Tesla Battery Day recap: Model S Plaid and a $25,000 EV lead the big news

Elon Musk and Friends presented a blizzard of news at Tesla Battery Day. Here's a quick roundup of what matters most.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
3 min read

The annual  Tesla's  Battery Day brought with it a number of important updates and developments on Tuesday, although CEO Elon Musk  arguably didn't touch on quite as many topics as originally expected. Nevertheless, a lot of news came out of the big event, so here's a look back at the headlines you need to know:

Tesla 'biscuit tin' battery

Essentially, the so-called biscuit tin is a new kind of battery cell that, while cylindrical in design and using lithium-ion chemistry, has very few similarities to previous cells. As Roadshow's Kyle Hyatt reported, "The most significant change happens inside the larger cell canister and involves removing the tabs that act as the positive and negative connection points between the anode and cathode and the battery casing."

Tesla says its new cell design should give its vehicles a 16% increase in range thanks to a 5x increase in energy. The new batteries will reportedly be cheaper to produce, as well.

Model S Plaid details

The long-awaited, range-topping Model S Plaid was finally announced during the event and, man, its specs are impressive. Musk said the Plaid will have a range of over 520 miles, a top speed of 200-plus mph, a 0-to-60-mph time of under 2 seconds and a quarter-mile time of less than 9 seconds. Hot damn.

The Model S Plaid is now available to configure and order on Tesla's website. The first deliveries are expected to begin in late 2021.

Half a million Cybertruck preorders

The big, brutish Tesla Cybertruck that debuted last November will enter production in the not-too-distant future, and apparently, a lot of folks are interested. Musk said the truck has roughly 600,000 preorders, which backs up an unofficial, third-party estimate from March.

Now, keep in mind, these are just preorders -- $100 fully refundable deposits from people who are potentially interested in a Cybertruck. How many the company will actually end up selling right off the bat obviously remains to be seen.

Tesla Cybertruck is like nothing else, and it'll be built in Austin

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Full Self-Driving beta

Despite what the name of the Full Self-Driving option suggests, none of Tesla's products are self-driving cars. But Musk is working to unlock the full potential of his cars' Autopilot technology, and says a private beta test of the Full Self-Driving suite should be available in the coming months.

"We had to do a fundamental rewrite of the entire Autopilot software stack... We're now labeling 3D video, which is hugely different from when we were previously labeling single 2D images," Musk said. "We're now labeling entire video segments, taking all cameras simultaneously and labeling that. The sophistication of the neural net of the car and the overall logic of the car is improved dramatically."

Musk sums up his impressions clearly: "It's profound."

$25,000 Tesla? Not so fast

Remember the $35,000 Tesla Model 3? Yeah. Well. Anyway. Musk says an even cheaper, $25,000 car is being considered, and Musk thinks Tesla can do it thanks to reduced battery and manufacturing costs. 

"We're confident that long-term we can design and manufacture a compelling $25,000 electric vehicle," Musk said. It's expected to arrive in the next three years, and Musk even said the low-cost EV will boast full self-driving. Hmm. Of course, it's also important to note that Musk himself hinted at a $25,000 Tesla EV coming in three years... back in 2018. Perhaps that last bit is one of the reasons why Wall Street reacted poorly to Battery Day, chopping $50 billion off its stock value. The company's stock continued to decline Wednesday morning.

Watch this: Tesla Cybertruck: First ride in the pickup of the future