Longtime Tesla battery supplier Panasonic is working on new innovations that could increase its cells’ density by 20% by 2030. If achieved, the improvements could boost the driving range of electric vehicles even if the cars use the same battery packs they are equipped with today.
In the case of the Tesla Model Y, the improved energy density could result in the vehicle getting an extra 62 miles of range without changing its battery size. More energy-dense batteries could also allow manufacturers to design and produce electric cars that are lighter and more spacious while still offering long range.
Panasonic’s battery density targets were related to Reuters by the company’s chief technology officer, Shoichiro Watanabe, during an interview. According to Watanabe, Panasonic is looking to achieve its battery density gains through the use of new additives that would allow individual cells to run at a higher voltage without damaging performance.
“The race among battery makers has been to come up with more potent and effective additives,” the Panasonic CTO said.
A 20% increase in energy density could translate to an energy density of 900 watt-hours per liter, a substantial improvement over Panasonic’s most advanced cells today, which feature 750 watt-hours per liter. Watanabe mentioned that Panasonic is planning on achieving its battery density gains over several years, though he did not mention when the improved cells would begin their rollout.
Panasonic is extremely busy with its battery supply deal with Tesla, with the Japanese company expected to start the mass-production of the American electric car maker’s 4680 batteries during the financial year starting April 2023. Panasonic is also reportedly reviewing sites for new battery production activities in the United States.
So far, a Panasonic spokesperson has declined to provide a comment on whether the company’s new battery technologies would be incorporated in Tesla’s 2170 or 4680 cells. Tesla, for its part, has also remained silent about the matter.
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