Tesla's new battery may use combined dry cell and supercapacitor technology that could be used for the Semi, according to recent reports. During the Q4 2019 Earnings Call, Elon Musk talked about the necessity of Tesla to improve its battery production capacity. The new battery will reportedly be discussed in detail by Tesla on its Battery Day this coming April.
According to Krypton 36, a source familiar with the matter shared information about Tesla with Securities Times and said that "the new battery independently developed by Tesla is a combination of dry battery technology + supercapacitor. The specific composition is expected to be explained at the Tesla Battery Conference in April."
The Driven linked the new battery with Tesla's acquisition of Maxwell Technologies, which manufactures ultracapacitors with develops dry battery electrode technology. Maxwell's dry battery electrode can increase the energy density of a cell to more than 300Wh/kg and has the potential to go even further up to 500Wh/kg.
Energy density was the primary concern after news broke that Tesla was in negotiations with CATL to use its cobalt-free batteries for the MIC Model 3 Standard Range Plus. Many assumed that Tesla would use the China-based battery supplier's lithium iron phosphate (LFP) prismatic cells and switch to cell-to-pack technology.
However, Tesla's official Douyin account later clarified that Tesla would not necessarily be using CATL's LFP cobalt-free cells, and hinted that there were other options available. It's mostly speculation for now, but the other option could be the reported dry cell-supercapacitor combination.
Increased energy density would fit well with the electric car maker's upcoming vehicles, such as the Tesla Semi. Elon Musk did mention that Tesla would need to find a way to improve battery production capacity before moving forward with Semi production during the last Earnings Call.
"So, the thing we're going to be really focused on is increasing battery production capacity because that's very fundamental because if you don't improve battery production capacity, then you end up just shifting unit volume from one product to another, and you haven't actually produced more electric vehicles," said Elon Musk.
"So, that's part of the reason why we have not, for example, really accelerated production of the Tesla Semi because it does use a lot of cells and unless we've got a lot of battery cells available, then -- and say like accelerating production of the Tesla Semi would then necessarily mean making pure Model 3 or Model Y cars. And so, we've got a really -- make sure we get a very steep ramp in battery production and continue to improve the cost per kilowatt-hour of the batteries. This is very fundamental and extremely difficult."
Within the Tesla community, there has been a lot of focus on the EV automaker's next-gen battery. The upcoming Battery Day event, slated for April, will clarify a lot of Tesla's latest work with battery technology. Battery Day may also reveal just how much further the gap is between Tesla and legacy automakers in the EV market.
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