Elon Musk says Tesla is working on a battery that drives more than 600 miles — and hints at a new compact car for Europe

  • Tesla is developing a battery with 600 miles of range, Elon Musk said Tuesday.
  • The CEO also hinted that Tesla may develop a smaller, compact car for European markets.
  • “I was driving around Berlin and in quite a bit of trouble finding a parking space where we could fit,” he said.
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It’s not easy to park a Tesla Model X in Berlin, Elon Musk recently learned, which led the CEO to hint at a compact model for European markets.

“In Europe it would make sense to do a compact car, perhaps a hatchback or something like that,” Musk said at a conference Tuesday, adding that cars in the US tend to be larger.

“If you’re trying to park in a dense urban environment, having a car that actually fits in parking spaces is important,” he said. “I was driving around Berlin and in quite a bit of trouble finding a parking space where we could fit.”

Musk also hinted that Tesla could soon hire designers and engineers in Europe as its factory in Germany nears completion. The company also plans to eventually produce batteries there alongside cars.

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“Our longest-range vehicles have over 600 kilometers of range, and there’s more we could actually do,” Musk said. “We even have some under development long term that could do 1,000 kilometers.”

In miles, those ranges translate to roughly 372 and 621 miles, respectively. The Model S is the only model with a range rating of more than 400 miles from the US Environmental Protection Agency.

But there’s a long way to go to improve battery range and life, something Tesla won’t be able to do alone. Earlier this year, Musk lamented the high cost of raw battery materials, even as he touted new designs that would let Tesla eke out even more range from the same chemicals that competitors use.

“While Tesla continues to lead with the best overall powertrain technology,” UBS analysts said in October, “the cost lead in battery cells is minor by now and will depend on its new proprietary cell design in the future.”

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