Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk confirmed that they did meet with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) nearly a year ago. However, he didn’t say whether it was an acquisition or a partnership they talked about, and speculations have been flying ever since. In Jean-Louis Gassee’s Monday Note, he speculates that the companies have something in common which many haven’t been considering.
Comparing Tesla’s with Apple’s battery numbers
This year Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) said it will make 35,000 Model S sedans. Car and Driver reports that each battery weighs 21,000 metric tons. Of course determining the weight of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s batteries is a bit more difficult because Apple tells us watt-hours instead of weight. However, Gassee said he was able to learn that the iPhone 4S battery weighs 26 grams, according to iFixit. He estimates that the larger iPhone 5S battery may weight around 30 grams.
Assuming that the weight / capacity ratio is the same for all of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s batteries, he this suggests that an iPad Air battery which provides 32.4 watt-hours weighs around 160 grams. Using a mix of Apple’s iPads, iPhones and Macs, he came up with about 24,000 metric tons of batteries. In other words, both Apple and Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) are in the same ballpark in terms of how many batteries they each need this year.
Tesla could use Apple’s cash for the gigafactory
Wall Street has been buzzing about Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s plans for the gigafactory, and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) certainly has plenty of cash it could sink into the facility. Of course this doesn’t mean that Tesla will definitely make batteries for Apple. It simply means that it will have the capacity to do so.
Of course this also means that Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) will be able to add nearly any other company which needs lithium-ion batteries to its client list, which again, means that the company will likely end up being more than just an automaker. The only question is going to be which direction Tesla decides to go in because there are so many options, and it can’t make batteries for every company in its facility while still having enough for itself.