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  • Why Do Tesla Batteries Get So Many Miles to a Charge?

    Tesla Motors is a leader in the design of electric vehicle (EV) technology. It’s so advanced that Toyota Motors contracted Tesla to design the battery pack, charger, motor, transmission and software for Toyota’s RAV4 EV, scheduled to hit the showrooms in 2012. Daimler also depends on Tesla Motors for EV systems designs. The company has an order for 1,500 Smart ForTwo EVs. Tesla expects an order for 500 Mercedes A-Class EVs as well.

    Leading the Charge

    Tesla Motors is an icon in EV development. If Tesla made computers, it would be the equivalent of Apple. Both companies show fearless appetites for innovation, taking risks to advance their products. Tesla made history with the best EV lithium-ion batteries. The Tesla Roadster has the best driving range in the industry at 245 miles.

    How Tesla’s Battery is Different

    The Tesla lithium-ion battery evolved from computer laptop batteries. Tesla’s competitors use larger lithium-ion batteries developed exclusively for automotive applications or Nickel based batteries. The nickel batteries require drainage before recharging. Lithium-ion batteries require no draining.

    The Tesla battery links small batteries in parallel. It’s cheaper to build at about $200.00, compared to $700.00 or more for larger lithium-ion batteries. Tesla then encases these battery chains in a steel case for protection and cooler operating temperatures. Tesla batteries even have a liquid coolant from the air conditioning to engage if the battery temperature reaches a certain level. This makes the Tesla more efficient, reliable and durable than its competitors.

    The Tesla battery pack weighs 990 pounds and has an output rating of 56 kilowatt hours. The nickel based batteries would weigh twice that amount for the same output.

    The Most Efficient Battery on the Market

    These features combine to give the Tesla battery pack the highest efficiency rating of its competitors. EV battery pack efficiency is measured in watt hours per kilogram. The EV industry refers to this as energy density. Tesla’s roadster battery has an energy density rating of 121 watt-hours per kilogram. Its nearest competitors are BMW Mini E at 101 and Ford Focus EV at 100. The Nissan Leaf lithium-ion battery is rated at 79, about 30 percent less than the Roadster.

    Once you understand EV battery pack efficiency and how Tesla’s battery works, it’s easy to see why the Tesla Roadster beats all others. We can’t wait to see the innovations they come up with in the model S, slated for release next year.

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