Tesla Battery Day live blog

    Welcome to our liveblog for Tesla’s Battery Day event. Technically named the 2020 Annual Shareholder Meeting and Battery Day, we all know why you’re here. Updates will appear newest at the top.

    9:20AM: Q&A has now wrapped up after a speech from each of the Tesla employees on stage. Interestingly we didn’t hear Tesla mention the million mile battery. I expected much more focus on the increase in charging cycles.

    8:50AM: We’re into Q&A with the audience / share holders.

    • Tesla could (non-committal) overproduce batteries and supply other automakers.
    • Music service Tidal is coming to Teslas.
    • Vehicle to grid: Musk says while they could do VTG, but it’s likely you’ll want to have stationary storage (Powerwall).
    • Tesla was asked if the cost savings achieved will be passed on to the customer. Tesla confirmed they are focused on maintining a small amount of profit, while also passing the savings on to customers to make them more affordable.

    8:42AM: Tesla announces a new Plaid version of the Model S that is available for pre-order right now (in the US). A delivery date is set for late 2021 and this will be the longest range Tesla with 520+ miles and that correlates to 836km.

    Update – Now available for pre-order in Australia.

    The US store is already live and people are ordering. The Performance model costs US$89,490. The Plaid, tri-motor version costs US$134,490.

    This has roadster-level performance, with a 0-160mph time of <2 seconds. The team just took it to Leguna Seca and achieved a lap time of 1:30:3. The lap record is around 1:27:62, set by the Mclaren Senna.

    8:39AM: Elon Musk announces a plan for a US$25,000 car, they believe that’s achievable in the next 3 years. This will have FSD capability. This has robotaxi economic implications.

    8:37AM: These changes will take between 1-3 years to realise.

    Musk says they want to make around 20 million vehicles per year.

    8:30AM: Inspired by the fuel tanks in the wings of an airplane, Elon Musk says they’re doing the same for cars. The batteries will now be loaded directly into the car, and will now form part of the car’s structure. This represents a dramatic reduction in the number of parts and speed of production.

    10% mass reduction, 14% range increase and 370 fewer parts.

    8:28AM: Musk talks on Cell Vehicle Integration. The company is now a making a single piece casting for the front body rear body.

    8:27AM: Tesla will recycle their own batteries at a new recycling facility in Nevada.

    8:23AM: Tesla announce a North American Cathode Production Plant, where they will also colocate a lithium conversion plant.

    Musk highlighted that lithium is a widely available resource, one of the most common resources on the planet. Nevada alone has enough to power all vehicles in the US.

    8:18AM: Tesla just announced, they’re moving away from Cobalt, to Nikel. This addresses the issue raised earlier. This also has efficiency gains, these are combining for some amazing numbers.

    In the most energy-intensive applications (Cybertruck / Semi) Tesla would use 100% Nikel, while the other lighter applications will use a combination of Nikel with other chemistry. This ensures high volume production is possible, but Musk again reiterated he wants more people to mine Nickel.

    This process is also cleaner and cheaper, while also offering better recycling.

    8:13AM: Tesla announce they’re able to use silicon instead of carbon on the anode. They have solved the expansion and contraction problem under heat.

    Tesla silicon will be a raw metallurgical silicon. The surface is stabilised through elastic -conducting polymer coasting. This makes things cheaper and increases range.

    8:12AM: Tesla aiming for 3TWh by 2030. That’s in just over 9 years. That’s an incredible ramp.

    8:10AM: Now talking formation. Tesla are now able to reduce the cost of producing batteries. Musk says they can reach a 1TW scale, in the physical space of less than the 150GW Gigafactory.

    8:06AM: Tesla battery production lines are 7x faster thanks to solving the continuous production problem. They are going for the fastest parts per minute.

    Tesla are trying to make each factory as efficient as possible. Tesla want to be the best at manufacturing on earth.

    8:00AM: We’re now getting an update on how Tesla will move to a dry battery electrode. Musk says the Maxwell tech has been improved on dramatically since the acquisition.

    Musk says they are not yet getting acceptable yields, they will likely improve from the current v4 machines that make these, to v6 before they’re ready for prime time.

    7:58AM: The new 4680 Tesla battery cell will take around a year to reach 1GW of energy, but Tesla is looking at ramping to 200GW per year.

    Just the form factor change, they are able to reduce the $/kwH by 14%, but Tesla are not done there.

    These new cells will offer some amazing improvements.. a massive 5x improvement in energy, 16% increase in range and 6x improvement to power. Wow, that alone are incredible gains, but Teesla are now moving on to talk about dry electrodes, to replace the current wet electrode.

    7:52AM: Tesla has moved from 1865 vs the 2170 (first 2 a diameter, last 2 are the length). Tesla are increasing the size of their cell to 46.. that’s the first 2 numbers.. nowfor the length..

    The new tabless design, allows a shorter pathway for electrons to travel, solving one of the biggest issues with increasing the diameter of a battery.

    This not only makes the cells easier and faster to produce, it allows continuous production, rather than starting and stopping to add tabs, so a tabless design is much better.

    7:51AM: Tesla has a plan to halve the cost of production. Wow, half, that’s aggressive. We’re now getting a run through their plan, starting with tabless design.

    7:49AM: Musk says they will make an affordable car, but the cost of batteries has to come down. Early progress was good, but the reduction curve is flattening out, so they need a dramatic rethink.

    7:47AM: Tesla touch on the makeup of energy sources in the grid. Tesla are going after not just batteries to power their cars, but they want to dramatically ramp up the number of batteries to power the world with electric, sustainable energy.

    7:46AM: A Terawatt is the new Gigawatt. What’s that new small robotaxi car on the left????

    7:42AM: Elon and the Drew Baglino, the VP, Powertrain and Energy Engineering at Tesla are back on stage. Musk says good things are happening, we just need to accelerate that.

    7:40AM: How good does that Cyberquad look. Was hard to see the details on the dimly lit stage during the launch. Here bathed in sunlight it looks amazing.

    7:38AM: Everyone is heading back to their cars, must be due for a restart soon.

    7:30AM: This may be my favourite shot of the Tesla products yet.

    7:27AM: Elon says “the battery stuff we’re going to be talking about, will be truly revolutionary.”

    There’ll be a short break before the Battery Day portion of today’s event.

    7:25AM: More shots of that Tesla Semi, one of the most important products to the company.

    7:23AM: Musk is talking about the software rewrite of Full Self Driving. The labeling training data now happens in 4D (in video). A new private beta should be released in “a month or so”.

    7:21AM: Elon touches on Autopilot. The industry average is an accident every 2.1/million miles, with AP enabled, Tesla vehicles are just 0.3/million miles. Musk says he believes they can get to 10x better (or safer) than humans.

    7:19AM: Musk says the grid is actually moving faster than expected to green energy. I assume he missed yesterday’s Technology roadmap in Australia.

    7:18AM: Tesla grew 50% in 2019, in 2020, Elon suggests we could still see 30-40% growth, despite the pandemic.

    7:14AM: Musk says their autonomy efforts are accelerating and the way we should think about the value of Tesla (vehicle side of the business), is the Total number of vehicles sold, multiplied by the value of autonomy.

    That value of autonomy is still being determined, but if the cars become robotaxi’s and Tesla take a cut of that income, there’s many billions of dollars on offer.

    7:11AM: Musk highlighted the Model Y launch went well, the best so far. Tesla was the first US company in about the last century, to reach volume production. He re-iterated just how hard it is to scale production – possible a point valuable for any competing startups should take note of.

    Musk went on to talk about their efforts to deliver the cheapest solar in the US and 4 quarters of profit.

    7:10AM: Musk is reflecting on the past, Shanghai went from dirt to producing vehicles in 15 months. Says the Shanghai factory will continue to scale, could produce a million vehicles per year.

    7:08AM: Elon is now on stage.. the crowd honk in applause. Modern times. Musk is now

    7:07AM: Tesla will file the results of the voting with the SEC, within the next 4 business days. Now it’s time for Elon.

    7:04AM: As comments and voting continues, here’s some more shots of that gorgeous roadster (and savage Semi).

    7:00AM: Shareholders speaking (3 minutes at a time) where they’re raising workforce issues, even human rights violations in Tesla’s supply chain. Specifically Cobalt in the Republic of Congo, which we expect Elon Musk will announce they are moving away from during the battery part of today’s event.

    6:51AM: Stockholders demanded Tesla start advertising. Tesla board recommend that stockholders vote against this. As we know, Tesla are battery constrained, not demand constrained, so this doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    Tesla shareholders are attending (and voting) in their Model 3, looking up to a big screen.. due to COVID19 restrictions. Pretty safe.

    6:49AM: Voting has commenced. Most have already voted, but some in-person voting occurred. Just FYI, I am not a Tesla Shareholder.

    6:44AM: Tesla Chairman (and Australian), Robyn M. Denholm delivering a welcome message (remotely). A big thanks to shareholders, as well as a welcome to new board member, Hiromichi Mizuno.

    Hiromichi Mizuno has been a member of Board since April 2020. Mr. Mizuno’s entire career has been in finance and investment, spanning Tokyo, New York, London, Hong Kong and Silicon Valley. Most recently, Mr. Mizuno served as Executive Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer of Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund, which is the largest pension fund in the world with approximately $1.5 trillion in assets under management. 

    6:43AM: We’re now underway, getting a rundown of the agenda. Shareholder side of things will be up first, with 7 items to vote on, then Elon and the Battery Day begins.

    6:41AM: Here’s a couple of Tweets from the those attending the event, looks like the Cybertruck, Cyberquad and Roadster are all there.

    6:37AM: As expected, we’re running on Elon time here, so fashionably late as normal. Still no audio on the livestream. Should be starting soon.

    6:30AM: The live stream has just gone live, you can watch it directly here. The stream is showing shots of the Freemont factory, inside the production line, nothing new yet.

    Now we’re into Tesla’s tutorial videos, showing off dog mode, Smart Summon.

    Next we have a collection of videos from Tesla media assets. Here’s the first shot (and definitely not the last) of the Tesla Semi today.

    If you missed the event, the recording is now available on Tesla’s YouTube page.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021


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