One important aspect of Tesla cars is that they are build to last. The drivetrain (motor and reduction gear) of any Tesla has been built to last 1,000,000 miles. Yes, that is 1 million miles. This is a far cry from most gas engine which we tend to sell off at 100,000 miles for fear they might break on us. Tesla are built to be as long-lasting as commercial trucks. Speaking of commercial trucks, my car was once towed by a diesel Toyota tow truck that had 700,000 miles on it and was still going strong.
Having long lasting motors is great but what about the battery? Well, Tesla battery packs are engineered to last between 300,000 and 500,000 miles. Why is there a 200,000-mile difference? Because it depends on how you treat your battery. The more you charge your Tesla to 100% and the longer it stays full, the less chance there will be that your battery pack lasts 500,000 miles. Batteries don't like to be full or empty. They like to be between 20% and 80% state of charge. Outside of that range, they start to degrade faster.
Still, even if you do a great job of keeping your battery between 20% and 80% state of charge, your battery will not last much longer than 500,000 miles which is short of the 1,000,000 miles Tesla motors can last.
Ladies and gentlemen, that gap is about to be closed.
Last week, Tesla just filed a patent indicating that they discovered 2 electrolytes that allow its batteries to withstand being full while at the same time accepting more charging and decharging cycles without as much degragation. A battery has a certain number of charging and decharging cycle they are good for, after which, they degrade faster. Increasing the number of cycles a battery can be used for is critical to increase the longevity of the battery. In cars, that increase in longevity directly translates in the number of miles that can be driven before a battery pack needs to be replaced.
What this patent means to us is that, in the future, Tesla car batteries will last as long as the motor, for 1,000,000 miles.
When are is this going to be trickling down to Tesla cars we can actually buy? Since Tesla built a gigafactory in Nevada where, in partnership with Panasonic, they are creating their own battery cells, my guess is that this innovation will find its way into Tesla cars in the following year.
I would not be surprised if the Model Y, coming in 2020, would be the first Tesla to receive this new battery chemistry with improved longevity and bigger tolerance to 100% full state of charge. At the same time, I would not be surprised if Tesla would retrofit this new kind of battery in the Model S, X and 3 around the same time. Stay tuned, we will be posting this information as soon as it gets released.
In conclusion, if you are the kind of person who buys cars to keep them until they disintegrates and are considering a Tesla, wait until next year until you are able to buy the 1,000,000 miles battery pack. This is what I will do myself.