Tesla seeking 56% cut in $/kWh, $25K EV in three years through manufacturing and design innovations

Elon Musk used Tesla’s much-anticipated Battery Day presentation to not disclose some tremendous cell, however to stipulate an aggressive, complete and radically modern method to battery design, manufacturing and automobile integration that he projected will end in a 56% discount in value/kWh and a $25,000 electrical automobile in about three years.

The baseline principle for the presentation was the centrality and related issue of producing new applied sciences at a scale enough to make a tangible distinction. Quickly scaling world battery manufacturing capability, Musk identified, is totally central to attaining large-scale electrification and local weather objectives.

Tesla has two battery-related objectives, Musk mentioned. The primary is terawatt-scale battery manufacturing. “Tera is the brand new Giga.” Gigafactory Nevada at the moment has a capability of about 0.15 TWh. The second objective is a extra reasonably priced battery cell.

What troubles me is that we don’t but have a very reasonably priced automotive. The curve of the fee per kWh of batteries shouldn’t be enhancing quick sufficient.

—Elon Musk

Drew Baglino, Tesla’s Senior Vice President, Powertrain and Power Engineering, mentioned that the corporate has a plan to halve the fee per kWh based mostly not on a single innovation, however throughout your complete chain from uncooked supplies to automobile integration. 55Musk and Baglino described 5 main battery manufacturing sub-areas during which Tesla is creating new expertise:

  • Cell design
  • Cell manufacturing facility
  • Anode supplies
  • Cathode supplies
  • Cell-vehicle integration.

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Tesla initiatives that its improvements in battery design, manufacturing and automobile integration will end in a 56% discount in value/kWh in addition to a rise in vary.


Cell design. Musk and Baglino described a significant design change for cylindrical cells: a transfer to a tabless battery with a “shingled spiral” changing the standard anode/separator/cathode jellyroll. The brand new tabless battery allows dozens of connection into the energetic supplies and reduces {the electrical} path size from 250mm to 50mm.

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With the brand new expertise, comes an accompanying transfer to a bigger format: 4680 (46 mm diameter, 80 mm lengthy), in comparison with the present 2170 and 1865. The brand new cell beneficial properties 5x power, +16% vary, and 6x energy simply from type issue alone.

Baglino mentioned that Tesla is beginning to ramp up manufacturing of the brand new tabless cell on the firm’s pilot 10 Gwh manufacturing facility in Fremont; it should take a couple of yr to achieve 10 GWh annualized fee.

Tesla attributes a 14% discount in value per kWh simply to the cell type issue change.

Cell manufacturing facility. Battery manufacturing contains 4 foremost processes: creation of the electrodes (coating); winding; meeting; and formation (charging for the primary time, verifying high quality). Tesla is addressing each step within the course of with a watch to creating it higher and extra scalable.

The present moist coating course of consists of blending powders with solvents; coating and drying in an oven; solvent restoration; and compression to the ultimate density. Tesla is transferring to a dry coating course of to remove the solvent step, supported partly by the acquisition of Maxwell Applied sciences, the ultracapacitor firm.

[Dry coating] may be very arduous to do. The dry coating [Maxwell] had was type of like a chilly proof of idea. We now have revved the machine 4 occasions. It’s not within the bag. There’s nonetheless lots of work to do. There are main points in scaling this up, however it’s near working. It does work, however with not a excessive yield. There’s a clear path to success however a ton of labor to get there. We’ll in all probability be on machine rev 6 or 7 by the point we get to scaled manufacturing.

—Elon Musk

Tesla can also be working to revamp the meeting course of itself utilizing the bottling business as inspiration, and specializing in velocity and density of the manufacturing course of itself (i.e., smaller manufacturing facility footprint).

The purpose of Tesla is to be the most effective in manufacturing of any firm on earth.

—Elon Musk

Tesla is taking the same method to formation, transferring to charging 1000’s of cells directly. This may end in an 86% discount in formation funding (which at the moment accounts for about 25% of the funding in meeting) and a 75% discount in footprint.

Considered one other method, from a smaller footprint than Giga Nevada, Tesla may get many occasions the cell output.

Tesla plans to fabricate 100 GWh of cells in 2022, and three TWh by 2030. Tesla will proceed to make use of its cell provider companions. Tesla manufacturing might be supplemental to what it buys from the suppliers, decreasing the weighted value per cell. Long run, Tesla sees an incremental 18% discount in the fee/kWh on account of its projected meeting improvements.

Anode. Tesla is proposing a step-change within the functionality and value of silicon anode supplies by transferring to uncooked metallurgical silicon, thereby reducing out the expense of the opposite present extremely engineered supplies.

Tesla says that it’s going to stabilize the floor of the silicon with elastic on a conductive polymer coating. The silicon materials will ship an anode value discount together with a rise in vary.

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Cathode. Tesla will take a three-tiered method to the cathode supplies in its batteries, Musk mentioned: iron for cycle life, nickel-manganese for an intermediate answer, and a brand new high-nickel cathode materials concentrating on very lengthy vary, the Cybertruck, and so forth.

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Past the metals themselves, the cathode course of is a giant goal for Tesla. Tesla believes it could cut back funding by 66% and the method value by 76%—and yield zero waste water—by instantly consuming uncooked nickel metallic powder, and simplifying your complete course of. In different phrases, Tesla is proposing to remove intermediate nickel manufacturing.

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Tesla will construct a brand new cathode facility in North America, and co-locate lithium conversion at that website, utilizing a brand new acid-free saline extraction course of. Tesla mentioned it has secured a terawatt-hour scale lithium useful resource within the US. Tesla can even use materials from recycled batteries.

Tesla mentioned its cathode improvements will contribute to a 12% discount in the fee/kWh.

Cell-vehicle integration. Tesla is transferring towards a course of during which a single-cast front-end and single-cast again finish might be joined to a structural battery pack fabricated in a direct-to-pack course of—i.e., no intermediate meeting of cells into modules that are then built-in right into a pack.

Tesla is already utilizing single-piece casting from entrance and rear physique elements. To attain that, it commissioned the biggest casting machine ever made, and likewise developed a brand new high-strength aluminum alloy that may be very castable.

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The structural battery serves a twin objective as power gadget and as intergal construction, similar to present plane design during which the gas tanks are intergal to the wings.

Structural batteries enhance mass and vary, Musk mentioned. Additionally, the development method permits cells to be packed extra densely. Structural adhesives glue the cells to the highest and backside sheet; the metal shell case of the battery cells switch sheer from the higher face sheet to the decrease. Load is transferred into the pack in a clean method in order that there isn’t any arbitrary level load. The result’s even stiffer than an everyday automotive, Musk mentioned.

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Longterm, any automotive not with this structure is not going to be aggressive.

—Elon Musk

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Such a design additionally allows huge simplification within the manufacturing facility, with a 35% discount in floorspace. Tesla calculates that is all value one other 7% discount in $/kWh, bringing the overall discount to 56%.

It is going to take a yr to 18 months to understand the benefits. Full realization is in three years or about. If we may do that immediately, we might. It bodes properly for the long run, with long-term scaling massively elevated. Long run, we need to make about 20 million autos per yr.

What does this imply for future merchandise? EV powertrains that value lower than combustion engines. About three years from now, we are able to make a compelling $25,000 electrical automobile.

—Elon Musk