As you may have seen, yesterday Elon Musk announced on Twitter that Tesla will kill the 75 kWh battery for Model S and X. Those who are interested in buying should get their order in within the next 4 days.
Not only is this a small demand level to sell more cars in Q1 2019, I believe there is a larger driver for Tesla.
This video will cover my theory on why.
1. Larger battery offerings
We know that Tesla has the ability to offer a longer range vehicle based on what we’ve seen with the Roadster and Semi. What we don’t know is will Tesla use the current battery cells, the 18650 (18 mm x 65 mm), the 2170 (21 mm x 70 mm) or something completely different. Video: https://youtu.be/ifaE3DUJD34
Elon said in an interview with MKBHD that doubling the modules of the Roadster would only increase the volume of the pack 80% or 4-5 inches higher. Video: https://youtu.be/MevKTPN4ozw.
The potential switch also aligns with the end of Tesla and Panasonic’s agreement of 2 billion 18650 cells announced in 2013, which according to my estimates has ended. Article: https://insideevs.com/panasonic-to-supply-tesla-with-2-billion-lithium-ion-battery-cells-from-2014-to-2017/
2. Supercharger v3
A breakdown of a Model 3 by the YouTube channel Ingineerix
notes that the charging cable on the Model 3 appears to be able to take a higher rate than S and X due to its diameter. Video: https://youtu.be/rDYbvI32OBE
Finally, if this is not convincing enough, Elon stated recently that V3 should arrive some time early 2019.
If Tesla moves to 2170 cells for S and X, it should by nature of the battery architecture be able to withstand an upgrade from 120 kW charge rate to something higher.
Both Elon and JB Straubel are on the record saying that they think 350 kW is too high.
Here’s what Elon had to say on a Q1 2018 quarterly call:
“We’re definitely going to be improving our Supercharger’s technology. The thing about a 350 kW charger is that it doesn’t actually make a ton of sense, unless you got a monster battery pack or have like a crazy high C rating… We think 350 kW for a single car; you’re gonna frag the battery pack if you do that. You cannot charge a high-energy battery pack at that rate, unless it’s a very high kW battery pack. So, (for us), something along the couple of hundred, 200-250 kW, maybe.” Article: https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-supercharger-v3-first-details/
If Tesla moves to a 250 kW Supercharger this ~2x improvement on it current 120 kW charge rate.
This could potentially get a 0-100% charge in about 30 minutes. If we apply Tesla’s current approach of charging quickly on the front end, then slowing down at the battery gets closer to a full charge, we might see an 80% in 15 or less.
Could this also impact the size of the battery in S and X? Elon has said on multiple occasions that he does not see the battery going beyond 100 kWh but perhaps he meant based on the 18650 cells.
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