Tesla has been known as a manufacturer that has one of the strongest battery packs. Its Model S has a battery pack that weighs 1200 lbs, but the cells are cylindrical in shape making them easy to manufacture.
What battery does Tesla Use? In Tesla Model S and X, the battery pack consists of 18650 cells that are manufactured by Panasonic. There are 7104 separate cells. The cells are in modules that are in a series. Each module contains 444 cells. There are a total of 16 modules that creates a voltage of 23 volts each. The total voltage for the battery pack is 375 volts.
Even though Tesla has a unique battery pack due to its module and the shape of the cells, is it a battery pack that is superior in quality? How effective are their manufacturing processes for their battery packs?
How Effectively is Tesla Manufacturing its Battery Packs?
Since electric cars are greener than gas cars, processes to produce them need to cause a minimal amount of harm to the environment. The biggest threat to the environment in a manufacturing sense is battery production. You need to use the least amount of fossil possible to safeguard the environment.
How does Tesla’s battery pack production compare to others?
- They are using cells that are cylindrical in shape. Each cell looks like an AA battery, although slightly smaller.
- Production of this shape is well established and the cost to the environment is minimal. They have managed to reduce their cost of battery pack production down to $158 per kilowatt-hour. That cost was $100 just 4 years ago.
- Other manufacturers have cells that are pouch-like or that are shaped like prisms. This shape increases the cost to manufacture the cells.
- Tesla assembles its cells into battery packs within their gigafactory (also called Tesla Giga Nevada). This factory is a subassembly factory for its electric cars. Everything is under one roof. In other words, less transport is required since assembly is done onsite. Less transport means that less gasoline is used that creates exhaust that harms the environment.
- They are even planning on powering this huge plant with solar energy, geothermal equipment, and wind energy.
- The other manufacturers have a lot of respect for Tesla and its methods for battery pack production.
- Toyota is planning on creating a partnership with Panasonic, which makes the cells for Tesla.
- General Motors is teaming up with LG Chem to build a plant in Ohio that will cost more than $2 billion. They are in the last design phase for the upcoming Hummer Pickup that is scheduled to hit the market in 2022.
It is evident that Tesla has an efficient subassembly process for battery packs and their electric vehicles. Nevertheless, is the quality sub-par? One way of looking into the strength of their battery packs is to analyze the specifications.
What are the Specs for the Typical Battery Module for the Model S and X Tesla
Each battery pack for the Model S and X has 16 modules. I will examine the specs for a typical module:
- The cells in each module are very dense, allowing in a classic configuration, for a vehicle to have a range of 200 miles.
- Each cell is at 3400mAh within a 74p6s configuration. The mAh amount is the measurement of power based on time. For instance, a 3000mAh battery could power a device that draws 100 mA or milliamps for a total of 30 hours. The 74p6s configuration is 74 cells that are in a series, that are in 6 groups.
- Each module weighs 55 pounds.
- Each cell is fused on both terminals to ensure a safe and effective connection.
- A module contains 2 thermistors that are great for voltage regulation and temperature control.
- The total voltage for a module is 22.8 volts or 3.8 volts per cell.
- The cells are rated at a peak level of 750 amps.
What is the Actual Story Behind the New Tesla Cell that Has a Massive Lifetime
There has been a lot of hype around the million-mile battery pack that Tesla is developing. One of their top gurus for Tesla, Jeff Dahn published a paper along with others on their newest battery chemistries.
Secrets of the Structure of the Million Mile Battery Pack Had Been Revealed
Even though the complete structure of the million-mile battery had not been revealed, many important details surfaced in the paper co-authored by the top Tesla guru.
I am not sure if this means that Tesla does not have exclusive rights to all design aspects of this massive change in structure for a battery pack. I think that perhaps that they do not or the article would have never been published.
Here are some designs featured that surfaced in the paper:
- The battery uses nickel manganese cobalt oxide that is being used for the cathode in the battery. A cathode is a terminal that has a current flowing through it.
- The structure of the NMC crystal was also highlighted. This new structure causes a lot less wear and tear which any manufacturer would love to implement.
Usually, battery designs are considered top secret, but this article is quite open with respect to certain components. Some electrical engineering experts feel that maybe details were revealed that were incomplete and that Tesla has enhanced further the design.
Nevertheless, the paper does give others some tips on the direction to go so that the tech on battery design can reach a new high.
What Does Tesla Say About the Design of this Long Lasting Battery?
Tesla states that there can be as much as 6000 cycles for a battery pack using their newest design. This is why they are claiming that you could achieve 1 million miles per battery pack. Of course, that is assuming that the battery is totally discharged each time before charging happens which is not what most owners are willing to do. Nevertheless, there will be a much longer lifespan for battery pack than before.
Furthermore, it is extremely rare that a car can deal with that much mileage. Most would fall apart at the 500,000-mile mark.
The body frame and the electronic motors may last, but other components would probably not last. However, the battery pack could be used in another vehicle and continue to live on to get closer to its million-mile mark.
This tesla million-mile battery pack would fair better in robotaxis because they can reach almost full discharge on a daily basis. Robotaxis would probably be used up to 200 miles per day since that is around the mileage for the average taxi in New York City. In other words, they will need to be charged up quite often.
The daily use of robotaxis may sound very fiction science to most of us, but it might become a reality and the Tesla battery pack format would work wonders for reducing the cost to have this autonomous form of transportation.
If we get to the point of having semi-automated vehicles, I feel that the use of electric cars would increase. We would be able to use the internet while traveling on the highway and basically relax more so while driving from destination to destination.
What are the Differences Between the New Tesla Model 3 2170 Cell and the Model S and X 18650 Cell?
The Present Model S is using the 2170 cell and Musk does not have any plans to switch the Model S and X over to the 2170 from the present 18650 cells.
Panasonic is still supplying the 18650 cell format to Tesla and they might start to produce the 2170 cells. It has not been announced if they will be supplying the 2170 cells to Tesla since the existing contract is for the 18650 type.
What are the differences between the two formats?:
The Standard 18650 Cell:
- Cylindrical in shape. The shape was changed to deal with the high demand in Model 3 models (early models used this format)
- Length of a cell is 65 mm
- Anode and Cathode is typical.
- Weight 45 grams
- Density of 240 Wh/kg
- Volume of 660 mm3
The 2170 Cell:
- Also a lithium-ion cell
- The shape is the same as the 18650 cell
- Length of 70 mm
- Cells are epoxied together with plastic between cell (probably to ensure that they do not rattle together in the pack)
- Anode and Cathode is much different from that of the 18650
- Surface Area of the cell is larger than the 18650 which means that more energy can be stored when compared to the 18650 cell.
- Weight of 70 grams
- Density of 247 Wh/kg
- Volume of 970 mm3
It is evident that the increase in density makes the 2170 cell more appealing. Also, it has been announced that the chemistry is better.
Even though there are numerous improvements made to chemistry, there is still the problem of heat. The new format of cells becomes flammable at a low temperature of 180F, whereas the older format is flammable at around 350F. That is probably why Tesla had redesigned the cooling system for the battery pack in the Model 3.