2020-09-24
Tesla exhibits ‘tabless’ battery cells aimed at enhancing its EV range

Tesla exhibits ‘tabless’ battery cells aimed at enhancing its EV range

Photo Courtesy: Tesla

Tesla has announced its plans to develop a “tabless” battery that could enhance an electric car’s range and power. The company will produce its new batteries internally, which Tesla CEO Elon Musk forecasts will help radically reduce costs and permit the company to ultimately sell electric vehicles for the same price as gasoline-powered vehicles.

The battery is projected to lower Tesla’s cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Many experts believe that lowering these costs would allow Tesla to radically lower the price of its cars, thus making them far more accessible. The new battery manufacturing plan was announced during the company’s much-hyped “Battery Day” event in Palo Alto, California.

Musk believed Tesla accomplished this breakthrough by eliminating the tab, a part of the battery that forms a connection between the cell and what it is powering. These new tabless cells, which Tesla is calling 4860 cells, will give the company’s EV batteries five times more energy capacity, make them six times more powerful, and facilitate a 16 percent range increase for Tesla’s vehicles. The tabless cells were among the first declarations from Tesla’s Battery Day.

The new cells are bigger than Tesla’s present cells, measuring 46 millimeters by 80 millimeters (thus the name, 4680). In addition to more energy and power, the new cells will result in a 14 percent reduction in cost per kWh at the cell form factor level only, Musk said.

During the event, Tesla’s vice president for powertrain and energy, Drew Baglino presented more insight into the new cells. He said that Tesla’s engineers “laser patterned” the current foils in the cell to generate a “shingled spiral” that results in a shorter electrical path length of 50 mm, against the existing 250 mm length in the existing cells.

“You have a shorter path length [for the electron to travel] in a large tabless cell than you have in the smaller cell with tabs,” Musk further. “So even though the cell is bigger, it has more power.”

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