Tesla’s readying a ‘million mile’ battery that could greatly lower the cost of EVs

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Reportedly coming first to China

 Tesla is getting ready to introduce a long rumored lower-cost, longer-lasting battery for its electric vehicles in China sometime later this year or early next year, according to a new report from Reuters. The battery — which has been colloquially called a “million mile” battery in reference to how long it can last in a car before breaking down — is being co-developed with Chinese battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd (CATL) and was designed in part by battery experts recruited by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Tesla is already the industry leader when it comes to squeezing range out of lithium-ion batteries in electric cars, and it’s expected to reveal more about the new technology at an upcoming “Battery Day” for investors. Musk told investors and analysts earlier this year that the information “will blow your mind. It blows my mind.” The company originally planned to hold the event in April, but has had to reschedule it until at least late May thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company held a similar event focused on self-driving technology in April 2019.

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Tesla’s ‘million-mile battery’ could sound the death knell for combustion engines

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New battery tech may make EVs cost the same as traditional smog spitters.

 Tesla has long been locked in a battle with fundamental chemistry to reach its holy grail: the point on the curve at which its electric vehicles can be sold at a price comparable to gasoline cars. The company might be reaching that inflection point, with Reuters reporting that Tesla will soon introduce a low-cost, long-life battery in its Model 3 sedan in China. Given Tesla’s ongoing ascent and technological dominance in the EV sector, the news must be giving rival carmaker’s execs sleepless nights.

The report comes as Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been teasing a “Battery Day” expected to take place in June, where he says the company’s announcements will make it “one of the most exciting days in Tesla’s history.”

Musk has made it clear repeatedly that the cost per kilowatt-hour of Tesla’s batteries has been a major roadblock to selling the cars at a price competitive with traditional internal combustion vehicles. That, in turn, has been an obstacle to their mass adoption. But beyond boosting sales, Musk envisions the new batteries having a second life on the power grid as storage devices, which could help him achieve another goal: A move to a sustainable-energy focused economy.

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Peer-to-peer highway EV charging would use telescoping cables between moving cars

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Imagine a future where your EV was getting low on charge ­on a highway road trip – so you deploy a telescoping charging cable to another EV and borrow a few kilowatt-hours. An engineering professor at the University of Florida believes it’s not far-fetched.

We’ve seen a host of mobile EV charging van concepts. And there are proposed solutions for stationary robots to connect a vehicle to a charger, like what Kuka Robotics demonstrated last year (shown above).

The new idea is to merge the two so EVs on the move can connect with one another and with mobile charging stations. (Apple filed a patent for something similar in 2018.)

A few weeks ago, Swarup Bhunia and his colleagues at UoF’s electrical and computer engineering department posted a paper explaining how it would work. Here’s part of the Abstract:

We propose Peer-to-Peer Car Charging (P2C2), a highly scalable novel technique for charging EVs on the go with minimal cost overhead. We allow EVs to share charge among each other based on the instructions from a cloud-based control system.

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If you’re living with an electric car, what type of house you have is more important than you think

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If you live in a flat or don’t have off-road parking, running an electric vehicle may be more difficult than you think, writes Sean O’Grady

If there is one hard lesson I have learned about living with an electric car, it is that it is not for everyone. At least not for now.

Sure, there are loads of great things you can say about electrification – all true. When you next get a chance to go to a pub with friends and family, you can argue the toss over whether they are in reality, “well- to wheel” greener than an equivalent vehicle with an internal combustion engine. I’ve seen different versions of that, with different assumptions about the electricity required to manufacture them, the energy need to extract scarce minerals for the batteries, and whether scrapping perfectly sound petrol/diesel/hybrid vehicles. (Generally I think the electrics are, like-for-like still always greener within almost any parameters, and will eventually “break even” over their lifetime in their environmental benefits). You can, over anther pint, enjoy a rational discussion about whether the usual price premium attached electric cars makes sense over any given mileage – balancing price/lease costs with far lower fuel costs and maintenance bills (the more miles you do, the more sensible the electric option can be). You can also take a view on whether they take the “fun” out of driving or not (they don’t, on the whole). And so on.

But the most salient fact is not what kind of electric car you want, but what kind of dwelling you inhabit. If you live in a flat, say, or a terraced house without any off-street parking (and therefore an easy way to charge your vehicle up), the electric car seems to be an impractical proposition. If you do have a way of plugging one in to a faster charging external wall socket, then you’re fine, in principle. It’s about a simple as that. That is why many of the complaints about the very real inadequacy and unreliability of the charging network is a bit beside the point. You shouldn’t need to recharge all that often away from home. You take the car, drive around for a bit, come home and plug it in ready for the next day.

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Researchers create stretchable super capacitors for our next wearables

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Carbon nanotube forests improve the stretchable supercapacitor’s performanceDuke University

The supercapacitors still functioned well when stretched to eight times their original size.

Imagine a new type of supercapacitor that can be repeatedly stretched to eight times its original size, yet still retaining its full functionality. Only after 10,000 cycles of charging and recharging does it start to lose a little percentage of its energy performance.

Researchers from Duke University and Michigan State University (MSU) have done just that. The team sees their novel supercapacitor as part of a power-independent, stretchable, flexible electronic system that could be used in wearable electronics or biomedical devices.

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Volkswagen’s latest robot makes charging your electric vehicle as easy as charging your phone!

With the world’s population under quarantine, nature is showing signs of coming back to life, literally! With reports coming in globally – dolphins in the ports of Cagliari, China seeing clear blue skies to even fishes swimming in clear canal water of Venice, it is obvious that when humanity makes a true effort to save the world, nature responds! But present circumstances kept aside, how easy is it to make such eco-friendly changes to our infrastructure that can affect the population on such a global scale? This is one of the questions the designers at Volkswagen plan to resolve with their latest creation – the Mobile Charging Robots!

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Era of wireless charging for electric vehicles is coming

 

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Wireless charging for electric vehicles is today’s most cutting-edge technology. Why? It is the most efficient, futuristic, scalable–in short–awesome alternative we have to gasoline. While tech giants such as Uber are placing their bets on autonomous cars, major key players such as Jaguar Land Rover are mass-producing electric cars. What’s more, Fordis releasing fully-electric SUV and other market players are on the verge of joining the trend.

The more electric cars roam around the city, the more will be the demand for wireless charging. The global wireless electric vehicle charging market is expected to reach $1.48 billion by 2025, growing at a colossal CAGR of 21.8% from 2018 to 2025.This rapid growth is due to rise in sales of electric vehicles and increase in demand for energy-efficient sources as an alternative fuel.

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Future VW electric vehicles will send power back to the grid


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VW says EV owners will be able to charge when production exceeds demand and sell power back to the grid during peak electricity usage.

The chief strategist at Volkswagen says vehicle-to-grid technology will open up new business opportunities for the automaker.

Cars that support the technology can store excess power and sell it back to the electrical grid in times of need.

The Nissan Leaf already supports this technology, but the feature also needs to be supported by the charger.

Volkswagen’s transition to electrification continues to yield business opportunities, according to its chief strategist, Michael Jost. In addition to vehicle sales, it has the growing Electrify America charging network, and now it looks like the company is planning to use the batteries in the cars it sells to help power the electrical grid.

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UK to get its first electric car forecourt THIS YEAR with 24 superchargers at a specially-designed charging site in Essex

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First of a network of 100 electric forecourts to open this summer near Braintree

It will have 24 350kW superchargers that can boost EV batteries in half an hour.

The site will have a two-storey building with shops, meeting rooms and lounge.

The entire location is part of a £1bn nationwide scheme and uses 100% renewable energy, the company behind it – Gridserve – says.

The first of a £1billion nationwide network of more than 100 electric forecourts is to open this summer near Braintree in Essex.

It claims to be the first custom-built electric charging station in the UK.

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High-density hybrid powercapacitors: A new frontier in the energy race

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Toomen’s high-density hybrid power capacitors offer the density of lithium batteries, but with much greater charge and discharge rates, a massive range of safe operating temperatures, enormous lifespans and no danger of explosion

Hybrid “power capacitors” that can store as much energy as lithium batteries, but with much higher charge/discharge rates, a huge range of safe operating temperatures, super-long lifespans and no risk of explosion are already in production, says a small Belgian company that’s been testing them and selling them for some time.

Chinese family-owned company Shenzhen Toomen New Energy is tough to find, at least on the English-language internet, but Belgian electronic engineer Eric Verhulst bumped into Toomen representatives on a tiny stand at the Hannover Messe expo in Germany back in 2018, while looking for next-gen battery solutions for an electric mobility startup he was running.

The Toomen team made a hell of a claim, saying they’d managed to manufacture powerful supercapacitors with the energy density of lithium batteries. “Of course, that’s an unbelievable claim,” Verhulst told us. “It’s a factor of 20 better than what, for example, Maxwell had at the time. So I took my time, went over there, looked at their tests, did some tests myself, and I got convinced this is real. So at the end of 2018, we made an agreement to become their exclusive partner.”

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Elon Musk’s million-mile battery dreams are about to come true

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Researchers have developed a new battery for electric vehicles that can last 1 million miles.

Researchers have been working on increasing the power and life cycle of the batteries we use in electric vehicles while maintaining safety standards for years. A battery reaching its end of life, with diminishing returns, would be a long term nightmare for both customers and companies.

A team in Penn State’s Battery and Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Center claims to have developed a powerful battery that can last for 1 million miles. Elon Musk promised last year that Tesla cars would at some point have batteries that last a million miles, and it seems this battery can do just that.

As Tesla learned years ago, a lithium-ion battery that has a high energy density can catch fire or even explode in certain circumstances. That’s obviously something any electric vehicle manufacturer wants to avoid, but we also want our electric vehicles to have batteries that are powerful and long-lasting. Researchers at Penn State appeared to have created a battery that’s stable, powerful and has a very long life using a counterintuitive approach.

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Researchers achieve a 10x supercapacitor energy density breakthrough

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This flexible graphene supercapacitor design can store 10 times more energy than comparable existing technology

Supercapacitors can charge almost instantly, and discharge enormous amounts of power if needed. They could completely erase the Achilles heel of electric vehicles – their slow charging times – if they could hold more energy. And now Chinese and British scientists say they’ve figured out a way to store 10 times more energy per volume than previous supercapacitors.

A team split between University College London and the Chinese Academy of Sciences has released a study and proof of concept of a new supercapacitor design using graphene laminate films and concentrating on the spacing between the layers, the researchers discovering that they could radically boost energy density when they tailored the sizes of pores in the membranes precisely to the size of electrolyte ions.

Using this design, the team says it’s achieved a massive increase in volumetric energy density. Where “similar fast-charging commercial technology” tends to offer around 5-8 watt-hours per liter, this new design has been tested at a record 88.1 Wh/l. The team claims it’s “the highest ever reported energy density for carbon-based supercapacitors.”

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