Panasonic improves energy density and reduces cobalt in latest Tesla battery cell

Panasonic, one of Tesla’s EV battery suppliers, has announced new developments in their battery technology which will reduce the cost to manufacture them and allow EVs to travel further on a single charge.

In an interview with Reuters, Panasonic’s U.S. EV battery chief Yasuaki Takamoto said his company will be able to increase the energy density in the current 2170 battery cells by 20% in five years.

That means Panasonic engineers have been able to figure out a way to pack more energy into the cell’s existing architecture, a move that could significantly improve range. The 2170 cells are already have the highest energy density at above 700 watt-hour per litre.

Along with the improved density, the battery cells will also soon contain no cobalt, one of the most expensive and controversial elements in EV batteries. That move could happen in as little as 2-3 years according to Takamoto.

The new 2170 battery cells will be produced out of Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Sparks, Nevada. Panasonic will begin upgrading their production lines in September to produce the new batteries.

Eventually all 13 of their production lines at Gigafactory 1 will produce these new batteries, but no timeline was given as to when that would happen.

The move to no cobalt aligns with Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s goals to reduce reliance on the controversial and expensive element. With Tesla’s Battery Day coming up soon, we can expect more significant announcements as it relates to Tesla’s battery technology.

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