The Tesla Model 3 and its upcoming 5,000-mile production run is poised to become the most powerful car on the planet.
But Tesla isn’t the only one looking to boost its electric-car battery range.
A new study from the University of Michigan’s Energy Institute finds that as the price of lithium-ion battery technology continues to drop, so will the powertrain capabilities of Tesla’s upcoming Model 3.
According to a statement released by the institute, the research suggests that a combination of lithium ion battery cells and battery packs are more capable than ever before to power a vehicle of the Model 3’s capacity.
Tesla says the Model X has a range of more than 300 miles on a single charge, and a more powerful battery would increase that to more than 1,000 miles on one charge.
That could mean a Model 3 with a 5,500-mile range could be driven on a road trip by a driver with a 3,600-mile battery pack.
But if a Model S sedan with a 4,000 mile range can get that much power from its 5,800-mile lithium-cell battery pack, it’s possible the Model S could also have a more efficient gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain than a Model X.
The U-M study finds that a vehicle with a 50% increase in lithium-sulfur battery density could provide a more effective range than the average Model S.
By contrast, a vehicle could only achieve a 50-percent increase in capacity.
To calculate that efficiency, the researchers calculated that a 50 percent increase in battery density would increase a Model III’s range by about 1,200 miles, or 4 percent.
That’s more than twice as good as the previous average, but still not enough to rival a Model Z sedan, which can reach a range between 3,100 to 4,100 miles on its own.
The next big question is how the new battery technology will work in the future.
Tesla’s batteries are expected to hit the market in 2020.
But it remains to be seen how Tesla will make them efficient enough to match the performance of its current and future vehicles.
Tesla is also developing its own electric-vehicle battery technology, but the company hasn’t yet announced any plans for a Model Y.
Tesla is also expected to unveil its new battery in 2021, but it’s unclear whether that vehicle will be a smaller, lighter version of the larger Model 3, or a new model entirely.