Batteries

Published on April 23rd, 2016 | by Guest Contributor

212

Why There’s Market Space For 5 Or More Gigafactories By 2020

April 23rd, 2016 by  

Originally published on The Handleman Post.
By Clayton Handleman

UPDATE: The wildly successful unveiling of the Model 3 with 225,000 reservations and counting as well as comments from Musk suggesting revision of plans, suggests that this article may be conservative in its estimates.

gigafactory_aerial

The transformational aspect of the Gigafactory is that it will bring down the cost of Li-ion storage using volume and the experience curve effect. That, in turn, will bring down the cost of electric vehicles, accelerating their move into the mainstream. What Musk and company aren’t sharing is the backup plan for the Gigafactory. Should energy storage and EVs hit a speed bump, the traditional ICE auto industry offers an addressable market for more than the entire output of the factory. Li-ion is very close to the tipping point at which it will replace conventional lead-acid batteries for engine cranking. This assures that they can keep driving down the cost of EV batteries even if unforeseen events, such as collapsing gasoline prices, reduce the rate of growth of the EV marketplace.

At 80 million cars per year, the legacy auto industry alone could soak up the output of an entire Gigafactory by switching to Li-ion starter batteries.* If trucks and other starter applications are included, 2 Gigafactories will be needed to meet demand. This will provide the volume to continue the relentless downward cost trend of batteries and storage.

Li-ion batteries are on the verge of surpassing lead-acid batteries in terms of lifecycle costs.  They already surpass their lead-acid competition in all performance metrics:

  • Weigh 60% less than lead-acid batteries,
  • Take up less space,
  • Better charge–discharge properties,
  • Last 2 to 4 times longer, and…
  • Are very resilient in hot environments such as engine compartments.

But the coup de grâce for lead-acid batteries is that cost trends strongly suggest that, even on an energy basis, Li-ion will reach cost parity with lead-acid in fewer than 5 years. The Gigafactory will only accelerate this trend. With these batteries’ light weight and space savings, the auto will have no choice but to make the switch.

No doubt, one of the reasons Tesla vetted more than one site for the Gigafactory is that they wanted to be able to respond quickly to increased demand. Given that the starter battery market alone could soak up the output of two Gigafactories, it is not out of the question that there could be demand for three to four Gigafactories within 5 years, particularly if energy storage takes off. It would appear that Elon Musk may have had more reasons than simply shopping for low-cost sites when vetting a full 5 sites for the Gigafactory. (Editor’s Note: Elon has stated that the speed with which Tesla could get started and build the factory was one key — I think the biggest key — to choosing Nevada.) And all stand to benefit from this bold, or maybe in hindsight, not so bold move to transform the battery market.

*Car batteries have about 1 kWh of storage. 1 million auto batteries therefore have 1 million kWh of storage or 1 GWh. 80 million autos therefore require 80 GWh of storage capacity or 150% of the Gigafactory’s output.

This post had a short section that looks at the potential for starter motors. Notice they talk about the high cost of the Porsche, but that is a 4-year-old approach. Li-Ion batteries have been plummeting in price in that time. The Gigafactory will likely put them in the cost-effective range for starter applications.

More about the amazing Tesla Model S.

A123 moving into the lithium-ion starter battery market.


Check out our new 93-page EV report.

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  • omar

    I read this in Arabic review but they didn’t mansion the origin of this news and google translate it:
    Researchers from the University of California by accident to the technique depends wires infinitesimal ranking of nanotechnology Nanowires, batteries could lead to hundreds of thousands of times can be shipped without losing a bit of capacity of the industry.

    The researchers said the search was published last week that the article, which reached thousands of times thinner than a human hair, and is characterized by very high conductivity, possesses surface enough to support the storage and transport of electrons.

    Usually nano-wires are very fragile and can not withstand discharge and recharge frequently, but the UCLA team they fix this problem through the wires gold nano-packaging with a layer of manganese dioxide and then placed in a special gel to improve its work.

    This could lead to the discovery that the batteries industry for computers, mobile phones and even cars and space vehicles, usable lifetime without a drop in performance or a lack of capacity and without the need to change them after a period of use.

    Has been tested loading and unloading of the new material more than 200 thousand times over for three months without any loss of energy or capacity, the team believes that their findings can be used to manufacture a commercial for all types of devices batteries, and last a lifetime.

    • omar

      Ok, Tina have posted an article about it today:
      “Infinite” Energy Storage Finally Discovered, But There’s A Catch

  • Bob_Wallace

    Are you not confusing starter batteries for ICEVs with storage batteries for EV?

    We should need roughly 180 Gigafactories to produce the 90 million or so cars manufactured each year.

  • eveee

    Lithium battery manufacturers already do make starter batteries. And they perform better and are lighter. The reasons they have not made inroads is that they have user education barriers. The average driver expects batteries to be cheap, heavy, and need constant replacement every 4 years or so. They don’t want a lighter, longer lasting, more expensive battery.

    http://www.a123systems.com/lithium-starter-battery.htm

    http://www.atmel.com/Images/article_li-ion_batteries.pdf

    However, this begs the question why EVs use unreliable lead acid batteries for the cabin electrical a and low voltage accessories. It adds weight and cost for wiring as well.

    http://www.plugincars.com/why-do-electric-cars-have-lead-acid-12-volt-batteries-when-lithium-lighter-129118.html

    In 2012, a starter replacement battery from lithium pros cost 1000 dollars. That will be about 250 now, about 2x a regular lead acid. IMO, it is illogical to put cheap, short life, 12v batteries in a low maintenance EV.

    • Jens Stubbe

      125 for a high quality starter battery will be the retail price, so you need to subtract approximately 70% from that price to compare, which means the Lithium battery is still factors more expensive and most likely will be for niche products like motor bikes and sportscars where weight and space matters.

      • eveee

        I don’t get why you need to subtract 70%. The price of the lithium starter batteries is about 250. The price of the LA is about 125. Considering the lifetimes, replacement costs and installation, they look pretty even to me.
        I prefer less maintenance and more reliability over cheap, frequent, service.

  • Ivor O’Connor

    This article seems to be written by a green enthusiast overlooking the facts. For instance why does he think they “Are very resilient in hot environments such as engine compartments”. I agree with the title of his article but not with much of his support of it.

    • NRG4All

      That was the first thing I though of too. Apparently the author wasn’t aware of the problem that Nissan had in Phoenix and areas of California. Maybe the formulation that they are using now is capable of withstanding the heat well enough to be put under the hood. But that is a tall order. Not only do you have temperatures of the sheet metal being high due to the ambient conditions, but you have the heat of the engine as well. We know for sure that without engine coolant, plain water would be boiling due to the heat coming off the engine and exhaust manifold.

      • eveee

        Different battery type and application. LA also suffers at high temp. See above for lithium starter battery sources.

    • OneHundredbyFifty

      “why does he think they “Are very resilient in hot environments such as engine compartments” ”

      The authors of this – http://www.altenergymag.com/content.php?post_type=1884 – article found that Li-Ion performed better than Lead Acid at high temperatures – “The analysis indicates that lithium-ion has an 18% higher lifetime cost
      when compared to VRLA in moderate climates, but is much more cost
      effective in hot climates.”

      Here is another comparison finds Li-Ion to be more robust in high temp environments. https://www.ultralifecorporation.com/PrivateDocuments/WP_li-ion-vs-lead-acid-WEB_1.pdf

      Which begs the question why do you not think they are resilient at high temps, please provide some references to support your position.

      • Ivor O’Connor

        Thanks for the education. I guess I just assumed with all the warnings about keeping them cool I concluded they were more sensitive to heat than lead acid batteries that had been in hot car engines for decades.

        • eveee

          Even lead acid batteries suffer under the hood. But we live in the shadow of a car culture that embraces repairs. Some cars have already put the batteries in the truck for better weight distribution and battery life, like the Saturn Ion.
          http://i.imgur.com/kWYqc9V.jpg

          • OneHundredbyFifty

            Good point, Prius also puts the lead acid battery in the back. I hadn’t thought much about why but I bet it is because of temperature.

          • eveee

            Interesting. I spot a trend here. Its for many reasons. Notice they put metal shields and insulation around a lot of batteries under the hood. They also locate them closer to the fan and air intake at the front. Now this trend to remove them from the engine compartment altogether. There is weight distribution and packaging to consider. Sometimes it just takes up too much space.

    • eveee

      I agree. Needs more support. See my comment above referencing auto starter batteries from A123 and others.

  • Radical Ignorant

    “Li-ion is very close to the tipping point at which it will replace conventional lead-acid batteries for engine cranking.”
    And this point is? I’m really great fan of Elon and Tesla but last news about Powerpack price kind of shocked me. All the time there was talk about $250/kWh ans some reports that very soon it will be under $150 and maybe even close to $100 and there is the end of ICE and then bang: $470/kWh.
    So now I became little untrustful and suspicious. So where this tipping point is?

    • Ross

      I’d hope that it is because they are targeting the use cases where a higher price can be borne and when production ramps up they’ll lower the prices and so broaden the use cases where it makes financial sense to deploy them.

      • Radical Ignorant

        That could make sense. They don’t have even single GF and there are plenty of orders for Powerpacks (could utilize whole GF production – according to E.M.) and orders for M3 are crazy as well. So it could make sense. But then changing official price? Dunno. Hope you are right. Hope they are just having something like 60% gross margin and use this income to accelerate current and build next GF.
        Anyway – that sitll is not telling anything about tipping point when LiOn can replace starter batteries.

        • eveee

          Suspect starter batteries not the biggest market. Utility storage and EVs is far greater.

    • Green Gred

      It will be $150 for Elon and the rest $300 will be covered by taxpayers as usual.

    • Jens Stubbe

      A high quality car lead battery from Varta cost $120 in retail and probably $35 in volume. Cheap car lead batteries cost $40 in retail and probably $15 in volume.

      The article states that even on a cost basis the parity with Lead batteries could be reached in five years. If you track the link from 24.12.2013 there is no such cost projections. To the contrary they deal with the entire multi kWh battery package and suggest $160/kWh by 2020 and in an update from October 2015 they suggest $145/kWh by 2016 and speculate when $100/kWh will be reached.

      Assuming that cheap cars will drop lead batteries is not realistic for a good long time.

      • eveee

        The installation and replacement costs add to the cost. Considering that the lithium is lifetime, it’s a better deal for owners not auto makers. Stainless exhausts didn’t take off until Lee Iacocca made them standard on Chrysler cars. After that, the others fell like dominoes.

        • OneHundredbyFifty

          Great analogy and, if your car lasts 150 k miles or more (most of mine have over the years) then you could easily require two battery replacements. So that puts the lead acid cost up around $300 – $400 (including the one that came with the car). Since you can deep discharge the lithium w/o damage, you can use a lower capacity battery so cost per kwhr can be higher and the economics still works out better. And then, as you point out, unless you value your time at $0 the hassle and disruption of an extra trip to the auto store costs and that is if you don’t wind up having to be towed or rescued due to a battery failure.

          • eveee

            Yes. Try maybe 3 battery replacements almost. I figure about the same maybe a bit higher. But don’t deep discharge a lithium, you could kill it. BMS and controller should be set to prevent that.

        • Jens Stubbe

          When it is time to replace the motor in my boat I want to get an electric. Mainly for the extra space and lower weight but also to avoid the smell of a Diesel engine and the maintenance. I once had a Volvo the wife did not like so I agreed with her that I would do no repairs just normal maintenance and it lasted four years before she triumphantly was able to declare it a “wreck” when the viper motor zapped. At that time the starter battery from Varta was at least 10 years and going strong. All I did to maintain it was to add demineralized water when the indicator went low. Point being that even though standard batteries are heavy and bulky they will do the job. Ps. my mechanics bought the Volvo and sold it on after a paint job and little monkey shine.

          • eveee

            Yes. They used to make batteries that way. I have this little battery acid tester. And using de mineralized water makes them last. But the newer ones got rid of the need to water them. Too many people filled the with tap and ruined their lifetime. The new ones sealers and used chemicals to prevent out gassing and shorting. But the chemicals wear out quicker. Back in the days when teens offered to tune up cars by replacing points, condenser, and plugs, labor was cheap enough, and there was free time. Now there is no free time and labor is expensive. I enjoy no longer having to adjust my brakes, clutch, and e brake. I like lifetime muffler. And electronic ignition and fuel injection are heaven.

    • eveee

      It’s not a direct cost crossover. LA gets replaced every 4-6 years. Lithium could be lifetime. Think labor costs, not just material.

      • ROBwithaB

        How long does it take you to replace a battery?
        Two spanners, two minutes. Call it five minutes, if you include cleaned the lugs, lubing the posts and washing your hands afterwards.
        (Or ten minutes if you include the beer that you have afterwards to reward yourself for all that hard work.)

        • eveee

          How long does it take you to get a battery? I have done it and i agree, its not too bad. But I think its easily a half hour job, done right. Like putting the gel on the terminals, and tightening them down right. How about resetting your clock?
          Basically, its an easy job, but why need to do it in the first place?
          Total time has to average an hour to get the battery and install it. You have to travel to where you buy it and purchase it.
          Definitely include the beer. My reward for my finding the right tools, the gloves I wear, and not stripping anything.
          Batteries cost over 100 dollars now, even at cheap stores here. More incentive to just buy a car with a battery that lasts a lifetime.
          Hopefully you never let your battery run down or get too old and get stranded. That costs way more.

    • ROBwithaB

      Yup. Some of the cheerleaders on here were waving their pompoms and promising $100/kWh before 2020.

      I was hoping to order about 20 powerwalls within the next 12 months or so.
      Not going to be happening at the actual installer prices that are now being quoted here in South Africa. There’s a big disconnect between what was first announced and the current reality. Hopefully prices come down quickly once the eager early adopters have been served, and once the learning and scale effects kick in.

  • BlackTalon53 .

    Li-Ion batteries are very resilient in hot environments? I doubt that … everything I have ever heard and read about those batteries indicates that exactly the opposite is true.

    • Ross

      The range estimator on the Tesla website indicates a temperature of about 70F is best. Above or below that the range decreases.

      • BlackTalon53 .

        The range (or capacity in this case) may go up, but the overall longevity suffers terribly. A typical starter battery is always close to full, which makes it so much worse. Plus, an engine compartment is way, way hotter than 70°F. I guess it can only be used in cars where the battery is situated elsewhere. My family once had an older 5-series diesel BMW that had the battery under the rear seat.

        • eveee

          Saturn ion, too. Locating the battery in the engine compartment is bad for the battery, and weight distribution. Porsches have been race modified moving battery to back for example. A smaller lighter lithium battery could easily be located elsewhere.

    • See comment with research link above. Li-ion is better than lead-acid in heat.

      • steve garside

        That’s just All-Cell pushing Lithium. Just as they pushed their supposed solution for Lithium-ion battery fires.
        All batteries suffer in the heat. All-Cell have cherry-picked some parameters to concentrate on *change* with temperature, but not the innate differences.of Lithium and Lead acid, and certainly not the differences in sustained discharge that are relevant to vehicle starter batteries. According to some Lithium-ion advocates,
        changing batteries ( vehicle or storage) must be one of the most expensive of all human activities, far exceeding the vast difference in battery cost. Lithium is not a panacea, but one type of battery.

        The SAE have a cold-cranking test, conducted at -18C, with test limits according to battery size. It is severe, but tests both the battery’s ability to deliver current and power under the cold conditions that represent the worst case for engine starting.
        When starting, the starter-motor pinion engages with engine’s ring gear. The starter-motor is stalled at that point, so current can be very large.
        When the engine begins to turn, the battery must supply significant power, and the kinetic energy of increasing rpm. When up to speed, power reduces to the demands of internal friction, compression, and the effects of oil viscosity.
        Small engines in temperate climates, may see only a brief period where the intial stall current exceeds 400A, so Lithium-ion may work in those cases. Some Lithium-ion manufacturers invent things like ‘CCA equivalent’ or ‘Hot CCA’ to sell batteries that don’t comply with the test. Although Lithium-ion is generally compatible with vehicle systems, to get the most benefit, charging would need to be better controlled, and means of preventing damage to vehicle electronics under load-dump conditions, should the BMS disconnect the battery.

        The earlier mentioned Porsche Cayenne battery is for ‘summer use’. “The battery is delivered as a separate unit together with the car, and owners can switch between the two set-ups because the lithium ion unit will only work between 0 and 32 degrees centigrade.”
        Changing batteries is a joy, in that case.

      • BlackTalon53 .

        A “research link”? That is an advertising brochure by a manufacturer with a bit of technical stuff thrown in. And not a word in it about high temps. Normal Li-Ion batteries die when exposed to temperatures above 60°C.

  • Walk This Way…?

    “*Car batteries have about 1 kWh of storage.” REALLY??? That’s the math you’re using to come up with a 5 gigafactory estimate? Tesla’s 90kWh battery only has 1kWh of storage?? Future 350-500 mile batteries require a lot more than 1kWh of storage or even the current 90kWh (Elon Musk has stated many times there will need to be dozens of gigafactories to turn over ICE fleet). Multiply your gigafactory estimate by a factor of 20…

    • juxx0r

      He’s talking about starting batteries for cars that drink gas, about 90-120Ah and 12V. So he is correct. However a lithium replacement need only be about half the size, mine is 1/10th and it works happily.

      • eveee

        Do tell. Any info on the battery?

    • OneHundredbyFifty

      This article was originally published about 1 1/2 years ago and addresses the time period from when it was written to 2020. Gas prices were plummeting, and many thought that even Elon Musk’s cars would be unable to overcome gas cheaper than water. The press was circling like vultures with rumblings that the Gigafactory was going to be the end of Elon. This piece was written in response to that.

      The article points out that the Giga factory was almost certain to be a
      huge success even if Tesla NEVER sold an EV and that they would likely
      be building more Giga factories before the end of the decade whatever the rate of sales of EVs due to other addressable markets opening up. Its primary purpose was to show that we had already reached a crossover such that Li-ion technology would reach the scale needed to continue to drive the relentless price reductions that are making mass adoption of EVs inevitable.

      It is testimony to the pace of change that when the piece was originally
      published it appeared to be recklessly optimistic. Now, in the rear view
      mirror it looks, as you imply, cautious.

    • he’s writing about starter batteries (the 12V ones that are in all cars).

  • Modok EvilMastermind

    Why does my Nissan Leaf have a Lead Acid Battery to power the CPU of the car? I think it is because lion batteries need to be heated below 13F or so. Can Lion replace lead-acid in cold environments…asking for a friend 🙂

    I had a dead cell in that tiny battery and thought it really weird my 24KwH battery could not run its own computer? My car was dead in the water until I replaced it and I read that this was to get around cold weather…Did I read that wrong?

    • eveee
      • Modok EvilMastermind

        Hey I am not saying this article is wrong (cost as reason) but it strikes me as weird that they would not just tap into that massive battery they designed into the car and say range is a tiny amount less.

        I mean your lion battery is already used to charge the lead acid battery at some loss and it is less efficient and weighs more. Cost could still make having it somehow able to shave some money off the car. It just seems strange (in the leaf it is a pretty small lead-acid battery).

        Someone in comments implied there is some law in the books somewhere about lead acid batteries but that also rings hollow to me.

        So thanks for the link but I am still looking for a little more confirmation because I still find it weird I have a lead acid battery in my car 🙂

        • Modok EvilMastermind

          I just was trawling some Leaf forums…A got a couple of interesting nuggets.

          1. “Because the DC-DC voltage converter would have to be always on
          waiting for some usage and all the while draining the main battery. The
          12v battery can just sit and wait for months at at a time.”
          2. “There is an inverter to go from 400 volts to 12 volts. The reason for
          having the lead-acid battery is so that the car can be powered off and
          the traction battery be disconnected from the “under-the-hood”
          components. Helps keep things safe!”
          3. ” I also theorize that another reason for the 12V battery is to be able
          to operate the charging system. This would allow the car to be charged
          when the traction battery is drained.”

          So I think they want to have an independent battery from main packs to decouple those responsibilities. Which I think then dovetails nicely with the cost argument your article states. They cheaped out on a lead-acid for this secondary battery system.

          I do remember someone saying in cold weather battery heater costs will wear down on charge faster than lead-acid but I have yet to find any links for that. In any case, I find the oddity of my Leaf having a lead acis battery a fascinating topic 🙂

          • eveee

            Thats excellent research. Grab your links sometimes, so other people can read up. Its an interesting subject. Well at least to me. 🙂

        • eveee

          Yes. I wondered about that, too, when I got involved with building EVs. You need a reliable DC-DC from 400V down to 12V. Thats not cheap. It has to be an isolated supply for safety. For the same reason, its better to isolate the low voltage section. You want the 12V for brains to control the big 400V brute.

          FYI, if you have a Saturn Ion, you don’t worry about heat. The battery is in the trunk. Thing is, lithium auto replacement batteries have to deal with the existing charging system and have their own electronics to protect the battery.

  • Brunel

    Can Li-ion batteries really crank petrol engines?

    Even Toyota Prius comes with a 12v lead acid battery.

    Even Tesla cars have a 12v battery I think.

    • OneHundredbyFifty

      Porsche has been using them for years because of weight and space advantages. At the time they introduced them they were very expensive and only practical for exotic cars. We are rapidly closing in on pricing for mainstream applications. http://www.super-b.com/en/automotive-1

    • Ronald Brakels

      It is possible to jump start a car with a 200 gram mobile phone charger.

      The Leaf has a 12 volt battery to run the car’s 12 accessories, but I very much doubt the Tesla would have one as it was designed from scratch rather than using as many parts from conventional cars as possible.

      • Brunel

        Tesla cars have a 12v battery to protect firemen when they attend a car crash. In an accident, the 12v battery disconnects the big Li-ion battery:

        http://www.teslarati.com/understanding-tesla-12v-battery-service-warning/

        Here it says the Leaf has a lead acid battery because a DC-DC converter will cost too much:

        http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?t=911009

        • eveee

          That makes no sense. Pointless difference between a 12v LA and a 12V lithium. Neither can shock you, but both can explode.
          The real danger is the 400V 1300A motive battery.

          Yes. Auto makers don’t want to spend money on cars. The DC DC is an excuse. They are cheap.

          The real reason is auto makers would rather sell cheaper cars with more maintenance. A lithium would be lifetime and increase your mpg.

          • Brunel

            Tesla has chosen a poor quality vendor for 12v batteries.

            Lots of Tesla owners report that the 12v battery only last 18 months.

            Tesla should have put in German-made 12v batteries.

          • eveee

            I agree. Thats poor. Might not be the battery, could be charger, but either way, they could have done better. Who wants a low maintenance, high tech EV with an old fashioned LA battery? Right now, we have little choice. They all do that.
            IMO, Tesla should have a lithium 12V. Or at least some kind of more high tech reliable battery.

      • juxx0r

        No it’s not Ronald, the amps are not your friend.

        • Ronald Brakels
          • juxx0r

            The lie is calling it a mobile phone charger. It’s battery pack with high amp cables and an inline maxi fuse. My mobile phone charger and i’d hazard to bet yours too came with a USB cable not Alligator clamps.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Ah, I see. But I don’t have a mobile phone charger as it is a shock hazard when the string on my tin can is wet.

            Anyway, assuming the thing works, the answer to the original question is, yes lithium-ion batteries can crank a car and 200 grams is (apparently) enough.

          • juxx0r

            My lithium car battery is 1.3kg and it cranks and cranks and cranks and that’s on a supercharged 2L with 12.5:1 compression.

            The thing with batteries is that nowadays you can get more power out of a powertool battery than you could if you plugged a similar tool into a GPO.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            The only solid specs I saw on it were 6Ah at 5v. A normal battery has 40 Ah at 12v. So 30 vs 480. I’d go with the 480 instead of the carnival trick.

    • eveee

      Yes. See the comment above on one from A123.

    • steve garside

      Some. Lithium ion can’t pass the SAE cold-cranking test. The battery must output 800-1000A for 30seconds, without the voltage falling below 7.2V
      Repeated 3 times 30 secs apart. Engines in cold climates need that sort of performance.

      Some Lithium car batteries can start small engines, or are sold for race cars and the like.
      Another problem is if the battery’s BMS detects a problem, the battery becomes dis-connected from the vehicle’s bus, but the alternator still produces output ( load dumping). The vehicle’s voltage can then rise to >200V, and damage expensive engine management components. Most car manufactures see little benefit in Lithium-ion, so stay with cheaper and proven lead acid. It’s not for want of attempts. A123, Navitas, Saft, Cantec, and so many others have tried to market Lithium starter batteries. It remains a fringe market.

  • Brunel

    Have a Gigafactory in AUS.

    AUS even has lithium in the ground. Along with bauxite, iron ore, copper, etc.

    • Ronald Brakels

      South Australia asked. Tesla said, “Nah”.

      But it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.

      In this case, Australia is losing its entire car industry.

      • Brunel

        South AUS asked too late. Jay Weatherill should have met Musk when he was mulling a gigafactory in Texas, California, Nevada, etc.

        And offered U$1.5 billion.

        NY state offered a lot of money to SolarCity to build a solar panel gigafactory in Buffalo.

        Musk tweeted that a battery gigafactory in India makes sense.

        Yet AUS has the lithium.

        • Ronald Brakels

          You do know that the state is supposed to take money from rich people, not give it to them?

          Considering Australia’s car fuel efficiency standards consists of a sticker on the windshield of new cars saying what their fuel economy is, I think we can do a lot more to cut oil use in this country for a lot less than pay someone $1.5 billion to build electric cars. For example, a vehicle sales tax that’s a sliding scale based on CO2 emissions.

          • Brunel

            Mate, Stephen Mayne said (I think when Gillard was PM) that the subsidies given to car factories in AUS are worth it because the budget gets the money back in taxes paid by the workers in the factory.

            Or something like that. I am more inclined to believe Mr Mayne than a corrupt LNP minister who is dead keen to send manufacturing jobs offshore.

            They have now let a fridge factory go offshore, the factory only needed a tiny bit of money from the federal government but they would rather spend billions on negative gearing subsidies.

            The car factories in England are about to have their best year ever – making close to 2 million cars.

            Tiny Sweden exports cars. Even Taiwan made more cars in 2014 than AUS did.

          • Ronald Brakels

            I have a horse.

          • LookingForward

            lol

          • Ross

            Electric or diesel powered?

          • Ronald Brakels

            Grass. Technically it is a flex fuel vehicle, but if you change the fuel mix too quickly it dies. Just one of many reasons why my current horse is called Tonto 23.

          • Ross

            Indirect solar so I’ll put that in the electric category.

          • Karl the brewer

            1 horsepower = 0.745 kw

            If you could work out the weight of grass Tonto 23 consumes per day we could calculate grass per watt. A new SI unit perhaps?

          • Ronald Brakels

            Actually Tonto 23 can put out 1,000 watts of continuous power. If only he had been used to define the unit horsepower everyone’s life would be just a little simpler.

            And probably less space probes would crash into the earth.

            (Tonto 7 was killed when Skylab smashed into Western Australia.)

          • Karl the brewer

            23 horses over how many years? Sounds like a high horse / time ratio to me.

          • Ronald Brakels

            I’d rather not discuss the details of that. But I will say that it is good for moral. Once the horses get their name and number they know that from now on there is no more loosey goosey.

            (Tonto 19 died after being attacked by an escaped goose.)

          • Ivor O’Connor

            Now that is a story that sounds interesting. An escaped goose killed your horse! I’ve had encounters with geese before but never thought of them as anything more than an annoyance.

          • Ronald Brakels

            As you travel down life’s highway, riding Tonto 23 and subsequent iterations, you will learn there is nothing that can’t kill a horse.

          • Brunel

            The global horse population peaked about 100 years ago.

          • eveee

            Peak horse?

          • Jens Stubbe

            Sweden is less than half size of Australia population wise and yet home to the leading producer of trucks in the world and a strong runner up. Swedes know how to make trucks and cars

          • Brunel

            I bet the car factories in Sweden do get a bit of government assistance, but it is probably worth it.

            ie, the income tax that the workers pay more than makes up for money that the factory gets.

          • Jens Stubbe

            I do not think the Swedish government has any subsidies for the car and truck industry, but I am Danish and do not pay much attention to that issue. Volvo sold of the car division to Ford who sold it of to the current Chinese owners and Scania sold of SAAB car division to GM who sold it on until it eventually became Chinese owned too. According to rumors Saab is ramping up to production of 150.000 EV’s.

            As for Volvo trucks and Scania trucks they are among the companies that pains the competition and I would not imagine they receive any significant subsidies.

            A former chairman of the board in one of my companies was CEO for Caran that serves all Swedish car and truck makers.

            He was not too impressed with Ford and GM ownership.

            To prove his point, at least Volvo has made a dramatic u-turn towards success since their Chinese owners took over. The call is still out for Saab but the ambitions are high.

            There is actually a third Swedish luxury brand http://koenigsegg.com

            One of their models is a plugin hybrid with 1500 horsepower.

            They also have a not yet officially released project that is flow battery powered. http://www.gizmag.com/900-hp-supercar-flow-battery/31091/

            Allegedly the flow battery should be 5-6 times more power dense than Lithium Ion.

        • eveee

          blame Abbott.

      • neroden

        South Australia should ask again, and focus on the car factory side of things.

        Remember, Tesla bought the NUMMI factory for pennies on the dollar. If South Australia can offer Tesla a car factory full of functioning equipment for pennies on the dollar, it’ll be an offer Tesla can’t refuse — the extra $500 million dollars saved by getting a practically-free factory is well worth it on their balance sheet. And it becomes the Asian/African car factory, eliminating trans-Pacific shipping costs.

        • Carl Raymond S

          If the Coalition were even slightly pro energy transition, like Norway, we might stand a chance. Alas Turnbull has shown no sign of being any better than Tony “Coal is good for humanity” Abbott.
          Election looming, July 2, perhaps we give the other mob a go. It’s going to be close. My vote hangs on their green policy, which at the moment neither is standout.

  • denis77

    Car batteries have certainly much more than jut 1 kWh of capacity – Tesla’s start at 75 kWh for Model X. Nissan Leaf starts at 24 kWh. So equipping 80 million cars with 75 kWh batteries will require 6,000 GWh, or 120 Gigafactories.

    • Keanwood

      They were talking about the lead acid batteries in a regular ICE car. They were not talking about EV batteries.

      • denis77

        Thanks for pointing that out. I’m not the only one here who can’t read, so probably Clayton should learn to write more clearly.

        I doubt Tesla had this application in mind when building their Gigafactory, but otherwise why not.

  • Freddy D

    to meet world energy needs for all cars and trucks built every year would be about a couple hundred gigafactories. Add other storage needs and higher still. 5 gigafactories is a drop in the bucket needed to address climate change.

    But to get from zero to a couple hundred, we must first finish number one. And then finish 5. So it’s a start for sure.

    • Ross

      Given the unexpended large number of reservations for the Model 3 they really need to get to work on additional factories before the first one is fully kitted out. They also had more than expected demand for the powerpacks and powerwalls. As the revolution continues they’re going to need more production capacity.

      • Freddy D

        Oh, I’m sure they have a roadmap for that! 🙂

        It will be a tricky optimization though. Any scale-up using today’s technology delivers batteries at today’s cost. Tomorrows technology, producing cheaper batteries, is as yet unknown. Too fast and they go bankrupt with stranded capital that can’t compete. Too slow and they can’t fulfill orders.

        • Ross

          Yes. It’s tricky balance and I doubt Elon Musk will not want to take excessive risks now. Giving away the patents, and their efforts to create a common charging network suggest he’s serious about wanting to see other manufacturers get a piece of the market as the scale of the transition is so large and timescales so short.

          • Karl the brewer

            Yep, he really needs one of them to step up to the plate and share some of the responsibility.

          • neroden

            I think one of Tesla’s top priorities will be to create highly modular and reconfigurable factory lines. So the investment in a large building remains valuable even if the production line doesn’t.

            The Gigafactory is a big box-shaped building with three floors and a white roof. It looks like the inside has the “magnetic tape” method of laying out the factory interior.

          • Ross

            The modularity and reproducibility is logical, given the need for exponential scaling needed rapidly move the world to sustainable transport.

            I’m glad that it is Elon Musk that’s leading that as he understands problems at the fundamental level and applies first principles solutions to them and he has a track record of doing what naysayers say is impossible. [sorry for the hagiography, but it is deserved]

          • neroden

            Musk has a specific talent for figuring out how to solve engineering problems in a way which can be (a) manufactured cheaply and efficiently, and (b) marketed highly effectively with high demand.

            It’s a rather unusual talent because it combines engineering, economics/accounting/financing, and marketing/market research. Many people are experts at one of the three, but very few have the *combination* of skills which Musk has.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I think what he is also able to is “clean slate” thinking. It feels like he doesn’t look at a technology, such as EVs, and think “How can we improve on the Spark/Leaf” but starts from zero and avoids the problems of reworking an existing solution.

            With Tesla and the S it seems like he and his collaborators dreamed up the “best” car experience which led them away from dealerships, new annual models, and adapting a current product.

          • Freddy D

            No doubt the box and location have value. The heavy expense, however, will be in the unit operations – modular operational machines that each perform one task. Not unlike a semiconductor fab, where each unit operation for doping, ion implant, etching, etc go completely obsolete each 3 years.

    • Matt

      Note that Panasonic/TESLA are not the only ones ramping up battery production capacity.
      http://www.visualcapitalist.com/the-lithium-ion-megafactories-are-coming-chart/

      • eveee

        Great link! Over 120GWh by 2020 starting from 35GWh now. Thats real growth.

  • JamesWimberley

    It doesn’t take long to build light industrial factories and production lines. In WW II this was IIRC done in a year. There is more paperwork and health-and-safety now, but a factory is basically a large shed with power supplies and loading/unloading docks at each end. Some of the equipment is specialised, but not all, or I suspect most. Tesla (or a rival) could build a clone much faster.

    • OneHundredbyFifty

      And much of the time consuming paper work was done in vetting the multiple sites. That positions Tesla for a rapid build-out. Also there is nothing magic about a 50GW factory. As I understand it there will be multiple lines in this one. You could go larger or smaller in increments of production lines. Much like Intel does, once they have a line stable, they can replicate it elsewhere. Interesting to consider, Intel is laying off 12,000 workers. No doubt some will be the guys who specialize in Intel’s fab replication, perfect new home for them.

      • neroden

        Unfortunately Tesla only vetted four sites all in the Western US. For future expansion Tesla will want geographically distributed sites (to shorten the supply chain), so the site vetting process for Gigafactories 2,3,4, etc. really hasn’t started yet.

      • Ross

        Starting site preparation in a few sites is a good strategy. The most cooperative state/country can then compete for the next factory.

  • Ross

    As it says on the reception wall, “Gigafactory 1”.

    The exterior is largely built. The workers that did that should be working on “Gigafactory 2”.

    • sjc_1

      At billions of dollars per factory, it may be a while.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Why?

        If there is product demand capital will rush in….

        • sjc_1

          Of course, the “invisible hand” of the market system works perfectly every time.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Absolutely. As it always has been….

          • eveee

            The phrase invisible hand was introduced by Adam Smith in his book ‘The Wealth of Nations’.

            This goes along with the myth that a combination of individual selfish actions can create a common good.

            The invisible hand is reaching into my pocket for my wallet. 🙂

          • Mike Shurtleff

            No, but in this case the “invisible hand” of the market system should work quite well. Why not?

        • neroden

          Eventually. The time lags between product demand and getting capital can be measured in DECADES. I have personal experience with this.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Tesla will have zero problems finding capital for expansion.

            Have we ever seen a product with this sort of pre-release demand? (Possibly with some Apple products but we’re talking a much cheaper buy in.)

    • neroden

      The part currently built is only about 1/6 of Gigafactory 1. They do have to finish it.

      • Ross

        Oh-oh. They need to get their skates on with all the reservations. They still need to start on additional factories before completing the first one.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Actually, they have to complete only the first stage, the “1/6th”.

        If that works as designed then Panasonic and Tesla know how the next Gigafactories should be built. Building multiple large factories at the same time and in stages makes for lots of flexibility as they build out. It allows for supply chains to be established for each site at a 1/6th (something) level and a core base of employees to be trained at that location. Get the first stage running and then expand.

        BTW, it seems that Panasonic is now manufacturing cells at the Nevada site. According to the NPR report.

        • OneHundredbyFifty

          “Actually, they have to complete only the first stage, the “1/6th”.”

          Exactly! I suspect that they will get a first line up and running then copy it in NV to get the bugs out of replicating a line. Then they will build a new fab starting with two lines ASAP. The third line at Fab1 will be a process upgrade incorporating lessons learned. That will then be replicated for the next two lines at Fab 2 and other fabs if they are being built. Then they will be good at replicating factories and they will put them where they need them. I suspect that each of the next three lines at the NV site will be a process upgrade where they will shake down the next generation process.

          I imagine that as they perfect lines they will then use a process along the lines of Intel’s Copy Exactly https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copy_Exactly! process to build the new fab lines. And with the recent Intel layoff announcement there will be lots of Intel engineers ready to jump at the opportunity to transfer that technology.

        • neroden

          What you mean is that this, the “prototype Gigafactory”, is the one they’re doing the debugging in. They have to get it straightened out before they can build the rest of the Gigafactories.

          That is correct. What I was saying is that they have to finish Gigafactory 1 in order to mass produce the Model 3, and that the workers who built the Prototype Gigafactory need to be working on building the rest of Gigafactory 1 before they can go off to build Gigafactory 2 (though actually they’d just hire different workers to build Gigafactory 2).

          • newnodm

            So far Panasonic seems to prefer supplying cells from Japan. Issue #1 is not building gigafactories, but cost and quantity of cells.

            Musk doesn’t seem concerned about cost or quantity of cells for the next couple of years.

          • Bob_Wallace

            According to the NPR report Panasonic is already making cells in the Gigafactory.

          • Carl Raymond S

            With some transfers to keep the brains trust intact.

  • This is just a huge reminder for me about how important is that we put a price on carbon now. Driving EV adoption is an imperative, regardless of the price of gasoline.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Now that 175 countries have signed an agreement to lower their carbon footprints I suspect we’ll hear more talk of a price on carbon.

      • Brunel

        Diesel is ridiculously subsidised in Iran and other nations.

        That probably needs to change.

        • Shane 2

          The same goes for gasoline in Venezuela. In oil rich Norway gasoline is heavily taxed. In oil rich Venezuela it is heavily subsidized. Governance in that country has been pathetic for many decades.

          • Bob_Wallace

            In several countries if the government did not sell fuel below cost the economy would grind to a halt.

          • Ross

            Saudi Arabia look like they are headed for economic and regime collapse. Their plan to establish a sovereign wealth fund is too late. They squandered the oil money when they had it.

          • Calamity_Jean

            I suspect that sometime in the future the Royal Family will flee the country.

        • eveee

          Since they have a smog problem, well yes indeed.

    • Shiggity

      Incentivizing is usually a better option than taxing.

      Massively extending the 7500$ tax credit for EVs would do far more than a carbon tax would.

      What really needs to be done is getting the trucking fleet to EV technology ASAP. That’s where EV incentives need to be focused.

      The US car fleet efficiency is actually amazing right now, WAY ahead of schedule.

      • Jens Stubbe

        Trucks if you talk big trucks are very efficient and will become more efficient still. No point at all considering large trucks as EV’s whatsoever since the batteries required are huge. A friend of mine built a beverage delivery truck with a 1600kg battery and got a 110 km range. A big 18 wheeler would require a really heavy battery and you would not be able to justify the idle time charging it. Besides more weight means more tires and more wear on roads and less cargo capacity. Here in Europe they are experimenting with virtual “trains” where the trucks line up very close and assign breaking control to the lead truck. This way the require less space on the road and the wind resistance is lowered and you limit the labor cost. As more and more fuel become either Synfuel or biofuel it makes less and less sense to open that front.

        • Bob_Wallace

          There are already battery powered 18-wheelers. The largest trucks permitted on US highways. Diesel engines and fuel are pretty heavy.

          Right now we could drive fully loaded 18-wheelers (80,000 pounds) 200 miles and swap out the discharged battery pack with a charged pack in less than three minutes.

          • Jens Stubbe

            Still does not make sense. Trucks are really heavy duty vehicles and therefore extremely challenging for batteries.

            What could break the market open would be highway charging.

            My good friend Henrik Vikelgaard was in charge of Vestas research into battery storage. Now he is on the team that plan the electrification of the Danish railroads. I have asked him if it makes sense to build EV trains and they have done careful calculations that shows this idea is unlikely to become economically viable.

            The case for 18 wheelers is far worse due to higher friction and more load capacity loss due to battery weight.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Trains are easier to electrify with catenary lines because they have fixed and fewer routes.

            I can give you the math for battery powered 18-wheelers and battery charging if you want. I see no math behind your opinion.

          • Jens Stubbe

            Please do Bob. Volvo has made several trucks and have made a test road with charging. Volvo is the dominant force in trucking and also the absolute dominant force in fleet management. DSV that is headquartered in my town has operations in 80 countries where they run thousands of trucks.

            If you somehow can make a case for economic or environmental benefits then please do so until then I would suppose the professionals are on top of the challenge.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Here’s my back of the envelop math….

            There are 37.87 kWh in a gallon #2 diesel (Wiki)

            An efficient loaded 18 wheeler can get 8 MPG (RMI), thus is using 4.7 kWh worth of diesel per mile.

            The 18 wheeler is about 45% efficient. Out of the 4.7 kWh used about 2.1 kWh is turned into kinetic energy, the rest into waste heat.

            Running on a 85 kWh Tesla ModS battery pack the 18 wheeler could travel 39.9 miles.

            In order to travel 200 miles the 18 wheeler would need a about 5.5 packs to allow for the 10% inefficiency of the electric motor/drivetrain. Round up to 6 packs per 200 miles.

            Actually this is overkill in terms of batteries. It doesn’t account for the energy recovered by regenerative braking. But let’s stick with 6 packs to be overly safe.

            One claim has been that batteries would be too heavy. The ModS pack weighs 1,200 pounds, so 6 packs would weigh 7,200 pounds.

            An 18 wheeler can carry up to 300 gallons of diesel. At 7 pounds per gallon that’s 2,100 pounds. The dry weight of a Detroit Diesel engine is 2,763 lbs. So at least 4,863 pounds for the ICE version. Add in cooling and exhaust system and you’d be well over 5,000 pounds.

            (80,000 pounds fully loaded. 97,000 in the EU)

            Cost. Once the Gigafactory is running full speed cells should be $100/kWh or less and packs could be around $125/kWh Six 85 kWh packs would be under $65k. 20,000 gallons of fuel, 160,000 miles per year? At $3.50/gallon that is $70k.

            Not included, electricity for charging batteries. If an 18-wheeler could average 2.1 kWh per mile then the cost per mile would be roughly 23 cents per mile (using 11c/kWh commercial electricity cost). 160,000 miles per year would cost $35,960. A roughly $35k fuel savings would pay for a battery pack in two years.

            Oil changes (expensive), brake rebuilds and engine maintenance for diesels.

            Looks to me that the cost could work out somewhat better for battery powered trucks. At least they shouldn’t be more expensive which means that we probably have an affordable alternative to fossil fuels for long haul trucking.

            After I wrote that I was informed that Balqon has a battery powered 18-wheeler. The Balqon truck has 125 mile range from a 320 kWh pack, fully loaded.

            http://www.balqon.com/electric

            My math was a 510 kWh pack for 200 miles. 2.55 kWh of storage per mile. Balqon uses a 320 kWh pack for 125 miles. 2.56 kWh of storage per mile.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Now, how to operate long distance freight with 200 mile range tractors? Pull in ever 200 miles. Once the truck is stopped in the exchange bay the front of the tractor opens, one device snatches out the discharged battery, a second slides in a charged battery. The front closes and the truck pulls out in less than three minutes.

            The truck is going to drive for about three hours to cover 200 miles. That gives three hour to get another battery charged for them. Less than Supercharger rate.

            Batteries would probably need to be leased and standardized. All “D” cells. It might be necessary to schedule trip times so that not too many tractors would be trying to get a charged battery from the same exchange station at the same time.

            Over time capacity will increase and 200 miles will grow into 300 miles.

          • Jens Stubbe

            Interesting calculations.

            Try doing them on a level playing field.

            You could achieve that by stipulating similar range and by remembering the weight of the electric motors – and especially so if you wish to claim regenerative breaking.

            And do not forget to add the added weight to the mileage equation.

            If you stick with future projections for batteries you should probably do the same for motors that most likely will continue to improve towards the state of the art level.

            When summing up running cost of a traditional drivetrain you should probably also at least try to calculate the running cost of the electric drivetrain.

            You made a calculation based on the 85S battery where you get 39.9 miles, which is probably not healthy for the battery and not the way a professional organization will run a battery for best performance and durability.

            Time is money and you have chosen to compare short range and long charging time with long range and short refill, which does not seem to add up.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Where is the field not level?

            I don’t know what you mean by “stipulating similar range”.

            The additional weight is a small fraction of total loaded weight. I bumped up from 5.5 packs to 6 packs. I omitted the energy gain back with reg braking.

            I don’t know why it would be unhealthy for the battery. The batteries certainly won’t last as long a calendar life if they’re driving half the day, but they should have as many cycles as in other uses.

            “Time is money and you have chosen to compare short range and long charging time with long range and short refill, which does not seem to add up.”

            Do you not understand that the truck is barreling down the highway while the batteries are charging? The whole idea of battery swapping is to dump off the discharged pack, load up a charged pack, and get back on the road.

            You missed the entire point. What I was after was not a detailed cost analysis but a look to see if batteries might be an alternative to fossil fuel for heavy freight.

            Might it take a little longer to get there? Might. In a 12 hour, 800 mile day the truck would have to get off the road three times for a swap. Might add a half hour to the day. Remember the truck is going to make one or two stops during the day anyway unless the driver is peeing in a bottle.

            Might it cost a little more? Might. Might cost a little less. There are costs not included like mechanical maintenance/repairs on the ICE. More frequent brake rebuilds. Also not included is the health costs caused by diesel fumes. And climate change.

          • Jens Stubbe

            Low battery GHG (and other) emissions are depending upon charging when there is surplus low carbon electricity available.

            However if you let the batteries sit idle in chargers to await low carbon electricity you get poorer battery utilization which impacts overall economy.

            Batteries are likewise contributing to GHG (and other pollution) through their entire lifecycle.

            The fumes discussion is only valid if the low carbon scheme is applied because if average power plant emissions was factored in Diesel driven cars and especially with mandatory biofuel component will emit less particles and GHG.

            Health cost involved with modern EPA compliant trucks are limited and will continue to become more limited.

            Ps. Vestas lowered the average price per sold capacity from €910.000/MW on average in the first quarter of 2015 to €830.000/MW in the first quarter of 2016. The annual progress in quality, performance and scaling will further improve LCOE and expected PPA cost. 9% annual drop in wind cost will bring unsubsidized average US wind PPA below $0.02/kWh by 2021 and manage below $0.015/kWh by 2025. My point being that we are inching closer towards cost of energy where Synfuels will become commercially viable and battery storage relative to just adding sufficient over provision becomes more absurd.

            Ps. Ps. The owner of Danfoss (they own 20% of SMA which you may know better) has announced a project where they target $0.015/kWh base load osmotic power in association with salty geothermal water.

            Ps. Ps. Ps. Solar is also going strong.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Did you post this comment in the wrong place?

            It has no apparent connection to the discussion.

    • Freddy D

      Can anyone figure out how to make this fly politically?! It’s sure been the challenge for the last 20+ years. Not for carbon, but for oil independence, even Reagan wanted a “revenue neutral gas tax” and he was immediately stifled and told to never utter that again. And that was 30 years ago.

      • Brent Jatko

        I think that was sold as an alternative to CAFE and IIRC liberals shot it down.

    • Carl Raymond S

      I gave up waiting for a carbon price. Divestment can also drive change fast. I divested my super fund last.week. Took all of ten minutes. Divestment scares the bejeezes out of coal.

      • I’m not waiting for a carbon tax but see it as one prong of many that need to be pushed in parallel to drive the right sense of urgency. Not all will succeed but the more that do, the better 🙂

  • vensonata

    A hybrid ultra capacitor/lithium starter battery seems to be the right combo to replace lead acid. There are such hybrids out there already. They are tiny and replace the monster lead acid under your hood. Ultracapacitors alone also work with a tiny pv panel connected to keep the charge. See various experimenters on youtube.

    • Brunel

      How long does an ultra capacitor hold onto electrons for.

      • vensonata

        It loses charge over a few days, however it only requires a trickle to keep it strong enough to crank. They can release enormous amounts of energy over a few seconds…unlike lead acid, relative to their capacity.

        • Brunel

          A few days eh? In that case Li-ion + super capacitor should be able to crank petrol engines.

          But then you have to think about how many times you can crank the engine before the capacitor needs to be recharged.

    • juxx0r

      Been using a A123 16*26650 for 9.2Ah as my car battery for about 4 years.

      Better than lead acid in every way, especially cranking power as the voltage stays higher and the engine cranks faster.

      http://www.a123rc.com/goods-1531-A123RC+16+Cell+4S4P+132V92AH+motorbike+battery+starter+in+a+hard+plastic+case.html

      • vensonata

        Ya, widespread use of these lithium lightweights is bound to happen within a year or so. You are just on the cutting edge.

      • Brent Jatko

        Does that work in a car? Link is for a motorcycle battery.

        Just wondering.

        • juxx0r

          It cranks harder than a lead acid since it doesn’t suffer from puekert effect. And it’s the one i linked to. I know of at least five others using it too, i put them on to it. no complaints.

          The one you linked to is OEM only. It’s 60Ah, mine is 9.2. No problem with 9.2, but you can’t sit in the car all day with the radio on.

          Mine is a part time race car, fully tweaked, much harder to crank than standard. Only weighs 1.3kg too.

          • Brent Jatko

            Okay, thanks for the clarification.

          • ROBwithaB

            “Peukert effect”. I had to google that.
            That’s why I come here. To learn.
            Thanks.

      • Brent Jatko
      • eveee

        The text says 2Ah. A123 can easily do 25C, so about 50A for starting.

  • S Herb

    Hmm, I’ve just read that the market price of Lithium Carbonate has doubled. Do we really want to be putting this valuable resource into worthless ICE vehicles?

  • Anthony C

    I’d guess within two years, as Model 3 starts getting up to speed on the lines, and storage grows, Gigafactory 2 will start being discussed. It will again come down to Nevada getting a second one next door, or if Texas gets it’s act together, they might get it along with an eventual second US car factory.
    I’m kind of hoping by that time Ford allies with Tesla, helping with the upfront costs and getting access to the battery tech and Superchargers, kicking the EV revolution into high gear.

    • Brian Kent

      Right on, Anthony. One legacy automaker getting behind Tesla’s revolutionary efforts would be a huge and welcome key to pushing this all forward. Ford fits the bill.

    • Philip W

      I’m pretty sure that Gigafactory 2 is already being discussed and I wouldn’t be surprised if plans will be announced this year.

      • neroden

        Given the geographic distribution of orders, Tesla probably has to build a European Gigafactory as well as a European car factory, quite soon.

      • Graphite Gus

        This is all nice pollyanna talk, and I would love to believe it, but as the movie character says: “Show me the money” Tesla is in a tight corner now wrt capital expenditure. With all their existing capex plans, they are extremely stretched and will have to do (yet another) secondary offering. Existing debt is already large. They have never made a profit, and none is on the horizon. They are running out of cash as it is. I am not in the very large bear camp, but Elon likes to live on the edge.

        • Bob_Wallace

          With 400,000+ outstanding orders for their Model 3. With the Gigafactory now starting to produce cells and battery packs. With Mod S and X sales number growing.

          • Graphite Gus

            Lets just say Elon can be a polarizing figure. I have huge admiration for him and his achievements and his track record, but he tends to continue to double down after each success, and one day his luck may run out.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Elon isn’t the problem. It’s the people who have a problem with successful people.

          • ROBwithaB

            Actually, successful people generally have a bad track record of letting it get to their heads. There’s a tendency to start believing that one is infallible. Many great organisations have collapsed because of a “visionary leader” who stayed on too long.
            I don’t think Musk is there yet, judging by his recent mea culpas regarding “the compleXity”, but it’s certainly a legitimate concern with any successful person. It doesn’t mean that those who criticize are jealous or bitter or have a”problem”.
            It is sometimes genuine concern about a risky decision or a non-optimal course of action.
            Elon doesn’t need self-appointed defenders of his every utterance. People who are consistently successful tend to encourage (constructive) criticism and welcome (informed) feedback. And they tend not to take themselves too seriously. Elon seems to be doing okay, for now…

          • neroden

            So Tesla needs to issue some more stock to build additional factories. The stockholders understand.

          • Simple INDIAN

            Split Gigafactory from Tesla and form Gigabattery, Inc to supply batteries on a large scale to any EV manufacturer. New company will not be a stumbling block can be exclusive supplier to TESLA as well, it can build another ten Gigafactory to supply to demands of say even hybrid airplane and ships.

          • Philip W

            You realize that Cell production is done by Panasonic and not by Tesla?

          • zhaphod

            Better to have tried and lost than never to have tried at all.

          • Mike Shurtleff

            Just talk or are you actually going to bet against him?

        • Karl the brewer

          As far as I understand it Jeff Bezos and Amazon rarely generate a profit, have lots of debt, plough everything back in yet the sun shines out of his posterior.

          http://uk.businessinsider.com/analysts-wrong-about-amazon-profit-2015-1?r=US&IR=T

          https://finance.yahoo.com/q/bs?s=AMZN+Balance+Sheet&annual

          • neroden

            Worse, Amazon has very very low gross profit margins.

        • Ronald Brakels

          Gus, Tesla should not be making a profit. That’s crazy talk. What possible good would making a profit do Tesla?

        • ROBwithaB

          Two words: Reusable rockets.
          The contracts are already signed, for the next few years, at $60-100 million per launch. But each time they bring a rocket back safely, they can simply re-launch it, for a total expense of a few million. Profit margin somewhere around 90%. It becomes an EXTREMELY lucrative little party trick, and nobody else is close to being able to replicate it.
          I think there’s 14 launches on the manifest for this year alone.

          Don’t know what percentage of SpaceX is still in Musk’s name, but it’s close to a majority, from what I’ve heard. So doing some simple arithmetic, one can calculate that his personal share is a few hundred million per year (perhaps as much as half a B, once the manned missions kick off).

          Would he be inclined to invest this in Tesla if it were facing bankruptcy? I think he would, what with about ten billion perfectly good reasons to do so.

          For an example, look at the recent behaviour of the SolarCity stock price. When I heard he’d jumped into the market to the tune of $10M after the Feb crash (at $17.55), I figured I may as well go along for the ride.
          Friday’s intraday was a smidgen shy of $35. In less than three months, it’s basically doubled. We (yeah, me and my new BFF) have done very nicely, thank you. Pleased I ignored all that advice to go big on Apple. Anyway…

          So that’s one way of doing it. A relatively small stock purchase can move the needle a lot, making it easier to do a secondary. Another way is for Elon (or SpaceX) to invest in Tesla bonds or other financial instruments directly. Again, we have a recent example whereby SpaceX purchased SCTY bonds to the tune of $90M. Or he can personally back the resale value guarantees if the X turns out to be a lemon in the resale market, what with the gimmicks and all…

          The fact that SpaceX is about to become a money factory certainly helps to smooth some of the bumps in the road. There’s a reason he was looking so chuffed with himself when they nailed the ocean landing. It means cashflow, and lots of it.

          • neroden

            ROB: Sadly, SpaceX’s rockets are only *half* reusable — they can reuse the first stage but not the second stage. (Blue Origin is being a big snotty about this since they intend to have *all* stages reusable.) It’s still going to be very lucrative, but the loss of the second stages means it won’t be as lucrative as it would be if they were fully reusable.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            First stage has 9 rockets in it versus the second stages 1 rocket. So you could say his rockets are 90% reusable.

            Bezos’ rocket goes up 100 km and reaches a speed of Mach 3 compared to 200km and Mach 7.5. It’s like comparing the Leaf to the Model S.

            I hope Bezos gets a real rocket someday but SpaceX also has plans of all stages being reusable too.

            Personally I think Bezos was joking when he claimed he had the first reusable booster. As in technically it is true in a limited way. However it got blown out of proportion and Bezos probably regrets ever making the comparison.

          • Karl the brewer

            Cleantechnica has suddenly turned into nasaspaceflight.com 🙂

          • Ross

            There’s probably a fair amount of overlap in readership.

          • Mike Shurtleff

            We have a lot of Easter Islanders, many of them in congress. How do you survive on Earth when they’ve tilted the scale toward AGW conditions? Space tech.

          • Steven F

            Making the second stage reusable is part of SpaceX’s long term plan. For now they are focusing on the 1st stage and Dragon. Once those projects are done they will start on the second stage. They released ome time ago a video showing what they think a fully reusable rocket would work.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSF81yjVbJE

          • Mike Shurtleff

            SpaceX plan is to have all three stages be re-usable. Animated clip showing this at their site.

        • Philip W

          They’ll probably have no problem raising more money.
          And with the Model 3 they got 400 million more in cash accessible. Yeah know they’ll have to pay back the 1000$ if someone cancels, but it’s unlikely that most of the orders get cancelled.

          • nakedChimp

            Exactly, what else is there to buy?

          • Mike Shurtleff

            …and 1.5 years reservations for Powerwall production/sales.

    • ROBwithaB

      I think we might yet find that the gigafactory (as envisaged in those original illustrations) will be more than big enough to handle production of perhaps a million vehicles. The building was presumably designed based on the existing (2014?) state-of-the-art tech. There are many opportunities to do things more efficiently in the mass production of cells and batteries. Some of those innovations will result in a lower (perhaps MUCH lower) requirement for floor space per KWh.

      • Brent Jatko

        Good point. Agreed that chemical and process refinements will drive the capacity upwards as the plant is completed.

        And Gigafactory II, the Sequel, will be even more efficient still.

      • neroden

        You may be right, ROB, but Tesla will still need more factories…
        — The Tesla Factory only produced 500,000 cars per year when it was NUMMI. They may be able to do 620,000 cars per year (500,000 model 3 and 120,000 model S and X) but that is almost certainly the hard limit.
        — If reservations keep going at the current rate, Tesla will have 6.9 million reservations by December 2018. They’ll have to produce a lot more than a million cars a year.

        I expect priorities #1 and #2 are a European car factory and a European Gigafactory — this eliminates most of that annoying and expensive transatlantic shipping. Tesla’s European sales are roughly equal to their North American sales right now, so it makes sense. Priority #3 will be a Chinese car factory if they can deal with Chinese protectionism and IP theft (which they might not be able to), for the Chinese market. Priority #4 and #5 will be a second US car factory and Gigafactory east of the Mississippi, again to eliminate annoying shipping costs. That’s my guess.

    • Jenny Sommer

      I think it depends on how many Model III reservations come true.
      Let’s see how many Xs and Ss Tesla can sell.

      The powerwall still doesn’t seem like a profitable idea.

      • Mike Shurtleff

        It’s profitable. $180/kWh for core lithium battery tech in 2014. 20% more for battery management system (BMS) and packaging = $216/kWh. They’re selling for $428/kWh.

        • Jenny Sommer

          It’s not profitable for the buyer though. Maybe for gridstorage but there are many competing products with seem more interesting.
          But I am waiting for people to report if they can operate a powerwall economically.
          Maybe it is good to offset some Diesel generator use if you live offgrid. Also fine if you like to pay more for using your PV power.
          The one thing that would make sense to me is if private users could sell expensive power at peak time. But smart meters and the more important regulatory framework for that have yet to materialize.

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