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Is Model S going to use new version of Panasonic 18650 series battery?

It was said with 300miles range package, Model S is equipped with Panasonic NCR18650A which is a minimum 2.9AH lithium-ion battery. But Panasonic promised two different versions of this 18650A. Both versions will in-cooperate better production/construction of the battery without significant changes in the chemistry of the batteries. This will lead to a higher energy-density-to-volume but energy-density-to-weight will remain the same. The new battery, which is supposed to come out in March 2013, will have phenomenal 735wh/L. So will Model S be re-modeled with the new battery once they are available?

You are very wrong in saying that nanotech doesn't increase energy density, that is what everyone is using to get as big energy density as possible in labs. More surface area for lithium-ions to attach. Actually increasing power density with nanotech is very recent development, so you got those two backwards.

For lithium being limited resource, there is way more than enough lithium in the world to change every vehicle to battery power, and it is recycleable resource, not like oil which we stupidly burn. There is no "peak lithium" anywhere close. Tesla has already planning to recycle the batteries including lithium in them (read the blog post about it).

Lithium is not the constraint. Other metals that get into the battery are. And from recycling, only the Chrome is recovered. All other metals in the battery are too cheap and too hard to extract. Take time to learn before you start throwing stones.

Silicon and carbon? Those rare metals that are used in current generation of batteries are rare, I agree, but silicon is something you pick up when you pick up a sand from your courtyard. That's one additional vote for using silicon-based chemistry. Iron phosphate battery chemistry also isn't using any rare metals (LiFePO4). That's what you find in Altairnano and A123 batteries.

Lithium can be recycled, that's the point of recycling the lithium batteries.

Read the Blog entry:

I throw the ball back to you: Take time to learn before you start throwing stones.

From what you cite, A123 are the most advanced towards mass production. They cost over $1000 / kWh to produce. Tesla gets its pack at under $300 / kWh, possibly under $200 / kWh. You should read precisely what is recycled. Go to Umicore web page and find out that "all the aluminum is valorised in the slag and re-used in construction and/or aggregate for concrete". This means it becomes the walls of the house, but is not going back to the battery industry (or any metal industry for that matter). Do not get fooled by marketing phrases like "closed loop".

In Appendix F of this document
you can see that less than 1% of Li is recycled globally (as well as other "speciality" metals).
Al and Cu are around 50%.

Long term, we will find solutions. Short term, do not be gullible for all the marketing talk, even if it comes from Tesla. I have already pointed out 3-4 "errors" in their efficiency page.

You are stuck in past. Tesla is talking about future as am I. Recycling is possible, that is the aim for them, and that's the point of the blog and what I'm saying. The fact that recycling currently is basically nonexistent doesn't mean that it can't be done.

I agree that there are errors in efficiency page, easiest to spot is the Wh car uses / km, that isn't realistic unless you use city speeds as base for that calculation. I have noticed the same errors and have also told Tesla about those. Unfortunately they are still there. OTOH, I haven't seen any page anywhere that is really realistic about EV efficiency compared to other vehicles, all of them make up numbers, make unwarranted assumptions or have plain errors in their calculations. Many have strong bias to one or other direction.

Everything is possible. I am a very optimistic, but I try to stay in the domain of possible when it comes to timeframes. And I like provoking interesting discussions by playing devil's advocate.

That's what I started to suspect. I was also getting a bit tired about this "argument", so I'm glad that its finished.

Just FYI there is substantial lithium deposit in the Finland, something like two million tons in just one place, if recent dig reports is to be believed, and there are more than one in Finland.

I think there is more than enough lithium around the world and the reason it looks rare is that it just haven't been previously searched. Lithium usage besides of batteries is almost zero, and whole lithium ion batteries is relatively new.

Yes, even in Li-ion batteries, the usage of Li is quite low (as % of weight). The problem is with the other metals. If we increase battery production very fast, metal prices will shoot up too. It seems that from known resource to mined metal it takes even longer and more investments than for oil (about 10 years - mining is harder than pumping). Recycling facilities will also take many years (and money and company failures) to establish. It will be done eventually, I'm sure. It's just that we have to adjust our expectations about how and when.

As for Tesla, they already have the tech to be successful in the high end market, that means to be profitable immediately, beginning of 2013. The market is quite slow to predict / see the future, but it can actually see about 6 months in advance. That's why I am quite heavily invested in TSLA calls. They "just" have to excel on execution (no delays, nu price hikes, no product problems - that's quite a bet !). If those conditions are satisfied, I'm very confident I will buy my Model S sport only from profits from those calls. If everything goes well with Model S, Model X, the cabriolet, the new roadster and the utility van, we will know much better what are their chances to the real mass market, around 2015. That will be quite a different investment story.

Timo, I agree with what you've posted, except for one item that surprised me. Could you supply a link to some kind of image, to help me visualize?

"Electric law movers."


That kolibri-battery is still in rumor-stage. No real specs can be found anywhere. I hope it isn't just another EESTOR.

MIT's Technology Review- August 2011 issue, discusses development of a new compound for making electrodes that increases the area exposed for the transfer of electrons thereby speeding up the charging cycle. Essentially the electrodes are made of a foam-like nano scale material. The design is compatible with a wide range of battery types including lithium. To quote "Cell phones incorporating this technology could recharge in 30 seconds, and electric cars could recharge in the time it takes to fill a gas tank." Of course the issue, as always, is scaling up for mass production.

Assuming price is a factor, if anyone needs to make lots of long road trips (300+ mi), I would highly recommend renting or owning an ICE car just for that purpose. Even hybrids won't help you get better fuel economy on the highway. Don't try to fit a square peg into a round hole.

An Audi A3 wagon or VW Golf or Jetta, or Hyundai Elantra will all get more than 40mpg on the highway. So you could cover 300 miles with about 8 gallons of fuel. Why pay nearly $100K for a cutting edge EV when you can rent one of these cars for $40 a day?

Personally I would just buy the Audi A3 and use it for all trips over 200 mi. I'd use my Model S for everything else.

"Personally I would just buy the Audi A3 and use it for all trips over 200 mi. I'd use my Model S for everything else."

Hi David,

I was thinking along those lines. So which battery pack option are you considering?

With future battery advancements continuing to lower the costs while increasing performance, I'm leaning toward going with the 160 mile range battery pack and saving the extra $20,000 for future battery upgrades down the road.


btw, Those ICE cars I mentioned (except Elantra) only get 40mpg with a diesel engine. For regular gas, my choice would be the Lexus CT200h, which gets 40mpg highway, and 42mpg combined. It's about $30K.

My Model S battery choice will be the 300, unless Tesla stock doesn't rise above $35 in the next year. I'm counting on TSLA stock price gains to pay for battery upgrades.

Most of my driving in Florida is highway, at a posted speed of 70mph. At that speed, overall range will probably be reduced by at least 20%. Since we're talking about Florida, the AC will be on the whole time, reducing range by another 5%. So my 300 mile battery will have an effective range of about 230 miles with mostly highway driving.

That will allow me to make round-trips to Tampa & Orlando without recharging. I could also (barely) make it to Miami one way, for service if Tesla doesn't open another store near Tampa/Sarasota.

Hi David,

You make a lot of good points. I especially like the idea of driving to Orlando and back on a charge.

I was more seriously considering upgrading the battery pack to make it to the Dania, Florida store for service. However, Will, the store manager, mentioned that the car will probably come with a 5 year, 50,000 mile warranty which would include the fee for the Rangers to make the trip to Sarasota. (The service would still be $600, but we would avoid more that $400 in Ranger fees while under warranty.) In the 8 years that I've lived in Sarasota I've only put 55,000 miles on my car so I might never need to drive to Dania for service. In five years when the warranty runs out I would expect that the battery technology would be much more reasonably priced and $10,000 to $20,000 would buy me a lot more range.

Nigel mentioned that he thinks there are about a dozen Roadster owners in Sarasota, so when you add the Sarasota Model S owners we might be able to make a compelling argument to Tesla to open another store nearby.


Hi David,

As a follow-up to my remark,

"In five years when the warranty runs out I would expect that the battery technology would be much more reasonably priced and $10,000 to $20,000 would buy me a lot more range.",

if the Wall Street Times article quoted earlier has any credibility then the extra 140 mile range that costs $20,000 could be achieved at a cost of $2,200 using the Kolibri advanced design batteries.

I know that Timo puts this still in the rumor stage, but it gives us food for thought regarding upcoming battery advancements and our initial battery pack selection. As pointed out by the thread starter, Tesla's collaboration with Panasonic also points to relatively near-term improvements.

This Breakthrough Will Soon Slash EV Prices Drastically


Hi David,

I hope others won't mind a slight off-topic remark.

"That will allow me to make round-trips to Tampa & Orlando without recharging."

"I especially like the idea of driving to Orlando and back on a charge."

Check out this development.

Despite No Electric Cars, Orlando Installs Hundreds of Charge Stations


There ate only three types of places on Orlando where charging stations would be used the most. Hotels, theme parks, and places of work, for employees. in cases your car is parked for eight or more hours.

Hi David,

Try entering Orlando, Fl at this website:

You'll find 20-30 public charging locations depending on the mileage radius entered. My wife and I love to stay at the Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge. The map application says that there's a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant with 24 hour public charging, level 1 and 2 just a couple of miles away.


Wouldn't it be great if the Disney hotel you like to stay at had a charging station in their parking lot? If I'm going to be at Disney for a few days, I'd like to charge my car there, not at a restaurant 2 miles away.

That's the problem. Local governments are spending money putting charging stations in places where people only park for an hour or less. Using a Level 2 charging station, you are only going to get about 20 miles of range on 1 hour of charging. Using a Level 1 charging station, you will only get about 5 miles of range on 1 hour of charging.

Hardly anyone is putting them where people are parking for 8 hours or more. Doesn't make sense.
- Hotels (12 hours)
- Theme Parks (8 hours)
- Places of employment (for commuters) (8 hours)
- Airports (days)
- Stadiums (3 - 4 hours)
- etc.

These are the places they need to be first.

@David M: Your logic makes perfect sense.

I would also like to see charge stations along freeways, of course these would have to be level-3 chargers.

@Larry: Almost all the chargers in the US shown on that web site are Nissan dealers :)

If Roadster owners are any guide, you'll probably put a lot more miles on the 'S' than on your ICE car(s). Just because.

@gjunky ,

Yes, I have to admit that David makes a lot of excellent points. Orlando apparently has a lot more public chargers than other areas in Florida, but they are not ideally located. I can however, envision Disney Deluxe Resort Hotels being one of the first to implement chargers. It is true that Nissan has a lot of installations in the State, but in Orlando most of them appear to be local municipal sponsored public chargers.

In the past I've never been much of a driver, but its true the prospect of getting a Model S has turned me into an enthusiast literally overnight. To those who know me its rather amusing to see my transformation. I'm a home theater enthusiast and tomorrow afternoon I'm having a few guys over, to watch a "guys" movie. Most of them are members of a local Corvette club. Before the main feature I plan on showing them some Model S and maybe some Roadster videos. It will be interesting to see their reactions, both to the Model S and to Larry becoming a "car guy". ;-)


Hm, a heady afternoon of human and auto porn! Let us know how it goes ...


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