The financial markets were distinctly underwhelmed by the Tesla Battery day. After all, it was a tutorial on how to build a battery for an electric vehicle, and that was the point.
Current battery cell manufacturing is struggling to scale – which is why there are huge investments around the world on building more battery gigafactories. Even Tesla’s own 150GWh Gigafactory in Nevada can’t scale, says Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO (above).
To reach the 120TWh energy requirements in a future of electric vehicles requires a fundamental re-evaluation of the production process, he says. “The goal is TWh, tera is the new giga ,” he said. “We need 100x growth in battery production to transition the global fleet of vehicles to electric.”
This has implications for Europe, which has also been recognised by politicians in the EU.
“For a company that’s growing rapidly its important to reduce the supply chain, having the parts move very quickly though the factory and then ship to the customer is vital. That’s why its important to have a factory in each continent,” he said, highlighting the new factory being built in Berlin, Germany, alongside plants in Fremont, Nevada and Shanghai.
“Berlin is making rapid progress, and the Model Y made in Berlin will be more efficient [than the ones currently built in Fremont, California],” he said. That global manufacturing footprint means that Berlin will also add battery cell manufacturing. “We will be manufacturing cells in Berlin,” he said.
The design of the battery cell design has been tweaked and changed to support new high volume manufacturing processes that are seven times more efficient than today.
This re-engineering drives up efficiencies that are the equivalent of building seven new gigafactories, and highlights Tesla’s strategy. While it continues to work with the large battery cell supplier, it is optimising its technologies