Tesla battery tech teardown reveals it remains unmatched

UBS analysts compared the batteries of seven all-electric vehicles, including Tesla, Volkswagen, General Motors and Toyota, among others. Tesla is considered one of the best in the industry when it comes to battery technology. Now that major names have entered the EV market, UBS analysts decided to see if that was still the case.

The UBS analysts concluded, after a teardown of the various EV batteries, that Tesla still leads in battery technology. UBS analysts noted that, for the next few years, Tesla will likely remain the king of EV batteries. They also noted that, thanks to its €33-billion 5-year EV investment, Volkswagen could be the competitor closest to Tesla on a global scale.

UBS claims, however, that Tesla’s battery lead is slender because the firm depends on suppliers such as CATL, LG Chem, and Panasonic. “While Tesla continues to lead with the best overall powertrain technology, the cost lead in battery cells is minor by now and will depend on its new proprietary cell design in the future,” UBS analysts wrote.

Tesla unveiled its 4680 cells during Battery Day in September, boasting 5X more energy density and 6X more capacity. Tesla also suggested that it would cost 56 percent less to manufacture per kWh for its 4680 battery cells and could push the company into the Terafactory era. Tesla revealed its pilot line for the 4680 cells at Fremont on the same day, which could change the game in the field of EV battery development.

The UBS analysts noted that, similar to Volkswagen, automakers who want to succeed in the EV sector must go all-in. Considering the aggressive cost reductions in the EV battery industry, this is particularly noteworthy. “A steep cost reduction curve in combination with an ever-improving regulatory environment in favor of EVs makes it a necessity for auto companies to pursue an ‘all-in’ EV strategy, meaning that purely CO2-compliance strategies are likely to fail,” UBS wrote.

Tesla seems aware of this already and has been revving up to meet the forthcoming battery cost challenges. The company’s new Berlin and Texas Gigafactories tend to be planned to include battery manufacturing facilities. Elon Musk claimed that Gigafactory Berlin would have the “world’s largest battery factory,” and he also noted that the company’s 4680 cells would be manufactured by the plant.

Tesla has also submitted documents with the Texas Environmental Quality Commission (TCEQ) that specifically indicate proposals for the construction of cells at the Gigafactory company in the Lone Star state. Local media was able to confirm with a TCEQ spokesperson that the Tesla documents pointed to cell manufacturing in Giga Texas.

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