When it comes to battery breakthroughs, I depend on the counsel of Thomas Edison and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who in a 2014 conference call, said:
“My top advice really for anyone who says they’ve got some breakthrough battery technology is please send us a sample cell. Don’t send us PowerPoint, just send us one cell that works with all appropriate caveats. That sorts out the nonsense and the claims that aren’t actually true.”
And, “Here’s my opinion of the battery breakthrough of the week or battery breakthrough du jour: Send us a sample. Or if you don’t trust us, send it to an independent lab where the parameters can be verified. Otherwise, STFU. Everything works on PowerPoint. If you like, I’ll give you a PowerPoint presentation about teleportation to the Andromeda Galaxy.”
Tesla has deployed a massive volume of batteries over the last decade and that puts it in a unique position to gauge the progress of lithium-ion technology and production.
Battery-day bingo card
Long anticipated and already once-delayed, Tesla battery day is next week, September 22nd. Look for Elon Musk to use some of the following battery-day terms as he charts out the future of Tesla’s powertrains and stationary storage performance. Get your bingo cards ready.
- Exponential: a Musk favorite
- Breakthrough: legally mandated to use this word
- Million-mile battery: There were reports that CATL and Tesla’s Dahn group were working on a million-mile chemistry.
- Plaid Model S with new powertrain, larger battery, three motors and a revamped chassis. Faster than Ludicrous version.
- Anode, cathode architectures
- “It will blow your mind”
- Battery management system applied to powertrain or otherwise
- Solid-state batteries and electrolyte development
- Sub-$100 per kWh battery
- Cobalt-free chemistry: In 2016, Tesla partnered with the Dahn battery research group out of Dalhousie University to work on this and other lithium-ion challenges. See “Is Cobalt Needed in Ni-Rich Positive Electrode Materials for Lithium Ion Batteries?”
- $400 billion Tesla market cap
- Mining: rumors of Tesla mineral searches and mining company acquisitions abound
- Dry electrode technology, acquired through the purchase of Maxwell, could enable higher energy densities. Maxwell claimed that its dry electrode manufacturing technology, historically used to make ultracapacitors, is “a breakthrough technology that can be applied to the manufacturing of batteries.”
There’s that word again.
“A self-reinforcing upwards circle”
UBS doubled its price target on Tesla ahead of the event and one of its analysts shared this pearl: “Putting the most recent underperformance aside, investor expectations for the battery day on 22 September and TSLA shares have been in a self-reinforcing upwards circle over the past few months.”
Over the years, Musk has promised the capability of full battery swap, 620 miles from a single charge and production of 1,000 solar roofs per week.
We’ll circle back with our bingo results after next week’s battery day event.
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