tesla: the empty threat of solid state batteries - …
It may come from its wrong investment in Geely\'s factory.
Santos thinks Tesla may invest soon. to-
Battery technology is out of date.
Santos cited solid-state batteries currently under development as an example of battery technology that could replace conventional lithium-ion batteries.
In fact, solid-state batteries are not a threat to the current lithium-ion battery technology used in automotive applications and may never be a threat.
We really don\'t know what kind of battery Tesla is going to make at the Gigabit plant.
At the company\'s last conference call, analysts raised questions with Elon Musk about battery technology and received non-
Yes, innovative battery technologies will be incorporated into Tesla\'s production plan, but Musk refuses to specify which technologies or the timeline they are included in.
Musk does provide a rule of thumb to measure the maturity of potential battery technology.
He said, I explained, \"Just get me a cell.
\"It\'s not a research paper, it\'s not a lab prototype, it\'s not a viewing chart demo, it\'s a working battery, it\'s probably better than the Panasonic 18650 battery Tesla currently uses.
It turns out that it is difficult for rival battery technology to meet this fairly high standard.
The solid-state lithium-ion battery technology mentioned by Santos in his article is an example.
It failed to compete with the humble 18650.
The application of Musk\'s test can well show how far the solid state battery still needs to go.
Stmicroelectronics has built a solid-state lithium-ion battery, the efl700 a39.
About 1 inch square cells, thin paper.
To get an equivalent energy storage for a Panasonic 18650 battery, you have to stack more than 3,900 STM solid state batteries.
The stack will be over 800mm high compared to the 65mm length of the Panasonic battery.
This highlights the basic problem with solid state batteries: Although they are thin, their volume does not store much energy compared to Panasonic batteries or most other lithium ion batteries.
If the reader wants a good, less technical reference on solid state batteries, the MIT Technical Review has an article on the subject.
Yes, as Santo points out, the amount invested by car companies is relatively low (
Tens of millions of dollars)
A stake in a startup in the field.
Santos referred to the report as a treatment of the science level of the subject, and it is hardly known how immature the technology is.
Increasing the energy capacity of solid state batteries is a very active area of research, and there are some promising ways to do that, and that\'s where all these startups are working.
This is the beginning of the normal process of transferring academic research to the business sector.
This does not mean that the technology will be mass produced next year. Even one of the companies can produce Elon\'s batteries before Tesla has to commit to providing specific battery technology to Geely\'s plant.
I personally think it will take about 10 years for solid state batteries to mature to produce Elon batteries.
Even if the research in the field eventually produced an energy storage battery comparable to the current Panasonic battery, I doubt whether solid state batteries are cost-competitive.
This is due to two factors: 1)
In order to further improve the traditional lithium-ion battery, a lot of research is being carried out, which may lead it to solid-state batteries in terms of energy storage capacity. 2)
Current research on solid-state batteries shows that the manufacturing process will be very expensive.
Manufacturing these new solid-state batteries will be as challenging as the microprocessor manufacturing and will use many of the same processes.
In contrast, manufacturing lithium-ion batteries is a work done in a relatively old environment
The articles of the outdated encesanto project exposed the lack of industrial experience.
The automotive industry is technically conservative because it is difficult to expand production to the number of industry habits.
There are always new technologies on the horizon, but the gap between possible technologies and those in production is usually 10 years or more.
The fact that you are used to this in this industry, so there may be a battery technology that will eventually make Panasonic batteries obsolete is not shocking.
In fact, this is inevitable.
That\'s why manufacturers spend so much money on capital spending and why there is so much depreciation.
But Santos did come up with a good idea of how Tesla will respond to future technological changes once the Geely plant is completed.
Whether Tesla has enough money to fund ongoing equipment replacement and upgrades depends largely on Geely\'s initial success in expanding the battery electric vehicle market.
But I have little confidence. term (
Next 10 Years)
Threats from solid-state batteries and improvements in battery technology will keep traditional lithium-ion batteries cost-leading
Efficient energy storage.
These improvements will appear in the form of changes in battery chemistry and electrode composition, which will require a relatively modest change in the basic manufacturing methods of the Gigabit plant.
I expect Geely to create a window of opportunity for Tesla when production starts to accelerate to about 2025 vehicles starting in 2017.
In this window of opportunity, no other manufacturer can provide intermediate products.
The price is comparable to Tesla\'s battery electric vehicles unless they buy batteries from Geely\'s factory.
Disclosure: The author does not hold any positions in any of the stocks mentioned, and does not have a plan to start any positions within the next 72 hours.
The author wrote this article himself and expressed his views.
The author was not compensated (
In addition to Seeking Alpha).
The author has no business relationship with any company mentioned in this article.