Tesla’s Battery Day
Tesla’s battery day! It was supposed to be a next-gen step for making a cost-effective EV, did it live up to its hype? Let’s look into some biggest takeaways from the tesla battery day event and try to simplify them.
Tesla claims to have changed its approach in these five factors to reduce the cost per kWh.
1)New cell design
2)A new cell manufacturing approach
3)New anode processing
4)New cathode processing
5)Cell integration to the structure
Bigger cylindrical cells cost less and can hold more energy.
Well, the problem is that bigger cells might heat up during charging and discharging
. Hence tesla claims to have come up with this 4680 (46mm dia and 80mm length) cell with a
tabless design reducing the electrical path and resistance and solving the thermal problem
. Which means more size-more energy and fast charging too.
To visualize it in a simpler way, if a Tesla Model S had the 4680 battery cells the range would increase about 64 miles and also 14% reduction in cost per kWh by changing the cell design alone.
Tesla plans to change the manufacturing approach of its new cell and also eliminate some unnecessary steps in these processes to make it faster.
1)Dry manufacturing of the anode directly from powder to the filament, reducing all the infrastructure needed.
2)The cell winding is faster due to a tabless cell.
3) A continuous motion assembly without a single stop inspired by the bottle industry.
4)The formation is nothing but charging the cell which is cheaper for tesla due to their solar infrastructure.
The above image speaks a lot about Tesla’s claim. The current gigafactory at Nevada makes about
35GWh in a total footprint of 1.9 million sq ft
that means 54k sq ft per GWh. According to the presentation, the new cell design and manufacturing approach can
cut down investments by 75% and production capacity can be increased by 7 times in 10 times reduced footprint
. Well looks like a win-win from all directions.
Lithium will be extracted from silicon (basically sand) as it is widely available and can hold 9 times more lithium. But the problem was that the silicon atoms when charged with lithium start to expand and break. Tesla claims that the atoms can be coated by an elastic polymer and bound by a highly elastic binder.
This would increase the range by 20% and reduce the cost of silicon to $1.2 per kWh
Based on the energy density and cost tesla batteries use nickel as its cathode. It is processed in a new method to stabilize the cathode and is not fixed for nickel, it ranges from iron to high nickel batteries depending on the requirements.
Instead of diving into chemistry, the above image talks about the impact of what tesla is claiming.
1)This can be considered as the next generation evolution in the auto industry that will boost EV production and sales along with raw material mining.
2)EVs will be cheaper than ICE vehicles to buy and maintain reducing oil demand
3)The global economic power might shift out of the middle east to other battery material producing countries as shown in the picture
Future Tesla car chassis will have only three structures,
Front and rear end of the chassis are made as a single unit joined by the battery pack itself.
The hard-cased 4680 cells are used to transfer the load from both the layers of the casing, which means the battery is not just used for storage but also as a structural member. This design also reduces the total mass of the vehicle making it more efficient.
Tesla’s new batteries have increased range, reduced cost, and are easy to manufacture.
These new batteries will give 54% more range than now, cost for production will be slashed to half and also a massive 69% reduced investment for setup.
Tesla has a long way to go and a lot of work to make it happen. There was a lot of expectation from the event, it might not have met the expectation for now but when the future is considered it really looks like a breakthrough in battery tech.
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