The Kingmaker: Tesla’s Undeniable Influence on the EV Battery Supply Chain

Feb. 9, 2021

2020 Saw Tesla’s Dominance Expand Across Numerous Fronts

In 2020, Tesla outsold all other plugin electric vehicle makers globally and deployed more passenger EV battery capacity and battery materials, namely lithium, nickel and graphite, than its four closest competitors combined.


Last year is also the first year that Tesla manufactured EVs at scale outside the U.S. and the first year that saw it use cells not made by Panasonic. In early-2020, made-in-China (“MIC”) Model 3s began rolling off the line with high-nickel NCM 811 cells from LG Chem, and late in the year also began incorporating nickel- and cobalt-devoid LFP cells from CATL.



In 2020, nearly 20% of all passenger EV battery capacity deployed onto roads by LG Energy Solution (LG Chem spin-off) went into MIC Tesla Model 3s, making it the cell supplier’s widest channel to market for the calendar year.



In 2020, less than 10% of all passenger EV battery capacity deployed onto roads by CATL went into MIC Tesla Model 3s, making it the cell supplier’s third greatest ‘vehicle’ to market for the calendar year, albeit the fastest growing customer on CATL’s books. Deliveries of CATL-supplied Tesla Model 3s to customers only started in Q4.



Moreover, in 2020, nearly 90% of all passenger EV battery capacity deployed onto roads by Panasonic went into Tesla battery electric vehicles of all kinds, making it by far and large the cell supplier’s widest channel to market for the calendar year.





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Our ‘EV Battery Cobalt Monthly’ is a subscription-based report and data service for tracking monthly deployment of cobalt in passenger EV batteries by country, region, EV make, EV model, cell supplier, cell chemistry, EV type and more.

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