Tesla is looking to make its cars more affordable, but don’t expect to see a major drop on price tags any time soon. The electric automaker is making small steps towards its goal of creating an electric car that is 50 percent cheaper than its $69,900 Model S, and the latest advance is a battery pack that increases energy range by 15 miles per charge.
The new 90 kilowatt-hour battery packs incorporate small amounts of silicon into the synthetic graphite anode (the negatively charged electrode of a battery), which is an advance for lithium-ion technology. Before, a battery pack with an exclusively synthetic graphite anode was more expensive and less efficient. But Telsa researchers are finding ways to incorporate the new material for the promise of cheaper, higher-capacity batteries. With silicon, you can pack more energy in the same space. And because silicon costs less, the more you’re able to incorporate, the easier it is to drive the total cost of the car (and other battery-powered products) down.
It’s all tech-heavy talk, but this is great news for buyers who want to be able to afford a Tesla without giving up any of the major selling points of the luxury brand’s models. Everybody wins with a product upgrade that also allows for cost reduction. It also solves issues with possible compromised mileage and range as Tesla’s electric tech has accommodated the bigger, heavier, and more rugged models that they are starting to roll out (such as the Model X SUV).
Additionally, costs of repairs on Teslas will continue to drop as more models are out on the road and parts become more aavailable. “Tesla is committed to making the production and service of our cars increasingly cost effective for our customers and our company,” says Alexis Georgeson of Tesla Communications, according to an Autoblog report. “As we continue to produce more vehicles, economies of scale naturally decrease the price of individual parts.” Initial Model S repair costs were quoted in sky-high numbers, but recently, wholesale replacement parts have dropped around 66 percent in price. A bumper cover (the most common part to be replaced) cost $1,200 in 2014, but is now running around $320.