Those who have been waiting for Tesla’s 2020 Battery Day will now have to wait a little longer. Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the event would “most likely” take place in mid-May, roughly one month after its originally intended date. “Hard to predict dates right now. Most likely postponed to mid May,” Musk wrote on Twitter as a response to a Tesla community member asking about the event.
The reason for the delay in the event seems to be related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This virus has halted production lines in Fremont and Buffalo and has caused the company to adapt to new delivery processes to deliver new electric cars to their customers. Considering that Tesla events usually involve presentations to groups of people, Battery Day may involve viewers being packed in a large room. Such does not conform to current social distancing suggestions to prevent the spread of the virus.
Tesla’s Battery Day will outline the company’s plans for battery development for future vehicles and energy solutions. Musk stated the event would be geared toward a review of Tesla’s cell chemistry, module and pack, architecture, and the company’s manufacturing plan that will detail how it can reach a terawatt-hour per year of battery production. “We have a very compelling strategy. I mean, we are super deep in cell. Super deep. Cell through battery,” Musk said.
Tesla’s ultimate goal with its cars is to reach price parity with its gas counterparts as soon as possible. Battery improvements would decrease the cost of vehicles tremendously, as the production of battery packs is one of the most expensive stages in EV manufacturing. Expectations suggest that Tesla has gotten its battery costs down to $100 per kWh, and Battery Day was widely speculated to be an event that discusses such a milestone.
Tesla has crafted a relationship with many cell manufacturers across the world, like Panasonic, which supplies the company’s lithium-ion vehicle batteries. In China, LG Chem and CATL are responsible for the task. The company has also made several acquisitions of battery research companies whose technologies can improve the quality of cells in the long term. One of these companies is Maxwell Technologies, whose research with ultracapacitors and dry electrode technologies could very well improve Tesla’s batteries in terms of quality and longevity.
This could lead to the development a “1-million mile battery,” which Tesla has predicted for its vehicles in the future. Researcher Jeff Dahn, a world-renowned battery specialist whose team at Dalhousie University, says that a battery capable of 1-million miles is more than feasible. This battery goal is attainable, especially considering the Dahn team’s development of pouch cells that have extended life.
Tesla held a similar event in 2019, called “Tesla Autonomy Day,” that outlined the company’s plans to complete its Full Self-Driving suite. However, it seems Tesla’s plans for 2020 are primarily focused on battery and energy storage, starting with Battery Day.
Fremont and Giga New York are poised to reopen on May 4, ending an over one-month shutdown. It is safe to assume that if this date is pushed back into late May or even early June, Battery Day could once again be delayed to ensure the safety of its attendees.