With the red tape cleared and the ground broken on Tesla’s new Gigafactory in Nevada, the biggest question remains whether or not the company will be able to achieve its primary goal: to lower the cost of the batteries it uses in its vehicles.
While Tesla boss Elon Musk has confidently predicted that it could break under the $100/kwh barrier, there are still plenty of skeptics who think it can’t be done.
The latest is Dr. Menahem Anderman, who authored The Tesla Battery Report for Advanced Automotive Batteries, an extensive piece of work focusing on everything from Tesla’s current position, its intellectual properties, its impact on the industry and the forecast for not only the electric-vehicle market, but overall battery demand too.
“Tesla has already shattered many of the [auto] industry’s deep-rooted convictions,” Dr. Anderman wrote. However, despite the obvious respect he has for the company, he concludes that, “Our assessment shows that pack pricing for the 2025 time scale could be as low as $167/kwh [and] pack cost much below $200/kwh is unlikely before 2020.”
Because of that, he figures that Tesla’s important Model 3 will cost nearly double the $35,000 that Musk wants, saying “the price of the 2017 new model will be in the range of $50-80K.”
Current Model S pricing starts at $71,000 before whatever federal and state tax credits and other incentives are applied, so if Dr. Anderman’s estimate is correct, the Model 3 would sit uncomfortably close its larger sibling.