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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
https://gizmodo.com/report-tesla-could-be-hogging-batteries-and-causing-a-1821051084

Reports are that due to battery production issues at the Gigafactory, Panasonic is supplying Model 3 batteries from Japan to make up for the Gigafactory's production shortfalls. As a result, other companies are left scrambling to find batteries from another supplier as Panasonic is tied up with Tesla orders for the foreseeable future.

But good news Tesla fans! Assuming this is true, that probably means Model 3 deliveries could hit 4 digits this month as the Gigafactory bottleneck has been somewhat bypassed for the time being!

Interesting comment left by a person that works in the battery industry:
"I worked for Saft America in Jacksonville, Florida while they started up their new industrial Li-Ion battery plant (2011). During the 3.5 years I worked there, it took over a year for the plant to get certified on their electrodes. God knows how much they spent on air frieght to ship us the electrodes from Nersac and Bordeaux, France. Anyways, a lot of employees didn’t follow quality control processes, or standard operating procedures. It finally took a massively expensive warranty claim by a customer for management to finally do a forensic investigation into the manufacturing practices on the production floor. Needless to say, several heads finally rolled. I left about a six months before that happened, I learned the hardway what usually happens to whistle blowers. I tell this story to preface this statement: Li-Ion cell manufacturing is serious business; the propensity of cell failure due to electrode contamination, separator defects, or any cell assembly defects is absolutely unforgiving. You can’t just go hire the average production worker, you have to hire people that chose process integrity over meeting/exceding production goals. Go to Glass Door and look up Saft America and read the negative reviews; there are a couple of doozies."
 

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"In early October, Tesla struggled with a “production bottleneck,” but by the end of the month, Panasonic stated it would increase battery output at the Gigafactory, now that it understood the issues that led to the bottleneck and could automate some of the processes that had been done by hand.

But this likely did not help Tesla fix any immediate shortage issues. ETNews claims that Panasonic is coping with the shortage by shipping batteries in from Japan. And many Japanese companies in need of cylinder batteries have turned to other suppliers like LG, Murata, and Samsung—but those companies have not been able to meet the demands.

Reportedly, companies that had contracts before 2017 aren’t affected by the shortage, but several other manufacturers have not been able to place orders for batteries, and won’t be able to order more batteries until the middle of next year."

My take on this is essentially SUPPLY and DEMAND. Increase production to meet demand. That's a far better place to be than not having DEMAND.

Glass half empty or half full. Your call.
 

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Tesla could possibly have some sort of an agreement with Panasonic that lets them "hog" all the Panasonic cells. The only way they could get the cells from the rest of the industry is if they are paying more than the other companies - which makes the headline seem rather silly IMHO - especially since Tesla has been trying hard to drive the cell cost down, and successfully as far as we can tell.
 

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What does "hogging batteries" even mean? Tesla is either paying more, which is one way these things work, or, as a huge strategic partner, is getting preference, which is another common way these things work. In either event when people say someone is "hogging" something the term connotes hoarding without purpose. Like having five hundred rolls of toilet paper -- a ten years supply -- because you've heard there will be a shortage of toilet paper. Don't see how this is happening here. Seems like a normal short term mismatch between supply and demand.

especially since Tesla has been trying hard to drive the cell cost down, and successfully as far as we can tell.
LG Chem has said Tesla has been helpful on this score. Not sure how.
 

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It is worth noting that this report comes solely from ETNews, which cites unnamed sources in the Japan battery industry. Electrek, a news site that covers electric transportation, has expressed skepticism in its own report: “Our understanding at this point is that Tesla’s issues at Gigafactory 1 are with battery module production, which creates a bottleneck for the production of Model 3 battery packs,” Electrek editor Fred Lambert writes. “Model 3 battery packs are made with 2170 battery cells made by Panasonic at the factory. Unless Tesla and Panasonic are not being straightforward about the issues at Gigafactory 1, there’s no reason for them to be sending any cells from Japan for Model 3 production.”
Fake news?

Are they making 2170 cells in China? No news there. Meanwhile.....

Panasonic inaugurates electric vehicle battery factory in China
Tesla’s battery partner Panasonic increases production in Japan for other automakers
 

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Long range EVs with more than 30kwhr of batteries may become rare if electrified vehicles continue expanding

Resource availability has not expanded at the same rate as adoption, further we had excess supply that was underutilized before 2010 and that excess has been turned on as well.

Other industries that use lithium have become more efficient in its use and the excess as it were has spilled into EVs

Obviously without new mines and factories we will start to become resource constrained

Ah well, interesting times
 

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Panasonic may be directing output to Tesla because they are partners in the Gigafactory, and they both need the Model 3 to succeed in order for the Gigafactory to succeed. That is not hogging, that is just normal business.
 

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Long range EVs with more than 30kwhr of batteries may become rare if electrified vehicles continue expanding

Resource availability has not expanded at the same rate as adoption, further we had excess supply that was underutilized before 2010 and that excess has been turned on as well.

Other industries that use lithium have become more efficient in its use and the excess as it were has spilled into EVs

Obviously without new mines and factories we will start to become resource constrained

Ah well, interesting times
Lithium doesn't seem likely to be a limiting factor, except maybe briefly as new facilities are developed - there are lots of untapped resources and it's relatively easy to mine as I understand it (mostly extracting salts from water sources.)

Other things in the batteries may become more limiting, like cobalt - but not all lithium batteries use it.

Lithium isn't the end of the road, anyway. Double electron Magnesium based batteries are in labs now, and they or something else will likely replace Lithium chemistries before we have the whole industry electrified, let alone the whole operating fleet.

(Which is not to say I think we should wait for them - the current technology is now good enough and getting to be cheap enough to effectively do it all electrically, so we certainly should. I just think new tech will change our shortage concerns before we finish or run out of Lithium.)
 

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I've been following the Electrek Gigafactory coverage and comment threads. There is one key Electrek inside source - Gigaman - who claims to work at the GF for Tesla and who's comments ring true. He made a comment about one of the other battery pack parts suppliers producing pack parts (the pack glycol cooling "snakes") at the GF that went under everyone else's radar, but (being the curious type about the pack TMS) I looked into it. It gibed with my understanding of Tesla's cooling tube construction and would typically only be referenced to by a) - an EV thermal systems freak like me or b) someone who had detailed personal knowledge of Model 3 pack assembly.

Anyway, that gave him credibility in my book. He was saying that Panasonic has produced so many cells at the GF that they are stuffed everywhere, awaiting assembly by Tesla into packs. He said Panasonic employees have been temporarily reassigned to helping Tesla hand-make the Model 3 battery packs. That is probably why Electrek is very skeptical about the reports that Panasonic is shipping cells from Japan because of GF problems. The GF is overflowing with cells. It is underflowing with properly-assembled battery packs. I doubt Panasonic is assembling packs in Japan. That is Tesla's job.
 

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Most US lithium mining was shut down as the Cold War wound down. The world price of lithium is still too low to open US mining operations on a large scale. There is an isotope of lithium that is very handy in the production of nukes.

Lithium is not rare on earth (Lead and Tin are rarer), however it's price can be inflated by speculation. The quantities are virtually unlimited as not much lithium is actually used in a lithium battery. There is less than 160g of lithium per kWh in a battery, the amount is falling. In theory, only 1/2 that much is required but manufacturing techniques are not perfect.

And, there will be battery recycling just like lead is recovered from batteries.

But to make nukes, they needed large amounts. Li-6 is only 7.5% of natural lithium, which is the isotope needed for weapons. Li-7 is used in reactors. Either works in batteries. But when weapons proliferation occurs, they mine a lot of it.
 

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And, there will be battery recycling just like lead is recovered from batteries.
Only by gubmint mandate. The ROI on recycling lithium from batteries isn't there. The metals from spent packs may be another story.
 
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