Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Tesla co-founder says EV gross sales are about to take off, however questions whether or not manufacturing can sustain

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Tesla co-founder JB Straubel, founder and CEO of battery-recycling firm Redwood Supplies, has excellent news and dangerous information for many who imagine electrical automobile gross sales are primed to take off. 

Straubel says demand is selecting up, however the auto business isn’t shifting quick sufficient for manufacturing to maintain up.

“That is catching individuals a bit off-guard,” Straubel informed CNBC throughout an interview on TechCheck. “It’s a extremely sturdy shift. All the way in which from inner combustion gross sales dropping to EV gross sales rising by nearly 100% in several areas.”

Straubel says business gross sales estimates predicting EVs will account for 12.7% of all U.S. auto gross sales by 2025 could also be too low. “When you have a look at how briskly adoption is rising in elements of Europe and different elements of the world, I believe it factors to a path of probably even larger percentages than that by mid-decade” he stated.

That demand is why Redwood Supplies is spending $1 billion to construct a brand new plant in McCarran, Nev., he stated.  When it’s accomplished later this yr, the ability will produce anode copper foil that’s utilized by Panasonic to fabricate battery cells that can finally go into battery packs manufactured on the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada.

Redwood Supplies estimates the plant, which is able to finally make use of greater than 500 individuals, will produce sufficient anode copper foil to provide 1 million EVs yearly. The corporate says its plant would be the first within the U.S. to provide anode copper foil with a lot of the provide at the moment being imported from Asia, primarily China and South Korea.

In the meantime, lithium-ion battery manufacturing is trying to hold tempo with EV automakers. Final yr, the worldwide capability for lithium-ion battery manufacturing was 713 gigawatt hours, in response to AlixPartners, an automotive business consulting agency. By 2025, AlixPartners expects that quantity to greater than triple to 2,273 gigawatt hours, with U.S. EV battery manufacturing greater than quadrupling.

With a lot capability approaching line, the standard knowledge is the price of battery cells and battery packs will drop in worth, which might assist decrease the value of EVs and enhance revenue. 

ESource, a consulting agency based mostly in Boulder, Colo., which tracks battery cell costs, estimates the price per kilowatt hour of an automotive battery cell will drop from $147 in 2022 to $98 by 2025.  Whereas these projections are encouraging, falling costs are contingent upon the battery provide chain rising and with the ability to assist stronger demand.   

“With such a excessive stage of battery demand anticipated over the subsequent decade or so,  the uncooked supplies that go into these batteries are doubtlessly going to be in brief provide,” stated Stephen Brown, a senior director at Fitch Rankings.

Nevertheless, Straubel shouldn’t be satisfied the EV battery business shall be prepared to fulfill the stepped-up demand.

“There completely is a danger that we might see a repeat of the semiconductor kind of shortages that may cut back and hamper EV development,” he stated.

Standing subsequent to the framework for a plant Redwood hopes to have in operation quickly, Straubel admits his namesake firm is in a race to meet up with the transition from gasoline-powered to battery-powered autos. 

“We’re working 24/7, actually across the clock, constructing services just like the one behind us to make that offer chain occur and to attempt to get forward of that bottleneck earlier than it occurs,” he stated.

CNBC’s Meghan Reeder contributed to this text

Source: DUK Information

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