Yesterday was Tesla’s much anticipated battery day where they announced some of their major new battery developments. They have a 16 minute video with Elon Musk and another guy on stage wearing black t-shirts giving a summary.
These developments sound very impressive to me. They appear to have found new manufacturing methods that will make major cost reductions. They claim to have a better design that reduces heat and eliminates the use of cobalt, which has been a PR disaster. I was particularly impressed with the use of the small battery cases being used to form a honeycomb structural member. I think this will give battery vehicles a major advantage over hydrogen fuel cell ones. Musk makes what I think is a token mention of grid storage. I think the notion of battery grid storage is delusional. Once grid battery storage has been discharged, you have to find a dispatchable source or resort to the euphemistically named demand response.
I couldn’t help but notice a rather measured tone in the two speakers. It’s hard to tell how the future will pan out until it actually happens. I still remember the A123 debacle.
I don’t think Elon’s new advances are going to turn out like this, but there will likely be bumps along the way. I think Musk is to be congratulated.
I have a few more thoughts about Elon Musk. A lot of human advancement is driven by central figures. These are people like Henry Ford, Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison. I think of them as the Howard Rourkes of the world. Howard Rourke is the hero in Ayn Rand’s novel, The Fountainhead. In real life, they are not perfect as Rand has been criticized for making them, but I think they are very important for human progress. What is the best thing that can help advance such people? I think it is allowing them to become billionaires. When Elizabeth Warren says, “you didn’t build that”, she’s wrong in a figurative sense. I’ll end with my all time favorite commentary on Ayn Rand by Reason cartoonist Peter Bagge. Reason no longer has the actual cartoon posted, but you can see it on Pinterest.