Tesla Battery Day: They’ve Gone to Plaid

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Image: Tesla

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Tabless batteries and a Plaid trim level of the Model S made the biggest news at Tesla’s much-hyped “Battery Day.”

Batteries that last longer, cost less, and have more power will help drive EV adoption, and the new 4680 tabless battery cells, which are cylindrical and larger, are claimed to provide five times as much energy as before, with six times the power and up to 16 percent more range. Tesla says production on these batteries has already begun.

“We do not have an affordable car. That’s something we will have in the future. But we’ve got to get the cost of batteries down,” Musk said.

Other planned battery improvements include different electrode materials, better cell design, and upgraded production processes.

Musk also claimed that a revised “full self-driving version” of Autopilot – which, again, is NOT Level 5 autonomy – in the next month or so. Given Autopilot’s documented failures and that it is not full autonomous, we’re skeptical at the moment.

Cheaper battery costs could lead to more affordable Teslas, and Musk claims a $25K car is in the works. Musk also touted improvements in the company’s manufacturing abilities.

Tesla has purchased a 10,000-acre mining site to mine more lithium. A new casting machine is meant to integrate the battery and its components into the car the itself, with the goal of reducing mass and the number of parts while also making the structure of the vehicle have more integrity.

A Plaid version of the Model S will be available next year, with pre-orders already available. The car will cost $140,000, have 1,100 horsepower, and Tesla claimed a 1:30.3 lap time at Laguna Seca. The range is listed at greater than 520 miles and top speed is claimed to be over 200 mph. Zero to sixty is claimed at under 2 seconds and a quarter-mile run under 9 seconds.

The Plaid will use three electric motors.

[Image: Tesla]

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