Tesla Model S long-range Sedan claims a range of 390 miles. For some time, this was the best battery capacity on the electric car market, but that is no longer the case. General Motors has topped Tesla in that regard. Thus the adage becoming number one is easier than remaining number one proves true.
But what is it all about, and what does it mean for the electric car market? Are we about to see a drop in the price of electric vehicles?
GM’s New Battery and Possible Implications
The new battery can potentially power motor vehicles for up to 400 miles, currently the best range. General Motors hopes to license the battery to other electric vehicle manufacturers to make them affordable. GM’s aggressive plan is to put everyone in an electric vehicle and reduce the effects of global warming.
Ultium, as GM calls the new battery cells, has flat and soft pouches. In contrast, the battery cells from Tesla are hard cylinders that must be in horizontal rows like books stacked in a bookshelf. The benefits of Ultium are that they can take any shape, allowing designers a lot of flexibility, and, therefore, more versatile than the Tesla battery.
The electric vehicle batteries contain cobalt, an expensive component. Ultium includes a small amount of it, without affecting performance. Combined with continued manufacturing improvements, the prices of the battery go down.
GM is optimistic that the current battery improvements will drive the costs below $100 per kilowatt-hour. This is the mark often cited by industry specialists as the threshold that will make electric vehicles genuinely competitive with their fossil-fuel counterparts. The battery makes up a large part of the electric vehicle cost. Bringing this cost down will make the electric-vehicle affordable, and that is what we all want. At least most of us!