Battery Day – Tesla

Tabless battery by Tesla
Image courtesy of Battery Day – Tesla

Battery Day – Tesla, if anyone had any doubt that Tesla is going to be the leader heading into the future of the electric car and power management this week solidified their position.

It is truly incredible the innovation that Tesla continues to deliver. The team at Tesla reviews a part of the market that has been devoid of innovation, they turn it on its head with first principal thinking. 

Battery day – Tesla was presented online and a number of lucky investors and followers of Tesla were in attendance and the unique way they socially distanced was very cool.

A picture containing car, lot, filled, person

Description automatically generated
Image courtesy of Battery Day – Tesla

First Principles

Elon has spoken a number of times regarding the first principle thinking to reframe a question regarding a current problem.

“The first principle” was conceived by Aristotle to rethink an already existing process and find another way to achieve a better outcome.

First principle thinking guided Tesla to reimagine a better battery for the future of the company.

They broke down the detail into 5 complete sections

  • Cell Design 
  • Cell factory 
  • Anode Materials
  • Cathode Materials
  • Cell Vehicle Integration
Image from battery day
Image courtesy of Battery Day – Tesla

Cell Design

Image from battery day
Image courtesy of Battery Day – Tesla

Tesla is turning the cell design on its head. They thought long and hard about the fundamentals of what constitutes the cell. The team at Tesla looked at the main features of current cells looking for opportunities to increase energy storage and output.

The introduction of the tabless 4680 cell made of silicon whilst limiting the use of cobalt has led them to achieve an innovative approach. With these changes it can increase the cells range by 16%. This range extension is truly incredible and critical to the uptake of EV’s as we move into the next couple of years.

Image from battery day
Image courtesy of Battery Day – Tesla

Cell Factory

Image from battery day
Image courtesy of Battery Day – Tesla

One of the most surprising elements regarding the cell announcement pertains to the fact that a pilot factory already exists. The fact that cells are already being produced would suggest that this is not just a theory but a revolution and real.

Taking inspiration from printing and bottling factories of yesteryear where the production line does not slow down during the whole process, Tesla has implemented a similar process that allows the cells production to increase accordingly.

Within the production of the cells there are 4 main steps

  • Electrode
  • Winding
  • Assembly
  • Formation
Image from battery day
Image courtesy of Battery Day – Tesla

Major efficiencies can be found within the process of manufacturing battery cells as opposed to the traditional processes.

The use of a “High-Speed Continuous” motion allows for a smaller footprint within factories producing more cells per hour allowing an increase in efficiencies with manufacturing and could produce a 7x improvement with possiblility 10x improvement over time.

Tesla last year purchased Maxwell which had a process for converting dry powder materials and applying that as a film onto the separator in the jelly roll of the battery. Elon explained that since this purchase, they have iterated on the process 4 times and believe that they will achieve greater efficiency by about the sixth iteration. This advancement removes the need for a wet process and thus reduces the size of the factory required exponentially.

These improvements are revolutionary to the production of cells. Once again first principles has delivered a new perspective.

Most companies rely on old solutions where as Tesla as confirmed by Elon will continue to innovate and push the boundaries of what is possible.

Currently Tesla refers to the factories as Gigafactories. As they move forward and transition to the new cell form factor the factories will be referred to Terafactories.

Image from battery day
Image courtesy of Battery Day – Tesla

Anode Materials 

Image from battery day
Image courtesy of Battery Day – Tesla

Silicon is considered a fundamental element used in most batteries. Once again Tesla has had to go back to fundamentals and find a way to improve the process of creating better density and usage of the batteries. 

When a battery is charged and discharged the movement of lithium across the membrane causes it to crack and become gooey. Overtime this causes the cell to lose the ability to manage the state of charge thus rendering the cell less effective.

Many have tried to rectify this by addressing the symptoms not the cause. The introduction of different binders and support materials have been used to lessen the impact of the heat generated during charging and discharging. This has been met with varying results.

Tesla is attempting to look at the fundamentals of what makes up the anode of the battery and see if they can eliminate cobalt whilst using Silicon in a different way. Raw silicon has been proposed as a possible solution to help with the expansion issue when charged and discharged.

  • Raw material silicon,
  • stabilize surface through elastic, non-conducting polymer coasting,
  • robust network – highly elastic binder and electrode design.

By implementing the above changes to the cell It has been shown to provide a 20% increase in range for vehicles.

A 20% increase in cell range is groundbreaking when dealing with electric vehicles. Distance is king in many cases and this could help to achieve this greater range for the same price. Or alternatively it could mean less cells with same range reducing costs.

Image from battery day
Image Courtesy of Battery Day – Tesla

Cathode materials

Image from battery day
Image courtesy of Battery Day – Tesla

A cathode provides structure to the management of lithium ions within the battery cell. Tesla has been experimenting with different cathode types that would allow cells to be more environmentally friendly and increase recyclability.

In the course of their investigations they believe a diverse range of materials will be utilised for different purposes. Tesla will implement different material across their product line to address cost, density and output.

Iron – Low level use 

Nickel Manganese – medium level use 

High Nickel – used for Long range – Cyber truck and semi

Image from battery day
Image courtesy of Battery Day – Tesla

The use of nickel as a main component gives the best dollar per kwh and wh/kg. This combined with removing the cobalt has a number of positive effects

  • Reduces complexity of the materials 
  • Continues to address the human rights issues with mining 
  • Has a good structure to hold the lithium 
  • Reduction in costs of $/kwh

Again the returned to first principles regarding the manufacturing of the cathode. This lead to an improvement in battery production and thus a cumulative effect upon the percentile shift of costs in the downward trend.

Further to this, lithium is a highly abundant material and is available within many and varied locations. It seems that the collection and processing of the material is able to be achieved within in the USA.

Mining lithium is important way forward for cell production and Tesla has found a way to extract it from clay with the use of Nacl (Salt). The outcome of this leads to highly recyclable cells and materials, that can be easily reconstructed into new cells. This leads to some impressive cost savings.

Image from battery day
Image courtesy of Battery Day – Tesla

Cell vehicle production 

Image from battery day
Image courtesy of Battery Day – Tesla

Elon announced a change to the fundamental design of the Tesla vehicles.

He was inspired by the airline industries innovation when they created a fuel tank as part of the wing which improved capacity and reduced weight. By changing the way the vehicles are constructed to achieve a similar concept Tesla’s vehicles have also had similar outcomes.

Image from battery day
Image courtesy of Battery Day – Tesla

This one design change is said to lead to;

  • 10 % in weight reduction
  • 14% range increase opportunity 
  • 370 fewer parts

Cumulative effect 

Tesla has shown that it can innovate in areas that most car companies take for granted and follow a standard view of the processes. Tesla chooses to look at the fundamentals and innovate using the first principles thinking regarding anything from the car to the power train to the battery cells and beyond.

The above innovations with cell production, cell development, anode, cathode and vehicle design allow for changes and efficiencies in their own right, but the cumulative effect it has upon the overall price and production helps to drive prices down , safety up and more people in cars everywhere.

56 % reduction in $/KWH. 

Image from battery day
Image courtesy of Battery Day – Tesla

This is a monumental step in regard to Tesla’s value as a company and value of the individual vehicles. The impact it will have on the tesla solar and battery storage costs moving into the future will be profound.

 Elon highlighted that the realization of this technology will not occur for 1-3 years but the ability to own a tesla in the coming years with a price that is reasonable is extremely exciting. 

Benefits

  • 54% Range increase
  • 56% S/KWH reduction
  • 69% Investment per GWH reduction. 
Image from battery day
Image courtesy of Battery Day – Tesla

What does this mean for Australia?

I have watched a number of Tesla presentations over the years and this presentation was the most exciting for a number of reasons.

In Australia the prices of tesla vehicle is quite significant for the average person. With a starting price of $74000 a lot of people find this price out of reach.

If Tesla was able to maximise on the 56% reduction in dollars per KWH then the possibility exists that in the future Tesla’s could be priced around $40000 – $ 50000. If this was to transpire then more Australians would be in a position to consider their next car to be electric.

If the new 4680 battery cell is adapted to the home power storage solutions it could assist Australians to increase their ability to maximise their solar panel efficiencies whilst also reducing the cost of electric and charging electric vehicle.

If this is the future in 1-3 years, then I am on board and I would encourage all Australians to investigate electric products.

One more thing….

Image from battery day
Image courtesy of Battery Day – Tesla

It would not be a Tesla event if there wasn’t something unexpected. Tesla announced a possibility of a new, smaller sedan with a price range of around $25000 USD.

The Plaid Model S

The Plaid Model S, which has been seen on the Nürburgring, with a tri motor specifications and a 0-60 mph time of 2.1 seconds is now available to be purchased online. this impressive vehicle has a starting price in Australia of $189000.

Last word

Battery Day – Tesla has shown what it is capable of and sets a high standard for all to follow. Tesla’s mission will improve the environment and accelerate the transition to a sustainable future. The information provided by Tesla has great potential to realise the possibilities.

Tesla’s philosophy of using first principles to reimagine what battery technologies can be will have positive impacts on the environment for years to come. It’s ability to continually innovate and move their mission forward is inspiring.

Dave 

David McCann
David McCann

EV_HQ founder

DAVE’S Blog posts

Loading…

Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.

Are Australian Tesla’s about to get cheaper?

white tesla

Are Australian Tesla’s about to get cheaper? An encouraging report is suggesting that Australian deliveries for Model 3 and Model Y from Tesla, may be delivered from Giga Shanghai towards the end of 2020 beginning of 2021. 

It has been a major point of contention, that the prices in Australia are too high for the average person. 

The idea of Tesla’s being manufactured and delivered from Giga-shanghai is not a new idea but one that many have requested for a while, my self included.

Australian Prices

If the Model 3 and Y are to be sold as a family car, or as the car for the masses, then the price needs to be more affordable, around the $30,000 – $40,000 dollars mark.

This price would give price parity with the average ICE vehicle and allow for natural competition. Currently in Australia costs of Tesla’s are almost double these amounts.

Now of course, part of these cost are taxes both Luxury Car Tax (LCT) and Import tax and every other person who is involved with the delivery tax. 

breakdown of a tesla

Giga-Shanghai

GIGA Shanghai
Featured Image Credit: WuWa Vision/YouTube

There is a possible change for the delivery of Tesla’s from Giga-Shanghai to the Southern hemisphere, inclusive of Australia, this was reported by Bloomberg and shared by Sawyer Merritt on twitter.

This change in location of manufacturing and delivery increases the chance of a possible price change. That would make the Model 3 and hopefully Model Y see price drops and become more affordable and achievable by the average person in Australia. This would continue to help to support the Tesla Mission. 

The news that it may actually be occurring is exciting for Australians looking to make their next purchase an electric car. 

The Electric Vehicle Council released a report in August 2019 called the State of Electric Vehicles. This report highlights some of the details relating to the possibility that 53% of people either already own or are thinking about purchasing an electric car as their next vehicle.

Model Y ordering

Model Y not an order page
Courtesy of Tesla.com

In Australia the Model Y is yet to be able to be ordered. This is not in line with the Model 3, which was available to be reserved from almost day one of the announcement. 

This delay with ordering could be aligned with the decision to ship cars from Giga Shanghai. Giga Shanghai has a number of buildings being constructed currently which have been rumored to be for the Model Y.

These would need to be completed for deliveries of model Y to Australia to occur.

Based on reports the building are close to being finalised which would in turn align with the timeline suggested for Giga Shanghai deliveries to Australia. 

Prices in Australia

Are Australian Tesla’s about to get cheaper? EV-HQ in February of this year commented on the prices of Tesla’s in Australia on Twitter and Elon Musk responded with this tweet.

This response was an indication that he also believed that prices for Tesla’s are too high, which he reinforced at the recent shareholders meeting held in July 2020, Tesla, Inc. Q2 2020 Financial Results and Q&A Webcast.

Tesla’s mission of transitioning the world to sustainable energy and transport must at its core be able to be flexible in the execution. The possible change to delivering and manufacturing vehicles for the Southern hemisphere and right-hand drive (RHD) countries is another step towards this achievement. 

Opportunities for Fremont

Fremont factory
Image courtesy of CleanTechnica.com

The knock-on effect of a change like this opens the way for reduced reliance on delivering all models of the Tesla fleet globally from Fremont and disperses the deliveries across the network of factories. Thus, building redundancy and stability in manufacturing and deliveries.

It also allows Fremont to start planning for the manufacturing of the Roadster which Elon has mentioned would come out of Fremont factory. 

Are Australian Tesla’s about to get cheaper? It is encouraging to see that possible changes may be coming to the way Tesla is progressing their vision and the positive impact it can have on the average person is a win for the individual, and also for the world as we try to fix the issues that we have caused over the last century. 

Dave 

David McCann
David McCann

EV_HQ founder

DAVE’S Blog posts

Loading…

Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.

Australian GigaFactory #GigaOz

Could this be possible.

Could Australia have a Gigafactory to call their own. Let’s not rule it out. In my tweet on the 10th February to Elon of which he responded the talk after this extended itself to a possibility that a Gigafactory in Australia would be possible. 

Now of course Elon has not confirmed or denied any possibility of this happening, but I am one who believes there is merit in the idea. 

Australia has proven in the last couple of years that it is capable of utilizing Tesla technology to produce some amazing results especially in the area of power generation and storage. The Adelaide battery that was supplied by tesla has proven to be a great success. It has supplanted the power generation I Adelaide for the last couple of years with such great effect that they have now installed a second such system to continue the great work. 

Currently in Australia there are no vehicle Manufacturers, and with that car prices are at the mercy of the import taxes and fees. This adds a large amount to the value of the car and the hip pocket of the person. 

The introduction of a Giga Factory could be one such way to grow Tesla’s footprint with vehicle manufacturing but also tesla power products. 

Tesla current Super chargers footprint

Australia has had a prolific uptake of solar energy products and have recently started to gain interest in the power storage market for home batteries. 

If Tesla was able to build a Gigafactory in Australia they could not only focus on Car production but also on solar, batteries, etc. This would allow Tesla to utilize Australia as a home base for production of Right-hand drive vehicles as they are within close proximity to the countries that are Right hand drive. 

Australians want for solar products make it a market ripe for the picking with the Tesla batteries and Solar products among the best and most competitive in the world. 

This in combination to close proximity to vital minerals and ores in Australia that are part of the battery cell production would make Australia well suited to address a number of requirements for tesla to truly consider Australia as a viable option. 

As has been the past experiences with Tesla they have worked with government and business alike and all experiences from the lay persons perspective has been positive and uplifting. 

It is time Australia stopped dragging its feet and started to lead like it had done for the last 100 years in many fields. We have come complacent and lost our get up and go spirit. Tesla and Elon Musk would help to bring new life into a struggling industry, they would be able to employ large numbers of people and we as Australians can finally show the rest of the world that we haven’t given up on the environment, that we haven’t given up on growing our industry and we haven’t given up on the people who desperately need a chance to prove themselves worthy of working for an amazing company with a philosophy greater than itself. 

Elon help Australia feel proud of itself again and bring GigaOz to be a reality. 

Dave 

Written by David McCann 22/02/2020

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Offers of sponsorship and collaboration are welcome.

please contact Dave at electricvehicleHQ@gmail.com, on twitter @evhq2 or on the contact page of EV-HQ.com.