Tesla and Panasonic have undoubtedly the biggest and most widely publicized li-ion battery production project in the Gigafactory in Nevada, but it’s far from the only project aiming to increase global supply of this important component for many industries, including the EV industry.
As we often discussed, Tesla is already producing battery packs at the Gigafactory, but that’s only the beginning. In October 2015, the company moved the Tesla Energy production line from its Fremont factory to the ‘Gigafactory 1‘ project in Nevada. Tesla has since been ramping up for volume production to start in early 2016.
Consequently, we recently started seeing more energy storage projects being installed with Tesla Energy products. But the most important event will be the start of battery cell production, which should happen later this year according to Tesla’s management.
We learned late last year that Tesla’s Gigafactory will be nearly 40% larger than expected, but the company has yet to update the production output since the unveiling of the project. Considering Tesla both increased the planned floor space and said that the project is more “space efficient” than initially expected, it would have been fair to assume that the planned production output is now more than the initial 35 GWh of battery cells and 50 GWh of battery packs, but CTO JB Straubel reiterated the figures during the Q4 conference call last week.
Nonetheless, Tesla and Panasonic’s planned production of 35 GWh of battery cells lead the total added production output announced by manufacturers.
In a research paper published late last year, Goldman Sachs compiled all the major li-ion production projects set to come online by the end of the decade:
These projects quickly add up to close to 100 GWh of battery cells or enough for just over 1 million electric vehicles annually based on 70 kWh battery packs.
The list also doesn’t include several other smaller projects and potential other investment in production of newer battery architectures like solid state battery cells. Both Bosch and Dyson made acquisitions of solid state battery makers last year and they plan to invest in the mass production of the promising technology.
Aside from its own investment in the Tesla Gigafactory 1, which it confirmed will be around $1.5 billion and $1.6 billion at CES last month, Panasonic is also expanding battery cell production on its own. It recently announced its intention to invest 50 billion yen ($412 million) in China to build a lithium-ion battery factory expected to go online in 2017. Unlike the Gigafactory, which is expected to produce cylindrical battery cells, Panasonic’s new Chinese factory will produce rectangular-shaped batteries.
Last week the company announced a joint-venture in China to make the project possible.