Tesla's Elon Musk expected to unveil 'million-mile' battery later this month

Tesla's Elon Musk expected to unveil 'million-mile' battery later this month

He's reportedly teasing a battery that is low-priced and created to last for a million miles of use.

According to the latest news, Tesla is trying to make cheaper battery cells for its Tesla Model 3 fleet in China.

Battery capacity and production costs has always been a limiting factor in terms of the manufacturing costs of electric vehicles, and is one big reason EVs carry a price premium when sold to customers.

We should hear more about this when Tesla holds its Battery Day event. It then plans to roll it out to other vehicles and markets, and ultimately produce batteries with new manufacturing processes that are meant to bring down labor costs while raising output volume, at so-called "terafactories" that would span up to 30 times the space of the current Tesla Gigafactories, including the one in Nevada.

It's not hidden that Tesla has invested significant capital in China. Panasonic declined to comment.

Taken together, the advances in battery technology, the strategy of expanding the ways in which EV batteries can be used and the manufacturing automation on a huge scale all aim at the same target: Reworking the financial math that until now has made buying an electric auto more expensive for most consumers than sticking with carbon-emitting internal combustion vehicles.

"We've got to really make sure we get a very steep ramp in battery production and continue to improve the cost per kilowatt-hour of the batteries - this is very fundamental and extremely hard", Musk told investors in January.

Tesla has reported operating profits for three quarters in a row, driving a near-doubling of its share price this year. These are most likely the team around Jeff Dahn who has been working on project Roadrunner for some time now, only CATL's involvement is new.

Specifically, Dahn's team developed chemical additives and nano-engineered materials that make lithium-ion batteries tougher. CATL's low-cobalt NMC battery packs are close to $100/kWh.

Recently, we also reported that Tesla patented a new battery cell that will use impurity-free electrodes. That is the magic number that industry analysts have said for years is the point battery prices have to get to in order for electric cars to be price competitive with conventional cars up front. It's also developing new recycling technologies for the components in its batteries so that its vehicle power sources can eventually be used across its other energy products to extend their useful life.

GM also plans to reach parity with its LG Chem Ultium batteries, but we don't know how long it will take GM to reach this level. Only the headline has been changed.

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