Elon hints at 500 mi battery to come...

Elon hints at 500 mi battery to come...

Conference call, Elon says he loves upgrades and sees a potential to replace 85 with something better in the near future...

This should really be big for all models to come, especially the GenIII.

Great Q&A and overall announcement. Can't wait for the supercharger call!!!

Joshua Burstyn | 26 aprile 2013

Oh man.... a 500 mile battery pack would be awesome. I wonder if they can retrofit my car. :-)

jk2014 | 26 aprile 2013

Elon likes upgrades, so it seems retrofitting will be a strong possibility. Maybe even recondition the battery you already have to a greater capacity.

In a broader context, I think the battery (or energy storage system) will be the primary business of Tesla in the future. Solarcity is developing home energy storage system using Tesla designed batteries. Solar as you know is growing exponentially right now. With the ability to store the solar energy at your home for later use is a game changer in the utility business. Imagine the number of homes/commercial buildings in the US, and you can see the epic growth potential here.

The potentials are limitless. Tesla, along with Elon's other companies, have the greatest growth potential then anything I've ever read about or seen...

Benz | 26 aprile 2013

@ jk2014

I agree with you.

With every announcement the picture of the future becomes better and better. The next announcement is going to be very interesting. Elon Musk did mention that the next announcement would be in a week or two. Already looking forward to that.

Bubba2000 | 26 aprile 2013

There are lot of battery technologies that may 2x to 4x energy density with a 70% drop in cost/KW-hr. Panasonic itself is producing batteries that have 20-30% more energy density that what Tesla is uing now... I think Elon was referring to the incremental developments.

The disruptive technology coming out of ARPA may take a little time, especially Si-Graphene Anodes. HI Mn rich Cathodes may come out earlier along with improved Li electrolytes.

Tesla got to keep their head above the water till new battery tech. Just like it took advances in CPUs and ARM chips, Flash Memory, touch panels to enable the iPhone.

Jolinar | 27 aprile 2013

Well, but don't forget what he said about timing... It usualy takes 4-5 years to see significant improvement in battery tech, so we still have to wait at least 3 more years to see 500 mile pack.

risingsun | 27 aprile 2013

So you think there will be a 50% drop in battery price in 3 to 5 years? How much of the Tesla model S price is due to the battery? 25k? So the price should come down 12.5k simply due to better battery technology.

Bubba2000 | 27 aprile 2013

I agree with you. At earliest it would be 2015 when Model X starts selling. That SUV will need extra battery power because it is heavier, more so with the passenger load. Plus MX should have a larger drag coefficient. It will need larger batteries. 4WD will increase energy demand, even if marginally.

I think that the next generation of batteries will be incremental technology to what they already have. Disruptive tech like the use of grapheme, etc would 2-4x the capacity. That will take time, including real world testing, mass market pricing and production. Will see those advances in the military, smartphones and laptops first... hi value added apps. Gen III is not going anywhere until we get disruptive advances in battery tech and that is 5>7+ years away.

Meanwhile, the interim solution for range extension will be Supercharger deployment nationwide, in Europe, etc. As their manufacturing process matures, cost will drop and they can pass the cost to the consumer to drive demand along with SC deployment. Ultimately selling 100,000 MS+MX with the larger batteries after expanding the assembly line and 2 shifts. They need to get the ASP to $60-80K with the economies of scale, automation, etc.

Maiky Nisute | 27 aprile 2013

Easy upgardeable car battery's is the future of the electric car industrie. That way your car becomes like a computer.

Mpierson | 27 aprile 2013

As an investor in Tesla, I've been looking at other products in the market that pose a competitive threat. The Chinese have announced the launch of the Silex, which goes for 1000 km and does 0-100 km in 2.6 seconds. They still have not announced a price, but they have announced that they will come out with an "economical" model in the next generation, following the Tesla business model. This should be a greater concern than GM or any other competitor. What's the company view on this?

PorfirioR | 27 aprile 2013


There will be competition, but I would not be concerned about Silex/Chreos just yet. They seem to be good at making shiny animated videos of the products that they would make (if they could) to match their ambitious performance claims.

The barriers to entry for a foreign competitor are simply too great at the moment, which is precisely the reason the US Government is interested in developing its own domestic alternative fuel technology. I am not trying to get political, but there is clearly a national interest in creating this industry, and it is not just the US, many other countries like China consider energy independence key to their national goals. So even if Silex succeeds in developing their technology, they can do just fine without ever leaving China.

Brian H | 27 aprile 2013

The GenIII will be quite viable with or without "disruptive" advances. As for price reductions of $12.5K due to improvements, it will show up as capacity and range increases.

teddyg | 27 aprile 2013

I am willing to bet a 500 mile battery will be an option for the Model S / Model X in 2015/16 with the next batch of Panasonic batteries.
Gen III will have a 250 mile range base with supercharging included for $34,990 (after incentives) and a 500 mile range bigger battery option for another $12.5k

negarholger | 27 aprile 2013

The "500 miles" battery for the S would be about 140 kWh... I think the next step in battery will be in the 120 to 150 kWh range. That would give you 300 miles of practical range ( without planning ) - perfect for me and I would buy that in a heart beat... new car or upgrade. It is not a question of if but when. The cell you need is 5 Ah... not too far away from the the current 3.1 Ah. I wonder why the Panasonic 4 Ah is not available yet... was announced many years ago to be in production in 2012. Maybe they skipped that and and are mum about the next cell. In any case I am already planning my $ to be ready.

Bubba2000 | 27 aprile 2013

The current MS 85KW-hr battery is impressive but where I live, there are no SC anywhere close. Without SC, I would be very restricted in speed, HVAC, and range. I placed the deposit, but I am undecided. Here in the South/east/west, the distances are long.

There must be a good reason why Tesla did not go with the Panasonic 4Ah battery. Cost? Reliability? Rapid decline in capacity?

I think the SC network will convince a lot of folks sitting on the fence to buy the car. Especially the ones who take trips that would take may be one 30 min recharge.

graphite | 27 aprile 2013

It looks like the 4.0 Ah cells are supposed to be out some time this year, but also that there are 3.4 Ah cells already available last year some time.

I imagine the 3.4 Ah cells wouldn't be worth the engineering/testing time (for Tesla's current scale at least). They would raise the "full size" battery pack from 85 kWh to 93 - while raising the weight of batteries 3%. So maybe you get 7 or 8% more range.

The jump to 4.0 looks more appealing - a pack of about 110 kWh. The extra weight of the Panasonic batteries is more significant though - about 21% more... I can't find a good reference for the weight of a full pack currently, so I'll just guess wildly at a 15-20% range increase which would put you over 300 miles, but nowhere near 400, much less 500 (even ignoring the added weight).

Of course, I'm assuming the same number of cells here. If there's room to fit more into the current pack that raises the ceiling, but begs the question of why they didn't put in more to begin with.

Ignoring weight, you'd need a 6.0 Ah cell (in the same format) to get to 500 miles.

negarholger | 27 aprile 2013

Current Model S pack is 0.16 kWh / kg - Dave Duff Stanford seminar on youtube

Benz | 28 aprile 2013

I think that Tesla Motors will offer the Tesla Model X with a battery pack of 60 kWh, or 85 kWh, or 100 kWh in 2015. And this 100 kWh battery pack will actually also be available in the Tesla Model S as well.

RNB | 28 aprile 2013

Everyone sure is getting on the 500 mile crap with what struck me as an offhanded comment, not anything planned.

Having said that, when watching the Norway meeting with Elon and George, G had to tell Elon to "think before you say anything" many times over...

And there is also the Seeking Alpha article that discusses and links to air-metal battery technology and patents for same.

Bubba2000 | 28 aprile 2013

Graphite - Why would the Panasonic 18650 4.0 Ah battery weigh 21% more? The incremental weight could be another 200 lbs, less than 5% increase in weight of the car, for a 30% increase in weight. While they are reengineering the power pack, they might add a few more batteries and give us the 500 mile pack. That would bring the weight close to 5,000 lbs!

It would make sense mostly for the Model X. The price would be >$120K. Yes, they would be buyers! Look at the folks would pay $120k for a MB S550/SL550 or more! There is even a waiting list. Never underestimate the desire and ability of the American Consumer!

I suspect Tesla wants an elegant engineering solutions and does not want a land barge that weighs 5,000 lbs. If anything, they want to reduce the weight.

negarholger | 28 aprile 2013

The 4 Ah is heavier and has lower specific energy then the current ones. Yes, you get more for the same volume, but less for the same weight.

3.4 Ah : 12.2 Wh / 46 g = 265 Wh per kg
4.0 Ah : 13.6 Wh / 54 g = 252 Wh per kg

negarholger | 28 aprile 2013

I am sure Elon has already someting he is testing today... If he hints at a 2017 date then he must know how to go there. Be aware he needs 100 to 300 million of these cells per year, and to bring production to these levels takes many years. In our production line we are always making sizeable number of parts for products that will hit the customer shelves in 3-5 years. I am sure he has already some MS running with prototype cells collecting data.

graphite | 28 aprile 2013

Yep, that's where I got those figures from. I was looking hard for a much more comprehensive table I found last year when I was curious about the same thing - where it wasn't just the 18650s but other options where if we could just make the battery pack 2mm taller then there were some choices available then to get more energy. But no luck digging it up this year...

And about the weight, I came across a post here saying that more weight increases the ability to regenerate when slowing down. Obviously the added weight is never "free", but maybe the cost isn't linear and we'd need real world data to understand it. Regardless, the thing to remember here is that adding more battery of more or less the same chemistry is going to lower MPGe (obviously a number to interpret carefully, but one I pay attention to). That may be a fact of life for the short term, but I'm betting those dreamy ranges are going to require some more significant chemistry change than the incremental improvements Panasonic has made public.

Brian H | 29 aprile 2013

yinian is SPAM.

Benz | 29 aprile 2013

I just flagged yinlan.