Tesla CEO Elon Musk hosted an event today he described in April as "one of the most exciting days in Tesla's history," called Battery Day.
In it, he said "Tera is the new Giga," and elaborated on plans to drastically increase the power output of Tesla factories to move the auto industry toward a sustainable future.
Battery Day live-streamed on September 22, and immediately followed a shareholder event — which began at 4:30 PM EDT.
UPDATE Sept. 22, 6:50 PM EDT: Musk 'stopped counting' Cybertruck preorders
"It's a false dichotomy to say it's about prosperity or sustainability," said Musk about Tesla's business philosophy. "A sustainable energy [infrastructure] is going to be lower cost, not higher cost, than fossil fuels," he added.
Musk said his initial interest in all-electric vehicles predated the climate crisis issue — claiming he began from an understanding that the world's fossil fuel resources are finite.
Tesla's CEO also said preorders for the Cybertruck are massive. "We stopped counting [preorders]," said Musk. In terms of delivering at volume, production is moving forward to meet U.S. specifications, but Musk isn't sure the company can meet global demands immediately.
UPDATE Sept. 22, 6:30 PM EDT: Plaid Model S available end of 2021
Musk debuted a red Model S Plaid during Battery Day. It completed the Laguna Seca trial run in 1:30.3 seconds, has a top speed of 200 mph (321.8 km/h), and a range of at least 520 miles (836.8 km).
The Model S Plaid is now available for order, said Musk.
UPDATE Sept. 22, 6:25 PM EDT: Enough lithium in Nevada to power US auto fleet, says Musk
There is "[e]nough lithium in Nevada to electrify the entire U.S. auto fleet to electric," said Musk, aiming to clarify how the transition to sustainable power generation will move forward.
"We are starting our pilot full-scale recycling factory next quarter at Giga Nevada," added Musk. He also explained that the company has reached a 49% kWh reduction.
UPDATE Sept. 22, 6:20 PM EDT: Tesla aims for 100 GWh by 2022, 3 TWh per year by 2030
Tesla will continue working with its current cell suppliers, according to Musk and Baglino. The company's goal is to generate 100 GWh by 2022 — at 3 TWh per year by 2030, said the Tesla executives. This "[a]llows us to make a lot more cars and a lot more stationary storage," Musk said.
Tesla also aims to use raw metallurgical silicon instead of complex processing, reports Teslarati. The company is designing the novel cell to tolerate wear and tear on the anode, while also coating it with advanced materials to increase its resilience. The anode will cut costs per kWh by 5%, roughly $1.20 per kWh.
UPDATE Sept. 22, 6:10 PM EDT: Tesla assembly line could make 20 GWh power
Musk and Baglino said one assembly line can make 20 GWh — seven times the output in previous assembly lines. Musk compared the increase to a rocket equation.
Tesla's CEO also said the new, higher power production won't be a reality until revision six or seven. He added that a revision in the machine (that makes the machine) every three or four months.
UPDATE Sept. 22, 6:05 PM EDT: Gaining energy in Tesla batteries
Musk and Baglino gave a brief outline of how Tesla's batteries function. Since the company moved 2170 cells from the 1850 cells, the batteries gained roughly 50% more energy.
Removing the tabs in a battery cell is difficult — even though it seems simple, said Musk and Baglino. "It's a really huge pain in the *ss to have tabs, from a production standpoint," said Musk.
Tesla's batteries have five times the energy, with six times the power, and 15% more range "just with the form factor alone," said Musk.
UPDATE Sept. 22, 6:00 PM EDT: 10 TWh of production needed for 10 to 15 years to transition world grid
Musk said 10 Terawatt-hours (TWh) of production is needed for 10 to 15 years for the world grid to transition to all-electric, said Musk. He explained how present-day batteries are simply too small and costly to provide 20 TW per year.
Twenty Terawatts is the critical point where sustainability is feasible, added Musk. Giga Nevada can achieve roughly 100 GWh, but this is still far too small of a power source to create meaningful impact in the transition to sustainable energy.
Each Gigafactory creates roughly 0.15 TWh — which means we'd need 135 Gigafactories to reach Musk's goal for sustainable transition.
The CEO of Tesla also said the company needs to make a more affordable car, in addition to lowering the cost of batteries. Instead of plateauing (as it appears to be), the curve of cost per KWh batteries needs to come down faster.
UPDATE Sept. 22, 5:50 PM EDT: 'Tera is the new Giga,' declares Tesla CEO Elon Musk
"Tera is the new Giga," Musk declared, describing how the industry should move toward the production of a terawatt-hour scale battery.
In order to meet sustainability goals on an industry-scale, the shift in energy generation, storage, and EVs needs to move faster toward a successful sustainable transition.
UPDATE Sept. 22, 5:45 PM EDT: Drew Baglino joins Elon to speak on sustainable energy initiatives
Drew Baglino joined Musk on the stage, as the CEO spoke about the necessity for sustainable energy amid the global climate crisis. He mentions stats on climate change, describing the CO2 rates on a graph as an apparant "wall" in the data.
"This presentation is about accelerating the time to sustainable energy," said Musk. "Running this climate experiment is insane," he added, referencing the economic dependence on fossil fuels, and its effects on the climate.
UPDATE Sept. 22, 5:30 PM EDT: Full FSD version of Autopilot coming in one month
Musk said the full FSD version of Autopilot is coming in one month (or so), Teslarati reports. Of course, this isn't an official press release, so it may take longer.
The Tesla CEO also repeated what he's tweeted earlier: "designing the machine that makes the machine is harder than designing the machine itself."
Musk also said Giga Texas' construction is seeing faster construction progress than Giga Berlin — which is great news for Tesla enthusiasts in the Lone Star state.
UPDATE Sept. 22, 5:20 PM EDT: Tesla CEO Elon Musk describes bringing cars to market
Musk stated Tesla is improving on bringing cars to market. This is true, especially with the Model Y, reports Teslarati. Additionally, he also explained why production facilities should be located close to target markets. This is why Giga Berlin and Giga Texas are where they are, according to Musk.
UPDATE Sept. 22, 4:45 PM EDT: Shareholder meeting
Tesla's double-feature kicked-off with opening remarks from Robyn Denholm. There is a general tension that may be associated with anticipation of what will come after the shareholder meeting.
The Tesla Chair spoke about several key topics. She emphasized Tesla's impact report, in addition to how the company is working to meet environmental goals. She then gave a fond farewell to Steve Jurvetson, who is a long-time member of the board, to be replaced by Hiro Mizuno as the newest member of Tesla's BoD.
Tesla's Battery Day is here
Much is expected for Tesla's planned upgrades to the electric battery — one of the most crucial parts of an electric car. Battery technology has come far, and further advancements might press electric cars out of niche margins and into mass-market status as a new industry standard.
Improved battery technology might also mean cheaper car prices, greater electric range, and enhanced operation safety, in addition to quicker recharge times and better longevity, reports Inverse.
These goalposts show up in questionnaires with regularity, to ascertain what's stopping most buyers from taking the plunge into electric vehicle ownership.
Cybertruck, Semi, second-gen Roadster to benefit most
Forthcoming developments may also bring Tesla's future range to a wider customer base. The auto manufacturer initially sold the original Roaster in 2008 before making the jump to the more industry-friendly Model S and Model X SUV in 2012 and 2015, respectively.
The entry-level Model 3 sedan released in 2017 — along with the Model Y compact SUV — opened the door to a wider electric car consumer bracket than ever before, Inverse reports.
Additionally, Tesla has several vehicles on the way — including the Semi truck, a second-gen Roadster, and the Cybertruck pickup truck. Earlier this week, Musk said these latter-day vehicles will benefit the most from new battery cells.
Musk cautions against excess hype
Tesla might not say how much cheaper electric batteries will be during today's event. But Musk posted several tweets yesterday, where he explained how Battery Day will probably see long-term production effects on the company's Cybetruck, Semi, and Roadster vehicles.
Musk also discouraged excess hype, tweeting: "what we announce will not reach serious high-volume production until 2022." He then added that Tesla aims to "increase, not reduce battery cell purchases from Panasonic, LG & CATL (possibly other partners too)."
We intend to increase, not reduce battery cell purchases from Panasonic, LG & CATL (possibly other partners too). However, even with our cell suppliers going at maximum speed, we still foresee significant shortages in 2022 & beyond unless we also take action ourselves.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 21, 2020
All-electric battery shortage could last past 2022
While Tesla may purchase batteries from additional business partners, it seems the supply shortage may continue until 2022.
"[W]e still foresee significant shortages in 2022 & beyond unless we also take action ourselves," tweeted Musk, hinting at a possible future Tesla measure to combat the shortage of electric battery supply.
The extreme difficulty of scaling production of new technology is not well understood. It’s 1000% to 10,000% harder than making a few prototypes. The machine that makes the machine is vastly harder than the machine itself.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 22, 2020
After a slew of replies to the first two tweets, Musk took to Twitter once more to elaborate on his meaning:
"The extreme difficulty of scaling production of new technology is not well understood. It's 1,000% to 10,000% harder than making a few prototypes. The machine that makes the machine is vastly harder than the machine itself," he wrote.
As Tesla rises in its role as one of the most promising automotive alternatives to fossil fuels, it may feel like the future of electric vehicles rests on Battery Day. Telsa doesn't encompass the entire all-electric industry, but the company's future will have serious repercussions on the course of the future of electric vehicles.