Elon Musk Hints at Beefier Batteries

There’s another B-Day set to occur next month, and this one has nothing to do with the Ford Bronco. “Battery Day” is what Tesla dubs September 22nd — the day of its annual shareholder’s meeting, but also the date of a planned technology reveal.

Tesla has suggested its near future holds great advancements in energy density, meaning far greater miles from a same-sized battery. In response to an online query, company CEO Elon Musk hinted that the EV maker’s batteries could travel 50 percent longer on a charge.

Noticed by Reuters, the reply was in response to a tweet noting that a certain battery tech company has set up shop adjacent to the automaker’s Kato Road “skunkworks,” located near its Fremont assembly plant. Amprius Technology concerns itself with developing silicon nanowire batteries boasting greater energy density and battery life than traditional lithium-ion units found in today’s electric vehicles.

With the Twitter user noting that Musk has expressed interest in an electric jet aircraft, Musk tweeted, “400 Wh/kg *with* high cycle life, produced in volume (not just a lab) is not far. Probably 3 to 4 years.”

That’s a measure of energy density. The Panasonic battery pack found in a Model 3 sports a density of 260Wh/kg, Reuters reports, making Musk’s estimate approximately 50 percent denser. In the EV field, more miles equals more eyes on a product.

Last year, mention was made of work on a EV battery with the potential to travel one million miles before replacement. Earlier this year, Tesla promised a version of its Chinese-market Model 3 sedan with a cheaper, longer-range battery — a product of the automaker’s partnership with China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd.

In addition to this, present supplier Panasonic has claimed it plans to make the current cells fitted into the automaker’s battery packs 20 percent more dense in the coming half-decade.

[Image: IIHS]

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