Videos: Elon Musk Discusses Model E – Apple – Battery Cell Costs / Energy Density – Battery Swapping – And More


There’s a lot to digest in these 3 poor quality (resolution is extremely low and audio is way quiet) videos of a recent California Public Utilities Commission event in San Francisco.

Even Elon Musk is Appalled by This Poor Video Quality

Even Elon Musk is Appalled by This Poor Video Quality

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk was a featured speaker.  The event was so packed that an overflow room had to be utilized.

According to 9 to 5 Mac, here are some of the highlights from this trio of videos:

  • There’s a back and forth discussion with an Apple iPhone engineer
  • The engineer manages a big part of the hardware development of the iPhone.
  • When Musk discusses energy density, the Apple engineer won’t disclose any info.
  • Musk claims Tesla can reach 260Wh/kg at the lowest price per in the industry
  • Model E expected to have 200 miles of range, possibly use a 48 kWh battery pack or thereabouts.
  • Battery swapping is behind schedule, but still coming

There’s more to glean from these 3 videos, provided you can deal with the poor video/audio quality…

Source: 9 to 5 Mac

Categories: Tesla, Videos


Leave a Reply

50 Comments on "Videos: Elon Musk Discusses Model E – Apple – Battery Cell Costs / Energy Density – Battery Swapping – And More"

newest oldest most voted

48KWh batterypack for Model E…realistically that means an EPA rated range of 160 miles tops. I wonder if that’s enough for the sort of massive 500K+/year production levels the Gigafactory and Tesla current stock value seem to be projecting.

As long as it still supports supercharging, I think most people can get by even with 160 miles.. Or lets say 150 to be more conservative.

150 EPA miles is probably the sweet spot for mass consumer adoption. Its enough that most people will never worry about running out during their daily driving. Its also enough to plan a longer trip as long as DC fast chargers are available en route.

If 150 miles were the sweet spot, why does the 260 miles version outsell the 210 miles version of Model S 2 to 1? I think range is very important and Supercharge capability is not a complete substitute for it. I think Tesla should really aim for that 200+ miles EPA rated range if it is shooting for the big sales numbers but I do understand how that could be tricky to fit into a $35K price target.

Because Model S owners have money. No, that’s not exactly fair. I have no doubt that people would purchase more battery capacity on any car if it were offered.

At 150 miles range, you get about 2 hours range at 65 miles an hour. Despite some of the folks here that seem to believe you need to be able to go 500 miles at one sitting, most people do not drive flat out for more than 2 hours (or even an hour). Even the ones that do do not do that often.

Gas cars are a very good comparison point here. Ranges between 200 and 300 miles are common in an average gas car/truck (my ranger gets just over 200). This is about a weeks worth of commuting, and reasonable range when doing long distance trips, that is, 2 hours of driving with 15 minute breaks (at least).

The 300 mile range of a Tesla IS useful right now. But that is because we are at the Model T stage of electric cars. There just aren’t anywhere near enough “refilling” stations.

You can’t put ALL of the problem on EVs. The charging infrastructure needs to step up as well.

Guess if those Superchargers are no more than say 50 miles apart it would make up for the shorter range and offer the sort of network people would consider convenient and safe. That means 3000 superchargers for the US alone. No big deal financially though if Tesla really manages to shift 500K+ units a year.

+100 “Because Model S owners have money.”

Seems plenty fair and mostly accurate to me. I bought a 40kwh model but I was in the minority. In 9 months I’ve maxed my range once, and we took my wife’s Volt twice for long trips. Some people travel longer distances on a more regular basis requiring the larger pack sizes. In my mind it would have required the 85kwh pack to be a reasonable long distance vehicle. For the 2-4 times per year that range would be needed, I valued $20k far to much to spend it on the larger pack. For the average Model S buyer, their values are different. For what I expect the typical Model E buyer to be, the smaller packs should be more popular.

You’re hauling around a 60kWh pack, though…

“At 150 miles range, you get about 2 hours range at 65 miles an hour. …most people do not drive flat out for more than 2 hours (or even an hour).”

For those who live in a country more free than the land of the free, where there are more reasonable speed limits, driving long distances as low speeds is unacceptable.

Taking 2 hours at 65 as an example means a distance of 130 miles.
For that distance I would not drive much below 90 if the road is free.
And I would be among the slowest.

You are talking about Tesla customers. And lets face it, for them money is no object or they wouldn’t be buying a Tesla in the first place. So why not go ahead and get all the bells and whistles?

When you get down to Joe Consumer, price becomes important.

The difference between 160 miles and the psychologically important 200 miles is about 10 kWh.

That’ll be about $1500 once the gigafactory is up and running. I don’t think that’s enough for Tesla to deem worthwhile from several points of view:
-the marketing value of 200 miles
-the lack of range for some parts of the supercharger network with only 160 miles
-the image Musk wants to keep with Tesla only selling “compelling” EVs

That’s a very strong argument if $1500 turns out to be accurate but $1500 will more likely be closer to the cost to make 10kwh. It will more likely represent $3-4k in the price of the vehicle. That is a different animal IMO.

You’re discussing pricing for those 10kWh as an option, not as a base feature.

Think of it in reverse: Imagine if you were an exec at Tesla, and think $37k is a good price for the 50kWh Model E, which earns $6k profit per car. So what would you price would sell it for by saving $1500 in parts (i.e. production cost drops from $31k to $29.5k)?

Do you think you’d get 30% more sales at $34k? Given that range is reduced and the car becomes less desirable, I doubt it, but even if you did, that’s less total profit (n*6000 > n*1.3*4500).

Throw in the intangibles I mentioned above, and I don’t think it makes sense for Tesla.

That’s indeed what he’s aiming for, as seen in the second video.

It’ll be tough to fit that into a $35, but I think it’ll be ~$38k after tax credit. Why? Because that’s the price of the 328i, C300, Q50, etc. The upscale image of Tesla is a very valuable (and surprising) asset, and they’re not going to jeapordize it by underpricing their car or cutting corners.

If the gigafactory gets them $150/kWh or lower, then 200 miles should be relatively easy.

Where is that ratio from? Only first orders? US only?

Your assuming the same aero and mass. I suspect the car will be much lighter and you might get 4 miles/Kwh.

Cars like Fit EV,i3 and Spark EV get that sort of mileage. Since Model E will be a “three series competitor” I doubt it will get sub compact mileage. Maybe Tesla could do a bit better than 160 EPA rated miles out of 48KWh but never 200.

If they can get to around 3500lbs, they can get 200 mile EPA. The Volt, at nearly 3800lbs, is almost there. Tesla can have smoother underbody and pickup a couple of Cd points in a few other areas or 1% of battery/PEM/motor efficiency and make it.

Yeah, the car would have to be REALLY aerodynamic and efficient to get EPA rate 200 miles. I don’t see it happening. 48KWH is double the battery of the Nissan Leaf which only gets 83 miles range. Double would be 166.
If the Model E is lighter, more aerodynamic, and more efficient, they could do a little better but I doubt 200 miles on the EPA rating.

Tesla did 4.6 miles per kWh with the Roadster, and 3.3 with the base Model S.

The Model E would have to basically be right in the middle to get 4 miles per kWh and 190+. I think it’s within reach.

The Model S has a lot of room for improvement with city economy, as it gets a slightly lower rating there than in the highway test, while most EVs (e.g. LEAF, Fit, Smart) get ~25% more mileage in the city. My guess is regenerative braking isn’t well optimized yet.

Most EV cars only pick up a relatively small percentage of braking energy.
With its fast charge capabilities which is the limiting factor the pack on the Tesla could pick up more, but we don’t know if it is actually set up to do so yet, so the Gen III might improve that.

I’ve just noticed that the Leaf is being compared.
That certainly does not pick up a high proportion of braking energy, as the pack simply can’t absorb it fast enough.

The LEAF can do 45kW fast charging. To saturate that with 50% efficient regenerative braking, you’ll remove kinetic energy at a rate of 90kW. For a 1500kg LEAF travelling at 30 mph, that’s 0.46g stopping deceleration. It’ll be more at lower speeds.

That’s plenty for the EPA city cycle, which never stops faster than 3.3mph/s (0.15g):
Even with 100% efficient regen, 45kW will give you 0.23g of deceleration.

So yeah, batteries aren’t a limitation for regen in an EV. That’s why they get so much better MPGe in the city than on the highway.

Won’t regenerative braking efficiency be closer to mid nineties (at least out of the inverter)?

Most EV’s weigh 1000lbs less. The weight penalty is exaggerated in city vs highway driving.

True, but the better your regenerative braking, the less that weight matters.

It’s definitely an aspect that Tesla has room to optimize.

Actually, regenerative braking in the Model S is very optimized – it’s on all the time. When you’re not accelerating or maintaining speed, you are regenerating and the brake lights come on automatically because the regen is more aggressive than coasting.

It would be 48kwh total usable. The Leaf is not 24kwh usable.

60kwh model s epa range is 208miles

why models e with 48kwh who is 20% smaller than model s can only achieve 160 epa miles?

48kwh/85kwh in the Tesla S is 0.0565
Times the EPA for the Tesla of 265 miles that comes to 150 miles.

A Gen III would be a lot lighter than the S, partly due to the smaller battery, and will have benefited from advances in lightweighting the car, and perhaps will be able to operate with a wider SOC, ie will be able to use more of its battery pack than the S without undue degradation in cycle life.

I’d assume that the projection of 48kwh is based on what they would like to be the SOC, aerodynamics and weight, but even if they have to up the battery pack a bit from that they should be able to hit 200 miles on the EPA.

After all, even if they were moving the present Tesla S, they would only need around 64kwh to do that.

I’d guess around 55kwh should do the job, with modest improvements in all criteria, but not the relatively large ones needed to do it on 48kwh.

Another 7kwh is not going to ruin the economics.

That is a good estimate.

@ 160 miles range, it will put the Supercharger network at a stretch for those Model E.

But I would imagine that is the “base” version and then they will sell you a 60KWh version (220 miles) for $10K more….

We are talking 2017 for Giga Factory production with 3 more years of research time before then. By then even Nissan may think about an increase in the Leaf’s range…dud!

By 2017 batteries should be at a higher density and cheaper…maybe not even using lithium. All this makes the Model E an doable project.

I like Tesla becoming vertically integrated But,they still depend on outside battery raw material suppliers unless they locate near a source. Didn’t I read recently where there is lithium in Nevada…

Musk is probably allowing for better battery technology in the next three years, as Volkswagen has just alluded to.

VW has more headroom, as their present battery pack is around half as energy dense as the one in the Tesla S!

From his talk in Amsterdam, Musk does not seem to be counting on increases in energy density for the Gen III, just cost reductions.

We can’t wholly discount an improvement in energy density though, perhaps from the current 3100Ah to 4000Ah, as in some generic non-EV cells, but have no real indication that that will be possible in this application.

I hear you, but I have to believe batteries will be at least 20 percent more efficient in 2017, at least from what I gather reading all the blogs about how many people are working on it. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

Buy flour futures!

‘”We took a tupperware container filled with flour, tipped it back and forth until cracks appeared, and it produced 200 volts of charge.

“There isn’t a mechanism I know that can explain this. It seems to be new physics. ”

Repeat experiments with other granular materials produced the same voltage phenomenon.

If it occurs along geological faultlines, sliding and cracking of soil grains could be generating millions of volts of electrostatic charge.

This in turn could seed lightning in the air above – creating a natural “early-warning system” for impending earthquakes.’

So if your EV runs out of juice, you can always bake a cake from your battery! 🙂

Well 48KWH is still 48KWH. Perhaps the battery will be a little smaller/lighter but the energy storage is the energy storage.

Thanks for fixing the spacing on name required…
What about if the price is 41k since I think he says with credit after 35k? So the 35k price implies the 7,500 hundred dollar tax credit.

That credit won’t last forever. It has to be affordable. Very good EVs exist now but do not sell that well. A 42k before credit Tesla has still limited market possibilities. It has to lease under $370/mo. Gm and Ford and VW are working at more volume by 2020 than Tesla will be able to produce. I wonder why those vendors don’t need special battery plants?

How will GM and VW each need 50 GWh/yr of batteries in 2020? That’s 3-5M PHEVs per year.

Their demand will be satisfied with a fraction of the gigafactory’s output, if they so choose.

Musk has said several times not in just these videos that the Gen III will be $35k before any tax credit. There is no guarantee the $7500 tax credit will be around in 2017.

Even if the credits are still around, there likely won’t full credits left for Tesla by the end of 2017. There are only 250,000 (or 200,000 can’t remember which) full credits per manufacturer. Tesla’s past and project sales are targeted to surpass 250,000 cumulative about around the end of 2016. Tesla cannot expect $7500 Federal credits to be available for the E.

This will put them at a competitive disadvantage to the lazy azz manufacturers that won’t have done much, if anything, to sell EV’s.

This is the unfortunate consequence of the lack of foresight in structuring the credits per manufacturer. Been lobbying for some time to get the credits changed to one pool. First come, first served. If there was one large pool to draw from, I guarantee you would see more urgency from GM and others to push their EV sales.

Musk has been saying 300k, in Europe. That about works to 160 miles. I don’t remember the last time he said “200 miles”, even if it is seen as a standing goal. 40kwh affords some efficiency gain, similar to the better wh/mi numbers of the 60 vs. 85.

300km is 186 miles, nearer to 200 than 160.

He said 200 miles in the second video of this article.

He has been saying Tesla won’t make less than 200 mile EV’s since cancelling production of the 40kwh packs. One of the few Tesla mistakes IMO.

I think the so called 200 miles number is no different from the 300 miles number of the Model S. Rated at 55mph in ideal condition.

So, a 160 miles range for a 48KWh is about real life range.

@ 48KWh, it will be lucky to do 120 miles range in extreme cold….

But that is probably how it can achieve the $35K price mark. Tesla will just charge you another $10K for the 60KWh version.

In the past Musk has tended to keep the specs more or less intact, and let the price take the strain.

One of the guys on another forum paid $20k more than Musk had estimated for the Roadster!

With a realistic package including luxuries like the steering wheel I would guess it will be more of a $45-50k car, before incentives, so it is BMW 3 series competitive rather than Toyota Corolla competitive.

The Model E will be 200 mile EPA range in the base model, without a doubt. Anything less would jepordize its ability to supercharge, based in charge rate not range.

There will surely be a larger battery offered, similar to the S currently. Expect its range offerings to be nearly identical to the current S. The future S will simultaneously get a bump in range to 300 base and 400 “big pack” to keep the value and differentiation.