Tesla vows to halve cost of cars’ bat­ter­ies

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Olivia Rudgard

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.

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