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Economist interviews JB Straubel, Tesla CTO

TEG

Teslafanatic
Aug 20, 2006
21,930
9,102
I found this interesting:
A report by Lux Research, a firm of technology analysts, has predicted that the gigafactory will bring about only a modest cut in battery costs and suffer more than 50% overcapacity. “Most other companies do not believe that battery volume will grow as fast as it’s going to,” Mr Straubel counters. “They don’t understand the tight linkage between cost and volume. We’re at this crossing-point where a small reduction in cost is going to result in a ridiculously big increase in volume, because the auto industry is so big.”
 

mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
10,064
12,646
California
Another quote which was interesting was that there are 1,000 Solar City customers in California who have installed Tesla battery packs. He sounded like he wants it to be more.
I think Tesla is a battery company which also makes cars.
 

bluenation

Member
Oct 9, 2014
378
2
vancouver
I have been posting that statement multiple times in the past year.

That is why TSLA is undervalued. It's much more than a car company.
++

i'd go further: TSLA is an energy storage AND tech AND car AND car components company. And that's just off my head, the possibilities going further are near endless.

also....lol @ at lux research. Here's a hint: basing off future battery demand in the (piss poor) historical efforts of legacy car manufacturers doesn't a great Nostradamus make.
 
Mar 4, 2014
453
662
United States
I think Tesla is a battery company which also makes cars.
Let me start by saying that I'm NOT trolling here, but I honestly want to know.

How is Tesla a battery company when Panasonic makes the cells? Is there that much IP in the packaging? Who own's the IP for the cells that are custom made for Tesla? My understanding is that Panasonic will continue to manufacture the cells in the Gigafactory. I'm just trying to understand so I can talk accurately with my friends when this question comes up.
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,412
14,426
West Vancouver, British Columbia
Because Tesla is the only company that has figured out how to make a great long distance EV with intelligent battery packaging and temperature control and power management and has already extended that expertise into making peak power management battery systems for home and commercial use. They have been limited in marketing those products by limited battery supplies so they decided to leapfrog the industry and are building the world's biggest battery plant in Nevada. When that is online they will be able to start addressing the market for renewable energy storage and power management which, coupled with falling PV panel prices, is enormous.
 

Cosmacelf

Well-Known Member
Mar 6, 2013
8,779
22,251
San Diego
Phil Seastrand; said:
How is Tesla a battery company when Panasonic makes the cells? Is there that much IP in the packaging? Who own's the IP for the cells that are custom made for Tesla? My understanding is that Panasonic will continue to manufacture the cells in the Gigafactory. I'm just trying to understand so I can talk accurately with my friends when this question comes up.

I agree. Unless Tesla has an R&D project dreaming up new battery chemistries (and I wouldn't put it past them!), Panasonic is still the cell maker. Journalists and analysts and being kinda lazy when they forget this.
 

30seconds

Active Member
Feb 28, 2013
2,232
5,659
SF
I agree. Unless Tesla has an R&D project dreaming up new battery chemistries (and I wouldn't put it past them!), Panasonic is still the cell maker. Journalists and analysts and being kinda lazy when they forget this.

Pretty sure that Tesla will control the supply. Panasonic will be obligated to sell 100% of GF output to Tesla, probably some clause that they can sell to others only if Tesla doesn't want them.
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
10,987
6,099
I hate to be the "word usage" police, but the straight definition of "battery" refers to one *or more* cells in every dictionary out there. So "battery company" can refer to a company that makes battery cells, but it can also refer to a company that makes battery packs (which Tesla certainly falls under).

While most of the large companies that work exclusively on batteries makes battery cells (and sometimes also packs), there are also smaller companies out there that only manufacture battery packs and none of the cells themselves. Most people are referring to the former when they use the term, but it's not wrong either to use it for the latter either.
 

Robert.Boston

Model S VIN P01536
Oct 7, 2011
7,844
42
Portland, Maine, USA
Let me start by saying that I'm NOT trolling here, but I honestly want to know.

How is Tesla a battery company when Panasonic makes the cells? Is there that much IP in the packaging? Who own's the IP for the cells that are custom made for Tesla? My understanding is that Panasonic will continue to manufacture the cells in the Gigafactory. I'm just trying to understand so I can talk accurately with my friends when this question comes up.

Tesla can be a great battery manufacturer in the same way that Land O Lakes can be a great butter company. Land O Lakes doesn't own any dairy herds, it buys all the milk and turns it into butter. Each dairy farm in the LOL network has very strict quality standards, feeding protocols, etc. to produce a uniform quality and flavor. (A friend of mine oversees all this process.) So while milk (cells) is the primary input to make butter (batteries), there is important expertise in transforming one into the other and in assuring the quality and compatibility of the inputs.
 

Doug_G

Lead Moderator
Apr 2, 2010
17,882
3,391
Ottawa, Canada
I think this goes beyond simply processing cells into packs. Tesla is already getting the cells made to their specifications - Panasonic is providing the chemistry in a package that Tesla has defined. The cells don't have the standard structure that is used in laptop computers, etc., because the safety of the pack is designed as a system, rather than only at the cell level. This is part of what allows them to achieve better packing densities. They can and will define the cell architecture, if not the chemistry itself.
 

Soflason

Member
Feb 19, 2013
542
2
FL
Let me start by saying that I'm NOT trolling here, but I honestly want to know.

How is Tesla a battery company when Panasonic makes the cells? Is there that much IP in the packaging? Who own's the IP for the cells that are custom made for Tesla? My understanding is that Panasonic will continue to manufacture the cells in the Gigafactory. I'm just trying to understand so I can talk accurately with my friends when this question comes up.

This Economist article provides a snapshot, but, it's better to watch JB at this keynote presentation to see Tesla's unique position/advantage here...

 
Last edited by a moderator:

SteveS0353

Member
Aug 23, 2014
365
54
San Diego, CA
I hate to be the "word usage" police, but the straight definition of "battery" refers to one *or more* cells in every dictionary out there. So "battery company" can refer to a company that makes battery cells, but it can also refer to a company that makes battery packs (which Tesla certainly falls under).

While most of the large companies that work exclusively on batteries makes battery cells (and sometimes also packs), there are also smaller companies out there that only manufacture battery packs and none of the cells themselves. Most people are referring to the former when they use the term, but it's not wrong either to use it for the latter either.

I would take a slightly stronger "word police" position. A "battery" is universally defined as two or more items working together, e.g., an "artillery battery", or "battery of medical tests",... A "cell" is defined as a single unit performing a function, e.g., a biological cell, cells in a honeycomb, a broadcast cell (as in cellular radio),... In electronics, a battery is universally defined as a two or more "cells" connected together to provide a source of power.

Telsa is a battery company, making batteries of cells for cars and stationary storage.
 

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