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Report: Tesla Battery Research Work May Pay Off Soon

By Howard Smith – May 14, 2020 at 1:52PM

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New lower cost and longer life batteries may soon be used in the Model 3 sedans made in China.

Electric vehicle maker Tesla (TSLA -1.10%) plans to unveil a new lower cost, longer life battery for its China-made Model 3 sedans, according to a Reuters report. Tesla expects the new batteries, which will be introduced later this year or early next year, to bring electric vehicle costs down to levels in line with internal combustion engine vehicles, the report says. The report also said the new batteries are expected to be able to be repurposed for use in electric power grids. 

In the company's earnings conference call on April 29, CEO Elon Musk said the company will hold a "battery day" possibly in the third week of May (that's next week), though he didn't give a specific date. Musk said, "I think it would be one of the most exciting days in Tesla's history."

Artist's rendering of electric vehicle plugged into charging station and showing battery internals

Image source: Getty Images.

A team of researchers working with Tesla published an article in the energy journal Joule on April 30, showing a hybrid battery cell that could provide 20% more energy density than conventional lithium-ion cells. This would allow electric cars to go 20% further or reduce battery size, and cost, for similar charge distance limits. It is not clear if this specific research is what will be introduced at the company's battery day. 

Tesla continues to increase production at its plant in Shanghai, which opened late in 2019. It sold about 10,000 vehicles in China in March, and expects Model 3 production at the Shanghai factory to reach 150,000 vehicles per year. 

Howard Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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