Batteries are the backbone of the EV industry, and Panasonic is working towards a massive upgrade on its batteries. The Tesla supplier wants to boost the energy density of its batteries by 20 percent by 2030, as revealed by the company’s chief technology, Shoichiro Watanabe, officer to Reuters.
Panasonic wants to achieve a higher energy density by using new additives that allow each cell to operate with a higher voltage without damaging the battery, according to Watanabe.
If successful, Tesla cars stand to gain significant driving ranges. For example, Panasonic could add about 62 miles (100 km) to the Model Y without altering the battery pack size. Tesla could also decide to retain the same range and reduce the car’s weight by using a smaller battery pack. It will also create more room for passengers and cargo.
The Japanese manufacturer’s most advanced batteries offer about 750 watt-hours per liter (wh/l), but the proposed upgrade will bring them up to about 900 wh/l. The gains would come in increment instead of in a single step. However, Watanabe did not mention when the gain would begin to show. However, Tesla’s new 4680 battery is expected to cost production costs and extend the driving range. Tesla is already equipping its cars with the new battery in the US.
What is not clear yet is whether Panasonic is improving the new 4680 battery or the older 2170 battery, or both. But the company expects to start making the new batteries next year in Japan, with plans for production in the US as well.
Meanwhile, Panasonic has found a way to slow down the rate of battery degradation even at higher voltages with additives.
Other battery makers, including CATL, LG Energy Solution, and Samsung SDI, are also racing to produce long-lasting batteries at less costs.