As the battery pack has become the crux of practically every electric vehicle venture, companies are turning to mass-production as a way to reduce costs.
Following the economies of scale, even Tesla Motors is planning its own lithium-ion electric vehicle battery mass-production facilities, the so-called Tesla Gigafactory. On the part of Tesla Motors, this is absolutely necessary, along with other adjustments, to make an affordable mass-production Tesla Model Ⅲ a possibility. On the other hand, judging by the comments on the Fiat 500e, about which Fiat CEO Marchionne says is “financial masochism,” Fiat and Chrysler haven’t gone full-bore on electric vehicles.
Interestingly, Fiat 500e’s battery supplier, Samsung SDI, which also supplies lithium-ion electric vehicle battery cells to Ferrari, has also been supplying the same to BMW. BMW and Samsung SDI have just signed an agreement to expand production of cells for the BMW i3 and BMW i8 extended-range electric vehicles. This will help reduce electric vehicle battery prices for at least BMW, which might make the host vehicles more affordable, or at least more profitable, and BMW doesn’t plan on keeping this to itself.
Perhaps other high-end automakers might want to take advantage of the savings, and that’s no problem for Klaus Draeger, head of purchasing at BMW, who said, “If Mercedes called us, we would be happy to find a way with Samsung SDI to supply them with battery cells.” Given that Panasonic and LG Chem, Samsung SDI’s two biggest competitors, are expanding their business, it only makes sense for the company to look for ways to take advantage of the growing market for electric vehicles. If electric vehicles are to be competitive with upcoming hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, cheaper battery packs are going to be essential.
Photo credit: M 93