Kurt Kelty winner of the Cambridge Enertech battery innovator of the year award and Senior Director, Cell Supply Chain and Business Development at Tesla Motors told BBB that the company did not rule out becoming a mining company as it consolidates its position into becoming the biggest user and manufacturer of lithium ion cells in the world.
Two former Tesla workers are set to beat their former employee in making lithium-ion cells for electric vehicle and energy storage applications in Europe.
Northvolt AB’s ambitious plans to build Europe's first Gigafactory in Sweden were given a boost when investment firm InnoEnergy, announced a €3.5million (around 35MSEK or $3.7million) investment.
Despite being only 30% finished, Tesla’s lithium-ion Gigafactory has rumbled into life proving the US can go head-to-head with Asia’s battery making industry.
Mass production of 2170 cells for Tesla’s Powerwall range of energy storage systems began last week, with Model 3 cell production set to follow in Q2 of this year.
Rivalry between firms Sonnen and Tesla seems to extend beyond residential energy storage products to include employees.
German residential energy storage system firm Sonnen has hired former Tesla Energy’s North American sales manager Blake Richetta.
Electric vehicle and energy storage firm Tesla is moving into the grid-scale energy storage market with two deals to supply lithium-ion systems.
The first is to develop a 20MW/80MWh utility-scale system for electricity company Southern California Edison Co.
Tesla co-founder and CTO, JB Straubel, has announced his company has invested in a new energy storage start-up, Axiom Energy.
Axiom builds energy storage systems for businesses, primarily grocery stores, which have large-scale refrigeration requirements.
Grocery stores have a strong reliance on refrigeration and backup power in case of outages as they have to keep the refrigeration running to protect perishable goods.
Axiom uses a system called ‘The Refrigeration Battery’ a thermal system, which works by using the current refrigeration system’s excess capacity to freeze a tank of salt water at night which can then be used to give six hours of an average grocery store’s refrigeration-based electricity load.
The Japanese SLI battery maker Hitachi Chemical Company Ltd, has pulled off a deal to take 10% of the Indian SLI market in the next three years— thanks to a free-trade agreement with Thailand.
Hitachi, which launched its commercial vehicle batteries range for the Indian market through a strategic tie-up with Ahmedabad-based Alf technologies, will have a projected turnover of US$231m (Rs 250 crore).
Jackie Chuah, director of the $5.5 billion Hitachi Chemical Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, Singapore said that the Indian market is huge for Hitachi to cover alone. "We thus entered into a strategic partnership with Ahmedabad-based Alf Technologies who have considerable experience about automotive batteries marketing and distribution pan-India," he said.
With 400,000 pre-orders of its model 3, Tesla is looking beyond the Japanese lithium-ion battery maker Panasonic for its supply to ensure it can meet demand, reports the Korea Times.
Some Korean companies are also getting in on the act to supply materials for those batteries.
Work at Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory was temporarily halted after around 100 construction workers downed tools in protest of out of state workers being used, reported Bloomberg.
Work on the $5billion pound plant was ahead of schedule before the walk out last Monday— which consisted of third party construction workers (named as Brycon Corp. in reports) staging a walk out.
The Boomberg report quotes Todd Koch, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Northern Nevada, as saying: “It’s a slap in the face to Nevada workers to walk through the parking lot at the job site and see all these license plates from Arizona and New Mexico.”
A Tesla spokesperson told BBB: “Monday's protest at the Gigafactory consisted of third party construction workers, who explained that their sole complaint was with the residency of a single other contractor’s employees.
“The protest ended after a few hours. It has been business as usual at the Gigafactory ever since. Tesla’s employees were not involved in any way and there are no so-called “labor issues,” wage disputes or anything similar at the Gigafactory.
“The protester's issue is not with how Tesla treats its workers. Their issue is that of the many third party contractors that are involved in the construction of the Gigafactory, many are union but the one at issue is not.
“The union is also claiming that this contractor is somehow favoring out of state workers. In reality, more than 50% of the workers used by this contractor and more than 75% of the entire Gigafactory workforce are Nevada residents, demonstrating the project’s strong commitment to Nevada.”
Assembly of batteries began last year at the Gigafactory, including those for the Powerwall, which saw the first installations in Australia, the UK and South Africa in the past two months.