Tesla Model 3: Production Begins On 'Most American' Made Car
The heart of an electric car is its battery and Elon Musk-run Tesla is on the top of things in this regard. The company has already confirmed that it has begun production on its lithium-ion batteries, which will power the highly-anticipated Model 3. The company's Gigafactory - located in Sparks, Nevada - is hard at work and running in full capacity.
According to Teslarati, the current batteries being used in Tesla's electric vehicles are 18650 cells, which are effective but can definitely be improved upon. As such, the company has done just that in the production of the 2170 battery cells, which are 21 millimeters in diameter and are 70 millimeters long.
Tesla has confirmed that the new battery was designed and is made in partnership with Panasonic. The result is a more efficient battery without the same costs - which is likely the reason why the Model 3 is more affordable than the company's current roster of vehicles. Moreover, the technology can be applied to more than just electric cars.
"With the Gigafactory online and ramping up production, our cost of battery cells will significantly decline due to increasing automation and process design to enhance yield, lowered capital investment per Wh of production, the simple optimization of locating most manufacturing processes under one roof, and economies of scale," Tesla said in a press release. "By bringing down the cost of batteries, we can make our products available to more and more people, allowing us to make the biggest possible impact on transitioning the world to sustainable energy."
The battery itself, however, is largely American, as Electrek notes. The publication sources a study by the Kogod School of Business at American University in Washington, D.C. The study discussed the American percentage of the car based on how many pieces of the same were actually made in the United States. But other than actual parts, the study also takes into consideration where labor, research, and development were done.
Currently, the most American vehicles are the Buick Enclave, the Chevrolet Traverse, and the GMC Acadia - with a score of 90 percent. But when the 2170 batteries are installed into the Model 3 vehicles, Tesla will be credited with the title. Once finished and rolled out, the vehicle will be 95 percent made in America.
The publication goes on to report that the number would have decreased significantly if the new battery was published outside of Tesla's Gigafactory. Otherwise, Panasonic would have relied on companies and factories outside of the Unites States in order to meet production targets. As Musk has confirmed, raw materials are also sourced in-country in order to cut on logistical costs.
Logically, the move makes sense as Tesla is undoubtedly cutting down on shipment costs, as well as handling. It does not hurt as well that the company is creating job opportunities within the United States. But as the political landscape changes, this move could prove to be even more beneficial.
President-elect Donald Trump has made it no secret that one of his main goals is to bring jobs back to America. But while some American companies are being pressured to produce in-country, Tesla is already ahead. Furthermore, Trump's administration might enforce some strict rules on fuel consumption, thereby pushing more car manufacturers to switch to battery power.
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