The head of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, updated his forecast for the timing of the appearance of batteries of the appropriate energy capacity, which will allow the creation of serial electric aircraft. He now believes this will happen in the next 3-4 years.
Many companies are now developing experimental electric aircraft. One of the most prominent projects in this area is the Rolls-Royce ionBird electric aircraft project. For the first time, Musk mentioned a supersonic electric aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing. back in 2015, and then again in 2016. He also said that he was thinking about creating a separate company that would deal with aerial electrical equipment. In 2018, Elon Musk, in the same episode of the podcast of the American comedian Joe Roganu, again spoke about a supersonic electric aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing. In 2019, Musk, who is known to be an engineer himself, citing his own calculations a decade ago, said that lithium-ion batteries could be considered as a replacement for aviation kerosene when the energy density reaches 400 Wh / kg. Then he said that the milestone of 400 Wh / kg would be passed in the next five years.
400 Wh / kg * with * high cycle life, produced in volume (not just a lab) is not far. Probably 3 to 4 years.
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 24, 2020
And now, a year later, Musk revised his previous forecast, slightly reducing the time for the appearance of batteries for electric aircraft to 3-4 years.
On the eve of the Tesla research team led by battery guru Jeff Dana released a fresh scientific publication on the progress made in creating anode-free lithium metal batteries with impressive energy density.
The study authors mentioned that this new type of battery could pave the way for electrified urban aviation.
“This high energy density could increase the range of modern electric vehicles by about 280 km or even electrify urban aviation.”
snippet from Jeff Dan’s group research
However, the new technology is still improving and the life cycle of the current prototype battery cells is not high enough, as Musk elaborated in a tweet.
Tesla also patented a new NCA electrode earlier this year, with Jeff Dunn also co-authoring the study.
On September 22, a major event will take place Tesla Battery Day, where the announcement of the sensational new battery of the company’s own development is expected, which stands out for its affordable price (below $ 100 per kWh of capacity) and increased durability (guaranteed resource of 1 million miles). Just yesterday, Tesla posted a teaser in which you can see in the background something similar to silicon nanowires (SiNWs), a nanostructure that has been used to create higher performance batteries, although it has not yet been commercialized. Amprius, among others, is developing such technology. Interestingly, the Amprius office is located next to the Tesla building at 901 Page Ave in Fremont, California.
It is in this building that Tesla plans to hold Battery Day, and is also home to the Tera battery factory, using a manufacturing technology called Roadrunner. By the way, the shop is being overhauled right now. The video below confirming the expansion with a multi-storey superstructure was captured by the drone’s camera.
Tesla has not publicly commented on the planned battery production, but it is expected to be significant given that the company plans to operate the production line 24/7, working in four shifts and employing up to 100 people.
In general, the upcoming Tesla battery event promises to be extremely eventful with announcements.