Expert Says Tesla Model 3 Battery Pack Is Most Advanced Ever Produced

JUN 27 2018 BY EVANNEX 38

BATTERY EXPERT: TESLA MODEL 3 HAS ‘MOST ADVANCED LARGE SCALE LITHIUM BATTERY EVER PRODUCED’ [VIDEO]

Tesla’s quest for a fantastic future consistently delivers surprising breakthroughs within the auto sector — popularizing long-range EVs is one of those game-changing developments and the Model 3 battery pack takes it to a whole new level according to one battery expert.

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Iqtidar Ali. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Above: A look inside the Tesla Model 3 courtesy of Jack Rickard (Image: EVTV)

The Model 3 battery pack uses Tesla’s next generation 2170 cells (21mm width, 70mm height) that contain 30 – 33% more energy when compared with previous generation 18650 cells.

Tesla and Panasonic’s joint R&D efforts made the new 2170 battery cell possible. This next generation battery is smaller, more efficient, simpler and easier to maintenance — yielding the new, groundbreaking Model 3 battery pack. So let’s dive into the details.

According to a seasoned electric vehicle battery expert, Tesla Model 3’s battery pack is a true engineering marvel and work of art — as evidenced in a comprehensive Model 3 battery pack disassembly video by the renowned (and animated) EV pro, Jack Rickard of EVTV.

Even though Jack has been working on electric vehicles for years, he was floored by the Model 3 battery pack noting: “this is the BEST most ADVANCED large-scale lithium battery ever produced on [the] planet and is YEARS ahead of anything currently in work.” Last fall, Jack had predicted big things ahead for Tesla. Now, it appears his suspicions about Tesla’s industry-leading battery tech advances have (indeed) come to pass.

WIRING HARNESS

Tesla has successfully reduced the wiring harness on the Model 3 to 1,500 meters in comparison to the Model S which has 3,000 meters of wire used to connect the drive units, charge port, air-conditioner and heaters.

The Model 3 battery pack is around 2.5″ (64 mm) shorter than a Model S battery pack with the same capacity of 75 kWh (thanks to the new Tesla 2170 cell form factor).

The illustration below showcases how the battery pack is connected to the rear drive unit and charge port at the rear and two wires stretching below the battery pack all the way to the center screen, air-conditioning and heater.

Tesla has used aluminium high voltage cables shielded with aluminum foil — aluminium is two times lighter than copper, another innovative move by Tesla.

Above: Model 3 battery pack wiring harness connections (Image: Jack Rickard/EVTV)

A key reason for this reduction in wiring length is an integrated hub of multiple Battery Management Systems (BMS), connectors, fuses, contactors and a high voltage controller (see figure below).

 INTEGRATED COMPONENTS IN THE ‘PENTHOUSE’

Integrated Components Module for Model 3 battery pack.

Above: Tesla Model 3 battery pack penthouse/integrated components module. Click image for high-res version in new tab. (Image: EVTV, illustrated: Iqtidar Ali)

Tesla has tightly knitted several components in a limited space presenting the ideal combination of advanced design and expert engineering. The setup of these major components saves well above 1,000 meters (1 km) of cables while providing ease of servicing as well.

The redundant three-phase charge port likely remains for Tesla’s European and Chinese customers as the company will require minimum modifications while delivering Model 3s for these regions — we have seen the same future planning for the dual motor setup where there’s no difference in RWD and AWD Model 3 chassis.

In addition, the pyro-fuse or pyro-disconnect (see illustration above) is another breakthrough by Tesla — a completely fail-safe solution in the unlikely event of an anomaly in the electrical system. This pyro-fuse can be detonated with a digital signal from the Model 3 on-board computer resulting in a total disconnect of the battery pack from the rest of the system.

MODEL 3 BATTERY PACK MODULES

Tesla has managed to pack the 4,416 cylinder cells (2170) in to four modules that weigh around 1054 lbs / 478 KGs combined.

Above: Tesla Model 3 battery pack modules uncovered by Jack Rickard (Image: EVTV)

As we can see in the photo above Tesla Model 3 modules are in rectangular shape, the two modules on either side are 67.5 in (1715 mm) long and weight 191 lbs (86.6 kg) each and the two center modules are a bit longer and heavier i.e. 73 in (1854 mm) and 207 lbs (98.9 kg). All four modules are 11.5 in (292 mm) wide and 3.5 in (90 mm) thick.

Also each module has cells grouped in to a brick of 46 cells (cylinders). The shorter modules have 23 bricks and longer ones (center) have 25 bricks of cells each.

Model 3 battery pack modules are tightly concealed in hard plastic and heavily bolted to the ground for the safety of the cells and related electrical and electronic systems. Each module has it’s own BMS circuit and according to Jack’s analysis it can monitor each cell in the pack — another example (Jack notes) that Tesla remains ahead of other legacy auto manufacturers.

Jack and his team at EVTV didn’t pop-open the cells from the modules as they’re planning to utilize the battery pack for solar energy storage. Note: this battery pack was recovered from a wrecked and submerged Tesla Model 3. Nevertheless, the battery pack components weren’t harmed and are functioning without any issues.

You can read Jack’s detailed article on Tesla Model 3’s electronics and deeper engineering insights on the Model 3’s battery pack on EVTV  — the following disassembly and analysis video from Jack and his team also makes for some fascinating viewing…

Youtube: Jack Rickard

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Written by: Iqtidar Ali, also lead writer at X-Auto — an automotive site focusing on Tesla and EVs; Source: EVTV

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.

Categories: Battery Tech, Tesla

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38 Comments on "Expert Says Tesla Model 3 Battery Pack Is Most Advanced Ever Produced"

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God/Bacardi

The fear is they’re TOO good and therefore too expensive to ever release the $35K version…

scott franco

At one time, digital camera chips with 1 million or more pixels cost more than a million dollars to make. They were used in high resolution telescopes and high power satellites. They cost so much because they were custom made one at a time by making 100’s of them and throwing away the defective ones.

Nowadays you can find a perfectly good one in the trash can as people throw out their old phones and get new ones. Things don’t stand still.

God/Bacardi

I’m not saying NEVER, I’m saying possibly not during the Model 3s lifecycle…

Rob R

I am a pessimist, but that is ridiculous.

Ambulator

The statement “30 – 33% more energy …” is misleading. The cells have less than a 5% increase in energy density from the old 18650 cells. Tesla’s main goal is to save money, and it looks like they’ve made some major improvements on that front.

F150 Brian

I think they meant 30-33% more energy DENSITY, since 33% more energy in a package 47% larger would not be impressive.

Pushmi-Pullyu

The statement is vague. Sadly, I think that is intentional; another example of Tesla’s spin. My guess is that it means 33% more energy density (ED) than the 18650 cells used the last time Tesla designed a completely new battery pack, which was for the (2012) Model S.

In other words, most of the increase in ED has been thru the ongoing year-on-year improvements in battery chemistry, from Panasonic and other battery cell makers.

I think Ambulator is correct to say that the switch from the current (not old) 18650 cells to the 2170 cells represents a very small — perhaps less than 5% — improvement in ED. There are a lot of people on the Tesla Motors Club forum that know much more about this subject than I do, A lot of them keep insisting there has been no increase in ED at all, but I can believe something less than 5% has been achieved.

Vexar

I think that cell density is the <5% aspect, but pack density increased. Let's not forget the detail!

Ambulator

Ha! The current cells are always the old ones!

Rightofthepeople

I had an increase in my own ED, but I took a little blue pill and now everything is hunky dory. 🙂

Timmy

This is why someone at Mercedes should have lost his (or her?!) job when they chose to name the smart EV the smart ED. Hello?

Ron Swanson's Mustache

Every marketing department should have a 12 year old with a dirty sense of humor on staff willing to point out stuff like this.

Ambulator

As Pushmi-Pullyu says, it’s hard to know just what they are talking about. My guess is that they referring to $/kWh improving by 30%-33%.

Huhu

Thanks for boosting my confidence. Thank you Tesla for lowering the price of Performance dual motor Model 3!!!

Pushmi-Pullyu

“Expert Says Tesla Model 3 Battery Pack Is Most Advanced Ever Produced”

Well of course it is. Did anyone doubt it?

“The Model 3 battery pack is around 2.5″ (64 mm) shorter than a Model S battery pack with the same capacity of 75 kWh (thanks to the new Tesla 2170 cell form factor).”

Actually, at least according to some authorities, the Model 3 has an ~80 kWh battery pack. According to those sources, it’s just the usable capacity which is ~75 kWh, not the full capacity.

antrik

According to the on-board computer, it’s 76 total and 74 usable.

I still don’t know where the 80,5 kWh theory comes from…

Ron Swanson's Mustache

“Tesla and Panasonic’s joint R&D efforts made the new 2170 battery cell possible. This next generation battery is smaller, more efficient, simpler and easier to maintenance — yielding the new, groundbreaking Model 3 battery pack. So let’s dive into the details.”

Uh, no, wrong. The 2170 cells are not smaller than the current 18650 cells, they are, in fact, slightly larger.

Source:
https://insideevs.com/dissecting-a-2170-battery-cell-video/

Also, aluminum wiring?

What’d they do, hire Lucas to do the electrics?

eject

Aluminium wiring has become standard in car electronics also in aircraft. Not only is it cheaper but lighter.

Ron Swanson's Mustache

Keep your socks and sandals on, I was just making a joke.

Dav8or

And it conducts electricity worse and fails sooner. Aluminum wiring is horrible. It’s not innovation, it’s cost cutting.

arne-nl

“It conducts electricity worse”

Relative to weight it conducts electricity better. HV powerlines are aluminium: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium-conductor_steel-reinforced_cable

“t’s cost cutting”

Silver conducts electricity even better. So by your logic, using copper is cost-cutting. You make it sound like reducing costs is a bad thing.

“and fails sooner.”

Evidence please?

Pushmi-Pullyu

“And it conducts electricity worse and fails sooner. Aluminum wiring is horrible.”

It’s true the resistance of aluminum is higher than copper, but that is easily compensated for simply by making the wire gauge a bit heavier. It still winds up being much cheaper and lighter than copper. Honestly, I don’t know why aluminum hasn’t replaced much more expensive copper wiring almost everywhere except where compact size is important, such as the coils of an electric motor.

Regarding your assertion “fails sooner”: It’s true that when subjected to repeated flexing, aluminium fails sooner than copper. But in a well-designed car, there should be little if any wiring that is frequently flexing. Where flexing is necessary, then copper should be used.

eject

It’s true that rigid aluminium conductors can fail from mechanical stress but they now make superflex aluminium conductors as well. They use them in windturbines and they can do the head swivelling.

Aluminium has a bad reputation for contact corrosion and high resistance at junctions leading to fires or causing failures. Aluminium is also exhibiting creep so it can not reliably be used in screw terminals. These things can be overcome by using spring clamps or crimping. All connections need to be treated with grease containing abrasive so the oxide layer gets destroyed while clamping or crimping while the grease prevents future oxidation of the bare aluminium. It simply requires properly trained electricians with the knowledge and equipment to use aluminium conductors properly. On the other hand every monkey with a screw driver can put in copper safely. So aluminium is rarely used in residential applications or elsewhere where layman handymans put their hands on.

Pushmi-Pullyu

In technical language, “battery” does not actually refer to a single cell, altho in common language it’s often used that way.

The use of “battery” in the article is the correct technical usage.

The usage of “battery” to describe a group of electrical devices dates to Benjamin Franklin, who in 1748 described multiple Leyden jars by analogy to a battery of cannon (Benjamin Franklin borrowed the term “battery” from the military, which refers to weapons functioning together).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_battery#History

#GrammarNazi

dan

The Italian, Spanish, etc word for battery is “pila”. The original English word that Volta used when he described his invention was also “pile”.

Raymond Ramirez

Volta called it a “pile” because the first cell was a stack of copper and zinc plates with the electrolytic that moves the charges (electrons) in wetted material between the plates. But that “pile” is still one “cell”.

eject

At best they could claim it is the most advanced tested. Also advanced doesn’t necessarily mean better.

Mister G

I hear you bigger is better not more advanced is better,i.e., bigger trucks are better, bigger houses are better, bigger gas guzzlers are better, bigger guns are better, bigger prisons are better, bigger government subsidies are better, bigger tvs are better and a bigger wall that Mexico will pay for is better lol this is America where bigger is better right?

CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP FOLKS thanks co2.earth

Seven Electrics

It’s so advanced, it cannot be produced reliably, quickly and cheaply with current manufacturing technology.

Rusty

* 15 mins to make a pack
* $100/kWh cells by years end –
* 15% less than last year
* 5000 packs per week currently
* $28 000 car at volume production
https:// electrek.co/2018/05/31/tesla-model-3-teardow-material-production-cost/
https:// electrek.co/2018/06/25/tesla-model-3-battery-production-5000-unit-per-week-says-gigafactory-employee/
https:// cleantechnica.com/2017/12/25/timeline-electric-vehicle-revolution-via-lower-battery-prices-supercharging-lower-battery-prices/

Mark.ca

He’s back!
You’re still on the seventh ev? I was expecting you would be on 20 by now…

_Q_

I heavily doubt that every single cell is monitored. For one it would be unnecessary cost of wiring and electronics and if cells are hooked in parallel what will you be monitoring? The voltage will equalize across all parallel connected cells.
And the misinterpretation of the energy density claims is clearly showing he did not even care to do the math.

Raymond Ramirez

I agree that individual cells are monitored in the Tesla design. They use many cells welded in parallel int a “brick” pr “pack” and that is monitored as a unit. GM/LG cells in the Volt and Bolt EVs are monitored individually. You can see the wiring during the Webb Auto disassembly videos at YouTube.

antrik

The Bolt uses three cells in parallel in each cell group, as opposed to the 46 in the Model 3. The principle is the same though: they both monitor cell groups, not individual cells.

antrik

This is just confusing terminology: some people use the word “cell” for what Tesla calls a “brick”, and is more commonly called a cell group. What is more commonly known as cell, is called a “cylinder” here.

Of course, monitoring each cell group separately is what *every* serious BMS does. The thing the EVTV guy was actually impressed about is that it has an additional wire for each cell group connecting to the BMS. (I.e. two wires per cell group, instead of the usual one.) It’s not quite clear though what these extra wires are used for…

viriato

But if the 2170 battery has a volume of 242 cm3, and 18650 about 165… what part of the improve is due to a new tech and what part is for the volume increase?. I think is not so impressive than it looks.

Rob R

Excellent item, very encouraging. Pleased to note reference to 3 phase charging for Europe being possible without major change. I was happy to see that it had “aluminium high voltage cables shielded with aluminum foil”, a great example of trans-Atlantic cooperation in the use of these two closely related metals.

Raymond Ramirez

“Note: this battery pack was recovered from a wrecked and submerged Tesla Model 3.” Did that Model 3 crashed into a submarine?