Tesla has finally decided to take the battery market seriously. The Californian manufacturer has unveiled the contents of its secret project “Roadrunner” and his only goal is to get Tesla to produce his own batteries. The announcement was made during Battery day, Tesla’s tech event presented by Elon Musk himself. The boss of the group has expressed his ambitions by unveiling a new cell technology, more compact and more powerful … and above all much less expensive to produce.
This should not soon upset the performance of Tesla in autonomy and for good reason, the expected gain is “only” 16%. However, this is significant progress in a very complex sector, which has seen the American company review most of the steps in the manufacture of an accumulator to simplify the different steps. Elon Musk acknowledged that advances in batteries ” were 1,000-10,000% more difficult to obtain than making a few prototypes “.
Greener batteries, really?
The other major novelty of this new generation of batteries concerns their environmental impact. Indeed, Tesla intends to tackle the thorny issue of recycling in a more serious way and that is why the new “batteries” will adopt nickel instead of cobalt.
The new manufacturing process will also implement a new process for integrating silicon into the anode. At present, the techniques for integrating silicon into batteries are expensive and complex. Tesla has developed a technique to take advantage of the metalloid with increased efficiency, at a ridiculous cost.
Finally, the last piece of this puzzle concerns the integration of batteries into car frames. Tesla will rethink the way it incorporates its batteries, in order to reduce the number of materials required and, by extension, the total weight.
The Californian manufacturer’s announcements are anything but a surprise. With an automotive market increasingly turning to hybrid and electric powertrains, the demand for batteries is booming. The main suppliers (LG Chem or Panasonic in the case of Tesla) could struggle to keep pace, which would also lead to higher costs. It was in order to limit this risk and in order to control its end-to-end production that Tesla embarked on the Roadrunner project.