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Tesla, just like several automakers, sources their battery cells from known suppliers such as Panasonic Corp, CATL, and LG Energy Solution.
Elon Musk, billionaire investor and CEO of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA), looks to have reached a mountain with his plans to make cheaper batteries, fast. Elon Musk had laid down a plan for Tesla, the American electric vehicle company to mass-produce its own batteries this year but according to many market analysts and industry insiders, that plan seems to be facing a challenge now. Analysts are describing Musk’s plan of launching a new Tesla factory alongside developing a new way of battery manufacturing, as overly ambitious which he is unlikely to meet.
Musk, admitted earlier on when he made his plans public, that mass-producing the batteries will be tough, but they are vital to his objective of producing less expensive, longer-range electric vehicles that will keep Tesla ahead of a slew of competitors.
Tesla, just like several automakers, sources their battery cells from known suppliers such as Panasonic Corp, CATL, and LG Energy Solution. The CEO of Tesla, announced back in 202 that his company was looking to produce its own batteries, which is the most expensive part of an EV, to half the total costs.
Its 4680 lithium-ion batteries with a 46-millimeter diameter alongside an 80-millimeter length, hold about five times the energy of its current smaller 2170 cells. The company is now aiming at using a smaller number of new cells for the same energy and driving range, reducing costs.
Tesla announced earlier this year that it will begin shipping Model Y automobiles with larger battery cells by the end of March. Musk also revealed that Tesla would be able to create 100-gigawatt hours of 4680 batteries this year, enough to power 1.3 million cars and more than enough to meet demand at its Texas and German operations.
The company is now expected to deliver approximately 1.4 million automobiles this year. According to a previously disclosed prediction provided to Reuters by industry analyst Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, the company will produce batteries for around 30,000 Model Y vehicles in 2018, rising to 484,000 in 2024.
The market expects however believes that the stakes are currently high for Musk and Tesla. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has spiked prices of battery ingredients as nickel hit a record high this week. Musk also predicted battery supply constraints next year in January, making in-house production critical to growth.
Industry researcher Benchmark Mineral Intelligence also revealed that it expects Tesla to manufacture batteries for about 30,000 Model Y vehicles, growing to 484,000 in 2024, according to a previously unpublished forecast provided to reporters.
Tesla’s plan to adopt a new manufacturing technology called dry electrode coating, according to many experts, may complicate the process of setting up battery production.
Caspar Rawles, chief data officer at Benchmark, speaking on the current situation stated that “there’s a very long process of fine-tuning the equipment before you can get to volume production.” Rawles added that Tesla would have to refine the manufacturing process this year to ensure volume production in 2023. “Battery production is hard, even hard for experienced suppliers,” said he.