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Tesla Gigafactory: Elon Musk shows confidence in new battery production, says could deliver 100+ MWh in 100 days or free

With the confidence of a well-oiled pizza shop, Elon Musk “seriously” said that Tesla could deliver a more than 100 MWh Powerpack project to Australia in 100 days – or it will be free.

The promise is a clear show of confidence from the CEO in Tesla and Panasonic’s new battery production at the Gigafactory in Nevada.

They plan to have a total battery cell production of 35 GWh in 2018 at the factory, which would almost double the global li-ion battery production from any previous year.

The production for qualification of the new 2170 cells started in December 2016 and mass production began on January 4, 2017.

While we know that Tesla wants to get to 35 GWh next year in order to support the production of the Model 3, the steep ramp up to those levels of production is less clear. The cells coming off the line today are used in Tesla’s Powerwall 2 and Powerpack 2 energy products and the production of the cells for Model 3 is expected to start during the next quarter.

The fact that Musk now says that Tesla can build over 100 MWh of Powerpacks, deliver them to Australia and install them all under 100 days gives us a better idea of Tesla’s current capacity.

Musk made the comment in response to a question about Lyndon Rive’s, Tesla’s Vice President of Energy Products, own comment about Tesla helping solve Australia’s grid stability issues by quickly deploying massive amounts of energy storage.

He also reiterated the Powerpack price of $250 per kWh for 100+ MWh projects, but that’s just for the batteries. Inverters, transport, installation, and all other expenses would increase the total cost quickly.

Considering a large part of the 100 days will be for shipping the Powerpacks and other equipment from Nevada to Australia and then installing those packs, I wouldn’t be surprised if it means that Tesla and Panasonic already have a capacity of over 100 MWh per month at the Gigafactory. That’s a significant 1.2 GWh annualized rate.

While that’s already impressive, it’s actually nothing compared to the capacity Tesla plans to have during the second half the year in order to support Model 3 production.

As we recently reported, Tesla plans to produce 80,000 vehicles during the second half of 2017 under a perfect execution. Taking into account that Tesla’s early production is expected to be focused on the higher capacity version of the Model 3, like it did with its other early production models, it adds up to close to 6 GWh of battery capacity at an average of 70 kWh per car.

While we are speculating on the actual numbers, the production ramp will undoubtedly need to be steep in the coming months. It could go from a current ~100 MWh per month to over 1 GWh per month by the end of the year.

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