Tesla is "probably three to four years" off producing a high-volume, longer-life, longer-range, more energy-dense battery, according to the electric car maker's CEO, Elon Musk.
In a Twitter exchange regarding his consistent hints about the possibility of an all-electric jet, Musk told followers: "400 Wh/kg *with* high cycle life, produced in volume (not just a lab) is not far. Probably 3 to 4 years."
The comments follow claims Musk made in 2019 that in order for electric aircrafts to be viable, lithium-ion batteries would need to achieve a 400 Wh/kg energy density to allow longer range for flights.
400 Wh/kg *with* high cycle life, produced in volume (not just a lab) is not far. Probably 3 to 4 years.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 24, 2020
For reference, Reuters reports that the density of the Panasonic '2170' batteries currently used in the Tesla Model 3 is around 260 Wh/kg – meaning this new battery could mark a 50 per cent increase in density.
Greater density translates to a longer driving range, suggesting Tesla's incoming batteries could see its cars' ranges significantly exceed the top 610km (WLTP) range currently offered on the Model S Long Range.
Yes, but still a bit too limited on range. That will change in coming years as battery energy density improves.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 29, 2019
Musk's claims come ahead of Tesla's annual Battery Day – set to take place on the same day as its annual stockholder meeting on September 22 – where the car maker is expected to announce developments to its battery technology.
Speculation is rife around a background image used on the official stockholder event page, which battery expert Park Chul-wan told Reuters could be a "silicon nanowire anode" – a type of technology which allows for greater energy density and battery life.