The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance announced today that it invested in Enevate, a battery startup that is claiming breakthroughs including “5-minute fast charging” and “high energy density”. Expand Expanding Close
The Tesla Model 3’s $35,000 price tag will be enabled in part due to a significant reduction in battery cost through the automaker’s partnership with Panasonic on the Gigafactory in Nevada. While Tesla owns and operates the giant battery factory, Panasonic is still in charge of battery cell production at the plant, which Tesla then uses to make battery packs for its vehicles.
With the strong demand for Tesla’s vehicles, Panasonic now says that it expects its battery sales to double within the next 3 years – or after the first full planned year of Model 3 production. Expand Expanding Close
For the most part, Tesla’s Gigafactory has looked the same from the outside since the beginning of the year. The first phase consists of 4 sections of about 475,000 square feet for a total of 1.9 million square feet. The final version of the building, which should be completed by the end of the decade, is expected to have 13 million square feet of manufacturing and work space. It should be enough to become the biggest building on earth by footprint and Tesla plans for the factory to produce at least as much battery capacity as the entire world production of li-ion cells.
Now we learn that Tesla is planning to add a new section to the plant with an estimated completion date by the end of the year, according a building permit recently issued to Tesla. Expand Expanding Close
While Tesla has been manufacturing battery packs at the Gigafactory for its energy storage division since last year, new battery cell production is expected to be the real hallmark of the giant battery factory and it has yet to happen.
Panasonic, Tesla’s strategic partner at the plant, is in charge of the cell production inside the facility and it is expected to begin the process by the end of the year. Now we learn that Panasonic is “gearing up for significant growth” at the Gigafactory and it will host a special invitation-only hiring event on location next week to for “positions in advanced manufacturing”. Expand Expanding Close
An interesting fact about lego bricks: the first hands to touch a Lego brick are the hands of a customer since the entire manufacturing process is automated.
Granted, plastic blocks are significantly less complicated than li-ion battery cells, but since Tesla hired a long-time Lego manufacturing executive to lead the Gigafactory effort, it is an interesting analogy for the potential level of automation at Tesla’s battery factory. Expand Expanding Close
An undisclosed company, which claims to be a “well-funded American company”, purchased advertising in the Wall Street Journal to invite a “select” group of people to the unveiling of its research and data on a new high-energy density battery cell.
The mysterious company is only inviting representatives from “product manufacturers listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ having a market capitalization of more than $500 million”. Investment bankers, venture capital companies, government representatives, or members of the press are not allowed to attend the event. Expand Expanding Close
South Korean news outlets are reporting that the electronic giant LG Chem will build a new factory to produce batteries for electric cars in Europe. The new plant will reportedly have an annual production capacity of 50,000 battery packs, making it of similar size as the company’s Holland, Michigan plant where the company produces battery packs for the Chevy Volt and eventually the Bolt. Expand Expanding Close