Report: Tesla To Transition To 2170 Cell In Model S & X By End Of Year

3 months ago by Eric Loveday 73

Tesla 2170 Battery Cell Production At Gigafactory

Late last week, following Tesla’s funding announcement, the automaker held an investor-only conference call. This “secret” call has not been made public yet, but some information is flowing in from the call.

Tesla 2170 Cells

 

According to an individual on the call, one of the highlights from the call relates to the 2170 battery cell.

Reddit user electric musk attempts to convey the information from the call, but notes the audio was a bit rough at this point. This is what electric musk recalls from the call:

“he (Elon Musk) definitely said the phrase “transition by end of year”. 2170 talk was just prior…talking about improved chemistry/geometry, active/passive content. but there were some decent gaps in the audio / muffled noise. maybe something else was mentioned regarding the transition. but i’ve always assumed all models switch to 2170 eventually. just timing a question.”

We all had assumed the switch to 2170 cells would occur, but now it seems we’ve got a more concrete timeline for the changeover.

How the change to 2170 cells will impact the S and X are unknown at this time. Will pack capacity increase? Charge rate go up? Price go down? Lots of questions, which likely won’t be answered until Tesla makes an official announcement later this year.

The same 2170 cells will first be deployed in the Model 3, which Tesla says will launch this July.

Other highlights from the “secret” call can be found here.

Source: Reddit

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73 responses to "Report: Tesla To Transition To 2170 Cell In Model S & X By End Of Year"

  1. Kim Jorgensen says:

    Interesting and somewhat exciting to see what improvements will come with it. Assuming… apples to apples, same kwh battery would most likely lose a lot of weight. Could be equivalent to the weight of one passenger for comparison. Not to be sniffed at.

    1. Mikael says:

      And even more importantly, it will enable Tesla to fit more kWh into the S/X.

      Anyone made proper calculations on how many percentage increase in capacity we should expect?
      The hight difference alone should add ~8%. But what about the change in form factor.

      A possible 110 kWh car should be a given, I’m hoping they manage to put in 120 kWh, 130 seems a bit optimistic.

      1. TM says:

        I believe Musk has stated previously that 100 KWh will be the cap for a few years.

        1. ijonjack says:

          A 130kwh Model3 with a lighter Battery would be Just rite!

          1. ijonjack says:

            Ooops I must be in deep REM sleep dreaming !

            1. Marsontherocks says:

              Model 3 will cap at 75kWh to start with. Elon has mentioned that the wheelbase doesn’t allow greater batterypack than that.

        2. Mikael says:

          100 kWh was the limit right now with the cells they have. It is a given that there will be higher capacity Teslas as soon as it is physically possible.

          100 kWh is not nearly enough to stop at. Especially not when they will have to differentiate the S/X from the 3. And also not when they can gain more money from rich buyers when having an improved top model.

        3. niklas says:

          Yes he said that and in an Norwegian interview a couple of years ago he spoke about huge range increases if i remember correctly.

      2. zzzzzzzzzz says:

        Form factor can’t make any difference as long as you still have the same volume and weight of cathode, anode and separator in the same space. Cramming more cells closer together like in P100D would make difference. Changing battery chemistry may make difference too if it will happen.

        1. Mikael says:

          True. So what I really meant to ask was what the total capacity improvement of using the new 2170 cell in the S/X would be, not because of form factor but chemistry improvements etc. as you corrected me.

          But maybe there are not enough specs available to make a qualified guess.

        2. Roy_H says:

          “Form factor can’t make any difference as long as you still have the same volume and weight of cathode, anode and separator in the same space.”

          ?? The whole point of the (slightly) larger form factor is to increase the volume and weight of cathode, anode and separator. And it is not the same space. By increasing the volume by 46% for the above internal parts the shell only has to increase by 25% so there is a net gain of 21%

      3. Moose says:

        If Musk was correct on the 30% increase in density for the 2170 based on the 85kWh pack. Considering the cell rearrangement from 90 to 100 and the 5mm increase in height, 130kWh should definitely be possible.

      4. Anti-Lord Kelvin says:

        I remember a quote from Elon Musk a few months ago about production of 2170 cells for X and S would begin 6 to 9 months after Model 3 deliveries begun (or was after 2170 cells for Model 3 begun (which should be in April from another Elon’s quote)?). I also saw elsewhere that Panasonic contract for 18650 cells will terminate at the end of this year.

        So, my very humble guess would be Japan Panasonic factories ending the last batch of 18650 cells in December, then shipping, then making packs, then putting them in the last S and X with these cells. In the mean time, in December too, or January 2018, 2170 cells for S and X begun to be produced at the Gigafactory. So maybe the end of 2017 would the transition time and the last Model S and X might be delivered at the end of March 2018, or end of June 2018 (less probable).

        After that, my optimistic guess is that these new 2170 cells will have a 35% energy density improvement over the 18650 cells, giving at least a 10% improvement in range for the same pack power. If the physical size reduction of the battery packs (resulting from this energy density improvement)could result in a size reduction of the Titanium shield that protect this pack, I think the range improvement could go even to some 12% (resulting from the weight reduction of the car as Titanium is very heavy).

        For example, I wouldn’t be surprise if the actual 335 miles EPA range for the actual Model S 100D would reach some 375 miles EPA with the new 2170 cells 100 kWh battery pack.

        1. JIMJFOX says:

          Depends what you mean by ‘very heavy’–
          Steel’s density is 7.85 g/cm3, and titanium has 56% that of steel. Titanium is far stronger than steel which is precisely why it was chosen for the shield…

  2. georgeS says:

    It would be interesting to know the details of how they will do this. I wonder if it’s possible to use the same battery case since the cells are .2 inches longer. If they need a different taller case how does this affect vehicle ht. Did they hold vehicle ht and lower ground clearance?

    Actually I’m hoping the call was:

    “transition to new chemistry by the end of the year”

    Maybe Panasonic has a new cell chemistry that will allow for a higher C rate. Therefore Tesla could advertise drastically reduced charging times……now that would sell cars like crazy since charging times are a big deal to consumers.

    The first 2 questions I always get on the MS is: “How far does it go?” and “How fast does it charge”

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      I haven’t seen the original quote, but someone said that some Tesla spokesman said that there is enough “head room” inside the existing battery pack cases to allow for the 3mm extra height of the battery cells.

      Here’s hoping that’s true, because otherwise Tesla will have to slightly reduce the ground clearance of the MS and MX, or else redesign the suspension. OTOH I suppose one can argue that a silly 3mm reduction in ground clearance isn’t going to be significant for most owners.

      1. unlucky says:

        I’d be surprised if there were 3mm “head room”. There’s no reason to leave extra room.

        But I also think they could just jack up the car 3mm and fix the batteries in.

        I don’t see why they couldn’t put these batteries in. I just don’t see why they would do it. The Model S/X has been around quite a while now. It’s time for a full redo as other cars get after 5 years. Do that and change the pack at the same time.

      2. buu says:

        but new cells taller by 5 mm not 3

        1. Correct! 70 mm tall vs 65 mm tall. And, yes, Elon did say the current packaging in the modules had enough ‘Head Room’, so no changes would be needed there.

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Oops! Right you are, my bad!

          18650 cells = 65 mm long

          2170 cells = 70 mm long

          I don’t know why Tesla would have left that much “head room” inside the battery pack case, if they did. It does seem strange to me that they would have done so.

          “…seems like an awful waste of space.” — Carl Sagan 😉

          1. Miggy says:

            5 mm is not that much, it is about the same as the gap between body panels on a Tesla.

            1. JIMJFOX says:

              Ooohhh- somebody using the exaggeration fallacy?

          2. Priusmaniac says:

            It could be the other way around. They noticed they still had a 5 mm gap left in the pack and decided to take full use of it by maximizing the cell hight to 70 mm from 65 mm as a consequence.

            They could also have calculated a 70 mm optimum high to avoid cracks in the cell and simply discovered that they where still fitting in the existing pack thanks to a sufficient clearance they had taken before which would then be at least 5 mm.

            Alternatively, they said it would fit in existing packs but actually it would not be the case, simply because they know they are never going to have to really do it since only new cars will have the new cells anyway, so the new pack can simply be 5 mm thicker which would be almost unnoticeable on ground clearance and solvable by inserting an extra nut on the suspension anyway. In a sense the pack would be the same but for a minor hight difference. Kind of slightly untrue but true in the same time since the 5 mm could be taken by only the cover, so the pack is the same but only the cover would be different. Would that be a lie or not, well for sure connectors and other things in the pack like BMS and cooling loop would change as well, so perhaps a bit untrue but not really in the same time.

            So is it 1, 2 or 3? The important thing is that the Model S will be able to use the new cells for new cars and old model S, that rarely get hardware battery upgrades anyway, would still be able to receive the new pack if that would somehow be demanded.

  3. przemo_li says:

    Prices wont go down.

    If anything Tesla would push all those savings into luxury touch to the cars, and sell at the same price tag.

    Remember Tesla will have Model 3 to cater to entry luxury segment (without subsidies).

    Cheaper Tesla S? Say 10k cheaper? Who would care. More luxurious one? Plenty of Mercedes lovers there would would notice 😉

    1. Moose says:

      ^^ This. With M3 taking care of the bottom level they probably will use the S/X to go after the German battleships. That means more range and more plush.

    2. unlucky says:

      How is the Model 3 a luxury car, even entry level?

      1. BenG says:

        Tesla leaders have stated the Model 3 will be a direct competitor of the BMW 3 series. That’s entry level sport-luxury sedan.

        1. unlucky says:

          That’s just marketers making claims. Of course they want to claim their car is great.

          Other than people paid to blow smoke up your butt what makes this a luxury car?

          1. Pedro says:

            And what makes a BMW 3 Series a luxury car then ?

            Even if the finish is not on par with german competitors, Tesla is seen as a luxury brand based on price, permformance and fancy stuff like Autopilot, OTA updates, etc. that you don’t get in your average Chevy (or Peugeot on my side of the pond).

          2. Priusmaniac says:

            I don’t quiet get the notion of luxury in a stinking noisy petrol BMW 3 series in comparison with a clean, silent Model S. So if one of those would be luxury it would rather be the Tesla.

    3. Koenigsegg says:

      Lol. You luxury whores can go smother yourselves in leather.

    4. Nix says:

      Przemo — You are correct. They won’t lower prices. But it will allow them to hold prices at current levels without price increases for longer. Currently ICE car prices are trending up at about 2-3% per year.

      This will allow Tesla to become more price competitive over time by allowing them to hold prices while ICE competitors go through steeper price increases.

      1. Priusmaniac says:

        Yes and as less ICE are produced, the unit price will increase. For the ev it is exactly the contrary, with increased production they will finally start to benefit from the same mass production cost savings as ICE cars have and the unit cost will go down. Sometime in the future there will be a higher unit cost for low runs ICE than for produced in the millions ev. Exactly like electronic watches, they went from more expensive to less expensive than mechanical ones. Today mechanical watches are much more expensive than electronic ones.

  4. Mister G says:

    GO TESLA GO

    1. DangerHV says:

      We need a picture of you with pom-pom’s jumping in the air!
      Seriously though, I feel your excitement. This EV news just keeps getting better and better! (and not just Tesla)

  5. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    “We all had assumed the switch to 2170 cells would occur, but now it seems we’ve got a more concrete timeline for the changeover.”

    Right. But as I recall, Musk was previously quoted as saying they were going to concentrate on getting the Model 3 into production first, and transition the Models S & X over to the 2170 cells later.

    So why the change? I’m certainly glad that Tesla is able to do this sooner than later, as that will help the bottom line, but Tesla needs to ramp up production of the M3 ASAP, and anything that might put a restriction on production — anything including a bottleneck in battery supply — needs to be avoided at all costs.

    So just looking at this logically, it seems one of two things has happened:

    1. Tesla is confident that growth in the rate at which Gigafactory 1 can produce battery cells can remain comfortably ahead of its production of all its cars

    -or-

    2. Tesla has decided that it can’t ramp up M3 production as fast as it had previously planned, so it might as well start using some of the 2170 cells for the MS and MX as soon as possible.

    (…or some combination of the two scenarios.)

    Here’s hoping that the change in plans is entirely due to case #1, and not at all due to #2!

    1. ffbj says:

      Maybe a combination a No.3

      The plan was always to switch over and we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
      As things developed battery production went well and that meant that the switch-over could occur sooner as, as you suggest, Model 3 production will be under projections.

      So you have more batteries you can making the packs for the refresh of the Model S and X. Must has said no retro-fitting but there could be design elements that make that, at least possible. The idea being that the design of the pack as a module and since the machines to make that change out, could be used to update the pack.
      Well it’s a possibility.
      Of course Musk would probably prefer you buy a new car, but say for $25k, you go from 100-120 and lose some weight.

      I think they will excess batteries, as you suggest. I think it would also be a boost for sales eventually though people also might delay purchase until the new model comes out. Interesting times at Tesla.

    2. Nix says:

      The phrase “ramp-up” has always been a fuzzy term. At what point does Tesla consider that they have successfully ramped-up the TM3 to volume production?

      Do they count a successful volume production ramp-up to be 4,000/month?
      8,000/month?
      16,000/month?
      33,000/month?

      I don’t think they would wait until they were building at an annualized rate of 400,000 TM3’s (full ramp-up). Perhaps he is optimistic that the TM3 will have ramped-up sufficiently by the end of the year to make the changes to the Model S/X.

      ___________________________-

      *salt*

      I’ll step out on a limb, and predict new inverters, new batteries, and support for 200-300 kW charging rate (before taper-down). I do have limited evidence to suggest this, but not enough to prove it. So take this with the grains of salt it is offered with.

      *salt*

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Thanks for your input, Nix. As always, your comments are well worth reading.

        It does not seem reasonable to think that Tesla would wait until they’ve ramped up M3 production to (a run rate of) 400,000 per year before switching the MS and MX over to the 2170 cells, but it does surprise me that they have announced a goal of making the switch by the end of this year; announced that goal even before any actual production M3’s have rolled off the production line.

  6. Alan says:

    It would certainly give Tesla the opportunity to top the 238 Bolt miles if they were able to use the 2170’s on the Model 3 from the outset.

    1. Anon says:

      TM3 Production Version was never designed to use the 18650’s from the S / X battery packs. “For better or worse…” as JB has publicly said– pretty much everything was designed from scratch for the Model 3.

      End of year for all vehicles using the same cell size, controls manufacturing costs and consolidates production resources. Also probably allows new HyperChargers to come out at around the same time, as there is general upward movement of CCS chargers in US being updated to >300 kW. Tesla will not want to be seen falling behind in that arena.

      1. AlphaEdge says:

        Most likely >500 kW based on Elon “child’s toy” tweet.

        1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

          I’ll write this once again …

          The child’s toy comment was in response to the announcement of a 350kW charger being built this spring/summer on the route between LA and Las Vegas. The 350kW charger can theoretically charge 1 car at up to 350kW, but for now would actually (at least until there are cars with 1000V batteries charged at 350A) charge up to 4 cars at a total of 350kW. In my opinion, it just the usual calculated Muskian hyperbole directed at the _total_ power output which is only 70% of the total maximum output for the standard 8-stall Supercharger. It was not referring to the individual charging rate.

          1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

            8 stall supercharger means 4 ~140 kW output chargers (2 stall per charger), or ~0.56 MW.

            VW draft plan released now talks about 50 high speed CCS/Chademo chargers on California highways, with 2-3 150 kW stalls and 2-3 350 kW stalls each, 5 stalls total. I don’t think it would be less than 0.56 MW total, likely more.

            https://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/vw_info/vsi/vw-zevinvest/documents/vwinvestplan1_031317.pdf

            It is VW only, another 100 high speed chargers may come from California funds.

            Musk may be desperate to tweet just anything to show that he is still the leader and not loosing the technical lead. It looks like he needs catch up really or abandon this silly Microsoft style attempt to fragment and monopolize market with proprietary protocols.

            1. Hank S. says:

              Apple does the “silly proprietary” thing much more than Microsoft ever did and it seem to be working out for them. $735 billion market cap after all.

              1. AlphaEdge says:

                Yeah, and how many “trillons” in revenue over the last 20 years. Oh silly Apple! Stop your proprietary ways!

            2. Proprietary Protocols, would not have the distinction of being offered to other serious users to partner and expand!

              The only thing that makes Tesla’s Superchargers ‘Proprietary’, is other OEM’s Pride to not even try and partner with Tesla to use and support the expansion of the Supercharger Network!

              1. unlucky says:

                Well, that and that they are actually proprietary.

                They made their own system instead of using a standard. There’s hardly anything which can be considered to be more proprietary than that.

                1. Priusmaniac says:

                  Unless you break into new grounds and go so high in power that a standard did not exist. That was obviously more than the case with Superchargers at 90 KW versus at most 11 KW.

          2. AlphaEdge says:

            Oh, you have inside scoop on how Elon thinks. Fascinating!

            I see nothing in that tweet that talks about the whole installation. He was talking about an individual charge rate.

            Anyway, we shall see, when it’s announced.

            1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              Hmmmm, looks to me like you are the one who’s claiming to have some special knowledge of how Elon thinks, AlphaEdge!

              I think the scenario written by ItsNotAboutTheMoney is a lot more plausible than to assert Elon was suggesting individual Supercharger units are going to be upgraded, in a single jump, to something significantly more than 350 kW.

              Maximum Supercharger charging rate has inched up from 120 kW to (so far as I can find) 145 kW over the past few years. It’s not reasonable to suggest that Tesla is suddenly going to significantly more than double the charging rate.

              Elon has certainly been guilty of hype in the past, but here I think misinterpretation is a far more likely case.

              1. Priusmaniac says:

                Going to 500 KW instead of 135 KW would possibly come from a battery energy increase combined with a C rate increase of the new cells. Going from 85 KWh to 100 KWh gives 18% increase possibility in power intake, so C rate increase to cove the 370 % increase in power from 135 KW to 500 KW would need to be about 300 %. A threefolding of C rate would not really be the craziest announcement ever made by Elon Musk even if it would be a huge one indeed.

                1. Priusmaniac says:

                  Edit: 270% power increase and 200 % C rate increase.

  7. Wasn’t that to be expected all along? I mean why would they keep up production for two different cells?

    1. Nix says:

      Yes, the question was always about timing.

  8. Tom Schwab says:

    I really detest how you lance a rumour potentially harmful to Tesla.

    1. Interesting! In any case, “Will pack capacity increase? Charge rate go up? Price go down?”

      – Capacity: Elon said 100 kWh was top (at least with the 18650’s, so we will see, if next year changes that!);

      – Charge Rate – we only have thin hints that is any faster;

      – Price reductions – would shock many, but they said, If I remember right, they are still not profitable 4 of 4 quarters, and some of that will be important, so any cost reduction may be held to improve the bottom line, at least for 2 Q’s in a row, which does not seem to have been met, at least, more than once!

      As to the ‘Chemistry Transitioning’ by year end, since Panasonic is making all their cells, it could also indicate new Chemistry for the 18650 cells, being made back in Japan, while the GF1 continues to be built and expanded, since there also appears to be a rapidly growing demand for the large Tesla Powerpacks!

  9. Mdstj says:

    Is the 2170 1.46 times the volume of the 18 650?

    1. AlphaEdge says:

      Radius,21
      Height,70
      V≈96,980

      Radius,18
      Height,65
      V≈66,161

      1.465

      Yup!

  10. mx says:

    When did these “investor only” conference calls become legal?
    I’ve got some shares, why don’t I have this info?

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      I dunno, but I remember seeing exactly the same complaint on the old (now defunct) TheEEStory forum. That’s just one of many ways in which the financial system is rigged to favor the super-rich.

      It appears that all investors are equal, but some are more equal than others.

      The one-percenter Golden Rule: “He who has the gold, makes the rules”.

    2. Doggydogworld says:

      They’ve always been legal as long as management does not reveal any “material, non-public information”.

      If Musk et al had revealed any such info, they would have had to immediately follow up with a press release or 8-K. (Also, the stock would have reacted).

  11. Mdstj says:

    The savings in the new battery design and the new chemistry could result in almost $1 billion in additional revenue per year just for the X and S models

  12. DangerHV says:

    I’m a little late to this party, but with the ‘gaps’ noted regarding the audio, I wouldn’t consider this worth such deep speculation. We should find out soon though, I would hope.

  13. Kris says:

    When did ever price went down? Can only go up or in best case you will get bigger battery for acceptable price increase. Only competition can push price down, but not within this decade.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “When did ever price went down?”

      With the new Model S60 and the X60, both said to have a lower per-kWh price for the cars. Of course, Tesla is now phasing those out, so arguably that’s “The exception which proves the rule”.

      As others have noted, it’s likely Tesla will use the money elsewhere, possibly to improve the interior materials to make Tesla’s cars more competitive with BMW, Mercedes-Benz et al. Or, possibly, Tesla might use the greater income where it will best benefit Tesla’s bottom line, perhaps such as paying down some of the capital it has borrowed.

  14. Koenigsegg says:

    Cool

  15. Kdawg says:

    So will they sell new packs, w/the new cells, for people with older Model S/X? (if it’s compatible)

    1. jelloslug says:

      Unlikely.

  16. John says:

    I’m expecting Model S P120D with upgraded front motor later next year.

  17. Michael Toth says:

    I bet Tesla has a few test cars (S and/or X) with the new 2170s and a size exceeding 100 kWh.

  18. Pat75014 says:

    Missing in most of this discussion is the SuperCharger v3 story. Responding to a famous Tesla blogger and behind him to Porsche and other Germans rolling new 800V w/ up to 350KW ultra fast chargers, Elon said recently that SuperCharger v3 would be a lot more powerfull leaving 350KW for child toys. Means one could expect 500KW to 600KW for next gen Tesla SC v3. Key question then is what Tesla Battery could take advantage of this fantastic extra power and charge 3X to 5X faster ? Knowing current 100KWH models are limited to 120KW = 1.2C today. And what would be the impact on Tesla 8Y unlimited miles warranty for their current and future Model S & X batteries, if 3.5C to 6C charging was enabled. Ask the question for 18650 and for 2170 models. Answer may be that only 2170 models will be allowed to 3X to 5X fast charge and not the current 18650 batteries.

    Personally I’m waiting to find out all this SC v3 story, before placing my Model X 100D PO, as I don’t want to get trapped forever with a 120KW lock, when new models using far better and may be cheaper 2170 battery will be able to charge at 350, 500 or even 600 KW, 3X to 5X faster on long vacations trips with family and luggage on board !!!

    I hate waiting but for this I will for sure.

    1. Priusmaniac says:

      To solve the problem you mention it would be possible to start have higher C cells in the S and X (18650 and 2170) but only keeping the charge rate of 120 KW for the time being. Later when some time has passed and chargers have been upgraded, it would be announced that cars from some time ago can now actually charge faster by an over the air software update that could be purchased for a certain price for existing cars or right away for new ones. A bit the same as battery upgrade from 60 KWh to 75 KWh. Doing this proposal only after some time after higher C rate cells switch (18650 and 2170) would make it more acceptable for older cars owners that could not do that upgrade. (Which could still get it by purchasing a new battery pack outright). In the same time Tesla would get some time to change the chargers and the “at once” announcement would leave the competition unprepared, giving even more edge to Tesla.

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