A New Model Y With 279 Miles of Range
We wrote recently about Tesla's new Model Y with 279 miles of range. Tesla could have made a new Model Y standard range will use 4680 batteries from Giga Texas. Tesla could use nickel batteries for long range and LFP batteries for standard range vehicles. Tesla could eventually bring about the $25,000 compact vehicle which most everyone could afford, given finance approving. This is all fine in a perfect world.
This was how things were supposed to go, but as always, things change based on current events and supply chain challenges. With nickel prices soaring and demand through the roof, Tesla needs to find a way to make vehicles without using Nickel and Cobalt. Tesla needs to make decisions and this first decision is ramping vehicles and making standard range vehicles with instead, LFP batteries. However, they are heavier and it takes a lot of them to make an acceptable range in a bigger and heavier vehicle.
The new 279 range Model Y could be made from Giga Texas and this is a possibility. The largest battery factory in the world will eventually come from Giga Texas, and it would make sense to make the batteries there for Tesla's vehicles. It's a long distance to send LFP batteries from CATL in China, all the way to Giga Texas...
Elon has mentioned how important it is to make batteries at the site of vehicle construction. The Model Y standard in China, using CATL batteries, gets about 230 miles with a 60 kWh battery pack. If Tesla goes to 73 kWh, you get to the around 279 miles of range. However, this adds about 250 lbs., which affects the amount of range you get due to the additional weight, thus you have to compensate, taking the battery more toward 78 kWh. That gets you to around 279 miles of range.
Tesla Range With LFP in Model 3
Tesla is hitting 272 miles of range in the Model 3 RWD with LFP batteries using 60 kWh. This beats other companies like BYD, a Chinese company, with extra weight and more kWh. The BYD vehicle accelerates 0-60 mph in 8 seconds, has 78 kWh with 216 miles of range... The Model 3 RWD LFP does it in 5.8 seconds with 60 kWh and 272 miles of range.
With Tesla getting a decent range with LFP batteries for the Model 3, you have the Chinese Model Y, which gets 230 miles of range. That's a difference of 42 miles. That's a big deal! With Tesla doing so well with the Model 3 in the U.S. with LFP, how can Tesla get a Model Y in the U.S. with 279 miles of range?
You could put in extra batteries to get the range, something Lucid has done with the Lucid Air Dream Edition. With 8 kWh of batteries added to the standard range Model Y in the U.S., you could get to 86 kWh and get about 279 miles of range. But now you have a very large battery pack and the car won't handle as well.
Elon Musk calls large battery packs like "a bag of potatoes". He is in favor of fewer batteries, and moving them to the center of the car. If you add in these extra batteries, does it make sense to have reduced handling, more batteries, and extra costs and supply use for this new standard range Model Y?
Isn't BYD supplying Tesla with blade batteries? There has been reports of this, but I'm not quite sure this is happening. From what I can tell, BYD batteries have lower energy density than Tesla batteries... But Tesla does want to get its hand on as many batteries as it can get.
The Only Way There is a Tesla With LFP and 279 Miles of Range
Tesla would need to make an 88 kWh on the Model Y in order to get 279 miles of range. This is a heavy cost, reduces handling and acceleration, and is against what Elon Musk has said. LFP batteries could be shipped from China to Texas, but that is difficult. And the LFP batteries weight more and that weight just doesn't add up for the EPA filing...
Another way this could happen though is with a breakthrough in LFP battery technology. If this were true, then we might get enough range per kWh in order for there to be 279 miles of range. In fact, I think this is the only way we're going to see this new Model Y standard range use LFP - with a breakthrough in battery technology with LFP.
In the end, it will have to use 4680 batteries, new LFP batteries, or the usual 2170 batteries Tesla has been using in the Model Y/Model 3 long range vehicles already. My bet is on the usual 2170 batteries.
If this is indeed true and the new Model Y has LFP batteries, then I will be excited in this new breakthrough in battery technology.
Will the new Model Y from Tesla use LFP batteries? Will this Model Y come from Giga Texas? Will LFP batteries be shipped to Giga Texas from China (CATL)?
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Jeremy Johnson is a Tesla investor and supporter. He first invested in Tesla in 2017 after years of following Elon Musk and admiring his work ethic and intelligence. Since then, he's become a Tesla bull, covering anything about Tesla he can find, while also dabbling in other electric vehicle companies. Jeremy covers Tesla developments at Torque News. You can follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn to stay in touch and follow his Tesla news coverage on Torque News.