Tesla battery supplier see surge amidst IRA tax incentives

Tesla stock has been in the midst of a surge recently, specifically after the Model 3 sedan reached price parity with the Toyota Camry. Tesla battery suppliers are also seeing increased support from investors as they realize the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act. 

Panasonic shares climbed up 45% year-to-date in Tokyo, while LG Energy Solutions (LGES) went up 36%. Panasonic and LGES are both long-time Tesla battery suppliers and are outpacing their local benchmarks. 

Not all of Tesla’s battery suppliers are experiencing a share surge, though. Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL) is down 4.5%, missing out on a rally. Bloomberg points out that non-Chinese battery suppliers are experiencing a surge while CATL—one of the top battery suppliers in the world—is not. 

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) may be credited for South Korean battery supplier LGES and Japanese battery supplier Panasonic’s stock spike this year. In a Citi note, industry expert Christ Berry estimated that IRA credits could reach $1 trillion compared to the U.S. Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of $369 billion over 10 years. 

During a Citi seminar, Berry stated that China’s dominant share in the refining market is “an obstacle to IRA mechanisms working and that various ideas to build a US-led scheme to reduce dependency on China were being considered.” 

Citigroup analyst Kota Ezawa hinted that non-Chinese companies are more likely to benefit from the Inflation Reduction Act. Reports of a US-China tech war suggest that the United States aims to rely less on the Asian giant. 

The Inflation Reduction Act’s influence already affects automakers in the United States and worldwide. Local automakers are teaming up with foreign battery suppliers, like LGES, to build domestic cell manufacturing in the United States. 

Tesla isn’t immune to the IRA’s influence either. On March 31, 2023, The U.S. Treasury released battery guidance for the Inflation Reduction Act’s $7,500 EV tax credits. The guidance covered battery production, assembly, and mineral sourcing requirements to qualify for incentives. 

Tesla’s Model 3 RWD units were immediately affected by the battery requirements. The Tesla Model 3 RWD’s battery pack is produced and assembled in China, reducing its IRA tax incentives. Earlier this month, all Tesla Model 3 units—including the RWD variant—qualified for the full $7,500 tax credit under the IRA. With state EV tax credits, the Model 3 became cheaper than the Toyota Camry in California. 

Tesla’s recent stock spike may be attributed to the Model 3 reaching price parity with fossil fuel vehicles. However, maybe the true takeaway from the Model 3’s latest achievement is the full potential of the IRA. 

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