Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) announced a new battery pack for its performance cars yesterday. The new 100 kilowatt-hour battery pack allows cars to accelerate more quickly and drive longer on a single charge. Because of the new battery pack, Tesla’s new Model S P100D is the third fastest accelerating production car ever produced.
Tesla’s new Model S P100D also has the longest range ever for a production electric vehicle at 315 miles. Tesla’s first car, the $100,000 Roadster, traveled a little over 200 miles on a single charge. The Model S had a range closer to 300 miles on a single charge.
Tesla is far ahead of its competitors with its electric car battery technology. Tesla’s 100-kilowatt hour battery pack is an auto industry breakthrough. No other company is producing electric cars on a production basis with a 315-mile range.
The 100-kilowatt hour battery pack will only be sold to Tesla’s high-end cars for now. Eventually, Tesla plans to offer the 100 kilowatt-hour battery pack for all versions of the Model S and Model X. The less expensive Model 3 will have new lithium-ion batteries made at Tesla’s Gigafactory outside of Reno, Nevada.
During a call with reporters, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk said that the battery pack comes close to reaching the theoretical limit of the energy density for that size and shape battery pack. Making the battery pack bigger would add weight and alter the shape of the cars. To achieve a higher energy density for future battery packs, the battery chemistry itself would have to be improved.
Tesla produces highly desirable electric vehicles. Tesla gained nearly 400,000 reservations for its Model 3 in a single week. Those reservations will result in over $16 billion of vehicle sales. Tesla currently has a market cap of over $30 billion. The company reached the top of the Forbes Most Innovative companies list in 2015 and maintains its #1 position for the 2016 ranking.
However, under CEO Elon Musk, the company has missed stated goals and new vehicle launch deadlines. It’s also unclear when the company will eventually be profitable. Tesla loses money on each car sold. In 2014, the company reported losses of $290 million. In 2015, Tesla lost $888 million.