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Tesla’s next-gen batteries could increase range by an impressive 20%

It’s all about that range anxiety.

tesla badge on rear of model 3
Image: Kevin Raposo / KnowTechie

Some electric vehicles (EVs) are about to get a huge bump in range, thanks to the upcoming 2023 production of next-gen batteries. That’s according to a report from Nikkei, which states the new Panasonic cells are being readied for mass production in vehicles like Teslas.

During its annual Battery Day in 2020, Tesla said the next-gen battery cells are six times more powerful, while also allowing for a 16-percent increase in overall range for the battery pack. Those improvements come with a 14-percent decrease in cost per kWh, a substantial saving for Tesla or any other EV maker.

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You can see the difference between the cells in the image below. The next-gen battery cells are called 4680, as they are 46mm x 80mm in size. That’s around eight times the volume of the current 2170/18650 batteries that are used in the current crop of Teslas.

panasonic 4680 lithium cell on left, 2170/18650 battery cell on right
Image: Tim Kelly / Reuters

The biggest bonus for Tesla with the new battery cells isn’t the capacity, but the size. It enables them to switch the battery pack to a high-strength load-bearing part of the chassis, instead of a slot-in battery as it is now. That will also enable a weight reduction of the entire vehicle, helping to improve things like handling.

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Tesla is also working on its own production line for the 4680 battery cells. Mass production is still in the works, with CEO Elon Musk sticking to a 2022 timeline. Even with producing their own cells, the plan is to also increase purchases from Panasonic, and its other two battery suppliers, LG and CATL.

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