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.
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.
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.
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.
Lux has rarely, like EIA, IEA, Pike, ever been right.
Any betting against Musk will likely lose. I gues they didn't notice Musk as other markets for low cost batteries, the only other one than EV's really, home, building batteries to go with his SolarCity RE company.
Facts are going offgrid completely saves so much utility fees it can pay for battery storage. Now add solar costs him less than $1.50/wt installed making power for $.03/kwhr before subsidies and you can see the profits to be made splitting that $.08/kwhr US avage difference savings with the customer making large chucks of cash.
And those numbers are before subsidies which make the systems no cost to SolarCity net.
Transport, utilities and energy in 10 yrs will be very different from today because the wqheel has turned and home, building made power clean is 50% or more lower cost than any utility power. YMMV depending whjere you live, US Average.
Why Tesla battery success works is he controls from making them to the customer thus a market for his production, something others don't have. He makes the market, then supplies it, not hoping others will buy their batteries.
I should mention these same groups were touting how much battery demand there was going to be, every built huge capacity yet no market showed up. The market that did was modstly very limited, low margin or car companies did their own.
Vs Tesla made his market making his profitable as the others tilt to backruptcy having few buyers.
Bunter, didn't 2008 show your repub economic, energy, tax, war policies totally bankrupt? Were they not the cause of the debt including most under Obama which I might add would already be balanced had repubs passed the grand bargain 4 yrs ago and did tax reform instead of just saying no?
Hasn't the best economy, balancing the budget under Clinton with slightly higher taxes?
Had we stayed like Clinton's economics where Americans standrad of living actually rose with slightly higher taxes NO repubs voted for, the national debt would be paid off now, no?
I'm a fiscal conservative unlike the right who seem to be corporatist now.
It's no use arguing, but a few questions. Do you think the economy is stimulated best by government spending or cutting? Do you think that cutting taxes has the effect of cutting the deficit or increasing it? Do you think a collapsing economy, as occurred in 2008, increases federal debt or reduces it? What do you think the effect on you will be as a result of high federal debt--increasing your taxes, less spending for things you want funded like your social security, or what? When do you think that Congress will implement those measures in response to the debt?
Do you think that we should levy taxes to cover the real costs of, say, education and transportation? Or should we come up with games and gimmicks like wars on teachers, privatization schemes for profit, and lotteries, in order to cover education costs? Our transportation infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc.) is in budget crisis. What should Congress do to fix this, if anything?
Do you think the tax code is written to serve middle class individuals and the poor, or to serve corporations or the wealthy? Do you think our economy prospers best with income equality or income inequality and what, if anything, do you propose to do to improve that balance for the health of the total economy?
Jerry, you might be reading between the lines a little too much. The intention of the article is merely to show how ambitious Musk's goal is. Today, the entire EV/hybrid battery industry is at 5 GWh per year. Musk wants his company alone to make it to 50 GWh annually by 2020. Surely, it's reasonable to call that ambitious. This article isn't intended to address the likelihood of success. We did that in an earlier article, here:
Just to be clear, government investment into research and development of the technology. Not investing in prefered markets of the political class. The latter type of government spending is at the whim of the best lobbyists irregardless of party in power.
I am not opposed to green energy, I just cannot afford to pay over 30K for a vehicle that goes less than 200 miles and then needs hours to recharge! Elon realizes this and is willing to invest (at a risk) to develop a market and then be the guy that can fill that market. Win/win if he is successful.
A half century ago, cars were still built by people, not robots. Even on some of the country’s longest assembly lines, human workers installed windows, doors, hoods, engines, windshields, and batteries, with no robotic aid.
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