Early this morning, Beijing time, on Battery Day, which Elon Musk called "An exciting day in Tesla's history", Tesla released a series of new battery technologies that will make the battery cost Significantly lower, which also means that Tesla will cut prices.
Musk said that Tesla is confident that it will produce an electric car priced at only US$25,000 (about 170,000 yuan) in the next three years , which will be the cheapest Tesla car in history.
This is also the first time Tesla has held a press conference specifically for battery technology. For Tesla, it is even more important than the release of any new car. In the words of foreign media Teslaati, this may change the future of the entire electric vehicle industry.
Battery costs have dropped by 56%, and the cheapest Tesla in history is coming
Musk mentioned the Tesla factory in Shanghai, China by name at the beginning, and thought that it took 15 months for the factory to go from wasteland to construction, which is very remarkable.
As always, Musk has repeatedly exposed the golden sentence. He defined Tesla as the company:
Tesla is both a software company and a hardware company. Think of our car as a laptop on wheels.
Musk also said that the two biggest problems currently facing battery production are the limited scale of batteries and the high prices. In order to break through this bottleneck, Tesla needs to increase energy density while reducing costs.
At today's conference, Tesla also brought specific solutions.
Tesla officially released an electrodeless battery cell. The convex electrode structure of the traditional battery is removed through laser technology. The conductive coating directly contacts the battery end cover, reducing the distance of current movement and reducing internal resistance.
This battery is 80mm high and 46mm in diameter. The energy density can be increased by five times, up to 200 Wh/kg, with a 16% increase in battery life and 6 times the power provided.
In addition, the effective contact area between the conductive coating in the electrodeless electrode and the battery end cover reaches 100%, which improves the heat dissipation capacity and also solves the heat generation problem caused by the battery being too large.
Musk emphasized that this battery is not just a concept product, but is expected to achieve mass production.
Tesla also redesigned the silicon in the battery, reducing the cost to $1/kWh, while increasing the range by 20%. Cobalt-free batteries will also be introduced, using nickel and expensive cobalt as battery raw materials.
To redesign the silicon in the battery element, 1 kWh only needs one dollar, and at the same time, the coating can increase the cruising range by 20%. Introduced cobalt-free batteries, replacing expensive cobalt with metallic element nickel as battery raw materials.
In the future, Tesla will use this nickel-containing battery in mid- to high-end models, while in low-end models, it will use lithium iron phosphate batteries with lower cost and energy density.
In addition to battery design, the production plant that Musk calls "machines for making machines" is also crucial. Musk said that the new manufacturing process can greatly improve the efficiency of the factory, and the capacity of a single production line can reach 7 times that of similar products.
In this way, one production line can achieve 20GWh of battery production, and the entire factory can achieve TWh-level production. The goal is to reach 100GWh in 2022 and 3TWh in 2030, and the overall cost is reduced by 18%.
Changes in battery technology have also allowed Tesla to adjust the structure of the vehicle and integrate the battery directly into the chassis frame. This means that electric vehicles can be equipped with more batteries, and the battery life will increase accordingly, and may even exceed 1,000 kilometers.
Moreover, the rear of the car will also use an integrated casting process, which can greatly save the production process and production time, so that each car can reduce the cost and 79 parts by 40%.
The most exciting thing is that Musk also "spoiled" an upcoming new car, priced at only 25,000 US dollars (about 170,000 yuan), which will also be the cheapest Tesla car in history. , Which is tens of thousands cheaper than Tesla, which was subsidized by Pinduoduo some time ago.
This is mainly due to the aforementioned battery technology that has reduced battery costs by 56%. This is undoubtedly an important milestone in the history of the electric vehicle industry .
As for when you can buy this Tesla electric car, Musk said on Twitter earlier that the products released on Battery Day will not be mass-produced until 2022, and it is estimated that it will take a while.
Finally, Tesla also released the new Model S, which accelerates from 100 kilometers in less than 2 seconds, has a top speed of 320km/h and a range of 832km. It is now available for reservation, but it will not be delivered until 2021.
Tesla's battery revolution
As early as 2018, Musk mentioned Tesla’s goal in his speech on Tesla’s Self-Driving Investor Day, which is to produce vehicles with a cost of less than 38,000 U.S. dollars and a battery operating mileage of 1.6 million kilometers. 3.5 mile/kWh ultra-low energy electric vehicle.
The prerequisite for achieving this goal is the innovation of battery technology. To this end, Tesla has hired a lithium battery expert and academician of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Jeff Dahn, as Tesla’s chief scientist, and provided "5 years of considerable research funding." We are developing lithium-ion batteries with longer lifespan, higher energy density and lower cost.
▲ Jeff Dahn.
Last year, Jeff Dahn’s team published a paper in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society , stating that they have developed a new generation of lithium batteries that can provide an electric vehicle with more than 1 million miles (about 1.6 million kilometers) of power. The Tesla Model 3 has a battery life of only 800,000 kilometers.
According to the paper, this new type of battery has a lifespan of 95% after 1,000 discharges, and only consumes 10% after 4,000 cycles. The general lithium battery lithium can provide 1,000-2,000 discharge cycles.
The service life of this battery can reach 2-3 times that of ordinary batteries because of the use of a new generation of single crystal NCM cathode and a new type of electrolyte. This single crystal nanostructure is more stable during the charging process, and it is not easy to crack and lead to battery performance And life decay.
What is the concept of 1.6 million kilometers? According to a Medium article , based on the average service life and average total mileage of American private cars, this is enough to keep a car on the road for 76 years.
1.6 million kilometers of battery life means that you can still use the battery for decades after you drive the car. It can't help but make people doubt that such excess performance is really necessary?
Of course it is necessary.
First of all, the "1.6 million kilometers battery" can increase the value retention rate of electric vehicles, which will give consumers greater purchasing power. In the past, the value retention rate of electric vehicles has been lower than that of fuel vehicles. The main reason is the short battery life, which greatly reduces the value of second-hand vehicles.
Long-range electric vehicles can also be used for taxis and long-distance freight that travel more than one kilometer. According to statistics, a truck can travel between 160,000 and 240,000 kilometers per year.
A report from Ping An Securities pointed out that "1.6 million kilometers of batteries" may be used in Tesla's Robotaxi, an unmanned taxi. Musk has stated that Tesla plans to produce 1 million Robotaxi by the end of 2020. Based on a Robotaxi running 300 kilometers per day, the "1.6 million kilometers battery" can allow Robotaxi to last for 15 years without replacing the battery.
▲ Waymo driverless taxi.
In addition, after the end of the vehicle life cycle, the battery can be recycled for use in low-profile models, or solar energy and other fields that require energy storage, further reducing the cost of battery use.
▲ Picture from: Ping An Securities
In addition to forming a research and development team, Tesla also acquired supercapacitor manufacturer Maxwell and lithium battery equipment manufacturer Hibar last year to improve its battery manufacturing process.
Maxwell is the world's number one manufacturer of supercapacitors, with two core technologies in the battery field: supercapacitors and dry electrode technology.
Similar to smart phones, another way for electric vehicles to relieve endurance anxiety is to improve charging efficiency. Supercapacitors can improve the battery's fast charging efficiency, reaching 95% of its rated capacity within 10 minutes, and have a longer cycle life.
Previously, Tesla mainly achieved fast charging by upgrading charging piles. Among them, the V3 super charging pile launched last year supports a maximum charging power of 250kW. Some Model 3 models can travel 250 kilometers in 15 minutes.
In addition, the operating temperature range of supercapacitors is wider, and they can operate normally in an environment of -40℃～+70℃, which can alleviate the problem of battery life attenuation that electric vehicles often encounter in winter.
As for the dry electrode technology, the energy density of the battery can be greatly increased. At present, Maxwell electrodes can achieve an energy density of more than 300Wh/kg, which is expected to reach 385 Wh/kg this year and 500Wh/kg after 2025.
At present, Tesla's highest energy density battery is the Panasonic 2170 battery cell used in Model 3, with an energy density of 260 wh/kg. Musk once said that when the energy density of the power battery reaches 400Wh/kg, commercial electric aircraft will become feasible.
Tiger, a technician who has been engaged in battery research and development for many years, once told Ai Faner that the technical bottlenecks of batteries at this stage are mainly energy density, cycle life and temperature characteristics, which makes electric vehicles face major problems in terms of mileage, safety and cost.
▲ Single battery of battery pack in electric vehicle
The above-mentioned battery technologies have solved the problems of mileage anxiety and safety to a certain extent, but if the cost cannot be further reduced, it is still difficult to popularize electric vehicles on a large scale.
But this is what Musk is good at. SpaceX greatly reduces costs through rocket recycling. In Tesla electric vehicles, new battery technology will take on this important task.
Musk wants to make a fuel truck an expensive horse
In February 2008, Tesla delivered the first mass-produced electric car Roadster, using 18650 lithium cobalt oxide batteries produced by Panasonic. The cost of the battery is as high as $600-800/kWh, which is 3-4 times the price of gasoline. . The whole car sells for 109,000 US dollars, which is destined to be a toy for the rich.
To reduce the cost of electric vehicles, the key is to reduce battery costs, because battery packs can account for about half of the cost of electric vehicles.
The U.S. Department of Energy once proposed to position the battery cost target at $100/kWh. Once this level is reached, the price of electric vehicles can reach the same level as that of fuel vehicles.
According to foreign media Electrek, Tesla’s internal battery project Roadrunne aims to mass-produce new batteries with a cost of $100/kWh.
However, ten years ago, the cost of battery systems in the industry generally exceeded US$1,000/kWh. Many battery experts believe that the goal of US$100/kWh is unlikely to be achieved, because the efficiency of the battery is far from increasing every 18 months in the current chip field. 1 times Moore's Law.
However, a report by investment agency UBS shows that the cost of lithium batteries produced by Panasonic and Tesla has been as low as 111 US dollars/kWh, which is already the first in the battery industry, and is only one step away from the goal of 100 US dollars/kWh.
▲ Picture from: Financial Times
Why is the cost of batteries for electric vehicles so high? A large part of the reason is from cobalt, a battery raw material. In most electric vehicles including Tesla, cobalt is an important battery raw material, which can prevent the battery from overheating and prolong the service life.
Cobalt is a rare metal with limited reserves. The world's proven cobalt reserves are about 7 million tons. Based on the 140,000 tons mined last year, cobalt will be exhausted in 50 years, and the increase in the number of electric vehicles will still Will advance this time.
▲A cobalt mine in Congo. Picture from: DW
In addition, more than half of the world's cobalt reserves are concentrated in the turbulent Congo, causing the price of cobalt to continue to rise, even exceeding 660,000 yuan/ton in 2018, which makes the cost of batteries stay high.
Then can't we make batteries without cobalt?
Of course, two battery technologies have been verified, one is a cobalt-containing ternary lithium battery, and the other is a cobalt-free lithium iron phosphate battery . The latter has a lower cost and a longer life.
According to Reuters, Tesla is producing a lithium iron phosphate battery with the domestic battery giant Ningde Times. The battery composition cost has even dropped to $80/KWh. The domestic Model 3 has appeared in the new car catalog of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. version.
The cost of using lithium iron phosphate batteries to reduce costs is the decrease in energy density, which means that the battery life of lithium iron phosphate batteries under the same quality is lower than that of cobalt-containing ternary lithium batteries, and it cannot simultaneously solve the mileage anxiety and cost issues.
Taking the Ningde era as an example, the energy density of lithium iron phosphate batteries can reach 160 wh/kg through CTP technology. This is already the limit of current lithium iron phosphate batteries, but it is not a short distance from ternary lithium batteries.
▲ BYD's “blade battery'' is also a lithium iron phosphate battery.
However, "cobalt-free" is indeed the direction of battery development. Although Tesla’s batteries are still inseparable from cobalt, the cobalt content of batteries in successive generations of products is continuously decreasing, and Tesla also focuses on today’s battery day. A cobalt-free battery. .
Jeff Dahn, the chief scientist of Tesla, said in an interview that everything they did was aimed at three goals: reducing battery costs, extending battery life, and increasing energy density .
It is not difficult to achieve one of the goals, but achieving these three goals at the same time can be regarded as a revolutionary innovation. In the past 20 years, there has not been much breakthrough in commercially available battery technology, but the surge in market demand has forced humans to find better battery solutions as soon as possible. In 2018, Nature magazine predicted that "we are only 10 year."
Today's Tesla Battery Day can be said to be an important step in the lithium battery revolution. To popularize electric vehicles, reducing costs is the only way, but if they cannot replace breakthroughs in terms of service life and energy density at the same time, it is still not easy to replace fuel vehicles.
Musk has said that he hopes that all vehicles can be electric except rockets. To realize this dream, we must first make electric vehicles as competitive as petrol vehicles, and make consumers feel that petrol vehicles are outdated, just as Carnegie Mellon University professor Venkat Viswanathan said :
Musk wants you to think of a petrol car as an expensive horse.
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