After letting my thoughts and ideas settle in for a few days, I’ve decided to “come out with it”. Lots of love, lots of hate as well as some overall letdowns. Predictions for this event were definitely blown out of the water and, as a result, even conditioned me into an over-hyped state as I watched the live event.
Sure, there was no brand-new car unveil. No physical product or prototype was shown on stage. However, that wasn’t the real point of battery day. Just like how the point of autonomy day wasn’t about unveiling the Full Self Driving software to the public. That doesn’t mean Battery Day was not a waste. In fact, it was a promise of the complete opposite.
The Point Of Battery Day
So, what was the point of this presentation? Well, aside from the shareholder meeting that was squished into the first half, it was to show new battery developments.
Tesla is not only making batteries a part of its vertical integration tactics but also revolutionizing them. With their new dry cathode, the introduction of continuous high volume battery production, and a new “tabless” design they are accomplishing great things. Nobody else is really pursuing this the way Tesla is.
The changes I mentioned are only the beginning. Included in the new design is a new silicon anode, a cathode that’s mostly nickel, and a new 4680 shell (46 mm diameter, 80 mm height). All these changes to the battery, how the new batteries will fit in future cars, and how the battery is produced will result in the following:
- 56% cost reduction per kWh production
- 54% more range (yes, as in potential electric car range)
- 69% less in investments per kWh
- Smaller factory footprints (due to dry cathode) will result in smaller future Terafactories
Also, on the topic of sustainability, they presented a new way to mine lithium. Once they finalize a grant on some desert land in Nevada, they will start by only using basic table sail and water. Supposedly, table salt attracts lithium resulting in them bonding. Then, all you have to do is wash the dirt away. This will result in them no longer needing to dig massive holes into the earth and they can, more or less, leave the site the same way they found it.
Another thing that seems was the Tesla vehicles on display at the “drive-in” tesla parking lot facing the stage. You couldn’t see this from the main Tesla live stream but luckily Gali from the HyperChange YouTube channel was able to capture this:
My Final Thoughts
Regardless of the fact that we never did get to see what the potential $25,000 USD passenger car, Battery Day was no letdown. Nothing about this event was about immediate results. Everything was about the epic long term results from the battery pilot program they presented on September 22nd. Someday in the very near future, we will have cheaper electric vehicles with more power, plausibly higher charging rates, and longer driving ranges on one charge. These facts alone are immense wins in my books.
Although, the Model S Tri-Motor Plaid version is now available for order and Tesla will begin deliveries of the behemoth in late 2021. So, they’ve got that going for them, which is nice.
Elon did mention during Q&A that the pubic beta of the Full Self Driving software will be available in 1–2 months. He also mentioned how he’s still interested in producing and distributing a home HVAC system with HEPA filters. However, these topics are for another day.