Model S

What makes the Tesla 100 kWh battery so different?


Tesla’s 100 kWh battery has rocked the automotive world. It’s 11% increase in capacity over its previous flagship batter has drawn global attention from media because it allows Tesla to shatter two long standing records. First, it makes the new Model S P100D with Ludicrous the first production electric car with more than 300 miles of range — 315 miles. Second, it means the car has become the world’s fastest accelerating mass production car capable of rocketing 0-60 mph in a blistering 2.5 seconds. For context, the limited-run Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari’s LaFerrari are the next closest rivals in terms of acceleration from a standstill, though both of  these hypercars are now out of production and each sold for more than $1,000,000.

For daily driving, acceleration from a standing start is a fairly irrelevant statistic. But it’s the kind of thing that makes people notice and that’s the attention Elon Musk craves for his cars. In his mind, the more people get excited about electric cars, the more people will buy one and the sooner the electric car revolution will come to fruition. Besides, the car’s ferocious mid-range acceleration is something real drivers can appreciate when passing slower vehicles — which means every other car on the road.

Tesla, as usual, has not revealed many details about the new 100 kWh battery except to say it is close to the theoretical maximum power that can be squeezed into the space available in the Model S and Model X battery chassis. Tesla CTO JB Straubel did say during the P100D press conference that the new battery required a “complete redo” of the internal cooling system. What does that mean?

Tesla 100 kWh battery cooling system

The folks at LiveScience via EVAnnex think they have an explanation. Previously, Tesla employed a ribbon filled with glycol to control the heat of the individual battery cells. Tesla has abandoned that system entirely and replaced it with thin aluminum fins between the battery cells that conduct heat away and transfer it to a cold plate below. The theory is the aluminum fins are thinner than the glycol filled cooling ribbon, allowing more cells to be mounted in the same physical space.

Tesla 100 kWh cooling system

Straubel hinted that the new improvements are vital to making the upcoming Model 3 meet its range, power, and price targets. That may be even more important that making the Model S the fastest electric car with the most range in the history of the world. Read more at EVAnnex.

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