Posted on August 26, 2016 by Matt Pressman
Tesla Motors [NASDAQ: TSLA] continues to dominate the auto industry in electric vehicle lithium-ion batteries. How? Let's take a look at three areas: battery technology, battery sales, and battery cost. First, let's talk battery technology. News this week astonished the automotive world as the Tesla P100D became the quickest production car on the planet and the first electric vehicle to achieve a real world range of over 300 miles. According to Electrek, the P100D's battery pack will also premiere Tesla's, "third-generation battery pack technology in production vehicles. A successful deployment of the technology would be a good sign for Tesla’s third-generation platform and therefore, crucial for the Model 3."
To clarify, Tesla CEO Elon Musk explained, "The [battery] cell is the same, but the module and pack architecture is changed significantly in order to achieve adequate cooling of the cells in a more energy dense pack." And Electrek confirms that, "The pack is definitely more energy dense. From the 90 kWh pack, the energy increased by 11%, but the weight of the pack only by 4%, which means that Tesla achieved a significant battery energy density increase at the pack level since the introduction of the 90 kWh pack just over a year ago."
Above: Inside the Tesla Model S battery pack (Source: Electrek)
Not only is Tesla at the vanguard of battery technology, it's the top car company in EV battery sales. According to EV Obsession (see chart below), during the first half of 2016, "Tesla/Panasonic has maintained a huge lead in the #1 spot, as one would expect... the Tesla/Panasonic partnership holds a substantial lead." How is this calculated? Looking at the data: "what’s taken into account here is total delivered battery-pack capacity... It should be noted here, though, that the Tesla figures are an estimate based on an average battery-pack size of 85 kilowatt-hours (kWh) — as there aren’t figures detailing the sales split between the various battery-pack size options."
Above: At left, car company (with corresponding battery manufacturer); at right, total delivered battery-pack capacity (MWh) for first half of 2016; Source: EV Sales (data) / EV Obsession (chart)
Last, let's talk battery costs. According to Valuewalk*, "In 2008, analysts estimated that lithium-ion battery packs costed $600-$1,200 per kWh, but this range would drop to $500-800 per kWh over the following four years. Tesla now claims that a Tesla Model S battery cost is $240 per kWh and that the expected cost for a Model 3 is $190 per kWh... [and] Tesla’s Gigifactory 1 will also help bring economies of scale to lithium-ion production, making them even less cost-prohibitive. Soon battery packs will cost closer to $100 per kWh, which will make them essentially cheaper than all gas-powered vehicles."
For more on the surging worldwide demand for electric vehicle lithium-ion batteries across the entire automotive industry, check out the infographic below. Note Tesla's dominance in EV battery cost reductions. And, looking at the big picture, Tesla appears perfectly positioned for the massive EV battery growth forecasted — while other automakers fall further and further behind. To get a closer look at the infographic, click the red button below.
*Source: Valuewalk via Visual Capitalist