Tesla is reportedly close to announcing a new battery that promises to last much longer than current batteries, and cost less to produce.
Citing sources familiar with the plans, Reuters reported Thursday that Tesla and Chinese battery supplier CATL have developed a low-cost battery capable of lasting a million miles.
The breakthrough is reportedly chemical additives and nano-engineered materials that make battery cells more resistant to damage caused by repeated rapid charging, thus extending their life.
While most cars are scrapped well before they reach a million miles, the long-lasting batteries could be recycled or given a second life as energy storage for supporting a grid. There's talk of Tesla cars even being used to support the grid by charging up on excess solar energy during the day and then feeding this back into the grid at night when demand is high.
Tesla charging on EVgo network
The new battery will be introduced in Tesla Model 3 sedans built in China late this year or early next and could also help bring the cost of manufacturing an EV in line with gasoline-powered cars, according to the sources.
Making this possible are new methods of producing batteries at volume and reducing or even eliminating the use of cobalt, which is the most expensive material used in batteries today. Per the sources, the new battery's cells could cost less than $60 per kilowatt-hour.
Other automakers have said a cost of less than $100 per kwh would already dramatically reduce the overall cost of a battery from current levels. For example, General Motors' new Ultium battery entering production in 2021 is expected to have cells priced below the $100 per kwh mark, also due to a reduced reliance on cobalt.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been hinting at a “Battery Day” event for late May so perhaps we'll receive official information on the company's battery plans shortly. Stay tuned.