CEO Elon Musk said during the Tesla Q4 2019 earnings call that the Model S is getting closer to achieving a 400-mile range as battery technology improves and as important pieces of the puzzle come into play to achieve the ambitious.
One investor asked the Tesla chief when the Models S and Model X will shift from 18650 cells to 2170 cells since this could be the reason why the sales of the pricier electric vehicles in the Tesla garage have stayed flat. Elon Musk explained Tesla’s current rationale for the Model S as follows.
“The core chemistry inside the 18650 cells has improved many times over the years so it’s really the form factor as opposed to a core technology…We’re pretty happy with the energy content, the improvements, and the efficiency of the vehicle. We’re rapidly approaching a 400-mile range for the Model S, for example,” Musk said.
The Model S has an EPA-certified range between 348 miles and 373 miles while the Model X SUV can go between 305 miles and 328 miles on a single charge. Meanwhile, the entry-level Standard Range Plus Model 3 can travel 250 miles on a charge, while the Performance and Long Range AWD variant can go 322 miles. Musk noted that the figures in the Model S and X order pages are actually conservative.
“Actually, the Model S and X actually have more range than we are currently stating on the website. We just haven’t gotten around to updating the EPA-certified number but the actual range of the Model S and X are above what the website says they are,” Musk said.
While Musk did not provide a direct answer when the Model S and X will switch from 18650 to 2170 battery cells or will there really be a need to do that, the Tesla co-founder and chief executive confirmed last November that the company is planning to use a new battery pack for the Plaid Model S and Model X, which features a three electric motor setup.
New hardware incoming.
Integrated inductive phone charger (Qi) for S/X cars.
Two new S/X battery types in several configs (not yet sure of the capacity – TBD)
new lumbar (so new seats?)
New charge port type.
New suspension version.
I would speculate all these are imminent 1/
— green (@greentheonly) January 25, 2020
Recently, Tesla community hacker Green spotted two new battery types with several configurations for the Models S and Model X. This could be related to the release of the Plaid variants, as well as upcoming announcements during the Tesla Battery Day that’s tentatively scheduled to happen in April.
During the Q4 2019 earnings call, Musk was also asked what it plans to do with Maxwell Technologies. Tesla completed the acquisition of the company that is focused on batteries and ultracapacitors in May 2019.
The Tesla chief was quick to reply that “It’s an important piece of the puzzle.”
“We’re going to talk about this in battery day which is probably April and then a lot of these questions will be answered. I think it’s going to be a very compelling story,” he said. “I think it’s gonna actually blow people’s minds. It blows my mind,” Musk added.