For Elon Musk the 100 kWh battery is enough for now
Elon Musk, Tesla Motors CEO used Twitter to say that he’s pleased with the current battery capacity.
Here is what he wrote:
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 16, 2016
This statement implies that further battery improvements will probably focus on faster charging, more power, better lifespan, increased efficiency and lower cost.
GM recently proved with the Chevrolet Bolt EV that it’s possible to have an electric car with decent range and still being very efficient. This might have influenced Musk to start pursuing better efficiency.
In terms of aerodynamics Tesla’s electric cars are already very good, but they could be better. Aero wheels and mirrorless versions should at least be optional in the near future.
Regarding weight reduction, it will be possible with the new more energy dense cells that will be produced in the Gigafactory. Not only the battery will be lighter but also smaller for the same battery capacity. The battery volume reduction will also enable the use of lighter, smaller and less complex TMS (Thermal Management System) and BMS (Battery Management System).
Even the powertrain and the electrical system as a whole can always be more efficient, especially the well known “vampire drain” in Tesla electric cars can be reduced. The Bolt EV efficiency is a big surprise since it’s not a light nor aerodynamic car, GM and LG Chem did a great job by making the powertrain so efficient.
Achieving an official 400 miles (644 km) EPA range in a Tesla Model S 100D can be possible with future efficiency improvements. Better aerodynamics and lower weight not only contribute to better efficiency but also better performance.
Not to forget that the standard 10 kW charger already takes more than 10 hours to fully charge the 100 kWh battery since it’s not 100 % efficient. A bigger battery capacity would inevitability increase the charging time in most homes. This is another reason why further range improvements should come from increased efficiency, not brute battery capacity.
I hope that Elon Musk is really working to improve the efficiency of Tesla electric cars, but his statement can also be a way to incentive potential buyers to get a Tesla now instead of waiting for further battery capacity increases.
What do you think?