The face of electric vehicles globally is Tesla, the American car manufacturer giant. It is also doing well in other markets than the United States and North America. Every year, Tesla sells millions upon millions of intelligent electric vehicles. The company has ambitious goals for the following years. It remains to be seen if Tesla can achieve its targets despite recent parts shortages and the economic downturn. Tesla Inc.’s chief executive, Elon Musk, is leading an aggressive expansion of his company that no other executive in the auto industry could imagine. The expansion drive is not an easy one. There are many obstacles in the way that could stall or stop the company’s expansion drive.
Elon Musk set a bold goal for Tesla to sell 20,000,000 electric cars by 2030. This is the top priority of Tesla’s promise to grow its shareholders. The company promises to increase access to sustainable energy. Tesla could be twice as big as the largest-volume automaker ever. Tesla will be able to capture around 20% of the global auto market with its 20 million shipments.
Tesla’s electric car shipment this year is 1.5 million. To reach this goal, Tesla must ship 13x its current annual shipment by 2030. This massive increase in demand will result in a company that will have to pay hundreds of billions of dollars.
“I believe it’s the equivalent to the Manhattan Project in World War II” (the codename for the U.S. nuke weapons program), Michael Tracy, a manufacturing expert at Agile, said. He was referring to the vast U.S. effort to build the atomic bomb.
TESLA REQUIRES MASSIVE EXPANSION
The massive investment required by Tesla to reach its goal will be a significant obstacle. On average, Tesla will need to create seven to eight additional “gigafactories” every 12 months. To become a company as large as Toyota Motor Corporation and Volkswagen, Tesla will need to capture market share from all its competitors. It will also need 30 times more battery capacity to power all its car factories.
Canada, India, Indonesia, and other countries have already lobbied Tesla to open the next Gigafactory. Musk stated that the location for the new factory could be announced by the end of this year. Tesla must also bear enormous expenses. Tesla could spend $400 billion to build new battery and car assembly plants in the world over the next eight years. The company will also need to invest $200 billion to buy or make batteries. This includes raw material costs. Tesla will need to increase its battery production capacity and the capacity of its partners and suppliers. This will allow Tesla to produce 20 million cars per year.
“In the long-term, we expect to produce 3,000 GWh (or three terawatt hours) of cells per annum. Musk told investors that he believes we can reach this goal by 2030. However, he is confident that we will achieve it by 2030. Tesla’s current battery capacity is 100 GWh.
According to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence (a research firm that tracks the global EV batteries industry), Tesla will need 2 million tonnes of lithium, 1.3million tons of nickel, and 200,000 tons of cobalt to produce three terawatt-hours of electricity in 2030. This is four times the amount of lithium and nickel that the entire electric vehicle industry will consume by 2022. This is twice the amount of cobalt and seven times more than graphite. Benchmark believes Tesla is “ambitious” in its 2030 goals. The battery expansion plans for Tesla are enormous, in all honesty. The world has vast natural resources, so finding them won’t be difficult.
INTENSE COMPETITION FROM CHINESE RIVERS
Other electric vehicle manufacturers are also producing to compete with Tesla’s Model 3 sedan and Model Y SUV. China’s local startups Xpeng Motors and NIO, Li Auto, and Li Auto, are lagging behind Tesla in terms of sales but proliferating.
BYD is now challenging Tesla globally. BYD, which sells cheap hybrid and electric vehicles in China, is the current leader in China’s electric car market. BYD surpassed Tesla’s global dominance in electric vehicles in July. BYD sold 641,000 electric cars during the first half of this year, a 300% increase year-on-year. This was more than Tesla’s 564,000 vehicles, and BYD beat Ford, Volkswagen, and General Motors. BYD has also been expanding internationally, opening dealers in Australia and New Zealand, and recently announcing plans to enter many countries, including Germany, Israel, and Thailand.
Tesla must produce twice the amount of Toyota to meet its goal. This is not an easy feat. Rivian Automotive and Ford Motor launched electric pickups in North America before Tesla. The North American market is rapidly evolving with electric pickups. Tracy, a manufacturing expert, is skeptical that Musk can build a global manufacturing company in the next eight years. This would allow Tesla to double its capacity of Toyota, the largest automaker by volume.
He said it took Toyota many decades to build such a production capacity (if Tesla can do so), it would be an extraordinary achievement.