Tesla (TSLA) Battery Day And 2020 Annual Shareholder Meeting Announcements

By Amit Chowdhry ● September 22, 2020

Today Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) held its 2020 annual shareholder meeting and Battery Day event. These are some of the major announcements from the event.

4680 Battery Cell

At the event, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and VP of Technology Drew Baglino announced the new 4680 battery cell. The cell is being developed at Tesla’s Keto Road pilot facility in Fremont, California.

The new 4680 tabless battery cell is expected to decrease costs and increase energy density, range, and power. Plus it will decrease the amount of time that is needed for charging.

Batteries are known for having 3 components, including the anode, cathode, and separator. And there are tabs for transferring the energy of a cell to an external cell. The lithium ions flow from anodes to cathodes through the separator for discharging and charging batteries. But as changes in battery sizes occur, it causes thermal issues.

Baglino pointed out that the company came up with the tabless architecture to remove the thermal issue. As a result, the company is able to achieve an absolute low-cost form factor.

In order to achieve the thermal benefits, Tesla laser patterned the existing foils and shortened electrical path lengths of the connections. And even though the cells are larger, the power to weight ratio actually ended up being batter than smaller cells with tabs.

The cell — which is 46 millimeters wide and 80-millimeters long — specifically increases the density by five times and increases the range by 16%. And it improves power output by about 6 times.

And the new cell is already being worked on at the company’s Kato Road facility. And ramping up of production is expected to start at the company’s pilot 10 GWh factory soon.

Through efficiencies in Tesla’s manufacturing processes, the new cell is expected to reduce the price per kWh by about 14%. And through price reductions, it will enable Tesla to move closer towards offering vehicles that are comparable in price to its traditional counterparts. 

To build cheaper vehicles, Tesla needs its vehicle battery production to increase by 100 times compared to what it is now. And in terms of its grid batteries, Tesla needs to achieve growth of about 1,600 times. So Tesla is planning to launch more gigafactories and affordable cells in order to achieve its goals.

Tesla is planning to integrate battery packs to the body structures in future vehicles. To make this achievable, Musk said that the company had to develop a specific aluminum alloy. This setup has been referred to as a “structural battery.”

Model S Plaid: Over 520 Miles, 1100HP, 200 MPH Top Speed, And $139,990 MSRP

Tesla also announced the Plaid Model S vehicle. The Plaid Powertrain Model S is expected to have a 200 MPH top speed, a 0-60 MPH acceleration rating of under 2 seconds, over 520 miles of range, and more than 1,100 horsepower. You can buy the Plaid Model S from the Tesla website for $139,990.

$25,000 Fully Autonomous Vehicle Within 3 Years

At the event, Musk revealed that Tesla is planning to launch a $25,000 electric vehicle. This was announced towards the end of the Battery Day presentation.

“Tesla will make a compelling $25,000 electric vehicle that is also fully autonomous,” said Musk.

This price point is made possible through the company’s new battery cell. That is when the new battery cell production is expected to be ramped up.

Self-Driving Autopilot Beta Coming In About A Month

Musk also pointed out that the company’s engineers have overhaul the Autopilot software in order to offer a drastic upgrade. A private beta of the full self-driving version of the Autopilot software is expected to arrive in “about a month or so.”

“We had to do a fundamental rewrite of the entire Autopilot software stack and all of the labeling software as well. We’re now labeling in 3D video so this is hugely different from previously where we were labeling essentially a bunch of single images from the 8 cameras and they would be labeled at different times by different people and some of the labels… you literally can’t tell what you were labeling,” Musk explained. “Now with our new labeling tools, we label it in video. So we actually label actual video segments.”

WATCH:

You can watch the 2020 Annual Shareholder Meeting and Battery Day event here:

Disclosure: I own a small number of Tesla shares in my portfolio