Musk made the claim ahead of Tesla’s planned ‘Battery Day’ in September.
Tesla had some good news last month after Panasonic managed to improve the energy density of its 2170 lithium-ion cells. It resulted in an improved range for both the Model 3 and Model Y. However, four years from now those gains are expected to be 50 percent higher.
As Reuters reports, Musk hinted at the 50 percent energy density improvement in a tweet on Monday. He was responding to a tweet by Sam Korus, an analyst at ARK Investment Management LLC, who asked why Musk was excited about an electric jet even though electric flight requires hitting 400Wh/kg energy density. Musk responded by stating, “400 Wh/kg with high cycle life, produced in volume (not just a lab) is not far. Probably 3 to 4 years.”
If he’s right, then we’ll see 400Wh batteries arrive in 2024, unlocking the potential for electric jets, but also drastically improving the range of Tesla’s electric vehicles. Right now, Teslas use 260Wh batteries and have a range of 330-400 miles. By 2024, this density improvement suggests they’ll have a range of 500-600 miles, and that’s without considering further optimizations to how electric cars operate or any weight reductions.
Tesla is set to hold its Battery Day on Sept. 22, at which point we should hear more about how the company and its battery partners, including Panasonic and Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL), intend to improve battery performance over the next few years. Back in June, CATL said it has an electric car battery good for over a million miles “ready to produce.” Panasonic is also hoping to improve its 2170 battery over the next five years and push the density up by a further 20 percent.
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