Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Wednesday that his electric vehicle and solar power business could help bitcoin miners switch to renewable energy, but it is currently limited by a tight supply of battery cells.
It also acknowledged that Tesla is not yet manufacturing its custom-designed 4680 cells for commercial use in electric cars or energy storage systems.
The comments came during an appearance at The B Word Conference, which focused on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. During a panel, Square Crypto leader Steve Lee asked Musk what the energy-intensive bitcoin industry can do “to accelerate the transition to renewable energy” and “could Tesla Energy play a role?”
Musk responded, “Well, I think Tesla can play a role.”
Then the 50-year-old CEO broke down in a moment of reflection, implying that Tesla’s only reason for being was the world’s transition to clean energy.
“I’d say I’ve had some pretty tough life experiences and Tesla is probably responsible for two-thirds of all the personal and professional pain combined to give you a sense of perspective there.”
Tesla has been selling commercial and residential solar installations since it acquired SolarCity in 2016 for around $ 2.6 billion, a deal that led to Musk Delaware court this month.
But before entering the solar energy business, Tesla created and began selling energy storage products in 2015, including a home backup battery called the Powerwall, and larger batteries that can store intermittently generated solar or wind energy. so that it is available for your use at any time. needed.
Tesla has installed several of these utility-scale energy storage systems, Musk reminded his audience Wednesday, that they have helped utilities “level the load on the grid,” including in South Australia and elsewhere. . But he noted that battery production was currently limiting production.
“In fact, the limiting factor for us right now is cell production. So we need both to produce our in-house Tesla battery cells in-house and to increase supply from suppliers. “
Musk also repeated that even once Tesla can make its own battery cells, it will continue to rely on other battery cell manufacturers. Its current cell suppliers include Panasonic, LG, and CATL.
“Generally when I talk to our suppliers and they say ‘how many cells would you like?’ I say ‘how many cells can you make?’ you know, because sometimes they’re worried, is Tesla going to compete with them in cells? I’m like no, no, if you want the cells to be our guest. It’s just that we need a lot of batteries. “
in a Twitter sharing With fans after the bitcoin conference, Musk wrote that Tesla is “not done” yet to get to the “volume production” of its custom-designed 4680 battery cells.
It also acknowledged that Tesla sold Maxwell Technologies’ ultracapacitor business and other assets to a San Diego-based startup called UCap Power, which is run by Gordon Schenk, formerly Tesla’s vice president of sales for its Maxwell division.
Tesla initially acquired Maxwell in 2019 in a deal valued at more than $ 200 million. The exact terms of the sale to UCap Power Inc. were not disclosed, but can be discussed when Tesla makes its second-quarter earnings call on Monday, July 26.
Finally, at The B Word conference, Musk said that energy storage systems, combined with solar and wind power, were not the only ways to transition from bitcoin to cleaner energy. It supported existing hydroelectric, geothermal and nuclear power to reduce the environmental impact of bitcoin mining.
“My expectation is not that energy production should be pure as snow, but neither can it use the dirtiest coal in the world, which was there for a moment. So, you know, that’s just hard for Tesla to put up with in that. I think long-term renewable energy will actually be the cheapest form of energy, it just doesn’t happen overnight. “