Amid a packed afternoon of announcements from Tesla around innovations the company is pursuing to slash the cost of electric vehicle production and energy storage through better battery design, the company said it's made new advancements in material science for anodes and cathodes -- key components of the lithium-ion batteries that are the heart of all of its products. Tesla took an all-of-the-above approach to improving its battery from the manufacturing process that is still under development to the materials used in cathode and anode, the basic building blocks of any battery system. The upshot: a reduction in cost of the cathode and anode materials, while boosting performance that on its own could extend the range of its batteries by 20%, Tesla said.
Tesla has fundamentally redesigned the way that its battery packs integrate into their vehicles, turning them into structural elements of the car, rather than just fuel sources on their own. At Tesla's Battery Day event on Tuesday, Elon Musk compared this to how commercial aircraft used to load fuel into tanks that were contained within the wings, but that were essentially bolted onto internal structure -- later on, they realized much greater efficiencies in how much fuel could be carried, as well as weight and parts usage, by making the wing bodies actual fuel tanks themselves. "All modern airplanes, the fuel tank, your wing is just a fuel tank and wing shaped," he said.
Tesla's battery day is here after months of tweets and teasers from the company's CEO Elon Musk. The Tesla event, which begins at 1:30 p.m. PT September 22, kicks off with its annual shareholder meeting followed by the battery day activities. Tesla's annual shareholder meeting — like its earnings call — tends to be packed with announcements and updates and general ruminating and forecasting from Musk.