Tesla has battery cell manufacturing research at a “skunkworks lab” at Tesla’s Kato Road facility near its car plant in Fremont, California. Employees in Tesla’s battery R&D teams are now focused on designing and prototyping advanced lithium-ion battery cells, as well as new equipment and processes for higher volume battery production.
Tesla will have an investor battery and powertrain day before the end of 2019, where they will likely discuss the production of Maxwell dry cell batteries.
Tesla completed the purchase of Maxwell Technologies which will give Tesla higher energy density batteries, lower costs for batteries, double battery life and will allow battery factories to have 16 times the production in the same space.
Those who are down on Tesla say that Tesla’s batteries are not that much better than other electric car companies. However, Tesla’s battery dominance will become more clear next year and then Tesla battery domination will grow as they increase energy density to double current levels around 2025
Tesla bought Maxwell Technologies for their dry battery technology. Maxwell has already 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.
Tesla might be able to get 385 Wh/kg in batteries in 2020.
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.
Solid State Batteries Can Compete on Energy Density But Are Six to Ten Years Away
Panasonic has said solid state batteries are ten years away. Volkswagen thinks they can get them by 2025. Fisker has delayed solid-state batteries from 2020 to 2022.