For more than a decade the established auto industry, despite their product launches, had been quietly dismissing the pure electric vehicle — and then along came Elon Musk. Most of BEST’s readers know the story from there, says Gerry Woolf.
Use small 18650 cylindrical lithium-ion cells and it’s possible to build a large battery pack that’s safe, with built-in cell failure redundancy – and you get a sexy pure electric car that sells to boot!
With Tesla having sold more cars in the $90,000 bracket than Mercedes and BMW in the US, and having broken even in its first year of mass production (2013), it’s time to take its approach seriously says, self-styled battery guru Menahem Anderman.
With the advent of Tesla’s so called ‘Gigafactory’ collaboration with Panasonic, there’s a strong chance that Musk has got things right and the rest of the Auto industry has got its EV battery strategy wrong in the short term, if Anderman’s calculations stand up to scrutiny.
In his latest opus, Tesla Battery Report, Anderman has crunched the numbers. Let’s hope he’s done a better job than Tesco’s auditors. He predicts Tesla has a narrow window of technical superiority in terms of battery performance which will last until 2018, but in the longer term a pack based on fewer but larger cells will have the edge on performance, but probably not on price.
But the upshot of this is Tesla could produce an entry-level pure electric car very soon with 45-50kWh, with costs falling to just $9K to $10K per pack by 2025, with an approximately 200 miles range using today’s technology. A VW beetle of an EV?
Tesla’s battery success to date is based on using a cell that offers specific energy 50% higher than the competition. This is primarily due to the use of highly reactive NCA cathodes and high-density electrodes. The cells are also operated in a partial state of charge, which extends their lifetime.
The rest of the auto industry have chosen to use less energy dense offerings in their cars almost on a precautionary basis but in the next few years will catch up— but the strategy is focused mainly on hybrids. Their plans to date, according to Anderman, are to produce enough EVs to meet Government mandates, because they don’t really believe that EVs are a sound proposition long term.
The key factor is how fast the rollout of the Nevada-based ‘Gigafactory’ gets going. Tesla plans to have 7GW of capacity up by 2016 and increase this in increments to reach 35GW by 2025. There are other routes to meet the demand but the financial risks are huge.
Rightly, Anderman argues that you can’t ignore this kind of success so should the bulk of the industry revise its plans? Well that’s why he’s written the report, which will cost you. Call 001 (530)-692-0140 or email@example.com TO FIND OUT HOW much. Or think about Elon Musk’s balls and success to date to work out which way the land lies— we don’t have his number— sorry!