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.
Kelty, speaking at Cambridge Enertech’s Florida Battery seminar last week told the meeting that with a target of 35GW production output from the much hyped Nevada Gigafactory by 2020, more vertical integration was the key to hitting costs targets.
And embracing nickel mining, which is the largest component of the NMC cathode used in Tesla cells, might be a way forward.
“We only use a small amount of global nickel output but a great deal of battery grade nickel,” said Kelty and “with a boss like Elon (Musk) you can’t rule anything out.”
Kelty also said the company was moving away from the legendary 18650 cell and moving toward an optimized 2170 design from the summer.
Kelty presented the concept of using small cells to power EVs at the Florida battery seminar in 2007. Tesla has sold more than 200,000 cars since.