Tesla is currently capable of building a car that can travel 500 miles on a single charge, the company’s CEO Elon Musk said during the Baron Funds investor conference on Friday.
“Technically right now, for us to do, say a 500 mile range car, we could absolutely do that right now with current batteries,” Musk said.
“But the cost would be too high and the useful load impact on the vehicle would be too high. We would have to fill up part of the front trunk and the rear trunk with batteries, we’d have to pinch a little bit on passenger room, but for us to do a 500 mile range car would be no problem.”
However, Musk said that within ten years Tesla would be able to create a vehicle with that same range in the current form of the Model S.
While Tesla continues increasing the efficiency of its battery packs, it’s currently focusing most of its energy on cutting the cost of its battery technology, he said.
Tesla’s current Model S can currently drive more than 300 miles at a rate of 65 miles per hour, which is more than enough range for most people. But not everybody can afford a $US100,000 car.
“Certainly incremental improvements to the battery pack range are important, but the thing that is really is reducing the cost per kilowatt hour…the fundamental focus is the cost per unit of energy. So that is what the Gigafactory is about. It’s taking economy of scale as far as we can possibly imagine, to a very extreme level.”
Musk wouldn’t give a specific price number, but he said that Tesla aims to reduce the cost per unit of energy by more than 30% once its giant battery factory is fully up and running.
The price reduction will be enough for Tesla to finally begin production of its Model 3, Tesla’s first mass market car, which is expected to be revealed next year and go into production in 2017.
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