In the early 1900s, one man’s attempt to revolutionize the manufacturing of motor vehicles resulted in bringing the automobile to the masses. We are of course talking about Henry Ford’s ‘Assembly Line’ and the Model T. Could Elon Musk’s proposed $25,000 Tesla do the same to the electric car a hundred years later?
Late September 2020, at an event aptly named the ‘Battery Day’, Musk announced an ambitious plan to bring an affordable autonomous Tesla to the market. Making it more accessible to the regular joe. As a company in the forefront of electric vehicles and renewable energy, Tesla has been experimenting with battery tech for quite some time. The company believes they have produced a li-ion cell that will result in considerable cost reductions when producing battery packs.
Not Enough Juice
While the energy density of gasoline is at 47.5 MJ/kg, the energy density of a typical lithium-ion battery pack is around 0.3 MJ/kg. One hundred times lower. Although the discrepancy is continuously being reduced as new and improved battery tech is introduced, it is yet to pose a threat to that of fossil fuels. Such a vast difference is somewhat alleviated by the efficiency at which the energy stored in the batteries are converted into motion by today’s highly efficient electric motors. Increasing the energy density of batteries and figuring out how to bring the cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) down, are the biggest hurdles faced by industry today.
Efficiency is the Name of the Game
Lowering the Cost Per Kilowatt-hour (kWh) – in other words, the measurement that reflects the capacity of a battery pack in relation to the cost of producing it, would result in cheaper battery packs with a relatively higher energy density. Paving the way for cheaper electric vehicles. This is exactly what Tesla claims their newest li-ion cell would allow them to do. For a start, the new 4680 cells move away from traditional cell design in terms of the composition as well as the size, allowing for 5X the energy density and 6X the power, compared to the 2170 cells used in the Model 3.
The Tesla 4680 Cell
Most impressive of all, Tesla will start manufacturing the cells inhouse, introducing what they call the ‘high-speed continuous motion assembly’, made possible by the ‘tabless‘ design of the new cell. In addition to this, they will be moving away from traditional anode and cathode materials to more cost efficient and environmentally friendly options, at the same time, improving on how the batteries are installed inside EVs. All these changes equate to an impressive cost per kilowatt-hour reduction by over 50% compared to current standards.
What’s in it for Us
What does this mean for the automobile industry and the average car buyer? But most importantly, what would this mean for renewable energy and our blue planet?
Tesla vehicles have always been desirable, yet, out of reach for most car shoppers. However, an autonomous Tesla priced at $25,000 would be a lucrative deal for most of them. Symbolically, the new, cheaper Tesla could become the electric Model T of the 21st century.
Take a Leap of Faith
The Sur-Ron LBX
As a company that is always pushing the envelope and going that extra mile to make a difference, we are determined to play our part in saving the planet. The planet is at a critical juncture, and a global push towards more sustainable means of energy is a must. We are already working on our very own cutting-edge electric vehicle tech, as the global electric vehicle market is projected to reach a staggering $802.81 billion by 2027. The electric transformation is coming, and this is your chance to become a part of it.