Tesla introduces third-generation battery pack technology

Tesla Batteries 18650 Li-ion Cells

As is often the case with Tesla, the mainstream press has missed the true significance of the company’s latest product. Tesla’s announcement of its new P100D battery pack option focused on the quicker 0-60 time, so that’s what most media outlets wrote about. Everyone other than acceleration junkies greeted it with a yawn – who cares if Model S is the third-fastest or the fourth-fastest production car ever built? One writer even called the P100D “a waste of resources” and a pointless distraction from what Tesla should be focusing on: bringing Model 3 into production.

However, as Electrek has divined, the new battery pack is in fact a major, and necessary, step forward in Model 3’s development. Tesla and partner Panasonic are believed to be working on a new battery cell that will go into production at the Gigafactory in Nevada later this year, but Elon’s Electric Elves have also made improvements at the battery pack level, and these will make their real-world debut in the new P100D battery pack.

“You can think of the cell level as being a chemical engineering problem and the module/pack level as being a mechanical, electrical and software engineering problem,” said Musk in a recent media conference call. “The cell is the same [in the P100D], but the module and pack architecture is changed significantly in order to achieve adequate cooling of the cells in a more energy dense pack and to make sure we don’t have cell to cell combustion propagation.”

SEE ALSO: A closer look at wire bonding, Tesla’s preferred battery connection technique  

Tesla has increased the energy capacity of the P100D pack increased by 11% compared to the 90 kWh pack, but the weight has increased by only 4%, and the external dimensions remain the same.

“It is a pretty big change on the battery module and pack technology,” said JB Straubel. “It’s a complete redo of the cooling system, which is quite unique to Tesla and that we have been improving on for many years. This new pack is the next version of that. Some of the key improvements that enabled the new pack are directly on the roadmap for the technologies that make Model 3 possible.”


Source: Electrek

  • jstack6

    I have read and heard the 20700 is going to be the new battery instead of the smaller 18650. This looks like it maybe the new chemistry added capacity so when both come together it will be EVen better.

    • John McVicker

      2170 (21mm x 70mm) – ie. 21700. As Musk said in THIS ARTICLE – no battery cell chemistry changes. Just structural changes in layout, cooling, placement. They need to start tipping the cells (laying horizontally) in order to allow for the new 21mm x 70mm cells to work in the same pack for future X and S along with 3 builds. They would have to make Model S/X packs a tiny bit taller to fit them and that would change the height of the car (ie. 3 mm is not free).

      • https://www.facebook.com/pages/Angel-Photography/187947051382934?ref=br_tf EVangelos Michalopoulos

        I thing the new 2170 batteries designed for the Model Ξ only.
        As you said they have to redesign not only the battery packs but also the base chassis of the S/X to receive the new pack.

        • Brandon Fouts

          battery pack simply bolts to the bottom of “base chassis”
          could mean longer bolts 5mm?
          could mean taller suspension springs 5mm? giving taller car
          air suspension 5mm software adjust?
          redesign maybe too strong, continual improvement in action
          you get what I mean

          Got to love Tesla for continual improvements with our waiting for a new model year. Disruptive? The kind of disruption that favors the customer. Go Elon.

          Tesla startup story

      • Brandon Fouts

        65 to 70 = 5mm taller
        18 to 21 = 3mm wider

  • EV_Follower

    One might be more impressed that there has been a 17.64% increase in energy capacity that fits in the same envelope since the Model S was introduced with an 85kWh battery.

  • http://www.windowtintpro.com/ Tint Depot

    this is good news for battery technology

    • Michael B


  • dmarkle

    We are fast coming to the point, as we cross the 300 realistic mi/charge threshold and push to 400, that focus needs to turn not to capacity, but to charging curves and driving cadence. What’s not been said is how fast this new battery can *charge*. We know that Tesla has been upgrading their SC infrastructure. The question in my mind is, can this new pack take an extra 20kW of charging, say? Does its charging curve flatten off later in the charging cycle? I can’t wait to see these tests. I know that JB is really focused on issues like this, and I know that cooling architecture can be a limiting factor of charge rate; it’s funny that they didn’t mention it. My speculation is that it’s either a software update they need to make, or not enough SCs can source the current that this new pack can take. I’d be interested in seeing some benchmarks!

    • nordlyst

      We are very close to 400 in practical terms already. When a non-performance 100D becomes part of the lineup it will get about 330-340 miles EPA range – combined. Model S is a heavy car with great aerodynamics, so the highway range is significantly higher than the combined one.

      And here’s the thing: few if anyone needs 300 miles or more of city driving. For long-range EVs, it is really the highway range that is most relevant.

      400 miles when going on trips is very close then. IMO it makes more sense to go for reduced price and weight, and increased interior or luggage space rather than yet more range moving forward – at least for some of the variants.

      For those who’d like to take the Tesla to tow the camping wagon much more capacity would still be useful. But for people like me who’d need to charge en route only a few times a year 100 kWh is already beyond the optimum.

      • Eric Cha

        “When a non-performance 100D becomes part of the lineup it will get about 330-340 miles EPA range – combined. Model S is a heavy car with great aerodynamics, so the highway range is significantly higher than the combined one.”

        Um, the combined range (low speed driving in city + high speed driving on the highway) is going to be higher than the highway range alone.

        Unlike ICE cars, the city range of an EV is almost always higher than the highway range. No matter how aerodynamic the Model S is, the fact is that you have more drag at higher speeds than you have at lower speeds.

        Look at data provided by Tesla itself:


        If you keep your driving speed below 45 mph, you can get over 400 mile range RIGHT NOW with an 85kwh Model S. On the other hand, if you drive over 75mph all the time (as many people do on the highway), your range will drop to less than 250 miles.

        • jgs

          You’re missing the important fact that city is generally stop-and-go and highway isn’t. Yes, constant 25 beats constant 70. But I have real-world experience driving a Model S that confirms it really does get better highway efficiency than city. IIRC the EPA figures agree, if you look at their city/highway breakouts.

          • Eric Cha

            Indeed. I stand corrected. However, Tesla’s own data shows that your mileage will be highly dependent on your circumstances. Will a Model S get better mileage on a freeway versus driving in New York City? Sure. But, will it get better mileage driving on the freeway versus driving around the outskirts of a typical suburban small-to-medium size town? I doubt it.

          • jgs

            YMMV should go without saying, yes. This is true independent of drivetrain technology. It’s futile to cherry-pick particular scenarios since one can prove virtually anything by picking the right one — the only ones that matter much are EPA’s (so there’s some apples-to-apples basis for comparison) and your own particular driving pattern which will be different from mine or anyone else’s.

            But going back to the original comment, we appear to be discussing the speculation by @nordlyst:disqus that a 100D will achieve 400 miles or so of highway range. Looking at the EPA ratings for a 2015 85D, they list the highway efficiency as about 6% greater than the combined, so if the speculated 340 miles of EPA combined is right, then one might expect 360 miles of EPA highway — well short of 400 miles although still nothing to sneeze at. I’m sure you could get to 400 with hypermiling and/or good luck, but that doesn’t qualify it as a 400 mile car.