- During Tesla’s Battery Day event (streamed online) on Tuesday, its CEO Elon Musk introduced a new lithium-ion battery that has five times more energy than the previous model.
- Tesla’s 4680 cell is larger than its 2170 cell, and has a lot more advantages, such as ions travelling a lot faster from the battery poles.
- As Musk introduced manganese in the new battery, it is believed that manganese demand will be high in the future.
- If Musk achieves his plan of manufacturing batteries at high-speed, the humanity will have affordable Tesla cars by 2022, and a brighter future regarding global warming.
In three years or so, people might be able to drive energy-sustainable cars that are completely electricity-fuelled and self-driven, for a price of A$34,870. Think this is impossible? Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk disagrees.
If Mr Musk showed us anything, it was that he can engineer the impossible. Or at least create something that was previously thought as unachievable.
Even though Tesla shares (NASDAQ:TSLA) plunged by 5.6% on 22 September, after its Battery Day revelation in just a couple of hours after the closing, Musk is not expected to stop finding a cheaper solution for his cars.
However, by 24 September, the stock regained its mojo and ended in green, increasing by 1.95% from its last close at a price of US$387.79.
Source: Kalkine Image
Presently, Musk’s plan comprises of– designs to make his ideas come true that are still not utterly finalised. Tesla’s designs have also been infamous for missing manufacturing targets, so it is still unknown when the plan would turn into a reality.
However, Tesla is aiming to manufacture 20 million cars, annually for some time in the future. As of this year, 80 million electric vehicles (EVs) are expected to be distributed around the globe.
In the recently held, online Battery Day event, Musk explained his company’s dream about creating an eco-friendly car that would be affordable for a wider audience. For now, that dream will have to wait, as the new batteries are twice as expensive compared to the ones present in previous vehicles.
Its ‘4680’ battery cell is set to change the future of electric cars as we know it. With the new design, it has five times more energy, six times more strength and 16% improved driving range.
The new model is a type of lithium-ion battery, which would contain 33% manganese in the cathode, produced from the direct metal itself. Due to this move, manganese demand is expected to rise in the future.
Apart from manganese, nickel was introduced as a part of the novel manufactured battery. The nickel implementation is innovative because it could replace cobalt, the most expensive metal that batteries contain. That said, Tesla cars in the future could be a lot more affordable, as Musk wants to phase out cobalt because of the expensive maintenance.
Probably the most impressive feature that its 4680 cell has is the distance that electrons need to pass within the battery. Compared to the 2170 cell, the 4680 cell is bigger, but it has more advantages. According to Musk, no one has yet achieved what Tesla managed to do with the creation of the 4680 battery.
An interesting thing that caused some suspiciousness is that the prototype was never actually showed.
By having a new recycle plan, Tesla is planning to reduce the battery price. They are aiming to move the recycling process to their ‘gigafactory’ in Nevada.
Tesla also wants to produce their own battery cells in more factories, located all around the globe.
Having Panasonic as one of the partners, Tesla has a manufacturing capacity of 35 gWh at the gigafactory in Nevada. By the end of next year, they are planning to reach a 10 gWh output a year in Fremont, California.
Another plan is to drastically speed up the whole process of producing batteries, up to 3000 gWh. As a comparison, that is about 85 times more than the current highest speed at the gigafactory. A highly automated process of making batteries is also on Tesla’s agenda.
Electric cars are sold at higher price than the traditional cars, even though the price for sustainable cars did decrease over the years. The main reason behind it can be attributed to the costs involved in manufacturing batteries.
It is estimated that batteries alone make up about a third of the total cost for electric cars. Before Tesla or someone else figure out how to speed up the process and reduce costs, affordable cars would remain a thing of the future. In his tweet on Tuesday, Musk revealed that his plan to make that happen will not be until 2022 at least.
Some research shows that the day when sustainable and internal combustion vehicles would have the same or somewhat similar value, will be when batteries begin to cost A$140 per kilowatt hour (kWh). Last year, Tesla’s battery was estimated to cost approximately A$221 per kWh.
Since day one, Musk described his dream of changing the energy sustainability, making global warming less of a problem.
With what he wants to achieve, Tesla will need to produce about 100 times more battery power than they currently do. Up to this date, Tesla managed to produce 17 terawatt hours from sustainable sources, while the complete sustainability needs 150 terawatt hours per year.
After comparing the data, Tesla would need a lot more gigafactories, 135 more of those from Nevada. Currently, they are planning to open a new one in Germany, which would be a very small step towards humanity.
All these ideas are still plans in-the-making, but after considering that Musk already achieved everything he put his mind to, does this still seem impossible?