Battery technology seems to be where it’s at in the car world. As is, Tesla has the best energy density of any car manufacturer, thanks in large part to their supply deal with Panasonic.
Today, Panasonic announced that energy density will be seeing a %20 improvement for Tesla 2170 cells in the next five years. That massive improvement will be rolled out in incremental steps, with the first %5 increase beginning in September of this year.
That September time frame coincides with the upcoming Tesla Battery Day, which will likely mark the conversion of Gigafactoy Nevada’s first battery assembly lines to the new chemistry.
Further, Panasonic announced that they are rolling out a chemistry that uses no cobalt in the next 2-3 years. Cobalt has been a contentious ingredient in Li-Ion batteries for years, since it’s not exactly mined in worker-friendly conditions.
There isn’t word yet on whether these technologies will overlap into the same product, or if the cobalt-free cells will be as energy dense as the other cells Tesla will receive from Panasonic. In fairness, Panasonic did say that is has already found a way to get their cells to an industry-leading %5 cobalt.
Now that Tesla has also begun working with LG-Chem and CATL for battery supply, especially for Chinese-made Tesla cars, these competitive advantages make a huge difference. Recently, CATL announced a cobalt-free chemistry, which supposedly will see use in upcoming Model 3 vehicles.
It’s only a matter of time before we see more electric vehicles with longer ranges and lower weights. Not to mention, other auto manufacturers which will be looking to buy up some of these cells when they can.