Musk Promises Million-Mile Tesla Battery, Architectural Changes

A story by Susan Karkin on says that Tesla CEO Elon Musk will announce a major battery breakthrough today in reference to the Model 3 Tesla. The announcement will be live-streamed at the stockholder meeting, 1:30 p.m. PST.

Musk is expected to unveil breakthrough battery technology and automotive architecture, including a longer-lasting “million-mile” battery that could drop electric vehicle (EV) prices to those of gasoline cars and contribute to the electric grid. Musk will also discuss whether he will stand by earlier promises to deliver Level 5, fully autonomous vehicles (AVs) this year, especially in the wake of a Consumer Reports review this month that found Tesla’s current self-driving capabilities falling short.

Musk is truly a marvel to behold in the business/entrepreneur world.

“Tesla is hugely controversial,” says Lawrence Fossi, an attorney, Tesla blogger who goes by Montana Skeptic, and former portfolio manager with a short position in Tesla. “So why are people buying this stock? Some think it’s a growth company and the greatest disruptive transportation innovator in the past century. So, to them, the stratospheric price to earnings ratio [of 1137] is justified. Others are momentum traders riding the share price exuberance. And there’s a religious aspect of Tesla. It has this charismatic CEO and intensely devoted fan base that attacks its enemies. It’s a true cultural stock.”

Yes, there are many ways to get excited about what Musk has accomplished in the last few decades. He has launched and landed his SpaceX Corporation with great success. Neuralink and The Boring Company have also garnered glowing headlines for Musk.

However, sometimes Musk’s promises become hard to keep. Questions are being raised about his battery and the change in materials in its production. The progress on autonomous vehicles has also been lagging, according to experts. In the short run, industry insiders have worried about Tesla possibly rushing its autonomous driving technology to market, especially given the industry’s lack of regulations and Autopilot-related fatalities. They even question whether the world’s most expensive car company is actually profitable.

Battery Day

This mixture of doubt and intrigue has fueled excitement about Battery Day. Musk is expected to give a tour of the company’s cell production at its Fremont plant, and announce cheaper, more efficient, and longer-lasting battery technology that can be recycled for energy storage.

“It’s gonna blow your mind,” he teased last spring.

For its EVs, Tesla uses lithium-ion batteries with nickel-cobalt-aluminum cathodes, which it produces with Panasonic, and nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC), which it buys from South Korea’s LG Chem. However, it’s working toward mass-producing its own EV battery cells through its Roadrunner Project. Last year, it bought battery manufacturers Hibar Systems and Maxwell Technologies, which makes supercapacitors and dry cell battery technology. In April, Tesla signed a deal with South Korean Hanwha Corp, which makes battery formation equipment. And since 2016, it’s been funding battery research by a Canadian team led by lithium-ion battery pioneer Jeff Dahn.

“Last year, Musk began hinting at a ‘million-mile’ battery that will enable greater range at a lower cost, and last a million miles—with an eye toward lowering EV car prices to those of gasoline cars,” according to the report. “This year, Reuters reported that Tesla developed this battery with Chinese battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) and Dahm’s lab. (CATL confirmed it had a battery designed to last 16 years and 1.24 million miles, though it’s uncertain whether this is the same battery.)”