Like solar, wind and other sustainable energy technologies, electric vehicles (EV) face the daunting challenge of becoming cost competitive with their fossil fuel burning rivals.
Never one to back away from a challenge, EV manufacturer Tesla may have found a way to make their cars more affordable. In doing so, the company may also be looking at putting itself in competition with an entirely new set of rivals.
Reuters reports that the Palo Alto-based company has been working with partners on the development of a so-called “million mile battery”.
The high cost of batteries coupled with limits on their storage capacity have been the major impediments to making electrical vehicles that the average consumer can afford.
Tesla hopes to solve that conundrum with a new low-cost battery that will last for a million miles of use.
The price of expensive materials, such as cobalt, which are used in batteries, plus labor costs and the complications of bundling batteries into cells, all contribute to the high overall costs of manufacturing electric cars.
Tesla expects to crack that nut by employing innovations that will pave the way for low-cobalt and cobalt-free batteries. The company also plans to implement a heavily automated process and a less expensive way of bundling cells.
The changes won’t just result in less expensive cars. They will also turn all of Tesla’s vehicles into effective sources of energy storage tied into the grid. This will transform the company into more than just an electrical vehicle manufacturer. It will also put it into direct competition with large utilities such as PG&E.
According to the Reuters report, the new batteries will be introduced first in China before it expands to North America and other markets.