Battery Breakthrough Race Is On!

6 months ago by Tesla Mondo 17

“CHAAAARRRGE!”

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The Germans are maintaining their slight lead over the (other) Europeans — ah, but hear them footsteps? Toyota is just around the corner and gaining fast. Meanwhile, Tesla has long left the building.

With just about every automaker announcing an EV offensive, the race is on to find a battery breakthrough. Never mind wringing a few more mpg from ICE cars. That’s a noble endeavor, but it’s so yesterday.

The new automotive frontier is battery range, battery charge cycles, battery charge time, battery energy density. Even Toyota, which poo-pooed EVs with a hand wave in 2013, has taken up a new hobby of staring intently at lithium ions as they charge and discharge, to better understand degradation.

That qualifies as pretty dramatic about-face, wouldn’t you say? And you know everyone else is doing similar battery tear-downs. It’s time to find out just what makes batteries tick, and then make them tick better. The good ol’ battery is about to have a renaissance. Terrific!

Ah, but this is happening under extreme duress. It’s as if a new strain of influenza has triggered alarms from the WHO and forced every labcoat warrior into the trenches. There’s not a moment to spare. This Tesla virus must be contained. If it’s allowed to spread unchecked, it will make Big Auto look like a bunch of possum’s ?#%!@#%, and that ain’t pretty.

*Editor’s Note: This and other Tesla-related posts appear on TeslaMondo. Check it out here.

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17 responses to "Battery Breakthrough Race Is On!"

  1. Kim Conrad Jorgensen says:

    It all bodes well for the future of transportation, the end user will be the winner.

  2. Mister G says:

    GO TESLA GO

  3. Nix says:

    Tesla actually seems to be sticking to incremental battery chemistry improvements, and are focusing on improving production and increasing cell size for their battery advancement. Not some big battery breakthrough.

    Just nice steady ~14% year over year improvement in cost per kWh (roughly divided into improvement in kWh per cell, while also reducing price per cell).

  4. jimijonjack says:

    A lighter more energy dense Battery would be the Key !…

  5. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    TeslaMondo blog posts are often entertaining rather than informative; this is no exception.

    Battery makers, battery tech startups, and university research teams have been feverishly working on finding one or more breakthroughs in battery tech for decades now. I rather doubt things are going to get even hotter in the field just because legacy auto makers are finally getting into the field.

    I look forward to the next quantum jump in battery tech, as opposed to the incremental, slow advance we’ve seen for the past several years; the refining of battery chemistry and internal construction which we’ve seen since battery makers switched from NiMH to li-ion batteries. But when the next quantum jump comes, I suspect it won’t come from any legacy auto maker; likely it will come from an organization which actually specializes in R&D for battery tech… which auto makers don’t. Of course, it’s not impossible that, for example, Tesla will make a breakthrough, but until they started building the Gigafactory, Tesla’s battery lab concentrated only on in-depth analysis of existing batteries, not in researching advances in battery tech.

    1. Timmy says:

      My money would be on JCESR… as I note below, 5 National Labs + 5 premiere universities + 10 large corporate partners. Four years into a five-year goal of increasing energy density 5X and decreasing the cost by 5. They’ve got about a year to go, so I guess we’ll see.

      http://www.jcser.org

      (Agree about TMondo)

    2. Paul Smith says:

      In physics, a quantum (plural: quanta) is the minimum amount of any physical entity involved in an interaction. That means a quantum jump would be the smallest you could make.

      1. Timmy says:

        Yes and no, &or
        indeterminate.

        In common parlance, quantum jump or leap means a relatively big, discrete “step”, as opposed to a small, infinitesimal/continuous change which is barley noticeable.

        In this battery-progress analogy, the improvement of lithium-ion density&cost has been effectively continuous over the past 25(+) years.

        But of course you knew that and were just trying to make a “pedantic joke”, if there is such a thing. I’m sure someone LOL’ed.

  6. Nemo says:

    Wait, how can the Germans have a lead over the Europeans, when they are?

  7. SJC says:

    Pre lithiation, lithium sulfur and the magnesium battery are on deck.

  8. Timmy says:

    JCESR (www.jcesr.org) is a four-year-old DOE research program with a five-year goal of understanding and creating better batteries. FIVE national labs + FIVE premiere universities + TEN large corporate partners should hopefully = something worthwhile within a year or so.

  9. Dr.D says:

    University of Maryland research has just published a paper in Nature Materials.They have solved the problem of high impedance between garnet (a solid non-flammable ceramic electrolyte) electrolyte and electrode with a layer of ultra thin aluminum oxide. This decreases the impedance 300 fold and thusly virtually eliminating any barrier to electricity flow within the battery. This allows efficiet charging and discharging of the stored energy.

    The garnet electrolytes are highly stable and therefore allow for the use of metallic lithium anodes containing the highest possible theoretical energy density. Combined with high-capacity sulfur cathodes this all solid state battery will outperform what is currently available, increasing safety while decreasing size weight and cost.

  10. Brian says:

    I’m not convinced we need a breakthrough in anything other than price. Looking at Tesla’s batteries, they already hold enough energy and charge fast enough to suit all but the most ardent road-warriors. The “issue” with a 30-minute supercharge session are mostly due to lack of experience.

  11. Oscar L Teran says:

    What ever happened to SOLID STATE BATTERIES???? e.i. Sakti3

  12. Oscar L Teran says:

    What ever happened to SOLID STATE BATTERIES???? e.i. Sakti3 that was bought from Dyson

    1. SJC says:

      Presumably Dyson will use them for cordless vacuums.

  13. The US Armed Forces, US Law Enforcement, and US DOE Clean Cities Coalition’s have signed to test Stomp Mobilities planned 30 Sec Recharging ™ SUV’s, Pickups and Semi’s. Utilizing existing 21700 cells that provide more than adequate energy density and recharge capacity. No further magic battery breakthroughs are needed. The largest fleets in the land have signed to move forward with Stomps line of 30 Sec Recharging ™ SUV’s, Pickups and Semi’s. Thank you.