Many news came out about Tesla last week. Tesla might have discovered battery energy density.
Everyone knows the story behind Tesla. Fisker created one of the first plug-in hybrid electric cars in 2008. Only a few years later the company crashed. Only last year Fisker made the decision to relaunch his brand. But what brought attention to Musk was his comment about an amazing new battery technology that would revolutionize battery storage.
This new breakthrough would be considered legacy because these solid-state batteries have a greater energy density and rapid charging times.
It seems to be real because the company has filed patents for these batteries which should be produced around 2020.
A new area in solid-state materials
Musk wants the cobalt out of his batteries. Tesla Model 3 uses less than 3 percent of this rare material. It is used in the cathode of the battery’s cells of Tesla. The next generation won’t use this material at all.
Cobalt is not only the most expensive material in the battery industry, but the production of it often violates human rights. As result startups are trying to create a battery free of cobalt.
Cobalt mostly comes from Congo. Typically, it is produced out of nickel or copper mining. The concern is because the supply of this expensive material is ultimately at the mercy of the larger copper and nickel markets.
To decrease cobalt increases the amount of nickel which means that the cells can overheat and it can come to a combustion. That means it is also a safety issue. Another point is that low cobalt batteries need to be produced in a very dry environment which can increase the production costs.
Tesla and Panasonic are trying to reduce the cobalt dependency completely but it won’t be easy and it is unclear when exactly it will happen but it is estimated in the next 10 years.
Advantages of the new battery creation
This new battery technology means a higher performance in cold weather and a lower cost. Furthermore, the solid-state batteries have a much higher loading because of its thick and high active materials.
Right now the standard models of Tesla can charge from 10 minutes to 1 hour and can drive a maximum of 300 miles. With this new technology, the cars will be able to drive more than 500 miles and a charge as low as one minute.
Another huge advantage is that these batteries are not flammable, which means that no explosions can happen.
It is still unclear how high the cost per KWh will be but according to Tesla, they believe that they have the best cost. The cost of the batteries is very important and not only for Model 3. The Tesla Semi Model needs an improvement in the costs of batteries too to make it affordable.
Last year the battery cost for electric vehicles dropped down to $228 /kWh. Tesla mentioned having the cost below $190 /kWh right now. That means that the new battery would need to be below $100/kWh to make the Model 3 profitable.