At Tesla’s Battery Day event, CEO Elon Musk made big announcements: the company’s steps to eliminate cobalt in its batteries, a new Plaid powertrain for the Model S that could reach speeds of 200 mph , and a new cathode plant to rationalize its battery. production. And, with the new battery technology, Musk said Tesla would make a $ 25,000 car.
The socially distant outdoor event had Musk and other presenters speaking to Tesla shareholders in parked cars, honking their horns to indicate their approval of the speakers’ remarks – almost like a movie / shareholders meeting.
Here are the main takeaways from Tesla Battery Day 2020:
Tesla plans to manufacture its own “tabless” batteries, which will improve the range and power of its vehicles. The new batteries will be produced in-house, which Musk says will reduce costs and bring the selling price of Tesla electric cars closer to gasoline cars. Tesla’s cost per kilowatt hour is expected to decline, a key metric used to measure batteries in electric vehicles. Cells without a table (Tesla removes the tab that connects the cell and what it powers), which Tesla calls the 4,860 cells, will make its batteries six times more powerful and increase the range by 16%.
Tesla currently sources batteries from Panasonic, and likely will continue to do so for some time, but moving battery production in-house has been on Musk’s to-do list for some time; in 2018, a shortage of these cells added to production delays. Musk a dit the pace of battery production at Panasonic had slowed production of the Model 3 and Model Y.
Musk has been teasing the Plaid powertrain for quite some time, which will be a cut above his Ludicrous model. It will have a range between charges of 520 miles, a speed of 0-100 km / h in under two seconds and a top speed of 200 mph. The price is listed on Tesla’s website at $ 139,990. Musk had noted in the past that a Plaid trim level would “cost more than our current offerings,” which he does. It will be available in the Model S at the end of 2021.
Musk said Tesla will build a new cathode factory for its batteries in North America, as part of its quest to lower supply chain costs and simplify cathode production. It is also making improvements to its process that will make cathodes 76% cheaper and produce no wastewater. The company also plans to diversify the cathodes it uses, due to low nickel supplies.
We don’t know where the new cathode plant will be built, but Musk said in July, when Tesla announced his next plant would be in Austin, Texas, that he would “strongly consider” Tulsa, Oklahoma’s second city. , for future projects.
Tesla plans to phase out the use of cobalt in its cathodes. Musk has said he wanted to eliminate it altogether in the past – even though Tesla’s existing batteries use very little of it. Cobalt is often mined under conditions that violate human rights, which has led to the search for other materials to replace it.
Musk has not offered a timeline for when the company will stop using cobalt, but said it will make its batteries much cheaper.
“It is absolutely essential that we make cars that people can actually afford,” he said. “Affordability is the key to our evolution.”
Tesla plans to reduce the cost of its cells and battery packs, with the end goal of building a $ 25,000 electric car. Tesla will achieve this by using its new “tabless” battery cells and changing the materials inside the cell, which it says should allow Tesla to “cut in half” the price per kilowatt hour, said Musk.
This isn’t the first time Musk has predicted that Tesla would dramatically cut the costs of its electric cars. He first promised a $ 25,000 electric vehicle in 2018, which he said was possible within three years.