Megafactory trend sparks ‘arms race’ in battery sector – by Simon Rees (MiningWeekly.com – September 29, 2015)

http://www.miningweekly.com/page/americas-home

TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Tesla Motors’ so-called ‘gigafactory’ has sparked an “arms race” in the battery sector, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence MD Simon Moores told an audience attending the Toronto leg of the company’s World Tour 2015, in which Mining Weekly Online participated.

The gigafactory, now being built in Nevada, was designed to meet Tesla’s future battery requirements, either for electric vehicles (EV) or its Powerwall and Powerpack technologies.

“Battery majors, such as LG Chem or Samsung, have all responded with expansion plans for their new plants. Companies like BYD are also building their own battery plants. Boston Power is looking to expand, while Foxconn said they were going to enter battery manufacturing,” Moores stated.

“The megafactory trend is one the battery industry has not seen before. This is not an industry saying it expects to expand by 10% or 20% over the next three years – it’s at an order of magnitude that’s much bigger,” he added.

For those with graphite and lithium interests, either supplying or seeking to supply into the battery chain, these were positive medium- and long-term developments.

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In North America, the most recognisable brand for EVs had been technology pioneer Tesla, which aimed to introduce a vehicle with a banner price of less than $30 000. Chevrolet had followed suit, developing a new Volt model that it also sought to sell at under $30 000.

In tandem, the number of major companies involved in batteries and EVs had been growing. Moores noted that Google, Apple, Sony, as well as other significant vehicle manufacturers, such as Audi and Mercedes, had entered the space in earnest.

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