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Tesla plans path to massive production of battery cells, delays unveiling to next year

Tesla revealed that it is currently working on a plan for a massive battery cell production ramp-up to the terawatt-hour per year level, but it has delayed the unveiling of those plans to next year.

As we reported last month, Tesla all but confirmed that it’s going to make its own battery cells with its new Maxwell technology.

When talking about increasing battery cell production at its shareholder’s meeting, Tesla execs hinted at plans to do it themselves instead of relying on battery manufacturers and said that more will be revealed at a presentation day called “Battery and Powertrain Investor Day” later this year.

During a conference call following the release of Tesla’s Q2 2019 financial results, CEO Elon Musk confirmed that the presentation will include a “manufacturing plan” for the production of “a terawatt-hour” of battery cells per year.

He also pushed the presentation to early next year:

“Yes, I think for Battery Day, we’re going to do a comprehensive review of cell chemistry, module and pack, architecture, and manufacturing plan that has a clear roadmap to a terawatt-hour per year. The time for this will probably is about six months like maybe February or March next year show and tell.”

For comparison, Panasonic’s battery cell production at Tesla’s Gigiafactory 1 in Nevada is already the most important in the world and it’s only about 28 GWh per year — a number that Tesla also updated yesterday.

It will mean a 35x increase and more battery cell production capacity than the entire world right now several times over.

Electrek’s Take

Following Elon and Drew’s comments at the shareholders meeting, I am not exactly surprised by this, but it’s nice for them to confirm it.

I always say that if you want to see how serious an automaker is about electric vehicles, look at their efforts to secure battery cell supply.

It’s not like we needed any more indication of Tesla being serious about EVs, but they are definitely leading the way when it comes to securing battery cell supply.

Many automakers are still doing the same thing that Tesla was doing when it was producing the Roadster: buying cells directly from a supplier.

Now some, like Volkswagen with Northvolt, are starting to move to Tesla’s current model of partnering directly with suppliers to secure production, like Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 with Panasonic.

But Tesla is already looking at the next step, which appears to be launching their production at a massive scale — likely using the technology that they acquired from Maxwell.

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