By on August 25, 2020

There’s another B-Day set to occur next month, and this one has nothing to do with the Ford Bronco. “Battery Day” is what Tesla dubs September 22nd — the day of its annual shareholder’s meeting, but also the date of a planned technology reveal.

Tesla has suggested its near future holds great advancements in energy density, meaning far greater miles from a same-sized battery. In response to an online query, company CEO Elon Musk hinted that the EV maker’s batteries could travel 50 percent longer on a charge.

Noticed by Reuters, the reply was in response to a tweet noting that a certain battery tech company has set up shop adjacent to the automaker’s Kato Road “skunkworks,” located near its Fremont assembly plant. Amprius Technology concerns itself with developing silicon nanowire batteries boasting greater energy density and battery life than traditional lithium-ion units found in today’s electric vehicles.

With the Twitter user noting that Musk has expressed interest in an electric jet aircraft, Musk tweeted, “400 Wh/kg *with* high cycle life, produced in volume (not just a lab) is not far. Probably 3 to 4 years.”

That’s a measure of energy density. The Panasonic battery pack found in a Model 3 sports a density of 260Wh/kg, Reuters reports, making Musk’s estimate approximately 50 percent denser. In the EV field, more miles equals more eyes on a product.

Last year, mention was made of work on a EV battery with the potential to travel one million miles before replacement. Earlier this year, Tesla promised a version of its Chinese-market Model 3 sedan with a cheaper, longer-range battery — a product of the automaker’s partnership with China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd.

In addition to this, present supplier Panasonic has claimed it plans to make the current cells fitted into the automaker’s battery packs 20 percent more dense in the coming half-decade.

[Image: IIHS]

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7 Comments on “Elon Musk Hints at Beefier Batteries...”

  • avatar

    “Tesla has suggested its near future holds great advancements in energy density, meaning far greater miles from a same-sized battery.”

    I’ll believe this when I see an improvement roll down to my smartphone and laptop batteries, and not a second sooner.

    • 0 avatar

      What’s not to believe? Improvements have been rolling down to the batteries in your phone and laptop for well over 20 years now. Why wouldn’t similar improvements be forthcoming to EV batteries?

      • 0 avatar

        @FreedMike: Yes, there have been steady advances with battery technology. The problem is that numerous labs announce all sorts of breakthroughs, but have issues getting the technology into production. Sometimes one big advance has bad side effects. Toyota recently announced a new advance, but it had durability issues. They’re working on the issues and will solve them, but if you follow the battery tech industry closely, you get really skeptical about some of the bigger advances. At the same time, there are so many advances happening some will definitely make it into production.

    • 0 avatar

      They definitely need to look at moving their technology into the consumer market. Probably more money there than the auto industry. I still think the other parts of Tesla’s business will eventually be larger than their automotive division. Like Amazon starting out as an online bookstore.

      For me, I’ll believe it when it’s in mass production. Lots of fantastic battery technology out there, but getting it into mass production isn’t always easy. For example, Toyota has some great solid-state battery technolgy, but they say it will take a few years to get it into production. We’ll see how long it takes Tesla.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “…when I see an improvement roll down to my smartphone and laptop batteries”

      You may know this, but commodity batteries like these receive the lowest-grade, cheapest packaging and charger designs possible. Charging parameters drive battery life, and consumer-grade batteries which charge to 100% daily are doomed from the start.

      Cell balancing, voltage during discharge and charging, and temperature all figure into battery life.

      The mfrs of those products know you’ll replace them after a few years, so there is little point in improving them. So unfortunately, awesome battery cell tech is probably wasted in consumer-grade products.

  • avatar

    An electric jet aircraft, eh? Sounds like a wave-skimming submarine, or an off-road railroad.

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