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  • Is Tesla's Gigafactory Becoming A Gigafarce? [View article]
    Dave_M--

    No problem. I apologize if my first line seemed condescending, as that was not really my intent.

    While I agree that most of their technical decisions have worked out in the short term, I personally feel that the jury is still out for a few years in the long term. That's just an opinion, though.

    Where I do see issues is the disconnect with what is ACTUALLY technically possible and what is THOUGHT TO BE technically possible from an economic perspective. Certain things are easily interchangeable, others are interchangeable with some difficulty and hefty cost, others are not interchangeable at all. That's a reality in the cell manufacturing space.

    If they want to build a huge factory to build one or two types of cells in a similar form factor, more power too them. Where the bigger problem is going to come in is the idea of complete vertical integration. They are going to have to get access to technology from a number of companies, not just Panasonic to do that.
    Apr 10, 2014. 07:03 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Tesla's Gigafactory Becoming A Gigafarce? [View article]
    Dave_M--

    "That's like saying that Ford should only use one engine for all their cars, because "heaven forbid", they have to do testing on a different engine design to qualify it for use in some of their other cars."

    Not really, but thanks for playing. If you have read any of my comments in this article there are two main themes:

    1) Equipment for high volume cell manufacturing is typically for one form factor, and one only. If you want to change form factors and use the same equipment the cost will go up dramatically, and in some cases that type of change over is not possible. And no, "cylindrical" is not really a form factor, but a broad class covering any number of form factors, i.e. 18650 and 26650 are cylindrical AND different form factors.

    2) Changing form factor, even if you keep the base chemistry the same, invalidates prior data. For example, if Tesla decided that they didn't want this factory to produce 18650s, and wanted to produce 50Ah stacked prismatic cells instead, then the previous testing has no bearing on the new cell. All the testing and design work on the packs for the Roadster and Model S/X goes out the window.

    Both of those are huge risks in my book.
    Apr 10, 2014. 12:20 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Tesla's Gigafactory Becoming A Gigafarce? [View article]
    Dave_M--

    "Tesla has even hinted that Model E would use a new battery chemistry."

    Chemistry and form factor are two completely different things. If Tesla wants to benefit from all of the design, lab testing, and (eventual) real world data garnered from the Model S, they need to keep the same form factor. Otherwise, all of that knowledge is moot and goes out the window.
    Apr 9, 2014. 04:06 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Tesla's Gigafactory Becoming A Gigafarce? [View article]
    "Clearly GM will fail as a company..."

    Based on our economic system, it did. It only persisted through a govt. buyout.
    Apr 9, 2014. 12:33 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Tesla's Gigafactory Becoming A Gigafarce? [View article]
    Dave_M--

    " It's a BIG assumption that it will be the old 18650 cells. Whatever battery Tesla builds in the factory will become a new commodity, because their sheer volume will make it so."

    Unless they plan (or are in the process of) redesigning the entire Model S and Model X, and having to generate completely new in house test data and safety data, the have to go with an 18650. If they want to benefit from the manufacturing techniques and see cost benefits (if any), they need to go with an 18650.
    Apr 9, 2014. 12:31 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Tesla's Gigafactory Becoming A Gigafarce? [View article]
    tech01x--

    Do you have links for either of those?

    Unless the packs are identical, mechanically speaking (same # of cells, weight, etc), they have a different form and fit (and possibly function). If that is the case, then you need two sets of test for both pack, as well as two sets of safety and performance test at the pack level.
    Apr 8, 2014. 06:48 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Tesla's Gigafactory Becoming A Gigafarce? [View article]
    Dave_M & MarketLost--

    Battery factories are great at creating temporary construction jobs, but are horrible at creating lots of long term jobs. If a factory is truly state-of-the-art, it needs a minimal amount of people involved with it to run.
    Apr 8, 2014. 06:43 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Tesla's Gigafactory Becoming A Gigafarce? [View article]
    tech01x--

    "MRTTF, While it may be typical in the 20-40% range, it is not typical to have a 60 kWh or 85 kWh battery pack. In this case, the cost of creating the additional sheets with the cooling ducts, labor, and the like is already included in the upgrade cost. The additional pack structures are not all that expensive for Tesla to make given the overall cost of the pack."

    Packs of that size are probably more common than one would think. Packs in the 1 to 5kWh range are relatively common, even on an R&D type scale.

    But your point gets to something that I have wondered on this site before. To prevent having two sets of safety tests for the different cars, I suspect that the 60kWh and 85kWh packs have to be virtually identical from a cell and mechanical perspective. If that's the case, Tesla is either taking a willing bath on the cost of the 60kWh pack or they are hosing their customers on the 85kWh pack. It's an interesting thought exercise at the very least.
    Apr 8, 2014. 05:12 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Tesla's Gigafactory Becoming A Gigafarce? [View article]
    tech01x--

    "The existing Panasonic Suminoe plant that is currently producing cells for Tesla was supposed to cost $1.31 billion dollars but includes the cost of the 2nd phase for a total capacity of roughly 300 million units per year."

    They can build a sizable factory for $2 billion, IF they are only going to make the cells. I would suspect that they could make enough cells for 40000 to 80000 cars. Now, if they decided that they needed to fully integrate everything, then that $2 billion is going to get them a lot less for their money.
    Apr 8, 2014. 05:05 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Tesla's Gigafactory Becoming A Gigafarce? [View article]
    oildeathsprial--

    " California, the single largest EV state, is 5% coal. "

    And if you focus on the area covered by the LADWP (~4 million people), it is closer to 30% coal, 20% NG, and 0% solar.
    Apr 8, 2014. 04:29 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Tesla's Gigafactory Becoming A Gigafarce? [View article]
    doubleE--

    "Non cell pack costs are not 50% of cell costs for automotive batteries."

    Non-cell costs are typically in the 20-40% range of the total costs, depending on the design. That doesn't really include any profit either, which if added in is ~10%.
    Apr 8, 2014. 04:22 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Tesla's Gigafactory Becoming A Gigafarce? [View article]
    JimStack--

    Very limited flexibility can be had, but at a significant cost. For high volume cell manufacture, you want as little flexibility as possible. Even lab scale equipment often has limited flexibility.

    arondaniel--

    Changing the form factor in any way, even the can size, can significantly alter everything up an down the cell manufacturing chain. These changes require tooling over a majority of the manufacturing process.
    Apr 8, 2014. 04:19 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Tesla's Gigafactory Becoming A Gigafarce? [View article]
    tech01x--

    "...that means that Tesla can hit the cost reduction by building out a factory with significantly less than the $2 billion dollars in hand."

    If they plan on vertically integrating everything, they likely aren't going to see any cost benefits for $2 billion, or any amount of money, and if they do see a benefit, it will likely be much less than 30%.

    Then again, there also will be significantly less than 6500 jobs created if the factory is state of the art, so maybe that is where they are going to get a cost benefit.
    Apr 8, 2014. 04:11 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Tesla's Gigafactory Becoming A Gigafarce? [View article]
    teddy--

    "Panasonic and Samsung's top battery wizards may jump ship just as some of the best at Lockheed Martin and NASA did when Musk started SpaceX."

    This is not as likely as you would think. Many Asians, particularly the Japanese, value loyalty. I have seen many times over where people have passed up offers out of loyalty to their company.
    Apr 8, 2014. 03:59 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Tesla's Gigafactory Becoming A Gigafarce? [View article]
    Mike K D--

    "Also, what makes you think that the form factor has to be set in stone (e.g. cylindrical) and that the factory cannot be designed to easily adapt to various shapes and even chemistries?"

    If Tesla wants to source equipment, at a good cost, and assuming that they are transferring the technology used by Panasonic or Samsung or whoever, they have to set the form factor in stone. Very little equipment beyond electrode coating can have multiple uses unless you want to increase the costs dramatically. Even switching between cylindrical form factors may not be possible in some cases. Different chemistries are easier to handle, but even that is not always a simple change.
    Apr 8, 2014. 03:57 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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