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.
No, will be lower. Wheelbase can't fit 100.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 7, 2017
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.
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