Tesla CEO Elon Musk took part in the European Conference on Batteries, where he spoke about the company's efforts to bring to market electric vehicles with a longer range while reducing the cost of producing battery cells. As a company goal, Musk called for an incredibly low price of battery cell production.
To date, Tesla vehicles already have a range of over 600 kilometers (370 miles), but Musk said the company will introduce improved versions of the existing lineup that will have a range of about 700 kilometers (435 miles). The company's goal, in the long term, is to develop batteries that can reach 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).
However, Musk stressed that cost is a fundamental obstacle to battery advancement. The company is already able to make cars with a long range, rapid recharge, high calendar and high cycle life, and with batteries that can last about 15 years. But in order to make these cars increasingly affordable and accessible to the masses--which is a primary company goal--Tesla must continue to reduce the cost of cell production.
In the interview, Musk said that Tesla's long-term goal is to achieve a battery cost of $0.50 - $0.55 per kWh, at the cell level, for a “long-range battery cell"--i.e., not a prototype. We know that Musk often thinks in orders of magnitude--but this time, we suspect he meant to say $50-55 per kWh; after all, he did wake up quite early for the talk. In order to achieve even the $50-55 per kWh, though, many improvements need to be made in both the battery design, as well as in the design of the factories that will manufacture them.
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