Takeaways from Tesla's Battery Day

Takeaways from Tesla's Battery Day
by Gill D on September 23, 2020

Tesla’s 2020 Annual Shareholders Meeting and Battery Day arrived, giving investors and fans long-awaited news. The event had a twist with all attendees sitting in their cars. As Tesla CEO Elon Musk graced the stage to give an update on the company’s projects, he was greeted with blasting car horns.

During the 3-hour event, Musk made some big announcements, which are summarized below:

TABLESS BATTERY CELLS

Tesla has plans to produce tabless batteries to improve the range and power of vehicles. The new tables batteries will also reduce costs as well as the consumer price of the electric cars. Tesla predicts it will lower the cost per kilowatt hour, which is used to measure the EV battery packs. The tabless cells means Tesla is eliminating the tab that connects the cell and what it’s powering. Tesla is naming it the 4860 cells and it will increase the range by 16% and make the batteries six times more powerful.

Currently, Tesla gets its batteries from Panasonic and will continue to do so until the EV company has moved its battery production in-house. Without relying on an external supplier, Tesla anticipates it will avoid production delays.

A NEW CATHODE PLANT IS IN THE WORKS

The Tesla co-founder said Tesla will also be building a new cathode facility in the USA. This is also part of the company’s strategy to reduce supply chain costs and simplify the cathode production. In its plan, it will improve the manufacturing process to make cathodes 76% cheaper while producing zero wastewater. Tesla is also going to diversify the cathodes it uses due to the low supply of nickel available. Musk didn’t share specifics of where the new facility will be after saying in July, he was strongly considering Tulsa, Oklahoma for future projects, we could maybe bet on this being the next location.

PHASING OUT COBALT

The EV manufacturer is going to eradicate having to use cobalt in its cathodes, something Musk says he’s wanted to do for a while. Tesla uses very little in its existing batteries but because of cobalt is often mined in a way that violates human rights, the company wants to do without it completely. There was no definitive timeline, but it’s the direction in which Tesla is now going. Musk said, “It’s absolutely critical that we make cars that people can people can actually afford. Affordability is key to how we scale.”

THE NEW MODEL S PLAID

Tesla launched the new Model S Plaid, which will be ready for deliveries in 2021 at a price of $139,990. It’s going to have a range between charges of 520 miles, get from 0-60 mph in under two seconds, and boast a top speed of 200 mph. At this price, the Model S Plaid will have lot of extra, luxurious offerings making it a high-end version.

AIMING FOR A $25,000 CAR

With Tesla focusing on reducing the cost of battery cells and packs, it has the end goal of manufacturing a $25,000 electric car model. The new tabless battery cells with new material inside the cells will be part of the new cheaper model, which Musk said should let Tesla “halve” the price per kilowatt hour. A more affordable electric vehicle has been on Tesla’s cards before. In 2018, the CEO claimed Tesla would start to significantly reduce the costs of its electric cars that could be available in 3 years.

So, at least it’s still on the EV maker’s radar and the company clearly needed to find a practical way to manufacture and deliver cheaper electric cars, which all seems to be in the battery production.

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