A Tesla 85kwh battery weighs about 1,200 lbs, but a Chevy volt 60 kwh battery weighs 960 lbs. Why does Tesla have a 14.12 lb/kwh battery, but chevy has a 16 lb/kwh battery? What is Tesla doing that all the automakers are simply missing out on? Today, Elon Musk is speaking at battery day, and we are here trying to unpack all the numbers and science for you.
To start, we must understand what the Tesla battery is. The Tesla battery isn’t just some big battery, its thousands of normal-sized batteries connected in a casing. The reason why Tesla batteries are lighter per kwh is because this method of using lots of small batteries dramatically decreases weight, and has a manageable cost. On the topic of cost, in 2016 a Tesla battery costed $200 per kwh, a figure Elon Mus stressed was the key to making electric cars feasible for all. 4 years later, the cost of a battery cell is well under $100, a feat that years ago seemed unreachable.
It’s no secret that Tesla is insanely efficient at making battery packs, after all compared to Chevrolet their batteries are both lighter and cheaper. But where is this battery technology headed? Are we still on track for decreasing battery costs, or have we reached the top of the hill? Today is battery day, and we get some answers to our battery questions.
So are the batteries getting cheaper? From what we can tell, not dramatically. The process of mining, manufacturing, and distributing these batteries seems to be the main focus of cost-cutting and this isn’t a bad thing. Tesla managed to cut the cost of their batteries in half over 4 years, which in and of itself should make people stop in awe. But lets be honest, logistics and manufacturing has never really ben Tesla’s strong suit, so it is great to see them working on making their battery manufacturing process more efficient than ever. Another topic of discussion is removing as much waste as possible from the process. And this gets at the heart of why anyone would buy a Tesla in the first place, it’s much better for the environment. Tesla wants to make sure its customers know that no matter what, their main focus is still making the world a less polluted place. And maybe while they’re at it, they’ll try to keep costs down…
Battery day is still far from over, so this post will be updated
You can tune in to Battery Day live on Tesla’s Youtube Channel