Panasonic 18650 High Capacity Lithium Batteries
While the world eagerly waits the arrival of the Tesla Model 3, it's Panasonic/Tesla and the battery gigafactory that may well become the next big disruption for Tesla in the electric car industry.
There's a lot at stake with the gigafactory, but according to Panasonic, the next-gen battery is a big deal.
Per Car & Driver:
"Barring a breakthrough in battery technology, the largest cost savings for Tesla will come from optimizing every aspect of the supply chain. Musk wants to go as far as importing steel and aluminum to stamp out cases for the battery packs. “It’s a lot faster, a lot less linkage, a lot less packaging, and inventory would be reduced,” says Bob Rauh, director of business development for automotive and infrastructure at Panasonic."
But it's not just the packaging and manufacturing that will be changed:
"Panasonic is studying new cylindrical-cell geometries that would optimize both the cost and the energy density for Tesla’s needs. Today’s Model S lithium-ion battery already uses a nickel-intensive cathode that is cheaper than the usual cobalt chemistry, but Tesla acknowledges that it is working with new cathode and anode materials for its next-generation battery, hoping to improve cost, density, and longevity."
So, cells tailored specifically for Tesla, optimized to reduce cost and increase energy density.
Lastly, there's this from Car & Driver:
"Musk’s ambition—he claims the Gigafactory will supply battery packs for 500,000 cars per year by 2020—means Panasonic could be manufacturing billions of battery cells annually for Tesla. That kind of volume would allow Tesla to create its own economies of scale for a new battery shape rather than depend on the 18650. “The sheer size of the Gigafactory allows us to drive what is the most cost-effective size of the battery,” Rauh says."
It's not often that Panasonic discusses this Tesla battery stuff on the record, so this rare conversation with Car & Driver really provides us with some insight into the future plans of the Tesla-Panasonic partnership.
And like we stated above, Tesla's biggest breakthrough coming in the foreseeable future is likely on the battery front, which is needed to make the Model 3 a reality. After the battery breakthrough, the electric Tesla for the masses comes and that car promises to change the electric vehicle segment forever.
Source: Car & Driver