Citing Cairn Energy Research Advisors, CNBC is reporting that Tesla has a significant advantage in electric battery technology.
The electric vehicle pioneer is facing more and more competition from startups and established rivals. Rivian has made headlines as a more traditional-looking electric vehicle manufacturer, while Ford has also had its fair share of news for an all-electric Mustang Mach-E and upcoming F-150. GM, Toyota, Subaru and others are all planning to roll out all-electric lineups, with Subaru committed to producing only electric vehicles by the mid-2030s.
According to Sam Jaffe, managing director of Cairn Energy Research Advisors, despite the competition, Tesla still has a major advantage in the battery tech it uses. While most automakers use battery packs that have pouch or prismatic cells, “Tesla is the only automaker to use cylindrical battery cells in its battery packs.” In the last four years, the cost of cylindrical cell battery packs has dropped over $100 per kilowatt hour (kWh), hitting $158.27 per kWh last year. In contrast, the cost of the competition’s battery packs is still running over $200 per kWh.
While a difference of less than $50 per kWh may not seem like a lot, as manufacturers ramp up production and begin mass-producing electric vehicles, that expense will add up quickly. In addition, Jaffa says Tesla also has an advantage not only in its more advanced cylindrical battery cells, but also in its battery management system.
“Tesla has really revolutionized that part of the battery pack and made it much more sophisticated, and it gives them the competitive advantage,” said Jaffe, according to CNBC.