Tesla battery researcher unveils new cell that could last 1 million miles in ‘robot taxis’

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Tesla’s battery research partner has released a new paper on a battery cell that could last over 1 million miles, which they say is going to be particularly useful in ‘robot taxis’ — something that Tesla wants to bring to market.

When talking about the economics of Tesla’s future fleet of robotaxis at the Tesla Autonomy Event, Tesla CEO Elon Musk emphasized that the vehicles need to be durable in order for the economics to work:

The cars currently built are all designed for a million miles of operation. The drive unit is design, tested, and validated for 1 million miles of operation.

But the CEO admitted that the battery packs are not built to last 1 million miles.

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A new flow battery prototype aims to store vast amounts of renewable power for the grid

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This ‘flow battery’ could power green homes when the sun goes down and the wind stops blowing.

With solar and wind electricity prices plunging, the hunt is on for cheap batteries to store all this power for use around the clock. Now, researchers have made an advance with a flow battery, the type of battery being developed to soak up enough excess wind and solar power to fuel whole cities. They report the discovery of a potentially cheap, organic molecule that can power a flow battery for years instead of days.

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PolyPlus Developing Waterproof Lithium-Air Batteries

PolyPlus Developing Waterproof Lithium-Air Batteries

A prototype battery made by PolyPlus uses lithium metal as the anode and salt water as the cathode to power an LED. 

A company based in Berkeley, CA, is developing lightweight, high-energy batteries that can use the surrounding air as a cathode. PolyPlus is partnering with a manufacturing firm to develop single-use lithium metal-air batteries for the government, and it expects these batteries to be on the market within a few years. The company also has rechargeable lithium metal-air batteries in the early stages of development that could eventually power electric vehicles that can go for longer in between charges.

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Cheaper And More Reliable Lithium-Ion Batteries

Cheaper And More Reliable Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium-ion cells that use polymer electrolytes can be affordably packaged in compact, flexible pouches  

A new incarnation of lithium-ion batteries based on solid polymers is in the works. Berkeley, CA-based startup Seeo, Inc. says its lithium-ion cells will be safer, longer-lasting, lighter, and cheaper than current batteries. Seeo’s batteries use thin films of polymer as the electrolyte and high-energy-density, light-weight electrodes. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is now making and testing cells designed by the University of California, Berkeley spinoff.

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Nanoball Batteries Could Recharge Electric Cars In Minutes

Nanoball Batteries Could Recharge Electric Cars In Minutes

 A sample of the new battery material.

Researchers at MIT have designed a new battery that can recharge devices about 100 times faster than conventional lithium ion batteries. The design could lead to electric car batteries that charge in 5 minutes (compared with 8 hours in today’s electric cars) and cell phone batteries that charge in just 10 seconds.

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