Langan, along with Jon Bereisa – Auto Lectrification consultancy head honcho, former GM engineer, and "founding member and past chairman of the United States Advanced Battery Consortium" – were making the case that the Tesla Model 3 could cost $1,510 more to build than its $35,000 base selling price.
To get to that figure, they estimated the "affordable" Tesla would come equipped with a battery similarly-sized to the 60 kWh pack in the Chevy Bolt, costing $260 per kWh. They also cited additional layout for sensors, aluminum construction, and "lack of scale," among other things. Interestingly, Bereisa put the Bolt's pack costs at $215 per kWh, making that pack cost approximately $12,900 to build.
As might be expected, Tesla execs begged to differ with these disparaging ruminations, and head of investor relations Jeff Evanson called in to do just that. First, he reminded them that the Model 3 will not be an all-aluminum vehicle, before giving us all a glimpse at what the electric automaker currently spends on packs. According to Evanson, the unit in the Model S now costs less than $190 per kWh to build. He also informed them that the 3 will use less than 60 kWhs to attain its 200+-mile, single-charge range.
While Bereisa does concede that the company could get to 200 miles with only a 55 kWh pack, he remains skeptical of the $190/kWh figure – his projections see industry pack costs between $133 and $155/kWh by 2025. Regardless, if the Tesla Gigafactory achieves the goal of reducing cell costs by 35 per cent as CEO Elon Musk has predicted in the past, the Model 3 pack might cost less than $125 per kWh to build, making these analyst's musings amusing, to say the least.