US waives tariffs on Japanese aluminium for Tesla battery cells

Marco Green
June 26, 2019

The battery packs used in Tesla require a significant amount of aluminum to produce, and sourcing that in the United States hasn't been possible. It revealed in the request that the material is produced by Nippon Light Metal and wanted a tariff exclusion for 10,000 tonnes annually.

The tariff exclusion isn't just an excuse to import Japanese aluminum all willy-nilly though.

All the talk recently of the government imposing strict tariffs on imported goods from a whole host of countries has made the automotive world pretty dang nervous.

The waiver will be in place for one year.

Tesla didn't immediately respond to Roadshow's request for comment. "Tesla is the only U.S. manufacturer of these battery types and planned production of these batteries will increase exponentially over the next few years", the company's request said. The battery cells, which the Palo Alto-based company assembles into packs, are installed as a vehicle's energy source.

The carmaker also posited that it uses specific aluminum sheets that come in various widths and thickness.

Tesla previously sought other tariff exemptions from the U.S. Trade Representative's Office for Chinese-made parts, including the Model 3 vehicle computer and the Autopilot "brain" that were rejected.

In the application, Tesla explained that now, no US -based manufacturer is able to meet the requirements in terms of either alloy composition or the required thickness. "Domestic producers also can not meet the annual volume requirement".

Tesla's application for a waiver reportedly faced no objections.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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