Tesla’s new battery technology could lower the cost of electric cars

Tesla's new battery technology could lower the cost of electric cars

The company plans to offer a $25,000 vehicle in three years, officials say.

 

Tesla has announced new in-house-produced batteries for its electric cars, signaling a major change from the automaker that, if successful, could significantly lower the cost of electric vehicles.

"I think it's the way all electric cars will be made going forward," CEO Elon Musk said Tuesday at Tesla's "Battery Day" event outside of its production facility in Freemont, California.

Tesla's new battery cell features a "table" design, which the company says will provide five times more power, six times more power, and 16% more range compared to its previous battery cell.

The company's current vehicles use batteries from vendors like Panasonic, where the energy stored in the battery pack is transferred to the car's powertrain via a conductive metal tab.

The new battery pack accomplishes the same by using a design that integrates a series of small bumps and spikes, which the company hopes will eliminate the need for a flange and consequently reduce costs and production time. Musk tweeted that the technology is "much more important than it sounds" after the patent was approved in May.

"This is not just a concept or a representation; we are beginning to scale up the manufacturing of these cells at our ten gigawatt-hour pilot production facility," said Drew Baglino, Tesla's senior vice president of powertrain and power engineering.

Tesla also said that the new batteries would be 56% less expensive to make and are being developed entirely in-house.

"They own the whole widget," said Car and Driver senior editor for technology Roberto Baldwin, "which is what gives them the ability to control every aspect and tune everything, from their batteries, their motors, their inverters ".

Tesla's investment in its own battery technology does not mean that it is reducing partnerships with other battery producers, Musk said. In a tweet ahead of Tuesday's event, the CEO said the company plans to "increase, not reduce, battery cell purchases from Panasonic, LG and CATL (possibly other partners as well)." He also said the company is predicting battery cell shortages from those vendors and is increasing internal efforts to mitigate those deficiencies.

Musk said during the event that Tesla plans to produce 100 gigawatt-hours of battery cells per year by 2022 and three terawatt-hours of cells per year by 2030.

"It allows us to make a lot more cars and a lot more stationary storage," he said.

Reducing the cost of battery production is part of Tesla's plan to eventually sell 20 million vehicles a year, about 50 times more than what they sell now, the company said.

"I think twenty million is doable," said Baldwin of Car and Driver. "As long as they can continue to grow and continue to invest and, in a way, be ahead of everyone."

Part of that goal of 20 million vehicles will come from a Tesla model that the company plans to sell for $ 25,000, which is expected to be available in about three years. The car, which would undermine Tesla's current Model 3 sedan as the brand's cheapest vehicle, would be fully autonomous, Musk said.

"Our goal was always to try to make an affordable electric car," Musk said.

Musk said that while production of the new batteries is underway, it will take between a year and 18 months to fully ramp up production, and even longer for the technology to show up in actual vehicles.

However, "Tesla has repeatedly set schedules and schedules, and then lost them," Baldwin said.

The Model 3 faced significant delays as the company increased production in 2017. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, Tesla has also delayed planned launches for its "Semi" pickup and sports car "Roadster. ". But Baldwin says the company is making improvements, noting that the Model Y crossover launched ahead of schedule.

"For one thing, they're learning everything they've learned over the last ten, twelve years, and they're using it to improve their drums," Baldwin said. "But there is still the possibility that this will be delayed for another year, another four years."

Tesla's battery announcement comes at a time of increased competition in the electric vehicle market. Earlier this month, Lucid, an electric vehicle startup founded by Tesla's former Model S sedan chief engineer, introduced an electric sedan called the Air, with a range of 503 miles. General Motors' "Ultium" battery pack, which the company unveiled earlier this year, will underpin 13 new electric vehicle models across four brands, starting with a new "HUMMER" pickup.

Volkswagen also says it plans to produce 1.5 million electric vehicles a year by 2025, and on Wednesday unveiled the ID4, an electric crossover SUV expected to have 500 kilometers of range.

 

Source: ABC News

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