Tesla may be looking at itself less like an automaker and more like a power company if plans to introduce a new, lower-cost long-range EV battery that can be easily recycled later this month work out.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been teasing big battery news for later this month on Twitter for awhile, claiming there will be an as-of-yet unannounced “Battery Day” to celebrate something the company is working on.
It appears that may be a new powertrain battery to drop into Tesla’s fleet of electric cars that promises more range at a lower cost than current battery technology, possibly putting it on par with the typically-lower sticker price gasoline cars. Here’s more from Reuters:
New, low-cost batteries designed to last for a million miles of use and enable electric Teslas to sell profitably for the same price or less than a gasoline vehicle are just part of Musk’s agenda, people familiar with the plans told Reuters.
The new “million mile” battery at the center of Tesla’s strategy was jointly developed with China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) (300750.SZ) and deploys technology developed by Tesla in collaboration with a team of academic battery experts recruited by Musk, three people familiar with the effort said.
The plan appears to be to put the new batteries in the Model 3 built at Tesla’s Shanghai plant and then slowly roll it out to other global markets. Here’s more about what may make the new batteries cheaper:
Reuters reported exclusively in February that Tesla was in advanced talks to use CATL’s lithium iron phosphate batteries, which use no cobalt, the most expensive metal in EV batteries.
CATL also has developed a simpler and less expensive way of packaging battery cells, called cell-to-pack, that eliminates the middle step of bundling cells. Tesla is expected to use the technology to help reduce battery weight and cost.
The sources said CATL also plans to supply Tesla in China next year with an improved long-life nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) battery whose cathode is 50% nickel and only 20% cobalt.
But Tesla’s goal doesn’t appear to just be developing a cheaper battery for a more affordable car. The company is also engineering the battery from the start to be good for second or third uses in the future, like at the Tesla energy storage station the company built in Australia.
It seems Tesla is trying to pivot to general “energy.” I’m all for it if it means cheaper EVs.