Here's Why The Battery Pack of Tesla Model S Plaid is An Electrification Masterpiece

Here's Why The Battery Pack of Tesla Model S Plaid is An Electrification Masterpiece

Author: Manish Kharinta   

The start of 2022 kicked off on an excellent note for electric automaker Tesla, as China recently announced that will lift the 50% joint venture ownership cap on foreign auto manufacturing facilities. As a result of this move, automakers from around the globe will have complete ownership of their factories in the world's largest auto market starting from Jan 1. 

Soon, EV pioneers like Tesla will have better control over the production in China, and more importantly, the battery pack technology for their electric vehicles.

In our opinion, which is shared by many others in the industry, the most advanced battery technology available in the market right now is the cells that power the ultra high performance Tesla Model S Plaid

According to EPA estimates, the 2022 Tesla Model S Plaid battery pack has a higher specific energy density than the batteries used in the Model Y. At 186 Watt-hours per kilogram (Wh/kg), the Model S Plaid battery pack is actually more efficient than the battery in Long Range and Performance variants of 2022 Model Y, which offers 180 Wh/kg.  

Even though the Long Range Model Y and Model S sedan use the more energy dense and smaller 2170 battery cells, the Plaid S variant of the automaker's flagship sedan uses the Tesla's original 18650 battery cells, which are a bit larger and deliver slightly less energy to the electric motors. The cylindrical 18650 battery cells made their debut in the first-generation Tesla Roadster back in 2008.

It is also worth noting that the 2170 cell can theoretically store 50% more energy than the 18650 batteries because of their larger size. So how did Tesla make the Model S Plaid so powerful using the older cell design?

Turns out, Tesla managed to pack more energy in its battery pack for the Model S Plaid by reducing the number of individual modules which make up the pack. Compared to the 16 module battery pack of the old Tesla Model S, the Plaid variant only gets five modules. This helped Tesla construct a more lightweight battery with more active anode material and higher energy density.

Earlier last year, we reported that Tesla is working on its next-generation battery pack, which will eliminate the modules entirely and instead use structural batteries to improve the range and mass of its future models. 

Panasonic and Tesla also managed to improve the energy density of the 2170 cells by an additional 5%. It's also possible that Tesla improved the energy density by adding more silicon to the anode (the company has not shared the specific details).

The 7,920 individual cells that make up the five modules in the Tesla Model S Plaid battery have a nominal pack energy amount of 95 kWh. The battery pack also uses a radial cooling method, which uses a ribbon that stretches between the cells and allows optimum thermal management.

The Tesla Model S Plaid also gets a more powerful heat pump and cooling condenser, which is twice the size as the one in the standard Model S. It helps improve the performance of the high-performance electric powertrain. 

The new heat pump offers a 30% better cold-weather range and uses 50% less energy for heating the cabin in a low-temperature environment, according to Tesla. This allows the Tesla Model S Plaid to deliver impressive performance repeatedly without overheating.

The Model S Plaid delivers 1,020 horsepower can reach 60 mph in about 2 seconds, making it the world's fastest car. Range is 390 miles.

Manish Kharinta
Manish Kharinta
Manish Kharinta is a automotive writer based in the Los Angeles area. He has worked for automotive industry websites, and His experience ranges from covering auto shows, to car reviews and breaking automotive news. Manish aims to bring forth his unique perspective on automotive design and technological innovations in the automotive industry.
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