Later this year or early next year, Tesla plans to introduce a new low-cost, long-life battery into its Model 3 electric car in China, which will bring the Model 3’s costs into line with gasoline. For months, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been hinting that investors and rivals will disclose significant advances in battery technology during Battery Day in late May.
When designing the new low-cost battery, it has a lifetime range target of 1 million miles and ensures tesla is still profitable to sell cars at the same or lower price than petrol cars, people familiar with the matter said.
With a fleet of more than 1million electric cars worldwide and the ability to access and share power with the grid, Tesla aims to achieve the power company’s position to compete with traditional energy suppliers such as Pacific Gas and Electric and Tepco, the sources said.
The new “million-mile” battery, at the heart of Tesla’s strategy, was developed jointly by Tesla and Chinese battery maker Ningder Era, three people familiar with the matter said. Tesla plans to launch the new battery in China first, and eventually, the improved version of the battery will be available in other markets such as North America, which will have higher energy density and storage capacity and even lower costs.
Tesla’s new batteries will rely on innovations such as low-cobalt and cobalt-free battery chemistry, as well as chemical additives, materials and coatings that will reduce internal stress and allow the battery to store more energy for longer, people familiar with the matter said.
In addition, Tesla plans to implement a new high-speed, highly automated battery manufacturing process aimed at reducing labor costs and increasing production.
The Ninder era also plans to supply an improved long-life nickel-manganese cobalt (NMC) battery to Tesla’s China plant next year, with a cathode of 50 percent nickel and only 20 percent cobalt, people familiar with the matter said. Tesla and Panasonic currently jointly produce nickel-cobalt aluminum (NCA) batteries in Nevada and purchase NMC batteries from LG Chem’s China plant.