Its been a week for low-key announcements at Tesla as it emerged the Electric Vehicle pioneer plans to enter the home battery market and bring its lithium-ion gigiwatt factory online a year early.
In a letter to shareholders the firm said it plans to begin installing equipment at the Nevada, US, plant this year and start battery pack production in 2016, in partnership with Panasonic.
Work has already began on the shell of the $4.6billion high-output lithium-ion battery plant which is due to produce around 3,500,000 Li-ion batteries at 70 per cent of normal cost.
It means the US firm’s Model 3 EV vehicle – which uses around 7,000 Li-ion cells in its 85kWh battery – can be produced at a lower cost.
Tesla is aiming to produce 200,000 batteries annually by 2017 and plans to produce enough batteries in 2020 to fit up to 500,000 vehicles a year, including the Model 3 which is due on the market in 2017.
Panasonic Corp. will partner Tesla to manufacture the batteries and contribute about 35% of the initial build costs of the 10,000,000 square feet (930,000 m2) in size factory.
The plant is expected to employ about 6,500 people and will be located outside Reno.
Panasonic took a stake in Tesla and currently supplies the company with battery cells for EVs.
Then earnings call it was reported that Tesla’s Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel confirmed plans to unveil consumer batteries for home or business use “fairly soon”.
Last year Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he was hoping to build a Li-ion consumer battery pack, similar to the one found in the company’s Model S car, that would sit on the wall of a home.
Releasing a consumer battery pack would be seen as a easy move for the Silicon Valley company which already manufactures residential battery systems for customers of SolarCity, the solar installer chaired by Musk, who is its largest shareholder.