Battery Day was so full of various announcements that some of the information presented remained misunderstood. Nonetheless, Tesla has unveiled a stunning roadmap that will deliver unprecedented growth for the company. Now we know that Tesla has already begun testing its new battery tech in some of its vehicles.
The company's goal was to make the battery cheaper, increase range and performance, and allow for quick, mass production. During Battery Day, Tesla unveiled a new battery design—the 4680 tabless cell.
Thanks to game-changing improvements, the battery cell gets five times more energy, 16% more range, and six times more power. It also lowers the dollar-per-kilowatt hour cost of the battery by 14%. That is, the larger form factor is key, as it gives the battery significant advantages and costs less to manufacture.
Yesterday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, via his Twitter account, confirmed another important point that remained misunderstood. He said the company already has battery cell packs that are installed in some Tesla vehicles and they have been on the road for several months now. Of course, Musk did not specify in which vehicles the batteries of the new design were installed; perhaps these are only test cars owned by the company.
Suppliers. We’re only doing high energy nickel ourselves, at least for now. Also, maybe the presentation wasn’t clear that we’ve actually had our cells in packs driving cars for several months. Prototypes are trivial, volume production is hard.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 26, 2020
For those who underestimated the announcements made during Battery Day, we suspect this update may change their minds. The fact that Tesla already has a finished product being tested on the road should significantly change the attitude of naysayers.
The Fremont battery production line, although not yet fully expanded, already is producing a number of cells that are used for existing vehicles. Tesla announced that its Roadrunner pilot line will be capable of producing about 10GWh of batteries per year by 2021. In reality, this means that Tesla's production line will become the largest battery production line in the world. And yet, this is only one experimental line— and only the beginning for Tesla.
In his tweet, Musk reiterated that prototyping is not difficult and that the main challenges arise in volume production. He has repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that the most important and difficult test for any manufacturer is mass production, and expressed deep respect for those who are able to achieve this.
"So much respect for those doing high volume manufacturing. It's insanely hard, but you make a real thing that people value. My hat is off to you."
For now, Tesla continues to test production for its new, state-of-the art batteries that are slated to roll out at large scale by 2022. By this time, the company plans to reach approximately 200GWh. If we consider the scenario for the production of vehicles with batteries of an average capacity of 80kWh, 200GWh would be enough to produce 2.5 million vehicles per year.
Of course, a significant portion of this production would still need to be dedicated to energy storage. This is precisely why Tesla is targeting massive, large-scale production.
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