China to import more energy storage systems and parts, Tesla as big winner

JANUARY 16 (XINHUA) — CHINA WILL IMPORT MORE ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEMS AND COMPONENTS FROM THE UNITED STATES THIS YEAR AND NEXT UNDER A U.S.-CHINA TRADE DEAL SIGNED ON WEDNESDAY, WITH ELECTRIC CAR MAKER TESLA EXPECTED TO BE THE BIGGEST WINNER, FOREIGN MEDIA REPORTED. Tesla’s superplant in Nevada is by far the largest battery plant in the U.S., accounting for 42 percent of U.S. battery production, according to Bloomberg NEF. No other manufacturer in the U.S. can match Tesla’s battery capacity.

China to import more energy storage systems and parts, Tesla as big winner

In addition to its capacity advantages, Tesla has done its bit to develop battery technology. In 2019, Tesla acquired Maxwell Technologies of California and Hibar Systems of Canada, in the hope of increasing the life and efficiency of its batteries.

Among them, Maxwell has developed a dry electrode technology that stores large amounts of charge without losing energy. Prior to being acquired by Tesla, Hibar was also working on producing high-efficiency lithium-ion batteries.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, has long wanted to equip vehicles with batteries that can last up to 1.6 million kilometers. After gaining knowledge of the system, researchers at the University of Nova Scotia believe this is not out of reach, after acquiring knowledge from Dalhousie University professor Jeff Dahn.

Perhaps, with the expertise of Maxwell and Hibar, researchers such as Darn could find ways to improve battery performance. In the long run, as Tesla develops battery systems directly in-house, the company’s efforts to sign contracts with metal miners will reduce battery production costs.

Tesla is in talks with Swiss mining company Glencore to sign a strategic agreement to ensure that its Shanghai plant provides enough cobalt, a key ingredient in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries, according to people familiar with the matter.

While most of Tesla’s batteries are used in electric vehicles, the company is also trying to expand its business to build large battery packs that can be used to store power on large-scale grids.

By far, China is the world’s largest producer of batteries, with factories capable of producing 275,560 megawatt hours of batteries, according to BloombergNEF’s data reality. Although the U.S. is in second place, its production capacity lags far behind China’s at about 33,116 megawatt hours.