Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk is on a crusade to, among other things, rid drivers of the need to consume liquid fuel for their automotive transportation. Sounds easy, right? But it's the lithium-ion battery cell supply situation that's another story altogether. See, Tesla is ramping up production of its all-electric Model S to possibly 40,000 units by next year and will follow that up with the introduction of the Model X SUV and a yet-to-be-named cheaper (by comparison) model. Given these trends, Tesla may be buying as many of its type of battery cells as the rest of the computer industry combined by 2017, Green Car Reports estimates.
Granted, there are a fair amount of "ifs" here, as doubling Model S production and sales next year isn't guaranteed, nor is getting the new models out on schedule. That said, the Model S's 85-kWh battery does gobble up battery cells in large chunks. Indeed, GCR did the math and found that the approximately 14,000 Model S vehicles sold since its introduction contain as many kWh worth of lithium-ion packs as all of the 71,000 Nissan Leafs sold around the world since late 2010 combined, although the Tesla uses smaller cells than the Nissan. With such supply requirements, Tesla has turned battery supplier Panasonic's second-quarter 2012 loss into a second-quarter 2013 profit and may need to reach supply agreements with Samsung to meet further demand. Read the details over at Green Car Reports.