Officially scheduled for September 22, 2020, Tesla’s Battery Day is one of the most awaited days of the year for the EV community.
However, Tesla postponed this event several times and now it’ll be harder to impress us, considering that Chinese companies already unveiled extremely important breakthroughs in battery technology, such as more energy-dense CTP (cell-to-pack) module-less battery packs, the comeback of the cobalt-free LFP (LiFePO4) chemistry to mainstream passenger electric cars or the imminent arrival of energy-dense cobalt-free LNMO batteries.
So what can Tesla unveil that represents a step forward to its current battery packs?
CTP (cell-to-pack) battery packs
Adopting module-less battery packs is the most logic thing Tesla can do and Elon Musk already stated that using modules doesn’t make sense nowadays.
By adopting CTP battery packs Tesla actually takes two steps forward, because not only abandons modules, it also means that the automaker will replace thousands of tiny cylindrical cells with few long prismatic cells in a battery pack, making the process of assembling a lot simpler, faster and cheaper.
New battery chemistries
While Tesla’s electric cars made in the USA get NCA battery cells made by Panasonic, in China Tesla already uses different chemistries such as NCM 811 by LG Chem or cobalt-free LFP (LiFePO4) by CATL.
If Tesla wants production to surpass one million units per year, the battery chemistry of its entry-level trims needs to be cobalt-free, either LFP, LFMP (high-voltage version of LFP) or LNMO. Premium trim levels will probably remain with batteries that use more energy-dense and expensive NCA, NCM or NCMA chemistries.
While million-mile batteries already exist with current chemistries – they just need to have their maximum charging voltage limited by a good BMS (Battery Management System) -, being vocal about them is an important marketing strategy, especially since the first-generation Nissan LEAF gave a really bad reputation to EV batteries.
Advertising million-mile and cobalt-free EV batteries might be the best strategy to convince people that still think that electric vehicles aren’t sustainable products.
Having the ability to use your electric car as a portable battery can be extremely useful, especially in emergency situations. It’s an easy to implement technology, so I expect Tesla to make all its electric cars V2G compatible anytime soon.
However, V2G only makes sense for electric cars with extremely durable batteries, therefore it needs to be announced with million-mile batteries. Curiously, the Nissan LEAF with its fragile battery already supports this technology, which makes no sense to me…
Anyway, we still need to wait a few more days until we know for sure what Tesla will unveil. What do you expect from this event?