Tesla's upcoming battery day, at one point described as one of the firm's "most exciting days" in its history, has a tentative date.
The battery is one of the most important components in an electric vehicle, as it can influence some of the biggest pain points around owning an electric car – including battery range between charges, recharge times, and the vehicle's price tag. Recent reports have suggested Tesla has been developing new battery technologies, which it could unveil at its planned event, and which would help alleviate some of these concerns.
CEO Elon Musk wrote on his Twitter page Monday that the firm's shareholder meeting and battery day would take place in September:
"Tentative date for Tesla Shareholder Meeting & Battery Day is Sept 15. Will include tour of cell production system."
Musk later confirmed that it would take place at the company's Fremont operations in California.
How we got here – The event was alluded to back in the July 2019 conference call, when Musk described it as “a comprehensive review of cell chemistry, module and pack, architecture, and a manufacturing plan that has a clear roadmap to a terawatt-hour per year.”
But external forces have meant plans for the day have taken a long time to solidify. Musk suggested in February 2020 that the battery event would take place in April at the Giga New York factory, also covering advancements in powertrain technology. This idea seemed in doubt as the coronavirus pandemic surged in the United States. Musk suggested in May the firm could hold a webcast in June, followed by an in-person event a few months later. This two-pronged approach appears to have been shelved, perhaps in part as Musk wrote at the time that "there's a lot to see" and it's "not just a presentation."
"I think it would be one of the most exciting days in Tesla's history," Musk said during the company's May 2020 earnings call.
What we might see – Expect advancements in battery technology that improve the things consumers care about.
Tesla's vehicles currently top out at just over 400 miles between charges. Tesla has been working to reduce the price of its batteries, which it stated in early 2016 cost around $190 per kilowatt-hour. It's also been working to make its batteries last longer over their lifetime.
In May 2020, Reuters reported that the firm had been working with China-based Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited on a battery project that would help it improve in these areas. This would represent a change from its current setup, where it produces nickel-cobalt-aluminum batteries with Panasonic for Giga Nevada, as well as nickel-manganese-cobalt batteries from LG Chem for its China facilities.
Further reports in June claimed that CATL is set to start production on a battery that could support a car for up to 1.2 million miles. This battery could also last for up to 16 years. In its annual impact report, Tesla claimed that a million-mile battery could help the firm reduce the carbon emissions associated with producing electric vehicles.
In an email newsletter last week, analysis firm Loup Ventures declared that the firm "has a competitive advantage in batteries that is under-appreciated by investors." This gap will widen, it claimed, and other automakers will struggle to make gains on Tesla's 80 percent electric vehicle market share in the United States.
But far from just solidifying Tesla's position, new battery technology could help bring more consumers into the electric vehicle market. May's Reuters report stated that the new batteries could help Tesla sell electric cars at the same price or lower than their gas-powered equivalents.
It may not be as visually impressive as the Cybertruck unveiled last November, but Tesla's upcoming battery day could help the average buyer decide to finally make the jump to electric.