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yankee1919
03 March 2014, 1127
Hello All,

With the news that Tesla will create a new Gigafactory, are they the only U.S made battery company?

The article is in USA Today.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/03/02/tesla-gigafactory-four-states/5891757/

Tony

Athlon
03 March 2014, 1321
I hope Gigfactory will also sell their batteries to everybody not just making it for Tesla

If the will start selling batteries all the other manufactures will have to cut the prices

Warren
03 March 2014, 1632
They will cheaper for Tesla, not for you. You can be certain they will not be selling them to individuals. By the time they go through several middlemen, they will be as expensive as anybody elses.

podolefsky
03 March 2014, 2013
With the news that Tesla will create a new Gigafactory, are they the only U.S made battery company?


Kokam has factories in Michigan and Missouri. Dow recently pulled out of the battery part, but say they'll still provide the chemicals. Not sure if new owners will keep factories in the US.

A123 has two factories in Michigan. But they also produce in China, and recently sold to a Chinese company, so not sure what will happen there.

Lots up in the air.

robo
03 March 2014, 2259
I'm curious. What's in the cost of a lithium cell? Obviously Tesla sees a way (or ways) of reducing cell costs by making their own. Maybe the savings are due to scale, more customization for their application, new cell technology, or other factors. Hard to know.

This new factory wouldn't change the supply or cost of materials.

What is the opportunity Tesla sees by starting a second and very different manufacturing business?

EV_Scoot
04 March 2014, 0123
Maybe it's to have control of supply. I remember one time a bolt supplier for the Automotive industry here in Australia ran out of bolts and that halted production.

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Richard230
04 March 2014, 0828
Tesla says that Panasonic is not able to produce enough batteries to supply the future anticipated demand for Tesla cars and that is the primary reason that the want to build a "Gigafactory". The fact that they will get various tax breaks, have complete control over QC and supply allocation, not have to worry about shipping and importing issues, earthquake, typhoon or political problems disrupting their supplies of batteries, are also likely major advantages to owning your own battery factory.

In any case, I wouldn't put any money on them selling their batteries on the open market unless the Gigafactory is able to make a lot more batteries than Tesla needs and that is reported to be unlikely, according to Tesla. They say that it will take all of the new factory's battery production, as well as all of the batteries that Panasonic can produce, just to keep up with their future battery demand.

yankee1919
04 March 2014, 0928
Hello Richard230,

Wow!Panasonic and Gigafactory! Sounds like a WWF double team, I would like Andre the Giant and Super fly Jimmy Snuka!

Warren
04 March 2014, 0950
"They say that it will take all of the new factory's battery production, as well as all of the batteries that Panasonic can produce, just to keep up with their future battery demand."

Which is why it is so ludicrous to imagine every American driving around with 3/4 tons of batteries under their seat! We need to go to much smaller, more efficient vehicles if personal transportation is going to continue. And I don't mean our grandkids. We needed to start in 1972.

robo
04 March 2014, 1034
I also read after my post that Panasonic was likely a "partner". Tesla certainly would have supply...the gigafactory will (in theory) produce as much annually as the rest of the world combined. This is truly a gargantuan effort on a global scale. If Tesla anticipates using all of this supply, more power to them. Pun intended.

Warren
04 March 2014, 1126
robo,

"If Tesla anticipates using all of this supply, more power to them."

Tesla claims they could produce about 500,000 vehicles per year. The US alone bought 15.6 million private vehicles in 2013. Global production, for private use, is at least triple that. Does anybody here think that can work?

chipper6
04 March 2014, 1242
One interesting thing on their proposal that caught my eye was 30 GWhr / year of cells AND 50 GWhr / year of packs. I think the packs cover their cars with an average pack size of 85kwhr thats 588,000+ cars. With a smaller average, more cars. That leaves the 30 GWhr/yr cells for outside sales.

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Warren
04 March 2014, 1320
So you are looking at about a million cars worth of cells, and a global demand of 45 million cars. Again, does anybody think there are raw materials available for 45 Gigafactories worth of lithium cells....every year?

chipper6
04 March 2014, 1434
It is possible that they would still be a large market for 25 kilowatt hour packs once there is mass adoption. Its a good question. You should figure out how many tons of copper and aluminum are in each kilowatt hour. Lithium is most likely not the limiting factor given how much is chile alone

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Richard230
04 March 2014, 1514
I heard on the news today that Tesla is going to expand their operations in Europe, as well as installing their "Superchargers" all around the continent.

If Tesla starts selling as many cars and batteries as they hope to do so, recycling Li batteries is going to be pretty big business, sooner or later. I imagine that the Gigafactory will be doing a lot of recycling of materials eventually.

robo
04 March 2014, 1940
Chipper6's numbers sound close to me for cars. The factory will also produce cells for Solar City, so I'm assuming extra capacity goes there.

According to a press release below (by a company that I assume competes with Chilean lithium supplies), they claim, "the lithium in Chile is significantly spoken for by Asian manufacturers".

More interestingly:

The same release states, "Much like Mr. Musk, we feel very strongly that the demand for lithium-ion batteries will be driven by applications associated with solar and wind power, which require significantly greater amounts of lithium than car batteries."

So, the gigafactory is as much about grid as about autos. Solar City's just not saying that yet. Perhaps this is the big plan. Solar City (with Musk's cousins) waits in the wings for their window to hit. Tesla benefits from the supply in the near term. Genius, really.

On the Tesla side, in 2012, they sold short of 5000 vehicles. In 2013, at least 22,450 vehicles. Two points can't differentiate between linear and exponential sales growth. But if we guestimate linear sales growth at ~4.9x/yr, in two years, they'd be right around chipper6's number...and close to when the gigafactory goes online.

Perhaps the new Tesla model(s) will make that sales growth easier.


http://www.marketwatch.com/story/lithium-exploration-group-ceo-comments-on-teslas-lithium-ion-battery-plans-2014-03-03?reflink=MW_news_stmp

http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-14/tesla-delivered-6-900-cars-in-fourth-quarter-executive-says.html

http://seekingalpha.com/article/2061003-solar-city-earnings-and-how-the-giga-factory-could-energize-the-industry

robo
04 March 2014, 2148
Actually, according to Tesla's slides, the factory's planned to come online in 2017. So, Tesla would have three years to sell to that capacity instead of two. To me, that's still an ambitious sales plan though.

Warren
05 March 2014, 0735
So it is possible, that because of an accident of history, like QWERTY, we could end up powering, not only two ton cars, but houses and businesses with tiny laptop batteries!?!?

http://www.energybiz.com/magazine/article/346913/tesla-s-power-play

Warren
05 March 2014, 0754
OK. Some quick and dirty math. The number of cell phones is supposed to reach 7.3 billion this year. A Tesla S uses roughly 7000 cells. The Gigafactory could produce enough cells for about a million cars, so about 7 billion cells. So if Tesla is successful, and sells a million battery packs in their cars, and maybe the Mercedes B class EV, etc. they will use as many cells as the entire mobile phone industry. And that for 1/45 of the global car market...for a year. I know we have an infinite amount of oil, as god and Exxon promised us. But do we really have enough stuff for an infinite number of batteries?

Warren
05 March 2014, 0822
I know this seems like I am being silly. But I am old enough to remember the introduction of plastic drink bottles. It wasn't that long ago.

http://www.ted.com/talks/capt_charles_moore_on_the_seas_of_plastic

This government sponsored study assumes we will maximize recycling. If the EV adoption rate is as high as Tesla hopes, and we stick to big, fast cars, we will be screwed by 2050.

http://www1.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/pdfs/merit_review_2009/propulsion_materials/pmp_05_gaines.pdf

Richard230
05 March 2014, 0825
Quality control when manufacturing an infinite number of little batteries is going to be a real bitch.

robo
05 March 2014, 0854
Warren, that interview with jb explained their vision pretty well. But yeah, they're going to need a lot of battery innards. And as Ted and Richard suggest, it seems that Musk's projects always seem to require head scratching and saying wtf. Same goes for me as I try to make sense of it.

Seems the vision is a Tesla car in every garage and a Solar City pack in every yard.

Not at all clear that would work.

Warren
05 March 2014, 0908
Our only hope is for my car obsessed generation to die off soon. My kid's and their friends would rather have a smart phone and a bus pass to get to their dead end service jobs than a car payment, and no smart phone.

Richard230
05 March 2014, 1552
Our only hope is for my car obsessed generation to die off soon. My kid's and their friends would rather have a smart phone and a bus pass to get to their dead end service jobs than a car payment, and no smart phone.

Same here with my granddaughters - so far. :confused:

Warren
06 March 2014, 0908
I love the way venture capitalists think. Did you know we have an "oversupply" of lithium in the ground until 2020? But, with a little initiative, it could be gone, and in their bank accounts by 2050.

http://chargedevs.com/newswire/teslas-gigafactory-sounds-like-good-news-for-lithium-suppliers/

Nuts & Volts
06 March 2014, 1155
Good little read. http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2010/ph240/eason2/

So we probably won't run out of Lithium, but we will run out of cost effective lithium even with the best batteries (highest Wh/kg).

Warren
06 March 2014, 1523
"So we probably won't run out of Lithium, but we will run out of cost effective lithium even with the best batteries (highest Wh/kg)."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFyTSiCXWEE

Nuts & Volts
06 March 2014, 1839
"So we probably won't run out of Lithium, but we will run out of cost effective lithium even with the best batteries (highest Wh/kg)."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFyTSiCXWEE

Any way you could summarize your point or the video plrase? I dont have 49minutes to watch something I dont know what it's about. From the first 40sec it looks like it's about mining. The majority of the earths lithium is in the ocean...

When I interned at Tesla I heard straight from JB Straubel's (Tesla CTO) that he wasn't worried about the lithium supply because there is so much in the ocean. When the demand comes someone will have to find an economical way to extract it. Might happen, might not. Definitely possible and plausible in my mind

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Ken Will
07 March 2014, 0549
It looks like Australia is going to get Lithium from Mongolia and Kazakhstan.
http://www.abnnewswire.net/press/en/61644/Galaxy_Resources_Limited_%28ASX:GXY%29_Ventures_In to_Central_Asia_With_Lithium_Alliance.html

Warren
07 March 2014, 0726
The guy is a mining engineer. He makes the case that the percent of mineral per unit of ore goes down, while our demand goes up. The solution is using energy to mine larger and larger tracts. The amount of energy required goes up exponentially. We are near the limits of EROI not just for fossil fuels, but for the minerals that their energy allows us to extract.

J.B. Straubel is a successful electronics engineer. He is not a physicist, or a mining geologist. The idea that there is always an economical way to get desired resources is a tenet of classical economic theory. Unfortunately, it is a social science theory that doesn't rely on any of the hard sciences.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/report-good-thing-world-has-unlimited-quantity-of,35422/?ref=auto

[edit] This does not mean that social science is not relevant. People will expend tremendous amounts of energy for little apparent value. Witness the pyramids.

Warren
07 March 2014, 0734
Ted,

I'm gonna start calling you "Sunshine". :p

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsbYx6hevoQ

Nuts & Volts
07 March 2014, 1045
The guy is a mining engineer. He makes the case that the percent of mineral per unit of ore goes down, while our demand goes up. The solution is using energy to mine larger and larger tracts. The amount of energy required goes up exponentially. We are near the limits of EROI not just for fossil fuels, but for the minerals that their energy allows us to extract.

J.B. Straubel is a successful electronics engineer. He is not a physicist, or a mining geologist. The idea that there is always an economical way to get desired resources is a tenet of classical economic theory. Unfortunately, it is a social science theory that doesn't rely on any of the hard sciences.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/report-good-thing-world-has-unlimited-quantity-of,35422/?ref=auto

[edit] This does not mean that social science is not relevant. People will expend tremendous amounts of energy for little apparent value. Witness the pyramids.

Thank you Warren. That mining idea makes a lot of sense and is definitely something to consider. Make sense. Reducing energy use should be priority one.

My point about JB is not that he is an expert, but he is in a position of knowledge and would need to know. He should have access to those experts and industry insiders that have the knowledge he needs. I tend to think he is quite a bit optimistic, but I do not think the situation is dire. There have to be personalities just like ourselves t Tesla helping make these decisions.

In terms of the factory. Making a battery in a specific form factor is fundamental and wont be too affected by which chemicals are used. So the setup should hopefully be adaptable to future chemistry. That's how I'd plan it at least.

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Warren
07 March 2014, 1135
Nuts & Volts,

I agree that reducing energy use should be a top priority. I don't see how building 5000 pound cars addresses that problem in any way.

He doesn't need to know if EVs are sustainable past 2050. Investors* don't look 35 years out. They want to know what their return will be next quarter. Long term thinking is considered five years. If it goes sour in five years, they will jump ship, and invest in the next big thing. If that is bamboo cannibal spears that is fine too.

*Hell, nobody looks out 35 years.

Nuts & Volts
07 March 2014, 1157
Nuts & Volts,

I agree that reducing energy use should be a top priority. I don't see how building 5000 pound cars addresses that problem in any way.

He doesn't need to know if EVs are sustainable past 2050. Investors* don't look 35 years out. They want to know what their return will be next quarter. Long term thinking is considered five years. If it goes sour in five years, they will jump ship, and invest in the next big thing. If that is bamboo cannibal spears that is fine too.

*Hell, nobody looks out 35 years.

Haha well said

robo
23 July 2014, 2151
Earlier in this thread, I had wondered what was in the cost of a lithium cell. One of the figures here states materials make up 70% of the cost:

http://www.visualcapitalist.com/inside-teslas-5-billion-gigafactory/

That link doesn't shed any new light on Tesla's enigmatic alternative supplies though.

Richard230
03 September 2014, 1729
News reports this afternoon say that Tesla will announce tomorrow that the location of their new battery "gigafactory" will be outside Reno, Nevada.

Richard230
04 September 2014, 0736
On the TV news reports last night there was a comment that one reason that Nevada was chosen for the battery factory, in addition to numerous financial incentives, was that Nevada has the only lithium mine in the U.S. It was also stated that the factory would require about 25 tons of lithium ore a day to operate. (Or did they say 25 tons of pure lithium a year? I get confused when watching the TV news.) Whatever, being close to a source of lithium was a factor in siting the factory. Also, Reno is still pretty close to the Tesla vehicle factory and I believe there are freight trains that run between Reno and the Tesla factory in the East Bay.