Musk says Tesla Model 3/Y with 100kWh battery pack “not in development”

Excitement around a leaked Tesla Model 3 screen in factory mode that allegedly revealed a 100kWh battery pack has been dampened by Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk, who denies any such configuration is in development with the EV maker.

The Model 3, which has proven itself as a leader in electric vehicle markets across multiple regions, currently comes with a  battery pack of up to 74kWh.

The leak of a “factory mode” screen raised a deal of speculation, the most interesting of which circles around increased driving range and the possibility of increased energy density in a new pack configuration.

A Model 3 with 100kWh battery capacity – assuming the extra capacity is due to what would be a significant increase in energy density – could boast driving range of as much as a700km based on the Model 3’s current US-based EPA rating.

According to Musk such a vehicle is not in development. Although this did not eliminate speculation entirely.

In “factory mode” its touchscreen display reveals numerous technical specifications, including the energy capacity of the battery pack in kilowatt hours as shown in this example shared on Reddit in 2019:

Source: Reddit

In the screenshot above, the battery capacity is clearly shown at 74kWh – which gives a maximum range for the Model 3 of 518km (based on EPA rating of the Long Range variant).

But in the recent factory mode screen shared on Twitter, it would appear that there is a Model 3, or Model Y, out there that has a 100kWh battery capacity (we note that whilst the restraint type says “M3”, Tesla have said three-quarters of the Model Y uses Model 3 hardware).

Despite Musk’s statement, there is still a great deal of room for speculation on the legitimacy of the above factory mode screenshot.

Tesla is focussed on improving EV batteries in a number of ways.

From improving battery chemistry to extend life span (such as in Tesla battery researcher Jeff Dahn’s single crystal cathode research), and using battery packs that cost less to make (such as the CATL LFP battery it now has approval to use in the China-mode Model 3), it is already making major in-roads that are expected to be discussed at the upcoming but as yet unscheduled Battery Day.

Importantly, a paper also published by Dahn’s battery research team based at Dalhousie University in Canada looks at a hybrid battery that could delivery 20% higher energy density.

While this is would not account for a jump from 74kWh to 100kWh for the same size battery (that is more like 35%), it is food for thought – if this technology were used in a Model 3, its driving range could be increased to as much as 600km.

In other range-increasing news however, Tesla has outlined how it has achieved a 647km range for the Model S, using the same 100kWh battery pack it used in 2019.

Instead of increasing energy density, Tesla says it improved driving range via four factors including decreasing mass, improving drive unit efficiency, using more aerodynamic wheels and tyres, and optimising regenerative braking.

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