Elon Musk Teases Battery Day Will Be 'Very Insane' As Leak Speculation Grows

Tesla boss Elon Musk has teased the upcoming Battery Day event will be "very insane" as speculation about announcements simmer online.

The billionaire CEO has been tight-lipped about specific details set to be unveiled at the September 22 presentation, but he previously indicated that his electric cars may soon be equipped with battery packs that could last for one million miles of operation.

While exact details still remain a mystery, Tesla-watchers believe snippets of information can be gleaned from Musk's statements during recent earnings calls.

For example, Musk said during a Q&A in July that Battery Day would address how Tesla will expand business with firms including CATL, LG and Panasonic to solve a limitation on growth, which he said was production of battery cells at an affordable price.

At the time, Musk noted there are two main general cell classes: Lithium iron phosphate (LFP) and nickel based. He said that nickel-based cells have "higher energy density, so longer range" and appealed to companies to produce more of the material.

"I'd just like to reemphasize, any mining companies out there, please mine more nickel, OK? Wherever you are in the world, please mine more nickel," Musk said.

"So hopefully, this message goes out to all mining companies. Please get nickel. With regard to passenger vehicles, I think the new normal for Range is going to be, just in U.S. EPA terms, approximately 300 miles. So I think people will really come to expect that as some number close to 300 miles as normal."

To some, it very much sounded like a clue. In an article this week, CleanTechnica did a deep-dive into possible meanings of Musk's comments, suggesting that Tesla's entry-level cars could now move to the "cost effective LFP technology" while a nickel pack—called "Roadrunner"—may "break new ground" in terms of performance.

The post caught Musk's attention yesterday. While rejecting the claim that new tech had already been revealed, he said the article made "great points."

"Important to note that iron's cost advantage is partly offset by increased pack mass, so the fully considered cost is closer to nickel. That said, iron alleviates much of the scaling problem," he said in response to the CleanTechnica post on the social network.

No, but you make some great points. Important to note that iron’s cost advantage is partly offset by increased pack mass, so the fully considered cost is closer to nickel. That said, iron alleviates much of the scaling problem.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 17, 2020

Yesterday, the website Teslarati reported (via Electrek) that a picture purporting to show a cell from Tesla's "Roadrunner" battery appeared to have leaked online, amid claims it seemed to be designed in a way that could boost performance and lower costs.

The roll is pushed into the can, copper anode down. The can is dropped into the holes of the first collector plate. The dielectric separator 520 is sandwiched in between and the top cover plate rests atop the aluminum collector caps of each battery in the group... pic.twitter.com/XmXwkDAMCT

— BRCooper⚡🔋🚗🚀 (@_BRCooper) September 16, 2020

In a response via Twitter, Musk did not deny the leak but riffed on a line in the Teslarati report that asserted the leak indicated his Battery Day announcements would be "even more insane than expected." Musk agreed, writing: "It will be very insane."

Battery Day will take place Tuesday, September 22 after Tesla's 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which is scheduled to start 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time. The virtual showcase will be streamed live, so keep a close watch on Tesla's Twitter and YouTube page.

Elon Musk
Tesla head Elon Musk talks to the press as he arrives to to have a look at the construction site of the new Tesla Gigafactory near Berlin on September 03, 2020 near Gruenheide, Germany. Musk has been hyping up the Battery Day event on September 22 that promises news about the technology that powers his cars. Maja Hitij/Getty