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Musk: Tesla May Supply Batteries To Other Carmakers

Tesla is open to supplying batteries and powertrains and licensing software, Elon Musk said on Tuesday, in what analysts see as a potential boost to start-up EV manufacturers and a further increase of Tesla’s importance for the zero-emission vehicle market.

“Tesla is open to licensing software and supplying powertrains & batteries. We’re just trying to accelerate sustainable energy, not crush competitors!” Musk tweeted in a message to a piece about how German car manufacturers are trying to catch up with Tesla’s lead in software and batteries in the EV market. The software that Tesla could be open to license includes Autopilot, Musk said, replying to a question on Twitter.

Tesla is currently sourcing its batteries—the most critical and expensive component of an EV – through a joint venture with Panasonic, and deals with China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd (CATL) and South Korea’s LG Chem.

“The supply could lower the entry barriers for startup EV makers, posing a potential threat to legacy automakers, which have their own platforms,” Park Chul-wan, a South Korean battery expert and a professor at Seojeong University, told Reuters, commenting on the possibility of Tesla supplying batteries to other manufacturers.

“The strategy, if successful, will increase the EV market’s dependence on Tesla,” the expert told Reuters.

Tesla is also looking to use no-cobalt lithium batteries for its Model 3 in China, and those batteries are likely to be produced by CATL.

On Tesla’s earnings call for the Q2 results, Musk said that “The real limitation on Tesla growth is cell production at affordable price.”

Tesla expects to expand its business with Panasonic, with CATL, with LG, and “possibly with others,” Musk said on the call, teasing that the company has “a lot more to say on that front on Battery Day.”

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Tesla will hold its annual meeting of stockholders and a separate Battery Day presentation in person at the Fremont factory on September 22.

Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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