New Tesla Model 3 Battery Details, Images & Video Released


It’s the most energy dense pack in the industry. We do the math to confirm.

First up, some highlights from the text below:

  • Exclusive photos via Jack Rickard at EVTV support our theory that the body structure now provides side impact battery protection.
  • EVTV weighed the Model 3 modules and Elon is right, this is the most energy dense pack in the industry—-but by how much. We do the calculations.
  • These modules can’t be taken apart. They are one solid chunk of cells back filled with “sil gel*”. Has the intumescent goo been resurrected?

All the technology in the Model 3 is very next generation with nothing familiar from Model S in any way shape or form. I haven’t seen anything even vaguely Model S or Model X in this vehicle. Nothing. No DNA found. The improvement is not at all incremental. It’s like from another planet.”

-Jack Rickard

  1. Photos and video of the underside of Model 3 showing beefy structure surrounding the pack.

In a previous article we noted that the model 3 battery pack was 15% lighter than the old P85 Model S pack and 6% lighter than Tesla’s most advanced pack in the P100D.

In that article, and based on EVTV’s teardown video we speculated that Tesla has saved weight in the battery pack by moving the battery protection duties from the battery case to the body structure. This was partly conjecture just because there are no protective sides on the Model 3 pack (unlike Model S) and also because Tesla appears to have surrounded the Model 3 pack in high strength steel used in the body……in other words letting the body serve a dual purpose.

The photos of the box beam and additional steel structure that surrounds the Model 3 pack are shown below.

…..and a video clip of the underside of the Model 3

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  1. Weight and Energy density

Jack measured the module weight and the battery case weight and the dimensions. Note that the Model 3 case (tray) weight is significantly lighter than Model S.

We took it upon ourselves to calculate the energy density in both wh/kg and lbs/kwh. As Elon said, the cells used in the Model 3 are highest energy density cells used in any electric vehicle. This is the kind of energy density other manufacturers are promising in 2020 time frame and Tesla already has it in production today.

If you wish to look at the detailed calculations, they are shown below.

  1. The whole module is held together with “sil gel”

The whole pack appears to be filled with some sort of “sil gel” (term used by Munroe and associates) and not designed to be taken apart.  Model S modules were not designed to be taken apart either. They were held together with a clear epoxy at the top and bottom of the cells but the epoxy did not permeate the whole pack as it does in Model 3. The color of the sil gel is different as well. The sil gel in model 3 is a greenish blue color while the sil gel in Model S is clear. We don’t know if this is an “intumescent flame retardant” or not. Jack suspects it is but we have no word from Tesla on it and no data as to the substance’s properties to verify.   

Maybe the intumescent goo has been resurrected and is providing additional fire protection above and beyond the structure?

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section.

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105 Comments on "New Tesla Model 3 Battery Details, Images & Video Released"

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Another cut and paste.

Anything else ⁉️

I second this is getting old. Time to kick this troll off the site.

Ron Swanson's Mustache

Not even Russian bots are this lame.

It’s…COLLUSION! – I need to go turn on CNN!

Wait a minute do you come here to exchange information? LOL CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP FOLKS our co2 emissions are increasing so this will not get old

Ron Swanson's Mustache

You’ve mistaken your weird fetish for pasting the same thing over and over with exchanging information.

Perhaps you should go back to remedial trolling school in Moscow.

“Time to kick this troll off the site.”

Or at least put in a filter to delete every post containing an exact phrase which has been repeated many dozens of times.

Go Tesla!

Well… maybe not every phrase. 😉

Repetition works how do you think conservative americans hate electric vehicles? CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP FOLKS

Ron Swanson's Mustache

Plenty of conservatives love and/or drive EVs. Even Trump owns a Tesla Roadster.

That said, I’m completely unsurprised that your characterizations of others’ politics is little more than facile tribal virtue signalling.

I’m a conservative and drive a Model second model S, and soon to be model 3 owner. Conservatives do love Teslas .

You are not a conservative if you drive an electric vehicle and love it LOL

Stereotyping much? I thought that liberals hate stereotyping, but obviously not if it is about conservatives.

Name one just one social conservative that drives a tesla and loves it? ONE CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP

Some idiots are conservative, some are liberal, and some are moderate.

Then there are those who are simply idiots, parroting the talking points of one “tribe” or another, without any more understanding of what they’re saying than a parrot.

Name one social conservative that drives a tesla and loves it?

Many of you commenters are so negative against “Mister G” one could conclude that you are participating in negative “tribal” mentality yourselves. Maybe you should layoff him and actually contribute to the discussion. Here is my contribution. I’ve owned the Chevy Bolt now for 9 months and love it. I consider myself a moderate leaning toward the liberal side. So far I have encountered no problems with the Bolt. I even took a 400 mile trip to Lake Tahoe on Nevada’s “Electric Highway” from Las Vegas to Reno/Lake Tahoe and it was easy with no inconveniences whatsoever. Made it from Beatty to Hawthorne (198 miles with a 1000 foot elevation gain) with 1/4 charge left in the battery going a conservative average of 45 mph just to be safe so as to not run out of energy. Going between Beatty to Hawthorne was the only area I went below the speed limit, but everywhere else I went the limit. Going back home I went 60 mph from Hawthorne to Beatty and ended up with 20% charge left when I arrived in Beatty. So the Bolt’s battery is dense enough for me. But the density advantage of 26 wh/kg of the… Read more »

thanks for caring about our tiny blue planet

Glad to hear you like your Bolt. I almost bought one because I love hatchbacks but I did not like the seats at all and of course the car is not exactly attractive to most. I am also not a big GM fan so it was a hard sell for me. I am 6′ 4″ and 250 pounds. The seats were just to small. How are they for you and how tall are you?

Name one?

Ron Swanson’s Mustache (above), SW (above), and I. That is three for you

For all I know all 3 of you are in your underwear waiting for your Mommy to make dinner LOL check out and learn something today

Name one social conservative that drives and loves electric vehicles?

Quite a few have posted here. “Scott Franco” is among our Usual Suspects. And his comments are often worth reading… unlike yours.

They may drive the drive, but they don’t walk the talk… It’s called hypocrite.

Not true as I love conservation. All our cars are plug-in and I power them AND the house with solar.

you are not a conservative lol but thanks for caring about our planet

“In a previous article we noted that the model 3 battery pack was 15% lighter than the old P85 Model S pack and 6% lighter than Tesla’s most advanced pack in the P100D.”

That seems improbable to me, since the 100 pack is surely heavier than the 85 pack. Or am I mistaken?

Less mass or less mass per kWh?

The text seems to indicate pack weight. The Model 3 has 80,5 kWh total capacity. The 85 pack has 81,5 kWh total capacity. The 100 pack has 102,4 kWh total capacity. According to this article, the 100 pack would be lighter than the 85 pack. I don’t believe that.

It would also be more energy dense which would make the whole article nonsense.

They probably meant 6% lighter *per kwh*. But I agree, as stated, it doesn’t make sense

“[quote] In a previous article we noted that the model 3 battery pack was 15% lighter than the old P85 Model S pack and 6% lighter than Tesla’s most advanced pack in the P100D.[/quote]

“That seems improbable to me, since the 100 pack is surely heavier than the 85 pack. Or am I mistaken?”

In context, it seems pretty clear that what the writer meant is 15% and 6% lighter per kWh. The article is, after all, largely about energy density.

Since the Model 3 pack is (according to this article) an 80.5 kWh pack, then it should weigh quite a bit less than a 100 kWh pack, not merely 6% less, especially with the much lighter casing. In context, the figure “6%” must mean 6% less weight per kWh, not merely 6% less for the entire pack.

I like the steel frame rail down the sides of the car. That will make jacking a much less sensitive proposition than it is on the S and X.

TIL intumescent

Great reporting George in the energy density. For the amount of goo used, its weight is not insignificant. I mean it could have been foam if it didn’t have a dual purpose. Intumescent…. interesting.

It does look somewhat foamy to me…

“The whole pack appears to be filled with some sort of “sil gel” (term used by Munroe and associates) and not designed to be taken apart.”

So is there any way to do individual cell or module repairs (mainly after warranty expires)?

not really… replacing a cell would be nearly impossible on a cost effective basis.

Dead cells are ignored. Hence, pack capacity loss over time. Very minor, but still there.

Entirely dead cells would be quite a challenge for the charge balancing I think?…

Capacity fade happens slowly in each individual cell.

How is that gel helping to cool down the cells? Not? If they plan to increase charging rate there should be better cooling for sure.

“How is that gel helping to cool down the cells? Not?” Can’t make that call without knowing the properties of the goo. Ever take a look at the manufacturing process of a solar hot water tank equipped with a heat exchanger? The voids between the tank and the cylindric tubing are filled to “increase” the heat exchange. I am not declaring anything. More questions than answers at this point.

I think the gel is there to help spread heat in normal operation, and slow a fire in a less then ideal situation…

Gel just transfers heat to the cooling ribbon more effectively than an air gap and likely designed for heat transfer by conduction. Ribbon then more mechanically moves out of the pack.

I don’t think the cavities between the cells meaningfully contributes to cooling, either in the Model S/X design (air-filled) or the Model 3 design (goo-filled). The heat transfer actually happens where the cells touch the cooling tube. In the old design, the interface seems to be using some sort of elastic thermal pad. In the new design, the cells are glued to the tube with some sort of thermal compound. A dark grey compound indeed seems to be visible in the photo where the cell has been ripped out.

“How is that gel helping to cool down the cells?”

I don’t know; it could act as a heat sink, but you’d think it would also stop heat from radiating away from the cells, which would be bad for cooling. But it’s almost certainly a fire retardant, and likely something that would prevent an exploding cell from spraying hot electrolyte over nearby cells, which can create a cascade overheating/ fire event.

It’s interesting that Tesla started out with “goo” in its packs — was that back in the days of the Roadster? — then I guess Tesla quit using that in the Model S/X… and now it’s back to using goo in the TM3.

Why? Maybe Tesla got tired of reading news reports about very rare (yet widely reported) violent accidents involving Tesla cars running at excessive speed; accident in which the battery pack was ripped open and cells were seen exploding “like firecrackers”.

I would think the gel/goo would cut down on that; hopefully would stop it altogether!

Adding the goo might be what allowed for the significantly larger modules, while keeping safety concerns in check…

What’s the MSRP on a replacement battery?

You can’t simply buy the battery. At this point, it’s $48,000 plus delivery fees. What you do with the rest of the Model III is up to you.

Replacement battery is $49,000. You get a free car with each purchase. /s

Unnecessarily complex.

Ron Swanson's Mustache

Hey, Elon, some rando here on the internet says your battery is too complex!

Time to pack it in!

The ICE is complex, unnecessary so.

LOL yes we need lead acid batteries in the trunk and backseats keep it simple right? LOL CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP

eject continued his Tesla bashing:

“Unnecessarily complex.”

Well, why don’t you start your own EV manufacturing company, and show us how much better you can do. 🙄

Time to EJECT him . lol

At this point, it seems like the wise thing to do would be to “scale up” the Model 3 into the new Model S/X when redesign time comes. It seems like the Model 3 is technologically superior in so many ways.

I suspect that the quick-swap battery pack in the S/X was not only designed for swap stations, but also to allay fears about upgrading/replacing the batteries ten years down the line; now that it’s shown that the batteries can last 20 years or more, they can do away with that design altogether. (And the pack is still swapable; just not in 90 seconds 😉 )

Also the case for quick-swap has died its expected death, so why bother having that redundant functionality. Tesla also expect you to by a new car by the time the battery degrades, I would bet they are not intending on replacing batteries in future. If your pack goes to the crapper, a new car for you sir.

Agreed. But if battery prices keep dropping, at some point it’ll be cost-effective to get a 20-yr old Tesla and a new battery. You’re right though that the types who buy new cars are more likely to chase the shiny.

Yes, but will Tesla offer new battery packs for old Tesla cars? It’s doing so for the original Roadster, but that seems to be a special case. Tesla isn’t even using Panasonic cells for that replacement pack.

The problem with using a new pack to replace an old pack is that means that pack isn’t available for a new car. So long as EV batteries are in short supply — as they are currently — that’s not likely to happen.

More likely is refurbished packs available from third parties, which use packs salvaged from wrecked or junked cars.

We did it for the Roadster and I don’t see it being something they would just not do out of hand. The issues becomes one of will people pay for it? Perhaps they will do like they did for the Roadster and bundle in other improvements to make it more attractive. hard to say but as others have pointed out it will not be ‘cheap’ regardless. With the battery life being what it is we should start seeing more older S and eventually X models that are ready for a refresh. I have no insight into that market for them 🙂 If it can be profitable, why not.

Agreed. That is where third parties can come in if Tesla does not sell battery packs. Of course right now there is no other company making packs as good as Tesla and Panasonic. Also pulling the battery pack itself does not seem very hard. If anyone has watched the youtuber Rich Rebuilds he has done it several times as he enjoys fixing flooded Teslas.

The Bolt EV has higher rating than 60 kwh, usable is closer to 62.5kwh

I have not seen data on that, the best I have seen instrumented is 58-59 KWh

I guess I will repost this again:
Our 12/16 build Bolt has 12K+ on it now. It never had 60 kWh usable. Best I saw calculating from partial discharges was 58 kWh. I recently did a capacity run…100% to 2%…240 miles, 4.4 mi/kWh, 54.5 kWh with six miles remaining for a total capacity of 55.9 kWh per dash, and the website data. The car has only had six DC fast charges to 80%, and two of several minutes to test out chargers. We need a new acronym, YCMV, Your Capacity May Vary.

It’s likely your Bolt has an amount it doesn’t use, like the Volt. So the usable portion around 56kWh. Look for a TezLab type application to gather more detailed data. I think you’ll find it close to 56kWh.

Again, i’ve repeatedly gotten 59.9 kwh and a lighter foot than mine would have easily garnered over 60 kwh due to the reduced I squared R losses that result in excess heat from a heavy foot. Several other people have noted that they got over 60 kwh. Yes you can only get 58 kwh so you say. Be satisfied with that but don’t compare your isolated example with the general case of what owners are experiencing.

It was 67F, light wind, and drizzling on and off, at ~12:30 pm. It stayed that way until I pulled back in the garage at ~6:30pm. It was 71F for about 15 minutes when the sun peeked out while I was at lunch at 2:30 pm in Dillwyn. It was down to 65F when I got back. I had the climate set to 70F, fan on 2, def/face/feet buttons on, radio volume on 20. Wipers were on intermittent only, and probably 1/3 of the time. I ran the speed limit or 2-3 above the whole way. Nobody passed, or rode my tail. I drove through eight towns: Charlottesville, Scottsville, Fork Union, Dillwyn, Farmville, Goochland, Mineral, and Gordonsville…state highways, no interstate…highest speed limit was 65 mph. The Rivanna, James, and Appomattox rivers were all over their banks. I went through standing water on Rt 45. I pulled in the garage with 240 miles, 4.4 mi/kWh, 54.5 kWh used. Driving and accesories was 93%, climate was 7%. DIC said the average speed was 41.8 mph. I can’t imagine gentler driving than I did. My point is not that nobody has a higher capacity battery than ours, but that capacities are all over… Read more »

The label on the pack itself says 57 kWh…

Apparently the true capacity is a hotly debated topic.

This mix of units… It is time to evolve, get rid of ICE and imperial system.

Yep. It reminds me of how people still talk about the brightness of LED or CFL bulbs in terms of 40w, 60w, 100w, etc

Ron Swanson's Mustache

Would be interesting to know the cell density and compare that to the 2011 Nissan Leaf whose cell density is 141 Wh/kg.

Let me say that water ( liquid) removes heat 25 times faster that air. The most important thing is to keep the pack not just cool but balanced. The liquid (gel) would work as heat balance for the whole pack. It is well know that there are going to be batteries that get hotter and so keeping the whole pack at as close to a balanced temperature is the best thing. The batteries are cooled individually with the teather. But I would bet with some testing that the whole pack is cooled as well with the gel. It’s not water and But i would bet that is is meant to dissipate heat from the whole pack.
Charging and discharging has an entry and exit point so that is going to be he hottest and coolest. Heat balance for the pack.
Why do I think that because that’s what I would do.

Interesting factoid: the Kia Soul EV had 200 Wh/kg starting in the 2015 model year

If that’s correct, the 2018 Soul EV battery, with its 30 kWh (usable) capacity, would be equal to the Model 3 at 222 Wh/kg

or if you open Soul EV spec you can read that battery pack weights 274.5 kg and stop spreading nonsense

That is at the cell level, not the pack level. At the cell level, the 2012 Tesla battery pack’s Panasonic 18650 cells were already around 230 Wh/kg.

At the pack level, a 27 kWh Kia Soul battery pack has a specific energy of 98 Wh/kg. The Tesla Model 3’s pack level is somewhere around 180 Wh/kg, depending on the weight of the additional components that are not normally part of a pack.

Model 3 at least battery weight 9.87*80.5=794 + base plate 135lbs = 930lbs (422kg)
Model S P100D 10.3*102.4=1055 + 275lbs=1325lbs(601kg)

Don’t understand it all but know more than I did 5 minutes ago. btw saw Tesla model s sold at mecum Denver for 28k.

Am I misreading or does the armour in the P100D pack count as part of its weight in your calculation? If so, how much of the calculated density improvement here is due to counting the battery pack protection as part of the car’s frame instead of part of the pack?

Yes, they are weighing the entire battery pack — including the case — and using that as part of the calculations for energy density. Nothing wrong with that; it’s how everybody does pack-level gravimetric energy density calculations. (Of course, that wouldn’t have much effect on volumetric energy density.)

But how much of that mass/ weight savings is due to the TM3’s much lighter case is a question we can’t answer unless someone weighs the different empty cases.

The article gives module densities, not pack densities.

They state pack weight separately so you can calculate pack density and see the effect of removing side rails from the pack.

Interesting details but more than anything else, physics still make the Bolt a better choice today! I can go to most any Chevy dealer and drive a Bolt off the lot the same day. If I want a Mod 3 and reserved one today, there will be an updated Bolt on the lot before a reserved Mod 3 is delivered to me…

True. Amazing how much more desirable the Model 3 is to have that long of a wait list.

To me, this is all a “so what” kind of story. They both get about the same miles per charge, so why did they bother with the density? Especially since high battery density has a tendency to explode, right?

Better energy density = smaller pack size = smaller space inside the car needed for the pack = smaller car = lower cost car body.

Also, smaller pack size = shorter wires and smaller case = lower cost battery pack.

I went to a GM dealership about a month ago to get on the Bolt waiting list. I was told that I would have to wait at least a year to take delivery of a Bolt. I would have taken one on the spot if one was available. I’m in Canada. It sounds like it’s very different where you are.

Really? try walking into a GM dealer in Canada with cash in hand to see if they have a BOLT for you! Chances of getting hit by a LIGHTNING BOLT are better

when I start seeing recharging stations along I95 and it doesnt take half a day to recharge the battery, I’ll consider an electric car. Till then, I’m waiting for hydrogen to come on line.

Good thing you won’t need H stations along I95 since the H the car uses it’s absorbed straight out of the air. Keep waiting.

“Till then, I’m waiting for hydrogen to come on line.”

Then you’ll be waiting forever.

“Hydrogen is the fuel of the future… and always will be!” 🙂

You can get a full charge in 45 minutes at any super charger

There are 39 Tesla Superchargers along I95 with many more planned. That doesn’t include all of the destination chargers and 3rd party chargers. A supercharger charges a Model S to an additional 170 miles (270 km) of range in about 30 minutes and a full charge in around 75 minutes.

I too was once a fan of the Hydrogen car. Then I read. First off we have no way to make a large amount of hydrogen without involving nature gas. Second the filling speed of hydrogen is rather slow as well. The mechanics themselves is still stupid complex just like todays ICE engines and finally once you drive an EV there is no argument left. Tesla has charging stations all along the I95. Just stop every three hours or so and hit the head or grab a drink and you are on the road again in 20 minutes.

Very interesting article!
Can you add some explanation to the cooling “ribbon”?

The “ribbon” is the flattened tube which carries the glycol/water coolant, part of Tesla’s battery pack cooling system, preventing overheating. The “ribbon” weaves in and out between rows of cells,, part way around every individual cell in the pack.

The company is Munro and Associates –

At the AGM Musk indicated that a 30% volumetric density increase exists and may be implemented within 2-3 years.

@ George Bower:

Thanks for another “deep dive” technical article into EV tech, George!

Much appreciated, and this will let us do better analysis on what Tesla will be able to achieve with the Semi Truck.

Thanks for these excellent stats and #. Wow, Tesla leads in batteries in addition to their lead in motors, supercharging …

Very impressive!

Only downside is the inability to repair a module, but advantages in weight, temperature and fire control rule.

Hopefully Tesla will build on their history and we can expect the battery to be one of the more durable and reliable components of the car, so we won’t have to worry about repair or replacement of a module.

In the future when Model 3 battery packs and modules trickle down to the used market I expect third party businesses will refurbish and or remanufacture packs and modules for re-sale.

Sweet. Hopefully that will provide owners 20 years of pleasurable and safe service.

Can’t the fire hazard be eliminated entirely by going to gel electrolyte?