- Feb 3, 2015
I agree with your post.The Limiting Factor quoted these raw material prices in one of his videos;-
There is a fair chance Lithium is a high proportion of the LFP cell cost.
- LFP - $8 kWh
- High Nickel - $25 kWh
The other thing we do know is most miners are robust negotiators, and Lithium miners are no exception, in fact they may be better than average.
If Tesla is extracting their own Lithium, we have to wonder what the cell cost for LFP cells produced in house on a Roadrunner line would be, eventually getting the raw materials cost below $8 kWh would not surprise me.
If I had to guess, tesla current NCM cells are in higher range for high Nickel so:-
While these are simply my guesses, I'm probably in the right ballpark,
- NCM - cost $150 kWh - Retail $200 kWh
- LFP - cost $50 kWh - Retail $100 kWh
Energy Storage Batteries are price sensitive, lowering the price will certainly lift demand.
As well a lot of the current TE losses are to do with ramping solar roof, even if that continued, a growth in Energy Storage sales will start to cancel it out.
My read on the current Solar Roof price increase is the online estimator is simply better at estimating. But in the past many jobs would have proceeded to a formal estimate only to be ruled out. It is better to give the customer a more accurate estimate earlier in the process.
For Solar Roof my hope it is becomes less of a drag on margins, it is a long term play, I'm not expecting it to contribute to profits in 2021, but I don't think it will stop TE becoming profitable,
The point of this post is to show how important Tesla inhouse LFP production is. I think Tesla, especially Drew, is well aware of this.
My comments on the subject were directly with reference to TE-destined cells, primarily MegaPack and PowerPack. Once Tesla and Panasonic 4680 production is at scale including Brandenburg and Austin the dynamics will certainly change, but even then automotive products will continue their growth and they, especially Semi (per unit anyway) will absorb vastly more than they do now. Shanghai is virtually certain to join the fray also. Almost regardless of raw material costs, not least because of Tesla raw materials sourcing foresight, Tesla will be quite likely to maintain cell and battery pricing and performance advantages. Taking Battery Day at face value it seems obvious that cell theologies will continue to evolve rapidly and the most costly component (e.g. nickel) will continue to be reduced while anode innovation (e.g. SiOx/[email protected] (SCG) hybrid) stands to make other new cost reductions and performance enhancements.
As we look at forecasts for the next, say, two years we cannot with confidence specify which innovations will be the most consequential. Even solid state could become viable and cheap. We honestly cannot say with certainty. We can say with confidence that whatever it will be Tesla will be the first or very nearly the first because they are more strongly devoted to the subject than is any other OEM.
FWIW, a young physicist friend who has just completed his thesis on cell materials performance and durability has, when discussing the subject with me, described the major challenges as "mining and engineering, not theoretical...". He is vastly more knowledgable and current than anyone I personally know.
His list of probable winners in the field looks much like the ones in this thread, except that he has a list of a half-dozen Chinese entities that are strong contenders. For context, his thesis advisor and many of the US-based scientists are Chinese. For context the articles related to the hybrid anode technology referred to above are:
- Jiaojiao Ma,
- Guiling Niu,
- Hongxun Yang*,
- Mengfei Sun,
- Xiangchen Zhao,
- Tongyi Yang,
- Lizhuang Chen, and
- Changhua Wang
In my opinion all of that shows that non-Physicist, non-engineering types like me are not qualified to speculate on the next advances, but being unqualified has rarely stopped me form speculating anyway.. Regardless we almost all expect Tesla to be the first or nearly the first to actually deploy such advances while aggressively maintaining high production quality and in-service stability.
Finally, the next largest hurdle, in my opinion is making cheap and stable cells that perform well in all temperatures. MegaPack and PowerPack do that with automotive-style heating/air conditioning systems to implement BMS.
Both hot and cold performance stability with cheaper BMS might well be of equal importance to cell raw materials innovation. Nobody, including Tesla, has come close to that, yet. The efficiency, weight and cost reduction in that arena would be amazing. In this specific area also, Chinese technological advances are yielding promising results:
Once again Tesla is pursuing such avenues.
I will happily wager that the installed production versions of such advances will produce net installed (heretofore pack) cost reductions of >50% within the next three years beyond the aggregate 4680 levels while eliminating most of the weight and cost of traditional Tesla BMS. That will require the "hundreds of sensors" as used in Tesla stationary storage today.
Of course we also should understand that advances in solid state production economics and performance are continuing rapidly:
There is so much research happening in this area that some major progress is likely to happen soon. I was invited to be an angel investor in one fo these last week ( I met the interested parties at a Supercharger!). I have not done it yet.
Tesla has said nothing about this subject either, but of course they're examining all the posibilities.