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Model S Battery Pack - Cost Per kWh Estimate

Discussion in 'TSLA Investor Discussions' started by CapitalistOppressor, Jun 5, 2013.

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  1. ShortSlaver

    ShortSlaver Member

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    It shows you how lazy the "journalists" covering this are. There's also a lot of incentive to make TSLA as cheap as possible. One is to generally kill enthusiasm by big interests such as the dinosaur auto manufactures which look to be out of business sooner than later if Tesla is a success. The other is the institutions that want to drive this as low as possible so they can take advantage and own as much as possible and make the most from the unbelievable growth TSLA will have.

    The way I see it I win both ways: I have some shares Nd I have cash ready to buy more if the price drops considerably.
     
  2. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    I tried to explain to some of our friends on SA that Musk probably has a better handle on battery costs than anyone. The response was that he's not a battery expert. I'd say after working intimately for about 10 years on a product largely dependent on battery technology and putting your fortune on the line you better damn well be a battery expert.
     
  3. ShortSlaver

    ShortSlaver Member

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    This is why in a typical group of friends, a couple make it really well to do and many others just get by. You're right here.
     
  4. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Nor is he a banking expert.
    Nor is he a rocket scientist.
    Nor is he an automotive expert.

    He fakes it pretty damn well.
     
  5. CapitalistOppressor

    CapitalistOppressor Active Member

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    This. +100000000000
     
  6. kenliles

    kenliles Active Member

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    No kidding!
    In what way is Elon NOT a battery expert? That someone else is?
    What would he have to do to qualify as one that he hasn't yet done?
    And how is the person making that statement, qualified to make such a judgement?
     
  7. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Apparently a battery expert expert that moonlights with SA as a journalist.
     
  8. kenliles

    kenliles Active Member

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    :)
    apparently
     
  9. DonPedro

    DonPedro Member

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    The "expert" point is key. There are two kinds of expertise. There is the "theoretical physicist" kind, where you do basic research into battery chemistry etc. And then there is the "system architect" kind, where you actually go and build a real world product, taking into account attractiveness to customers, economics, supply chain, impact on the overall car, safety, regulations, logistics, future projections etc. etc.

    Even though EM has quite a bit of the first kind of expertise, it is the second kind that is vital to success in EV. Not just does EM have this personally, but this is arguably one of the hardest-to-copy advantages of Tesla as a company. The announcements from e.g. GM and others shows that they are still thinking that the key to battery success lies in inventing new chemistry. [Which in the long term is probably true, but what they need short-to-mid term is to innovate how to package available technology into a kickass battery pack.]
     
  10. CapitalistOppressor

    CapitalistOppressor Active Member

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    Most of us reading this forum probably could master the subject matter well enough over the course of a few months to be able to understand the chemistry and have intelligent conversations with chemists, and then to make informed business decisions based on those discussions. Especially the economic issues involved.

    In contrast, Elon is a genius, with an undergrad science background, and has spent close to 50% of his life for the past decade immersed in dealing with these issues at an extremely granular level. He's not close to being a working chemist, but he probably has a fairly deep understanding of cell design, and the tradeoffs you are making at an engineering level. And I seriously doubt that there is anybody who really understands the economics, and how they relate to EV's better.
     
  11. austinEV

    austinEV Supporting Member

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    I love this thread. But rather than get hung up on the $/kWh can we discuss the rate of change? It seems this is the real headline here. The real question is what rate of decrease do we model for the next few years? It seems that there may have been a disruptive step-change in the cost too, which is incredibly important if true. Two causes of a "collapse" that have been mentioned here are:

    1) Tesla becoming one of the worlds largest buyers and
    2) Laptop demand soft.

    That could lead to battery makers lining up to switch their lines to make the "simple cap" Tesla cells. But, even using some conservative assumptions (gleaned from CO article and TMC consensus):


    10% annual reduction in cost/kWh
    89 kwh/pack
    8000 cells/pack
    $2,000 pack cost, excluding cells
    And using these two cost points:

    year approx cost/kwh comment
    2009 250 per CO article
    2012 170 per CO article
    (forgive me if I misquote, I am picking and choosing some numbers to use)

    That works out to be about 10% per year. Then you get this sort of trend, barring any future disruptions:

    Capture1.PNG


    So a pack cost of 16.5k now, and a 12.6k 89kWh pack in 2016 for gen III ($9.5k for a 200mile). You can see why EM can say they can get there without major breakthroughs.

    What does a BMW 3 series drivetrain (engine, transmission, etc) cost? We could be within a few % of cost parity, even with some problems with model assumptions. It starts to appear that in the next 5 years Teslas REAL problem is economy of scale and tooling up to not lose first-mover advantage, not battery stuff.

    Thoughts?
     
  12. Soflason

    Soflason Member

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    #112 Soflason, Jun 12, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
    Absolutely.

    Interesting. Panasonic just issued a Press Release: "Panasonic Delivers Over 100 Million Lithium-Ion Battery Cells for Tesla's Model S EV" -- pretty timely considering the controversy ignited by Barron's -- ummmm, certainly points to Tesla being pretty engrossed in overall battery efficiencies, inside knowledge, and vast expertise.

    Panasonic Delivers Over 100 Million Lithium-Ion Battery Cells for Tesla's Model S EV
     
  13. Bobfitz1

    Bobfitz1 Member

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    Great analysis AustinEV, you've nailed it. In about 3 years Tesla will have a breakthrough EV for the masses and will sell as many as fast as they can produce them.

    What Barrons and other skeptics don't get is this. Elon Musk was tough when his back was to the wall with both Tesla and SpaceX. They can't grasp how far and fast he will move now with the wind at his back. We are seeing the evidence on an almost weekly basis.

    It will be interesting to see how Musk and his core team will neutralize or minimize the impact of auto dealer obstruction in Red states.
     
  14. Realist

    Realist Member

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    Musk is not a genius, but obviously a smart business man.

    Regarding links. I cannot provide as many links as I want because I am junior member, watched by the admins. Yet all the sources are credible.
    So let’s go back to TESLA’s presentation of 2012. They don’t give a precise number but on the graph you clearly see an indication above 350$.

    With reference to the newest Berger study there’s no indication that we are anywhere close to the sub 200$. In fact they think major innovation in CAM technology will be necessary to bring the cost down to 200$ by 2018.
    It’s just not that easy. The cells used on the Model S are identical to a laptop cell in the same way a Smart Two Seater is identical to a Mercedes S-Class, since both vehicles have 4 wheels and an engine.

    Right now the biggest player for Li-ion High Energy cells in the automotive sector is Toyota.
    But of course since the cells are mainly used for hybrids they use relatively thin active layers. But for a 85kwh battery pack you cannot use that. You need thicker active layers in the electrode with higher internal resistance. So already on the automotive level there are great differences.

    Furthermore it’s simply absurd to believe that Tesla is able to lower the cost by simplifying the safety and thermal management in comparison to a laptop battery just because they use more cells. In a car you have a completely different environment. The battery management system is a lot more complex. Some cells for example might experience a capacity fade and manifest an increase in impedance. So what you need than is a system that balances the cells to maintain near equilibrium voltage across the entire battery string.

    Thermal management. Have you ever seen a laptop heating it’s battery when turned off?

    Manufacturing. If you assemble such a large battery pack you are working with a high voltage component storing a lethal amount of energy. You need to implement high levels of safety. The same applies for logistics and shipment. It’s not an easy and simple process. It never will be.

    A few words on the chassis design and construction. As I have mentioned the cost for each Model S is 95.000$, according to Q1 2013. That is by any comparison extremely expensive. Especially if you take a look at the chassis design.
    The Model S is basically a very simple one box rolling chassis design. It’s not a Space Frame like in the Audi A8. Instead it’s a rigid structure with the body parts attached to it. It’s similar to the Lotus VVA (Vehicle Versatile Architecture). This is not a surprise since Tesla chief engineer Peter Rawlinson is a former Lotus Engineering guy.

    If you google pictures of the Lotus Evora you will find instant similarities to the Model S chassis. In detail the Model S chassis is even simpler and less complex with standard parts regarding wishbones, steering, brakes, even the air suspension. The Model S does neither have any expensive pre active safety feature. Just take a look at the doors and the seats and you know that this car is basically about saving weight and cost. Which is fine, because with such a low center of gravity and no engine in the front where is no need for any active dynamic tricks. This is a very nice straightforward design.

    There is only one problem. Such a structure is not really working in a car weighting more than 2 tons. The chassis is not rigid enough. Not until you use the battery pack and it’s safety cell as a stressed member. In fact it is the central part of the chassis! That is a very intelligent construction, but of course not if you want to change that battery on a later date. And that is exactly the Achilles of the Model S.

    If that battery has to be changed the cost will be horrendous. On a Lotus Evora a gearbox change goes to the complete dismounting of the chassis with a cost over 15.000$ thanks to the massive amount of working hours. I have no idea how Tesla wants to change such a high voltage pack which is completely integrated into the car’s chassis. A battery swao system for this car is impossible and fatuous!

    This aspect creates 2 problems:
    1. The insurance cost for the car will go up, because in case of an accident the battery pack might need a replacement and
    2. The resale price will drop dramatically. Elon Musks 3-year resale price guarantee is in fact an explosive burden for Tesla shareholders as the resale value collapse is pretty inevitable.

    I don’t want to create “Anti-Tesla” Gibberish here but just look at the facts. In England Lotus produces a low volume Alu- composite car for less than 40.000$ and sells it for 65, whereas Tesla produces a high volume Model S for 95 and sells it for 105. How does that fit to a battery pack cost < 12.000$.?

    I guess wishful thinking is an understatement here.
     
  15. deonb

    deonb Supporting Member

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    So when the 10-Q filing states on page 39 that:
    * Other factors that may influence the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles, and specifically electric vehicles, include:
    ...
    -> our capability to rapidly swap out the Model S battery pack and the development of specialized public facilities to perform such swapping, which do not currently exist but which we plan to introduce in the near future;

    You think that's just a flat-out lie? What is your explanation, somebody at Tesla is played chicken with the SEC just to see if they can get away with it?


    And how about Ingineer, who took off the Battery pack and opened it, as per:
    http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/13121-Inside-the-Tesla-battery-pack

    An under-cover GM operative maybe?
     
  16. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Well-Known Member

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    Opinion = troll in a fact based thread. These comments belong in an opinion thread.
     
  17. Realist

    Realist Member

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    Near future. That's the important word, right ? Looking forward to see that.

    In the thread mentioned I don't see anyone removing the battery pack and open it. Take a look at the Chassis construction and make your own suggestions. It's not possible to have such a big battery acting as a stressed member AND swaping that in a matter of minutes.

    This would be easier on the Roadster of course. In that case the battery packs sits inside the Chassis and is not a structural part of it.

    Big difference.
     
  18. ModelS8794

    ModelS8794 Member

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    Perhaps we should simply wait 8 days and revisit your opinions after tesla's June 20 announcement. I will be interested to see whether or not you revise your opinions expressed in this thread.
     
  19. Citizen-T

    Citizen-T Active Member

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    Explain to me how they are already getting the ZEV credits that require such a swap? You are simply making assumptions and declaring them facts. I agree with @ModelS8794---June 20th you'll be proven definitively wrong.
     
  20. Realist

    Realist Member

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    I guess there is no clear word on the time it takes to swap such a battery regarding the ZEV credits.

    I really cannot think of battery swap system for this car. What I can think of is some kind of hybrid attachment to it in order to charge the battery.

    Don't get me wrong guys. I have been monitoring the Model S for years and I really have deep respect for the Kind of Engineering these people have done. This is a tremendous achievement.

    In fact the greatest cars in history have only rarely been money printing machines as well.
     

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