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Tesla Builds Anticipation with Battery Day
Tesla is ready to announce yet another round of groundbreaking developments. Tesla’s much anticipated Battery Day is scheduled for April 2020. It will likely have updates about major developments about the company’s battery. Since February 2020, reports around battery production, new partnerships, and proposed battery chemistries have floated around the EV sphere. Tesla has hinted that it ultimately plans to offer an energy dense, cost-effective battery at $100/kWh, which could introduce a new chemistry.
What’s the Recipe for a New Battery?
There are multiple theories as to how Tesla will reach its battery goals. One way could include the possibility of a new lithium iron phosphate oxide (LFP) chemistry that originated from partnership between Tesla and CATL to manufacture new batteries in China. Historically, LFP batteries have a long and reliable life cycle, which is in high demand, but they have not been energy dense enough to be a viable option for use in vehicles due to the heavier weight.
Still, recent reports state that Tesla could be looking into prismatic cells, a type of configuration that does away with modules, which would increase the energy density of the battery. CATL claims that a new configuration could improve energy density by 10%-15%. Additionally, an LFP battery would eliminate cobalt from its chemistry, reducing the controversial ongoing global demand for the mineral.
The other significant piece of news arises from a new Fremont cell production line. Tesla has also hinted that it wants to start making its own batteries and recently acquired Maxwell Technologies, the ultracapacitor manufacturer. The new acquisition gives Tesla more advanced capabilities for battery cell technology like a potential for a dry cell and ultracapacitor technology. Now dubbed the Roadrunner Project, this venture involves a new pilot battery cell manufacturing line that would allow Tesla to mass produce batteries at a cheaper price.
What to Expect from Battery Day
Fresh CATL capabilities, Maxwell Technologies products, and a new production line are all signs of potentially momentous developments. Still, it’s difficult to parse out exactly how the company will use its capabilities, and for what offerings and applications. For example, while Tesla could be working with CATL to produce EV batteries, an improved LFP chemistry could also be used for stationary energy storage applications. Likewise, it could be a while before we see a proprietary Tesla battery from Project Roadrunner. Regardless of the application or timeline, what’s clear is that most people will have to wait until April 2020 to find out what is in store for the Tesla battery.