Tesla Battery Day: All the exciting bits of the conference in one post!

All eyes were on Elon Musk on 22 September 2020 as Tesla held it’s Battery Day live event right after its stakeholders meeting. There was a lot of hype created on twitter prior to this, by none other than Elon himself. Earlier this month, Elon Musk was quoted saying that “many exciting things” would be on show, largely focused on the crucial technology that propels the company’s electric cars.

The socially-distanced outdoor event had Musk and other presenters addressing Tesla shareholders in parked cars, who honked their horns to indicate their approval of Musk’s remarks— almost like a drive-in movie/shareholders meeting.

Here are the main highlights from Tesla’s 2020 battery day:

Tabless Batteries: Extending the last mile!

Tesla has revealed plans to manufacture its own ‘tabless’ batteries. Named as the 4860, the new cell is bigger, offers six times the power of Tesla’s previous cells, and five times the energy capacity. The dimensions of the new cell is 46mm by 80mm, giving it its name: the Tesla 4680 battery cell. 

The new batteries will be produced in-house, which Musk says will reduce costs and bring the sale price of Tesla electric cars closer to gasoline-powered cars. It’s expected to lower Tesla’s cost per kilowatt-hour, a key metric used to measure electric vehicles’ battery packs. The tabless cells (Tesla is removing the tab that connects the cell and what it’s powering), which Tesla is calling the 4860 cells, will make its batteries six times more powerful and increase range by 16 percent.

The Tesla Ludicrous mode now has a big brother: The Plaid mode

Tesla has been teasing the Plaid powertrain for a while, which will be a step above its Ludicrous model. It will have a range between charges of 520 miles, get from 0-60 mph in under two seconds, and a top speed of 200 mph. The price listed on Tesla’s website for the Plaid mode Model S is $139,990, which will be available in late 2021.

Goodbye, Cobalt

Tesla plans to eliminate the use of cobalt in its cathodes. Musk has said he wanted to eliminate it entirely in the past- even though Tesla’s existing batteries use very little. Cobalt has also been called the “blood diamond of batteries.” This is because it’s been mined in a way that’s endangered child workers and wrecked the environment in the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC).

Although no timeline was offered for when the company will stop using cobalt, Musk said it will make its batteries significantly cheaper. “It’s absolutely critical that we make cars that people can actually afford,” he said. “Affordability is key to how we scale.”

New Cathode Plant

Tesla will build a new cathode plant for its batteries in North America, part of its goal to reduce supply chain costs and simplify cathode production. It’s also making improvements to its process that will make cathodes 76 percent cheaper, and produce zero wastewater. The company also plans to diversify the cathodes it uses, because of low nickel supplies.

The $25,000 car is coming

Tesla plans to reduce the cost of its battery cells and packs, with an end goal of building a $25,000 electric car. Tesla will hit this goal using its new “tabless” battery cells, and changing the materials inside the cell, which he said should allow Tesla to “halve” the price per kilowatt-hour, Musk said.

This isn’t the first time Musk has predicted that Tesla would dramatically reduce the costs of its electric cars. He first promised a $25,000 EV back in 2018, which he said was possible within three years.

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Source: @teslamotors and @solaredition
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