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Going Natural: The Solution To Tesla's Graphite Problem
- Tesla Motors recently announced plans to build a "gigafactory" for the production of 50 GWh of battery capacity, with a 30%+ reduction in production costs compared to current levels.
- This capacity will be enough to service the needs of 500,000 Tesla electric vehicles by 2020, in addition to other initiatives in which Tesla Motors' CEO Elon Musk is involved.
- The production of these batteries will require the consumption of almost 103,000 tonnes of graphite/year, almost certainly derived from natural rather than synthetic graphite, to reduce costs.
- Of the more than twenty advanced natural-graphite projects currently under development, two stand out as being particularly well-positioned to capitalize on the opportunity that the gigafactory may provide.
- New processes being developed by these companies for making battery-grade natural graphite could improve current production yields, reducing the actual quantities required to less than 44,000 tonnes/year.