During the 2016 Shareholders Meeting today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the company could triple the total planned battery output of the Gigafactory to ~105 GWh of cells and ~150 GWh of battery packs – or over 3 times the current total li-ion battery production worldwide.
The new potential total capacity would be based on the current planned factory of 13 million sq-ft – with no expansion needed. Musk revealed a few other tidbits of information about the plant during the meeting.
Total capacity aside, the biggest announcement is the confirmation that Tesla and Panasonic, the automaker’s strategic partner in the Gigafactory, will manufacture a new 20700 cell format – compared to the current 18650.
It means the battery cells that will be produced at the factory later this year will be a little taller (70mm) and a little wider (20mm) than the current cells used in the Model S and X.
The cell format will be optimized for the next generation battery packs that will come out of the Gigafactory. It’s probably the first meaningful information Tesla released about the Gigafactory cells. Last year Musk referred to the cells set to be manufactured at the plant as having “moderate” battery technology improvements over current products.
Another important information Musk released about the Gigafactory during the Shareholders Meeting today is that the split of battery pack production between stationary storage and packs for Tesla vehicles has changed.
Musk previously said that he expected about 1/3 of the Gigafactory production would go toward Tesla Energy products for energy storage, Powerwall and Powerpacks, and 2/3 toward battery packs for Tesla vehicles. Today he updated his expected split to “closer to even”. It’s particularly interesting considering the updated total potential capacity to 150 GWh.
He added – with a “high degree of uncertainty” – that on a revenue standpoint in long-term, he expects Tesla Energy products will generate similar revenue for Tesla as the company’s vehicles.
Musk and CTO JB Straubel reiterated that Tesla and Panasonic plan to start cell production at the plant later this year. The CEO referred to Panasonic’s machinery to produce the new cells as “impressive machines” and that it should create “by far be the best cell production in the world”.
Tesla refers to the Gigafactory in Nevada as the ‘Gigafactory 1’ since it expects the factory to be one of many in the future. Musk said that he wants to turn the factory into a product itself: a machine building machines.
Featured Image: Tesla Gigafactory by Joshua Mcdonald 24/02/16