Op Ed

Tesla New Batteries Unveiled – What it Means

In 1985 everything changed with battery technology with the invention of lithium ion batteries that have continued to remain the driving force behind electric vehicles. The size is 18650 and are very similar to what would look like a AA battery that measures 18 mm x 65 mm or roughly the size of a finger. These batteries are placed next to each other inside an array and are connected in parallel.

The important number to think of with any battery is the watt hours. So if you have a 500 watt hour battery and a 500 watt motor on full power it would last for one hour. So what manufacturers try to do is get as many watt hours as possible out of a battery but you can’t simply add more cells to a battery pack because that adds weight and takes up volume in your limited storage space on the vehicle.

Tesla currently uses the 2170 cell measuring 21 mm x 70 mm that Panasonic and Tesla came up with to try and maximize energy storage and lifespan. However, Tesla released a 46 mm x 80 mm or 4680 battery. Most batteries have tabs that are used to connect it but the Tesla new batteries get rid of tabs and have a shingled spiral design that collects current and reduces resistance which makes manufacturing quicker. The claims are five times more energy 16% more range and six times the power.

So what do these new batteries mean for the electric vehicle industry? Only time will tell but because of technology like this Tesla is trying to produce a $25,000 US car that would have great range and charging capabilities. Because Tesla will be able to produce these batteries in house they claim that it will reduce the cost by up to 56%.

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Op Ed

Should I choose a Hybrid or EV?

With so many used car options on the market today, a good question to ask is whether or not to go with a hybrid vehicle or an all electric vehicle (EV). Here are a few simple things to keep in mind. Remember that not every situation is the same so what works for another person may not fit your needs. Do your research and assess your best option. Works in other areas of life too, no?

EV vs Hybrid

Electric Vehicles

The Chevrolet Bolt is one of the best options for a full electric vehicle

This is the latest and greatest of what the big manufacturers have to offer. Range has increased in the last few years and is definitely not as big of an issue as it once was. However, you will need to factor in how much you travel in a day and what your charging ability is. Do you live in an apartment where parking is an issue? This may not be the best option for you if there isn’t a charger available if you still commute to work. Also you may want to consider what happens with the battery pack after it reaches it’s end of life. What is the impact of disposal and recycling on the environment. These vehicles are known to require much less maintenance however. No oil changes, no smog checks, no gasoline consumption. So perhaps that helps justify the battery EOL issue. A great option in this category is the Chevrolet Bolt.

Hybrid Vehicles

2017 chevrolet volt is a great option if you are looking for a hybrid vehicle

This is what introduced the world to electric and internal combustion engine vehicles that made sense. You kind of get the best of both worlds. Long trips without the fear of running out of batter? Check. Better fuel economy? Check. Great performance? Check. If you live in an area where 240V charging is an issue, than this might be the best option for you. Vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt have been called the best car they have ever owned by many owners.

So why is a hybrid vehicle a better option that a standard gasoline vehicle? The battery pack is separate than the gas engine, which means that the vehicle can run solely on it, with both, or just on gas. This can give you incredible range and offer great gas mileage around town. In fact many hybrid vehicles get better gas mileage in the city than they do on the highway!

So that is a brief overview of some of the reasons to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle. If you want a more technical deep dive check out this great write up on JD Power’s website: