Why Tesla’s next electric car will use a 48-volt battery

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During its Investor Day conference on March 1, 2023, Tesla announced that all of its future products, and in particular its electric cars, will be equipped with low-voltage 48-volt batteries instead of the current 12-volt. The rest of the industry is currently 12 volt. We explain what this voltage change consists of, which will occur both in the Cybertruck and in the next electric car (the Model 2 or the Robotaxi).

Today, all cars, whether electric or not, use a low-voltage 12-volt battery to operate all electrical and electronic functions, such as displays, headlights, and air conditioning. In electric cars, there is also a traction battery, 400 or 800 volts, to feed the powerful and voracious electric motors.

48-volt batteries are found in some so-called “light” or “mild hybrid” hybrid cars. They are more “powerful” than 12-volt batteries, but much less than traction batteries in electric cars. They are used to feed an alternator-starter (a kind of mini electric motor), which reduces gasoline or diesel consumption by relieving the heat engine.

The interest of 48 volt batteries

Elon Musk’s teams made a major announcement on the subject at the Investor Day conference on March 1, 2023. At the American manufacturer, the 48-volt battery will simply replace the 12-volt low-voltage battery, which for therefore it is not used to move. the car forward. The advantage is simple: the use of a higher voltage makes it possible to reduce the size of the wires by reducing heating. This then allows reduce weight, design and production costs, but also energy loss.

These are exactly the same arguments that are used in favor of 800 volt architectures. Tesla announces that 48-volt batteries will replace the 12-volt batteries in the Cybertruck, and for all future electric vehicles… but also for its Optimus robot. Tesla expects the entire auto industry to eventually switch from 12 volts to 48 volts.

In the picture one, we can see that the 48 volt battery will be present in the ” next generation vehicle which appears to be the Tesla Model 2, the famous $25,000 American electric car. Which therefore will not have been announced during this conference.

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