Tesla is currently working on an improved battery cell design at Gigafactory 1 in Nevada, according to new President of Automotive, Jerome Guillen.
The Model 3 was enabled by the new ‘2170’ battery cell format developed by Tesla and Panasonic.
Production started last year and slowly ramped up to now over 20 GWh per year.
Recently, CEO Elon Musk has been talking about a new battery module for Model 3 to be introduced next year:
“We came up with a new design that achieves the same outcome, that’s actually lighter, better, cheaper and will be introducing that around the end of this year, probably reach volume production on that in Q1 or something. That will make the car lighter, better, and cheaper and achieve a higher range. That line is under construction, will be active in about six months.”
But Tesla is apparently not only working to improve its battery pack at the module level.
In a new interview with CNBC at Gigafactory 1, Jerome Guillen, who was recently promoted to ‘President of Automotive’ in charge of “all automotive operations and program management,” said that they are working on new and improved battery cells:
“We are improving the design of the cell. The design of the cell is not frozen. It evolves and we have a nice roadmap of technology improvements for the coming years.”
While Tesla mentioned improvements to the battery pack and battery module, it’s the first time that we’ve heard talk about improved Tesla battery cells since the launch of the 2170 cell almost two years ago.
It comes as Tesla is trying to further reduce battery costs as it attempts to deliver the standard battery pack for the promised base price of $35,000.
One of the automaker’s most important goals is to achieve a battery pack cost of $100 per kWh.
In June, Musk said that he believes they have come up with battery “breakthroughs”:
“We think we have come up with some pretty cool breakthroughs on energy density and cost of the battery pack. It’s going to be pretty great.”
The CEO thinks that the company is on pace to achieve a battery cell cost of $100 per kWh by the end of the year depending on commodity prices remaining stable in the next few months.
Here’s the rest of the video with Jerome Guillen’s new comments:
— CNBC (@CNBC) November 13, 2018
With all the comments about improvements for battery packs, modules, and now cells, I think it’s time to get cautiously hyped up about Tesla hitting that $100 per kWh target.
It wouldn’t be only great for enabling the long-promised $35,000 base price for the Model 3, but it also has implications to enable other products, like Tesla Energy products or even Tesla Semi.
That said, they are still being vague about it, but I think we should expect news in the next few months.