Tesla’s Huge Advantage With Batteries and Drive Train

Cairn Energy Research Advisors, a consulting firm specializing in electric vehicle battery research, says Tesla’s cylindrical cell battery pack dropped to $158.27 per kilowatt-hour last year. Tesla is the only automaker to use cylindrical battery cells in its battery packs. The pouch or prismatic battery cells on average cost more than $200 per kWh in 2019.

Tesla’s advantages also are in the drivetrain. They are able to get more range out of the same kilowatt-hour batteries. The Porsche Taycan has a 95 kWh battery and gets only 200 miles of range while Tesla can get nearly 400 miles of range.

Battery cell costs are about 30% less than the battery pack costs. Batteries are improving by about 13-13% per year in terms of cost for kWh. This means that Tesla’s battery cells are becoming less than $100 per kWh in 2020.

Other sources claimed Tesla was already cheaper than $100 per kWh in 2018 and Tesla battery packs would be less than $100 per kWh in 2020.

Tesla announcement of a $40,000 cybertruck with up to 500 miles in range suggests that Tesla will have $108 per kWh battery packs in 2021. Tesla would be building 88 kWh battery packs for $9,500 by 2021. This would put the pack level costs at $108 per kWh by 2021. Tesla would have lowered battery costs by 46% drop from the Model 3 introduction.

Tesla is improving its price performance on batteries by about 14% per year.

There are estimates that the Tesla Cybertruck will need about the same watts per mile as a Model X. This is despite the Tesla Cybertruck being about 15% longer and 20% taller than the Model X. This could be about 38% more mass.

NOTE: author Brian Wang owns share in Tesla.

30 thoughts on “Tesla’s Huge Advantage With Batteries and Drive Train”

  1. From twenty-five dollars to three-hundred thousands dollars in 4 months ?. Yes, you are lying (well, more likely mistyping), but don’t worry, you can’t go to jail for lying about your own stock, only the people with responsabilites at Tesla, like Elon Musk, could and should have gone to jail for lying (like going private with funding secured, … …) and deceiving his investors.

  2. Not at all, because those numbers don’t mean anything about the efficiency of the Porsche’s drivetrain.

    The Taycan has very wide tires, much wider than any Tesla, because Porsche is all about the absolute best driving experience, not about fuel/battery economy or whatever. That doesn’t mean that their engines aren’t excellent, because they are.

  3. It’s a hobby robot I’m building as a project with my son, so it probably won’t have a high duty cycle. But that was one of my concerns. A bigger concern is that they’re likely not matched.

    The description says 4 cells, two in parallel, in series. I’d hope they have some sort of protection. We’ll see.

    I was actually playing around with the idea of equipping each battery with its own charger/buck up power supply, and having them all independently feed a bank of super-caps so the motors never see the variation in charge state, and I can transparently add more batteries if I want.

    Well, I looked at how it would fit, and the form factor really sucks for my robot, I’d probably have to disassemble the batteries, and rearrange the cells to jam them in there. But the price for the cells is pretty good, so probably worth doing.

  4. Show me the pickup truck you don’t mind getting run over with.
    And what product can a creative person not find a way to kill with? Perhaps they could be convenced to suffocate you with foam earplugs. At least it will be quiet.

  5. Maybe if you only charged it enough for 5 miles. If you are going any kind of distance, just the heat from the chemistry and resistance in the wires is sufficient to heat the battery back. It will make that heat in any weather conditions.

  6. Don’t know if it already has overcharging and over discharging circuitry built in. Probably not.
    But if you went with lead acid, you probably would have to buy deep cycle batteries anyway…which are not cheap. Unless you are just using it as a starter, or you are going to use this infrequently.

  7. The picture is great…a telsa cybertruck with built in rapdor Cooking grill for cooking stakes and baked potatoes… I could picture a family of Mexicans grilling tacos by the side of the road in LA with a cybertruck… then pulling out the Tesla nail gun and built in air compressor to create Some crates to sit on while making tacos…

  8. Taycan batteries never charge over 90%.

    People don’t buy Porsche’s because they are economical. People all of a sudden seem to think that everyone is an accountant when it comes to car purchases and that the cheapest car wins. Were that the case then people would only be buying Civics and Prius.

  9. Jay Leno’s Garage has the Taycan now, and I think the Porsche representative said the low range is due to battery longevity. For that to be the case I can only imagine they are aiming for the batteries to last the life of the car by keeping them extremely understressed, and never letting them drain more than 20%, and never charge more than 80%. That window is 60% of full capacity, which fits the range difference between it and the Model X.

  10. There is a loss of energy availability to the drive train. In Tesla’s case energy is spent warming the batteries. But there is a loss of efficiency within the cells so energy might as well be lost to space.

  11. I wonder how well it would have done in the -25 to -30 C weather we had for about a week in January around here.

  12. The battery is going to say there is less range until it warms up. A gasoline car will say that too as the volume of gasoline shrinks with cold. Less so. But in both cases, it changes nothing. The air is thicker. The road may be be wet and the tires will need to push the water away. But! That energy in the battery did not evaporate overnight. It is still there.

  13. In fairness I don’t think efficiency was Porsche’s top concern. Their CEO mostly talked about the Taycan’s track performance, and it’s not like their other cars optimize for mpg.

  14. This graph is not up to date. The new Renault 2020 Zoé gets 245 (WLTP) 219 (EPA) miles out of a 52 kWh battery. Weight 1475(kg) 3252 (lbs).

  15. If you believe these facts like I do, why aren’t you buying tesla stock like I am? $25,00 up to $300,000 in 4 months. If this is a lie I could go to jail for a very long time. Time, which I don’t have since I am 73 years old.

  16. My Model S sees only about a 25% drop in the winter. Some from cold but i suspect just as much from winter tires. Spiked tires have pretty high rolling resistance. I notice the same thing on my gas fueled Mazda.

  17. I watched an expert auto panel discuss BEVs yesterday. One of the panelists is currently drive testing a plug-in hybrid and the other a Tesla. Due to the cold weather both cars saw a drop of 40% in range. Not a big deal on a hybrid; huge deal for a BEV.

  18. Super-frustrating that everyone else is so far behind. Like really frustrating, people are going to lose their jobs because leadership in legacy auto were unable or unwilling to see the 10 foot high writing on the wall.

  19. I’ll look into that.

    Yeah, those prices do look pretty good. The form factor is a bit questionable, but I might go that route.

  20. Wish I could get batteries at that price point for my hobby robotics. The battery pack I really want for the robot I’m working on now is over a grand, I’m probably going to throw up my hands and buy a couple of car batteries despite the weight penalty.

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