Tesla bought Maxwell Technologies for their dry battery technology. Maxwell proved 300 Wh/kg energy density is which 20-40% better than current Tesla batteries. Maxwell has a path with 15-25% improvement every 2-3 years. This should lead to 500 Wh/kg by 2027. This would give Tesla a 5-year battery lead on the rest of the world. Tesla could get a three-year pure technology lead and a two-year lead by more rapidly scaling production at its gigafactories.
Tesla could reach $50 per kilowatt-hour with 500 Wh/kg. This would mean half the weight in batteries while producing the same level of energy as the best 250 Wh/kg batteries of today. This would mean $4000 instead of $12000 in batteries for an 80 kWh battery pack.
This would enable far better electric trucks. Electric semi-trucks need to use up nearly half of their cargo capacity on heavy batteries. Energy-dense batteries will make longer-range electric trucks with competitive cargo capacity.
The batteries could also enable electric planes to be competitive flying 100-200 passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The batteries will make new disruptive products feasible.
There are various programs mostly focused around solid state batteries and lithium sulfur batteries. Both have had some commercialization with gadgets or applicances but not cars. They are targeting the same kind of performance as Tesla’s Dry battery technology. However, it currently appears that Tesla could have an advantage getting the new technology into cars and using them to lower costs and boost performance.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.