh of batteries for the entire EV industry to benefit from.
One final thought, if Tesla does successfully produce more than a TWh of batteries, does that mean they should change Gigafactory to Terafactory???