DRIVEN MILESTONE / The Mercedes-Benz S-Class 450 SEL 6.9
On top of these major advances in nickel extraction, Tesla all but announced the location of a new North American Cathode Production factory. Over time, though, Tesla plans to integrate both anode and cathode production, along with cell formation, into each Gigafactory, where raw materials would enter on one side, and cars would exit on the other.
Battery/Vehicle integration – 15% reduction in $/KWh cost
Tesla recently commissioned the largest casting machine ever made at its Fremont factory. This giant high pressure die cast aluminium casting machine currently makes the entire rear end of the Model Y in a single piece, and soon will do the same with the front end of the car. For this purpose Tesla developed its own high strength alloy that does not require coatings or heat treatment.
The two single piece castings, front and rear, are designed to interface to what Musk described as a structural battery, where the battery, for the first time ever, will have a dual use. In this architecture the battery will be both an energy device and a structural device. Musk likened it to fuel tanks used in early aircraft, where the fuel tanks were used to carry fuel as cargo (like the current battery packs in EVs). One of the greatest breakthroughs in aviation came in the form of fuel tanks that were designed to be wings, thus becoming a device suitable for energy storage, lift generation and structural support. Tesla’s new structural battery essentially becomes a structural part of the sub-frame assembly. Using a flame retardant adhesive between the battery cells, the cells are glued to the upper and lower sheets,