In a recent investor report, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the 500km range for modern electric vehicles should become the industry standard. At the same time, he expressed confidence that the Tesla Model 3 with more affordable lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries made by the Chinese CATL (they will begin production at Shanghai’s Gigafactory 3 later this year) will reach this standard. Panasonic, sensing growing competition from CATL, responded by announcing its readiness to increase the specific energy density of the 2170 cylindrical battery cells used in Tesla vehicles by 20% for the same physical dimensions.
Panasonic plans to achieve this goal in the next five years. The 2170 cylindrical cells, co-developed by Tesla and Panasonic, are being serialized at the Gigafactory 1 joint venture in Nevada. These are lithium-ion cells with a nickel, cobalt and aluminum (NCA) cathode. They stand out with a record-breaking specific energy density in the industry of over 700 Wh / dm3.
Today, Tesla cars provide the largest range on a single charge, and they have no equal in this indicator. The increase in the specific energy intensity of the cell by as much as 20% promises a significant increase in the power reserve on one charge without increasing the physical size of the unit and the mass of the car. As a result, a potential long-range version of the Tesla Model 3 with a 100 kWh battery and a range of over 400 miles could become a reality.
Tesla Model S is the world’s first electric vehicle with a range of over 400 miles (almost 650 km) on the EPA cycle
At the same time, Panasonic announced plans to launch a battery with zero cobalt content (the most expensive component in modern electric vehicle batteries) in the next two to three years. Panasonic has now reduced the cobalt content of the NCA cathode to 5% and is planning further reductions. Avoiding cobalt would also solve an important ethical problem.
It remains to add that last month Tesla and Panasonic entered into a new three-year contract for the supply of batteries, and Tesla Battery Day will take place on September 15, where the announcement of a new Tesla battery is expected, which stands out for its affordable price (below $ 100 per kWh of capacity) and increased durability ( guaranteed resource of 1 million miles).