Back when the Gigafactory was just a concept, Musk repeatedly referred to battery supply “partners.” That’s the plural form of “partner.” Panasonic signed on as Partner Number One after pretending it was only half-interested, a strategic move to avoid spooking its own shareholders and perhaps to make Tesla beg a little (pure TeslaMondo conjecture).
Now a tipster tells a Korean publication that Samsung SDI is Parter Number Two. How big a partner? Very! Figure 40 percent of Tesla’s battery needs from 2016 to 2018 will come from Samsung, which currently supplies the BMW i3* and i8**. This will need some clarification, because you might recall Panasonic signed on to the Gig on the promise that it would be the sole battery cell supplier. The semantics of battery production could be the culprit here. Or perhaps Samsung will have no connection to the Gig.
Plural is better than singular. Two big-name suppliers associated with Tesla adds validity to what is still an unproven startup in many investors’ minds. And plurality will continue later this year when the Model X hits the pavement. Two Tesla models in mass production and two big-name suppliers on the team roster? That’s a lot more flesh on Tesla’s bones. This company night actually go somewhere. You think?
* These lower-case monikers are getting old fast.
** See what I mean?