A revolution is afoot in the world of electric vehicles. Major breakthrough’s in Chemistry, material science, and structural engineering will soon help EV’s drive further, charge faster and cost a lot less at the dealership. And it’s basically all happening in one company which.
How are they different?
And is this the final nail in the coffin of a gas-guzzling internal combustion engine?
First, let’s examine why this new kind of battery is needed in first place TESLA’S CEO Elon Musk is a great believer in what business dorks called ‘vertical integration that means smart manufacturing firms like Tesla tried to make as much as they can from sprockets to steering wheels in the house instead of relying too heavily on outside suppliers. Frustratingly for Mask, he’s currently dependent on Japanese electronics giant Panasonic for Tesla’s all-important lithium-ion battery cells.
Musk has roundly criticized Panasonic for what he sees as its sluggish manufacturing base a significant drag factorable he’s described as his production hell during the model 3 roll out in 2018. In fairness, Panasonic CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga candidly predicts his own firm’s batteries probably just run out of tesla goes on expanding, so in the name of vertical integration, musk is pushing to manufacture Tesla batteries in the house.
Not the cheeseparing corporate reasons either, he believes with his hand-picked team including Eminent lithium-ion pioneer Jeff Dahn, Tesla can and will manufacture batteries that go further last longer and cost less, if they pull it off he will overcome many of the stumbling blocks to universal EV adoption. For instance, the specter of sold range anxiety puts potential customers off for the perfectly legit reason they’re scared of running out of juice miles from a charger.
Another is affordability we need to make more affordable cars says must plainly one of the things that trouble me most is that we don’t have a truly affordable car and that’s something we will have in the future for that he says we need cheaper batteries how will Tesla achieve this by having the cost per kWh of its next-generation automobile batteries. This will happen Musk declared during his splashy badly day announcement last autumn by a 5 pronged assault.
Obviously, enough is to revisit battery cell design Tesla’s great innovation here is what’s called “tabless technology” in a conventional lithium-ion battery electrons flow from the cathode through a tab, a separate component that has to be manufactured and welded onto the cell. On the new simpler tabless Tesla battery is pretty shingled spiral is created when battery foils are laser cut and folded over each other which means electrons can pass in and out of the battery more freely. Imagine the interior of regular tapped batteries as like an airplane fuselage with only one exit, some passengers’ electrons in this metaphor will take much longer to disembark than others, which creates overheating and inefficiency.
Tabless batteries are more like an airplane with an exit on every row so electrons gonna escape more rapidly and efficiently.
Prong two of tesla’s five-prong strategy is to revamp the very battery manufacturing process itself the current wet process beloved by Panasonic and others from manufacturing cells is complex time consuming and occupies a vast factory footprint. Tesla’s new groundbreaking dry solvent method is still somewhat of development even Musk concede it won’t be ready for well over a year, but if when they nail it’ll use 10 times less energy and occupy 10 times smaller physical footprint. That kind of production wouldn’t just Gee- on production at the gig factory, by the way. It will reshape the entire battery industry forever.
Revisits the fundamental material used in Tesla’s anode, that compartment of the battery where the lithium-ion to stored ready for deployment, graphite is presently the favorite material for the job but silicon is the most abundant element in the Earths crust after oxygen could be a game-changer if that is Tesla can stabilize its anode silicon with a coating of elastic by on conducting polymer. Pull that off and the Tesla vehicle range will be extended by 20% at a stroke.
Step four is about the cathode which houses ions shorn of electrons after they departed the anode for now cobalt is the preferred material but the downsides are hefty. Cobalt is environmentally destructive to mine and toxic to the health of vulnerable miners whose labor understood their safety regimes. So Tesla is looking to diversify the material in its cathodes using a mixture of iron, lithium, and nickel extracted from regulated sources in the USA.
This extraction process alone has led to its own breakthroughs not least a new process device for deriving lithium from clay. Tesla reckons there’s enough lithium in the clay soil of Nevada alone to transition every vehicle on earth to electric.
The fifth problem of tesla’s approach is the most striking of all in order to reduce vehicle mass by 10% and use fewer parts the plan is to integrate the battery cell into the body of the car itself. This so-called structural battery will use a honeycomb structure to keep it light and strong, with nothing less than the world’s largest factory casting machine and the company’s own patented alloy Tesla will integrate its new battery into the car chassis itself.
In Musk’s words safety won’t be compromised as a structural battery provides better torsional rigidity and improved polar moment of inertia. This says Musk with a flourish is a major breakthrough it certainly saves 370 parts, which in turn makes manufacturing and scale up a whole lot simpler.
As for our mate Elon “build the machine that builds the machine” Musk the greatest advantage is that sweet investment cost reduction per kilowatt of 69%, nice!