Last April, Elon Musk promised that an electric battery that would allow an electric vehicle to run up to 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) failed. By the time he made that statement, the entire car industry was skeptical because the technology was too good to be real. 1 million miles more than double the total number of miles an average Tesla can go with existing batteries, which with Tesla's technology at this time, they have surpassed most electric car manufacturers in the world.
But it turned out Elon Musk was telling the truth.
Earlier this September, a battery research group at Dalhousie University published a new scientific report in The Journal of the Electrochemical Society, describing battery technology "that can operate an electric vehicle for 1 million miles. ”.
Jeff Dahn is the new research scientist, and the reputation of "one of the most outstanding lithium-ion battery researchers" certainly says a lot. The Dalhousie group of researchers announced that the new battery technology surpasses any similar li-ion batteries that have ever appeared before, and that this will be the "backbone" for self-driving taxis and long-haul trucks. , two products are being developed by Tesla.
There is another thing worth noting: the research author doesn't acclaim the new battery technology as a breakthrough. They think this is a new limit for batteries, a milestone that other researchers need to find ways to overcome. Nor did their scientific report miss out on any detail, stating in detail what made the new technology different.
"All battery details including polarity, charging method, electrolyte, battery additive, etc. are clearly stated.”, Written scientific report. "These details will allow other researchers to replicate this battery and rely on it to develop their own batteries.”.
Why is this something worth talking about? In the electric vehicle industry, how to make batteries is a business secret, because everyone wants to make money with proprietary technology. So why did Mr. Dahn's team, who signed an exclusive collaboration agreement with Tesla in 2016, announce the formula for miracles?
According to a former member of the Dahn team, it is likely that Tesla has owned a similar battery technology, surpassing even the battery listed in the new research report. Not unexpectedly, not long after the scientific report was published, Tesla patented a new li-ion battery technology, similar in structure to what is described in the scientific report.
Dahn declined to comment, but the paper is still true: Tesla's new battery patent named the brilliant researcher in the name of one of the inventors of the new battery.
The report describes the new lithium-ion battery using lithium cobalt cobalt (NMC) nickel as anode, and artificial graphite for cathode. The electrolyte is located between the poles, responsible for the lithium ion transfer made from lithium salt mixed with many other components.
Science knows that NMC and graphite can increase the energy density as well as the life of li-ion batteries. The way each company mixes electrolytes and new additives is a mystery, depending on how the battery business of each car business. However, the substances listed in the research report are familiar faces in the industry. According to Matt Lacey, a li-ion battery expert who was not involved in the study, "No secrets in the 'secret recipe' have been released yet”.
Instead of using a secret ingredient, Dahn and his team optimize the available chemical elements, altering the nanostructures of the anode. Instead of using NMC crystals in the anode, the new battery uses a larger sized crystal. According to the researchers, this "single crystal" structure will be difficult to crack during charging; It is the cracks that appear at charging will reduce battery life and performance.
Dahn's team is responsible for creating a li-ion battery that can hold more power, longer life on the market. When plugged into electric vehicles, the numbers in the science report will have to be converted to the distance traveled during each charge, the number of charge cycles that can be had before the battery becomes useless.
Simply put, one has to trade between battery power density and battery life. The team must find a way to get both, a seemingly impossible task.
The energy density in li-ion batteries is one of the qualities that make Tesla electric vehicle brand. Customers who want a vehicle that can run comfortably on a full charge, Tesla's new electric cars can hit the 600 km mark / charge, more than any other electric car on the market.
In fact, the survey shows that electric vehicle users only use up a quarter of the vehicle's electricity per day, but this problem will be different when putting new unknowns, unknowns called self-driving taxis or long-distance trucks. Tesla needs a battery technology capable of operating throughout the day.
The dilemma arises: if the battery is constantly charged and discharged at its daily maximum, the rate of degradation of the battery will also increase. The average lifespan of the current Tesla battery, between 480,000-800,000km, is not enough for the two vehicles that Elon Musk wants to aim for. That's why they need 1 million miles of battery life before they "die".
Shirley Meng, who runs the Energy Conversion and Storage Laboratory at the University of San Diego, says many electric vehicle businesses are trying to find batteries with more nickel than described in Dahn's scientific report. By doing so, they want to increase the energy density in the battery. Professor Meng said the next step would be a "fusion" design with a high energy density and the best possible way of mixing electrolytes.
It is not clear if the formula that Mr. Dahn's team will be the electric vehicle technology in particular and the energy industry in general is waiting.
But keep it simple first: as early as next year, Tesla will announce new electric cars with more powerful batteries than ever before.
Refer to Wired