Tesla is taking delivery of a lot of batteries from a new supplier: Samsung SDI. The news comes via a bill of lading from a shipment at the Port of Oakland where Tesla received more than 120 tons of Samsung SDI lithium-ion battery cells.
The Samsung SDI 18650 batteries are, as noted by Electrek, the same style of battery that Tesla currently sources from Panasonic and will be building at the Gigafactory. While Tesla isn't saying what they'll be using the batteries for, there have been rumblings that they were looking at adding new battery suppliers to the mix, much to the chagrin of near-exclusive partner Panasonic.
The weight of Tesla battery packs varies depending on the capacity, but even running numbers off the largest 90kWh packs used in the Model S and Model X indicates that Tesla could get more than 200 cars worth of battery packs out of this shipment — or they could be destined for use in Tesla's Powerwall or Powerpack energy storage products.
If anything, the stories of the myriad delays that have hit Tesla suppliers should add weight to Tesla's decision to source at least some batteries from companies not named Panasonic. With the massive ramp up for the Model 3 and its nearly 400,000 reservations on the horizon, Tesla's going to need all of the supplier capacity and flexibility they can get.