Elon Musk sets expectations for Tesla’s cell production ahead of Battery Day

With Battery Day hours away, Tesla CEO Elon Musk decided to set some expectations for the upcoming and highly-anticipated event. Musk explained in a series of tweets that the developments to be revealed on Battery Day would impact the long-term development of Tesla, with the technology not hitting serious high-volume production until 2022.

Musk did mention that Battery Day’s inventions would be applicable to the company’s future vehicles like the Cybertruck, Semi, and the next-generation Roadster, all of which will benefit from the company’s next-generation cells. In a follow-up tweet, Musk also noted that despite Tesla’s attempts to manufacture its own cells, the company would not be reducing its battery purchases from partners including Panasonic, LG Chem, and CATL.

“We intend to increase, not reduce battery cell purchases from Panasonic, LG & CATL (possibly other partners too). However, even with our cell suppliers going at maximum speed, we still foresee significant shortages in 2022 & beyond unless we also take action ourselves,” Musk wrote.

Seemingly citing the lessons that Tesla learned during the painful Model 3 production ramp, Musk further highlighted that the challenges involved in scaling the production of new technology are notable. The CEO added that ultimately, making the “machine that makes the machine” is “vastly harder than the machine itself.”

“The extreme difficulty of scaling production of new technology is not well understood. It’s 1000% to 10,000% harder than making a few prototypes. The machine that makes the machine is vastly harder than the machine itself,” the CEO wrote.

Musk’s latest Twitter announcements about the timetable for Battery Day ‘s developments seem to have been viewed somewhat negatively by Wall Street, with TSLA shares taking a 3 percent drop on Tuesday’s pre-market. That being said, the comments of the CEO could also be seen as a way in the long run for Tesla to potentially underpromise and overdeliver, similar to how the company conducted its Model Y ramp.

Although the announcement of Elon Musk’s Battery Day might seem rather cautious, the declaration of the CEO actually suggests a very ambitious ramp for the production of the company’s own battery cells. For instance, achieving high-volume production in 2022 will mean that within the next 15 months, Tesla intends to build Roadrunner lines across its facilities, and ramp each accordingly. That’s a fairly ambitious timeline, and it’s something that will help the company become a much more credible mass-market automaker in the next few years.

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