Tesla vows to halve cost of cars’ batteries
in San Francisco TESLA has promised to halve the cost of its batteries in an effort to make electric cars cheaper than petrol ones.
Chief executive Elon Musk unveiled a plan to make electric cars accessible to the masses, conceding that the company does not yet have “a truly affordable car”.
“The rate of improvement of the affordability of cars is just not fast enough,” Mr Musk said in a presentation which opened with the apocalyptic red skies seen in California as a result of wildfires earlier this month.
The cheapest model in the US, the Model 3, costs $38,000 (£30,000).
Speaking to shareholders at an event at Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California, Drew Baglino, the company’s head of powertrain engineering, said the company had a plan “to halve the cost per kwh” through a new cell design, materials sourcing and factory efficiency.
The company had been trailing big announcements at its “battery day” event, originally planned for May, but postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It invited guests who watched the presentation from their Tesla cars.
It unveiled a new “tabless” cell, which is larger than its current cells, and involves fewer parts, allowing for more capacity while cutting costs because fewer casings and cells are needed in each pack. The new technology will provide a five-fold increase in energy, 16pc extra range and a six-fold increase in power, the company said. Mr Musk said the technology was “close to working”.
The company also unveiled a “highspeed continuous motion assembly” for its factories, designed to improve output seven-fold, with 75pc less investment required for each gigawatt-hour.
A production pilot in Fremont is due to begin, with an annual 10-gigawatt hour capacity for the factory due to be reached next year. The eventual goal is 200 gigawatt hours per year. An existing partnership with Panasonic to supply batteries will continue, Mr Musk said.