If recent sales numbers are any indication, Tesla Motors' goal of 50,000 battery packs a year could be a long way off.
A new study by Lux Research Inc. shows that the entire industry’s sales of batteries for plug-in hybrids reached about 1.4 GWh per quarter in 2013, just a small fraction of what Tesla Motors plans to produce by itself at its Gigafactory, which is expected to launch in 2017.
”This shows how hugely ambitious Tesla’s plans are,” Cosmin Laslau, research analyst for Lux Research, told Design News. “Tesla is essentially hoping they can sell 10 times more (electric) cars than what we are seeing now.”
Panasonic’s plug-in car battery sales climbed sharply over the past two years, largely on the strength of Tesla’s Model S sales.
In the study, Lux Research’s Automotive Battery Tracker showed that battery sales in the automotive market tripled over the past three years. During that period, Panasonic’s sales climbed sharply, enabling the company to take the top spot in the plug-in vehicle market with 39% of sales, compared to 25% for NEC, and 9% for LG Chem. Panasonic’s sudden rise was significant, Laslau said, because it was done almost exclusively through sales to Tesla.
”A year or two ago, Panasonic was nowhere and now they’ve taken over the market,” Laslau told us. “It really shows the importance of having a strong automotive partnership.”
Tesla’s Gigafactory represents the next big step for electric cars. The factory, which is still in the concept stage, would consume about 15 times as much land as today’s biggest battery plants. If successful, it potentially could drive battery costs down to a point that would transform electric cars into products for mainstream buyers. Tesla will annually build 35 GWh worth of battery packs, using their own cells. Then they will build an additional 15 GWh worth of packs using cells they buy from other manufacturers. It’s seen as a huge risk, however, because it relies on a massive increase in sales of pure electric cars, which haven’t sold well up to now.
While the Gigafactory plans are ambitious, however, Tesla has shown through recent performance that it’s capable of transforming the market. The company’s huge 85-kWh battery pack has vaulted Panasonic into the production lead almost singlehandedly, Laslau said. “This is a stunning shift in market share,” he told us.
Dennis, GAO did find that the cuts did lead to at least one job lose in the government. Maybe that was Charles?
Good point on the poverty. This is what grates me, I am not opposed to government funding research and development of technologies. Even would support the green energy initiatives and certainly battery developments to finally get the EV into the mainstream. But politicians are not about advancing the good of the nation or the world, they are about getting re-elected. Thus they give away freebies in the name of "fairness" and "good intentions". In the end, we are all made poorer.
Seriously CharlesM? Do you really believe that? Wow.
Govt spending has simply exploded over the last decade, esp. since about 2006.
Agree that they are dysfunctional, but I think I see it in the opposite direction.
Frankly I see govt action as often the problem, rather than the solution. One big example is fighting poverty. Look at a chart of the decline in poverty over this nations history. Steady decline until the early 1960's then it flattens out. Flattens out after the govts "War on Poverty" started. Interestingly some estimate the cost at a bit over $17T, ironically the national debt figure.
Imagine-without govt being involved we could have fewer people in poverty and be debt free.
Plug-in car sales at present still are puny. 10 times puny will not result in a huge number, though this effort could both revitalize manufacturing and transform transportation. Usually only government can fix the chicken/egg problem of low demand without sales needed to lower costs and vice versa. Today's government is so spectacularly dysfunctional, though, that maybe we just have to wait for an Elon Musk in the private sector to fix these huge problems.
Your tax dollars not at work, because they've been cut to the bone in the frenzied race to the bottom.
Tesla Motors’ $35,000, 200-mile electric car may not revolutionize the auto industry by itself, but it could serve as a starting point for a long, steady climb to a day when half of the world’s vehicles will be plug-ins.
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