No P100D Option For Tesla Model 3 Buyers


Following news this week that the Tesla Model S P100D with Ludicrous Mode is now officially the quickest car ever tested by Motor Trend magazine — 0 to 60 in 2.275507139 seconds — people are beginning to speculate how fast a smaller, lighter Tesla Model 3 might be in P100D trim. It’s unlikely they will ever find out. Elon Musk tweeted on Tuesday that the 100 kWh battery simply won’t fit in the shorter Model 3 chassis.

That doesn’t mean the Model 3 will be slow, though, or won’t have performance upgrades available for those who are willing to pay for them. Tesla doesn’t advertise its products the way traditional car companies do, but it gets tremendous mileage from all the free publicity its ultra-quick high performance models garner from the press. If you Google “Tesla” today, you will find about a bazillion automotive news sources that have written about the new record established by Motor Trend and the awesome Model S P100D. True to form for Elon Musk and his slightly loopy sense of humor, when that car is put into Launch Mode for an all out acceleration run, this graphic pops up on the car’s 17″ central touch screen.

Nio P100D for Tesla Model 3

Fear not, however, all you Model 3 fanatics. Just because the big ass battery from the Model S won’t fit your ride, Tesla always has a trick or two up its sleeve. The battery cells that will be used in the Model 3 are different than the ones Tesla has used in all its previous cars to date, starting with the Tesla Roadster a decade ago.

Until now, Tesla has used 18650 cells in its battery packs — the 100 kWh pack has 8,256 of them. The name comes from the size of the battery cells. They are 18 millimeters in diameter and about 65 millimeters long. That is the format used by for most EV batteries today and it is essentially the same as the original lithium ion laptop batteries from 30 years ago. But Tesla is now producing a new battery cell at its Gigafactory in Nevada. It is called a 2170 cell because it is 21 millimeters in diameter and 70 millimeters long.

If you think that’s a pretty small change to get excited about, consider this. The original Tesla Powerwall residential storage battery that was introduced a little over a year ago used 18650 cells. The new Powerwall introduced recently has double the capacity of the original but costs less. It uses the new 2170 cells. Now factor this bit of news into your deliberations.

The Model 3 battery will use 2170 cells. That’s right, the same cells that allow the new Powerwall to have double to capacity of its predecessor. Still think the Model 3 will be short on power even though its battery pack will be smaller? No, me either.

Photo credit: Teslarati



About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I’m interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.

  • Jim Smith

    Steve, isn’t there another model 3 reveal coming up soon? Perhaps my memory is bad, but i seem to recall the reveal being in two parts.

    • Disqusor

      Yes late March/early April…Plan 3

  • Disqusor

    The batteries do have an insane output !

  • WebUserAtLarge

    Maybe not as fast as P100D, but will be most likely fast enough and, more importantly, have the range to out do Bolt. Just don’t see Tesla giving an inch to the competition.

  • Eco Logical

    Dr Jeff Dahn (Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada) has been working on Li-ion batteries since 1978 and started working with Tesla about 6 months ago to 1. Improve longevity 2. Lower costs 3. Increase energy density … according to recent interviews the results of his research will make their way into the 2170 Model 3 batteries that will be starting production soon … but not the 2170 Powerpack/Powerwall batteries for stationary energy storage.

    • Steve Hanley

      Really? Did not have knowledge of that distinction. Good to know. So we can assume the two cells will have different chemical properties, then? The needs of a grid storage battery and an EV battery are rather different.

      • mb

        I doubt there would be different versions of the 2170 cells but I think it’s about the thermal management in a similar fashion Kreisel is working with their packs based on the 18650 cells. Grid storage can do with a simpler thermal management as these have in their software only one option “No, I want my Mommy”…

  • Kieran Delaney

    Regardless of whatever the KWh rating is of the top Model III battery, I think we can all agree on one thing:

    The Model III is going to wipe the floor with the Bolt.

  • trackdaze

    Simplify and add lightness.

    • Steve Hanley

      Thanks you Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman!

      • trackdaze

        Point i was infering was that you dont need 100kwhr if the vehicle is lighter on two fronts

        • advances in batteries themselves make the battery pack lighter and more energy dense. 5 or 10% will do it but i imagine it may be more.

        • The 3 is likely to be lighter anyway given no fancy wings or flippy outee door handles.

        • kevin mccune

          Good point , I tell the gas guys if I had a choice between 300# less weight or 10 extra HP , I would take the weight reduction