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Batteries

Published on September 22nd, 2020 | by Frugal Moogal

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Tesla Battery Day Liveblog & Livestream! Battery Cost To Be Cut In (More Than) Half!

September 22nd, 2020 by  


Watch the Tesla Battery Day Presentation along with us! Streaming starts at 1:30 pm PST / 3:30 pm CST. (Timed updates on this site will be in CST. All updates by Frugal Moogal unless noted.)

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Newest updates will be on the top, just under this YouTube livestream of Tesla’s Battery Day presentation. Here’s a direct link to the Youtube Stream of Tesla’s Presentation.


6:25pm

And that’s it.  That’s the presentation.

This one is going to take me a bit of time to digest, but I’ve said to a few people that this was the day I expected Tesla to change the world, it just wouldn’t realize it… and I think they lived up to that.  Being able to manufacture 1 TWh of battery capacity in less space than they currently manufacture 150 GWh, and doing so for less than half the cost is incredible.

Battery production has been the largest constraint to the transition, and while Tesla hasn’t solved it by themselves based on their current production plans, I don’t see a reason that Tesla couldn’t ramp production even further if other companies don’t take them up on it.

By the end of the presentation, we have a clear path toward a fully electric future for both the grid and electric transportation, and one that Tesla currently has as a functional pilot plant near the current Gigafactory. The future is here, and Tesla is ready to seize it.

I love that they ended the presentation by noting that they still have things that they are certain are wrong about their methods, so if you have an idea to make them less wrong, come work for them. This cultural part of the company means they will remain ahead of everyone else for the foreseeable future, even when they share their plans in whole with the goal of dragging the rest of the industry along.

Congrats to the Tesla team! And I’ll see you in some other articles, as soon as I figure out what to look at next!


6:12pm

The awkwardness of the team reading through questions and going, “Oh, covered that, covered that… covered that too.” is part of what makes Tesla presentations so unique. This isn’t how their competitors do it, but is so much more compelling because of that.


5:59pm

I love that they fully admit that they presented this as a model specifically because they want the industry to follow.

The truth is, they intend to keep buying more cells from other providers, so if LG Chem for instance goes back and redesigns their methods, Tesla’s purchases from LG Chem will cost less. It’s win – win for them as a business, as well as furthering the Tesla mission.


5:51pm

Model S Plaid is now available to preorder. Tri-Motor, All Wheel Drive, starting at $139,990. 520+ mile range, 200 mph top speed, <2.0s 0-60.


5:49pm

Tesla aftermarket down ~5% after their 5.6% drop from today. Aftermarket pricing is always a bit goofy, but I can’t imagine what investors expected that they feel they didn’t get.


5:44pm

Q&A time. I love that they’re willing to do this, and they bring up the team to discuss things. No wonder it’s the top destination for engineers, the company gives them credit for what they do and celebrates them.

Home HVAC system question, Musk says they will probably work on this next year, and that it’s a pet project.


5:40pm

Model S Plaid official announcement now, available late next year, available to order now…  Not on the site yet though.


5:39pm

Upcoming goals – a compelling $25,000 or less electric car, they expect to have this within three years, and it will be fully autonomous.


5:38pm

Another follow up to what Earwig asked about how soon – They expect this will happen in the next 12-18 months, and will be fully realized within 36 months. Which means they expect their factories to be up and running and producing these GWh that quickly.


5:37pm

14% range improvement from this. Musk says long term, any car that doesn’t do this won’t be competitive. Uh, yeah.

Anyone else bringing an EV to market in the next 5 years should be sweating that one.

My god, a 56% reduction in cost per kilowatt hour.

A 56% reduction in cost per kilowatt hour. 54% range increase. 69% reduction in cost per GWh capacity.


5:33pm

They’re going to integrate the batteries officially into the structure, which will be lighter than the original structure was before the batteries were added. This will enable more efficient vehicles, that can go further with less cells. Which means that you can charge them faster.

Tesla was already way ahead of everyone else in efficiency, and they’re about to make an even further ahead. This is the thing I’ve been the most focused on as efficiency allows everything to get cheaper, and I didn’t expect to see today.


5:29pm

Response to Earwig’s comment – They’re talking about these massive improvements… that they have working in a pilot plant now. These breakthroughs are already here, with the caveat that it seems like they have one thing to solve with one single process.  Now it’s just confirming it all, and then speeding it up.

Tesla doesn’t like to announce things they can’t do. They announce things they can do now, and then they improve their methods from there. They might not go into production immediately (Tesla Semi, anyone?), but they have the technology to do it. It’s here.


5:26pm

Being honest, I expected a 10-20% drop in battery price from today. Every system they are showing has achieved that. And they’re basically taunting all the other battery makers to figure this system out and follow them.

Oh, and now they’re mining their own lithium in Nevada, in an environmentally sustainable way.


5:22pm

Tesla’s innovation: “Cathode Production: Less Stuff happens.”

66% reduction in investment, 76% reduction in process cost, and no wastewater.


5:20pm

“Cathode Production: A Bunch of Stuff Happens.”


5:18pm

Tesla found a way to completely remove cobalt too. This has more than lived up to my lofty expectations.


5:15pm

I only half made my point below. 1 TWh of battery supply would produced 13,333,333 million cars with 75 kwh batteries. Just with what Tesla plans on producing by themselves.


5:13pm

As I anticipated, the aftermarket stock movement is pretty much flat, but we’re talking about – as the current graphic shows, shrinking the footprint of the Gigafactory in Nevada, increasing output from 150GWh to over 1 TWh.

They anticipate Tesla internal cell production (not including suppliers) to reach 100 GWh of batteries in 2022, and 1 TWh by 2030, and perhaps sooner.

…but wait, there’s more!


5:08pm

Wow, this is all incredible. 7x production capacity on a single line, without a wet process at the end, using continual motion. 20 Gwh per single line. And, they expect that could increase further.

A single Tesla line could be as large as most of the top of the line production factories right now.


5:01pm

The new factory was inspired by how bottle and paper factories can work with continual motion. Tesla is flexing their engineering prowess right now.

Oooo, time to walk through the Wet Process. Sounds a bit dirty, but I have a hunch we’re about to be told we’re done with the wet process…


4:59pm

Tesla’s pilot plant is 10 GWh, and they expect it to produce that by this time next year.

The cell form factor is a 14% reduction in cost per kilowatt hour.


4:57pm

Getting rid of battery tabs is the sort of announcement that I doubt many will understand after this, but is one hell of a big deal. I’m glad they’re focused on how much better this makes them.

These improvements are just for the first innovation, and they intend to have a bunch more.

“This is not a concept or rendering, we are ramping manufacturing at our pilot facility just around the corner.”


4:54pm

I feel compelled to point out that there are over 350,000 people watching how a lithium ion battery works right now. Again, can you imagine any other company getting that many people watching a battery announcement?


4:50pm

“We have a plan to halve the cost of a kwh.” That’s far better than I expected.


4:50pm

The cost per kwh curve for cells has been plateauing, so they are saying they need to rethink how they are built to achieve a more affordable cell. I expect a massive, massive drop in cell price.


4:49pm

They are pointing out that Gigafactory Nevada is not big enough or able to be built fast enough to deliver the battery growth that is needed. They basically just said that their leading cell manufacturing plant is obsolete.


4:47pm

Almost immediately, Tesla shows exactly what we’re going to need to take the grid and transportation to 100% electric. This company literally looks at the entire world heating and transportation market as their goal. Think about that.


4:44pm

And we’re back! I love the fact that Tesla always brings out the people actually doing the work. It’s not as flashy as Ford bringing out an actor, but I actually believe the people in the Tesla presentation know what the heck they’re talking about, and are more free to share things they believe.


4:42pm

Earwig made a comment about how quickly ICE manufacturers are going to go bankrupt, and the issue is they are made to produce without lowering capacity.  A 10% drop in capacity for an ICE manufacturer can easily lead them to bankruptcy, so those bankruptcies may very well start sooner than later, even if we are still selling 70 million ICE vehicles for the next few years.


4:41pm

I just realized, I should have submitted a question about why in the world the company is holding more than half a billion dollars in profits in warranty reserves. See my other articles for the truth behind that.


4:39pm

I don’t usually get a moment to write something that I can think about during a Tesla proposal (and I should apologize here for any particular errors or typos that occur), so this break is kind of nice.

With that, I can expand a bit more on activist shareholders here…

It’s extremely rare that you have 300,000 people live streaming a shareholder meeting, so it brings to light these shareholder proposals in a way people don’t generally see. Boards of companies almost always suggest voting against the proposals, no matter what they are. The people presenting them to make them sound super reasonable, but you should always question their motives. For instance, the fourth presenter today noted he had brought a lawsuit against the company. Was his proposal actually out of concern for a problem he had discovered, or was it to further his lawsuit? Without looking into it, I don’t want to make any particular guesses here, but it felt like a red flag to me.

On flip side of this, activist shareholders can force companies to actually look at their climate risk for instance, which might force an oil and gas company to revise their future plans and start to transition faster. The vote is over, so I won’t dig into these further, but if people want me to look at them in the future…. I’ll try to remember for next year.


4:29pm

…and the investor meeting part is over! We’ll be back in a bit with the battery stuff… and they have a few extras as well.

The metric of how Musk wants Tesla to be judged… “By how many years did we accelerate sustainable energy?”

He then promises that the upcoming battery information will be a “step change.”

We’ll be back to learn about that promptly… in a little bit. Hah.


4:26pm

“Tesla is both a hardware company and a software company.” says Elon Musk. A statement that the rest of the auto industry didn’t understand the importance of until it was too late.


4:24pm

The fundamental rewrite to the software stack for autopilot is going to be absolutely huge. I have a background in both software and safety systems, so I feel uniquely positioned to understand what this means, and if it’s what I’m expecting, the update will unlock incredible progress. Tesla is the only company that has a plan for autonomy that I believe has much of any chance of success.


4:20pm

Musk shows that as the rest of the industry has cratered thanks to the virius, Tesla has increased deliveries. Tesla achieved 50% growth global vehicle deliveries in 2019, and is expecting to expand again this year by 30-40%. This sort of growth is vastly underestimated by shorts who cherry pick certain countries or quarters or cashflow. To satisfy Tesla’s mission, they need to sell more cars.

At 50% per annum growth, Tesla is on track to sell 20 million cars per year within 10 years.


4:15pm

By Earwig’s request, I changed the link to YouTube above. Glad you like the comments 😉

Musk is talking about how important it is to get products from parts to deliverable products as quickly as possible, and tightening the supply chain. I think this will be a big theme of today.


4:11pm

A quick victory lap for Tesla Shanghai, which is expected to be able to produce over 1 million vehicles per year at some point in the near future.


4:09pm

It’s a weird, sterile environment seeing everyone in their cars. It’s hilarious that people are honking to show support. This entire presentation is so different thanks to COVID.


4:08pm

…and the votes are in and the meeting is adjourned! We now start the year-in-review which should have a surprise or two in it too, followed by Battery Day news!


4:07pm

I could write a whole article about shareholder proposals and how they work. The last proposal, on the surface, seems sensible, but then as the person who is sharing his perspective admits they have an active lawsuit against Tesla, it makes you wonder exactly what is going on. Activist shareholders can really improve companies, but can also really be out just to improve themselves. Unfortunately, while the idea behind the last proposal for instance is solid, the presentation of it didn’t make me feel like they were sincere.

This may be an artifact of how this particular shareholder meeting is being held, and it’s not something that usually 275,000+ people see on a livestream.


3:59pm

The shareholder proposals are always interesting to me. I’m guilty of rarely voting my shares with the companies I follow, unless I disagree with what the board is suggesting. I haven’t overly looked at the proposals this year, but one of the difficulty that the people proposing them have is that it’s extremely difficult for me to follow their arguments without seeing a person or having a visual to understand exactly what their proposal, it puts these votes at a particular disadvantage.


3:48pm

Tesla’s mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy is a huge part of their secret sauce. It’s a mission that their engineers and employees can directly feel they are making an impact in, giving them an extremely motivating feeling.

I hadn’t realized we had a board member leaving and a new one. Note to self: look into this further after the meeting.


3:44pm

We’re doing the stockholder meeting officially first, followed by battery day. I’ll be curious to see if the high number of people watching remains. Makes me wonder how many people watch shareholder meetings for other companies, and how many watched Tesla’s shareholder meeting live last year.


3:41pm

Doing a quick check through some of the other Youtube channels which are also simulcasting this presentation, Tesla has around 275,000 people watching this.  To put that into perspective, Ford had about 75,000 watch the Mustang Mach E reveal… away we go!


3:35pm

I hate it when they do their videos silently, as I’m now in a constant loop of wondering if my headset isn’t working, but not wanting to refresh and miss the actual start. We’ve gained another 20,000 now, and the stream shows over 160,000 people watching it.


3:32pm

The stream is live, with a silent video showing the production of cells. Tesla is notorious for starting late like I mentioned, but there is a strategy to it – doing this allows the stragglers to join the streams before it starts officially, so they don’t miss anything.  In the two minutes since the “commercial” part of the stream started streaming, Tesla picked up more than 25,000 streamers on YouTube.

I also think it’s worth pointing out, any other auto OEM would absolutely kill for 140k+ viewers actively watching them update people on battery tech. If you have any question about the interest in Tesla…


3:21pm

We’re probably 30 minutes away from the presentation starting – Tesla is notoriously late starting their streams), and there are some good comments here already.

Will Meek mentioned in the comments that he would love to see Tesla’s view of the competition like VW, Porsche and Lucid. I don’t think Tesla is going to spend much time discussing their plans, unless they are creating some sort of partnership or official relationship. I don’t foresee this as an event where Tesla will be directly comparing their products to competitors, but more comparing whatever they are doing with batteries to other, existing batteries – not just calling out the fact that the Nissan Ariya, or Chevy Bolt, or Ford Mach-E are far less efficient at using batteries than Tesla’s vehicles are…  And they are, I’ve outlined that in other articles before.

But, we’re going to see Tesla flexing their battery costs and assembly plans, so hearing about a percentage drop in price is something that I would expect to hear.

And, there is a component of vertical integration here that I feel like most people have been missing – If Tesla doesn’t have their own battery supply, their third party suppliers have a ton of leverage over Tesla for cell pricing in the future. If demand for EVs take off the way it’s expected it will, costs for those batteries can go up.

By producing their own cells, Tesla will be able to control the price in the future in ways that companies without batteries in house will not be able to do. If you don’t give Tesla a good enough price, Tesla will simply ramp their production efforts further, cutting you out of the supply chain, and forcing battery costs among all manufacturers to stay lower, a critical component to transitioning the world to EVs quickly. I expect this is the angle I’ll be writing about after the event is over, as lower battery cost as production ramps is probably the biggest catalyst needed for growth, and a topic I’m sure that Tesla is already keenly aware of.

As for the company that Meek says not to mention, I’ll simply say…

These are the only fuel cells that I believe work.

 


11:00 am

Happy battery day!

Tesla Battery Day starts at 3:30 pm CST (1:30 pm PST) today, and I’ll be liveblogging the event on this page as it happens, so make sure to bookmark this page or open it in a new tab so that you can quickly return later in the day.

We have just one item to liveblog for now. Yesterday afternoon, Elon Musk tweeted the following:

This shouldn’t have been a surprise, but it’s caused the stock price to drop. An example of the “buy the rumor, sell the news” stuff I expect to see until the market realizes Tesla partnering with three of the top four lithium-ion battery companies won’t even meet demand in the near future, the date aligns with anticipated full production at the Brandenburg and Austin Gigafactories, and is just as fast if not faster than competitors like GM’s Ultium battery factory, which GM hopes to open … in 2022.

Thanks in large part to “production hell,” people forget that Tesla has more recently been beating its own timelines handily and managing expectations expertly. This is a bullish tweet, disguised as a tempering of expectations.

Expect to see more news the market doesn’t understand when Tesla Battery Day kicks off at 3:30 pm CST (1:30 pm PST) today! I’ll do my best to put what we learn into context on this page in real time, with updates added to the top. For now, leave a comment with what you’re hoping to see Tesla reveal, and I’ll share a few predictions closer to launch time. Hope to see you then!

In the meantime, here’s some of our coverage of what people are expecting to be revealed or at least discussed during the Battery Day presentation:

 
 


 


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About the Author

A businessman first, the Frugal Moogal looks at EVs from the perspective of a business. Having worked in multiple industries and in roles that managed significant money, he believes that the way to convince people that the EV revolution is here is by looking at the vehicles like a business would.



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