main menu


New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles

New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles

Tesla battery lithium-ion and what can the 1 Million Miles do to our electric cars batteries, and more comparing energy by Jeff Dahn research. 

New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles
New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles

He knows his electric stuff, so when he and his team publish a report like this, people listen. After reading through the energy report myself, there were a few key things that jumped out at me. 

This formulation shows very little degradation over time and can withstand full depth of discharge energy cycles better than your typical electric cars lithium-ion battery

New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles
New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles

On a typical lithium
-ion Tesla battery you can expect the equivalent of 1,000 cycles from 100% to 0% charge and back again. Getting to 1,000-2,000 electric cycles is considered good. 

The battery test formulation from Dahn’s research was showing over 95% of the original energy density capacity available after 1,000 charging cycles. 

Compare that to the standard formulation they tested with about 50% battery capacity left after 1,000 charging electric cycles. 

Even after 4,000 charging electric cycles, the test lithium-ion batteries were still showing capacities of around 90%. That’s … kind of crazy. 

One of the other pieces of the battery report that jumped out at me was temperatures. We all know that electric cars batteries don’t like extreme temperatures and it impacts energy density performance.

But it can also impact the overall lifespan of a Tesla battery too. These tests showed that this battery is very resilient and doesn’t take much of a hit.

New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles
New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles

New Tesla Battery is Very Resilient

At 40C (104F) the test formulation showed 90% of the original capacity after 3,500 charging cycles. 

To quote directly from the battery report, “this cell chemistry is extremely tolerant to extended periods at elevated temperatures.

” So it really sounds like this may be the Tesla battery we’ve all waiting for, right? Yes, but not exactly ... because there’s a nuance to this that wasn’t immediately clear at a quick glance.

In fact, there are two things worth calling out. First, the formulation tested was a 5 parts Nickel, 3 parts Manganese, and 2 parts Cobalt recipe.

NMC electric cars batteries are commonly used pretty much everywhere today like our phones, laptops, power tools, and even some EVs. 

It’s a very effective battery formula that has a solid track record, and the version tested has a specific energy  density of 200 wh/kg. 

The battery cells in the Model 3 are somewhere around 250 wh/kg. While these tested lithium-ion batteries may be able travel 1,000,000 miles over their lifetime, with the lower specific energy of the NMC battery, they won’t be able to travel as far on a single charge as the current Tesla NCA battery. 

The difference may be something like 260 miles versus the 310 miles we get today on the long range Model 3. 

New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles
New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles

Tesla Reduce Their Dependence on Cobalt

The second thing that surprised me was that the tested energy density formulation has more cobalt than Tesla’s current lithium-ion batteries (Tesla Battery). 

And unless you’ve been avoiding the news on cobalt, you’ll know that there’s some serious issues with cobalt mining. 

It’s very dangerous work and some mines, like in the Democratic Republic of Congo, have been exploiting workers. The rarity of cobalt also makes it very expensive. 

Tesla and other electric cars companies have been trying to reduce their dependence on cobalt with new energy formulations, which is something that Elon and his team have talked about on quarterly calls in the past. 

New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles
New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles

Elon Musk Quarterly Calls in The Past 

  • JB: "You know. Being on a path to reduce cobalt usage for instance. Has been something we've been working on for..." "For literally several years now. And..." "And this has been extremely helpful in the overall cost per kW/h" "Especially with recent commodity price movements." "I think we can be completely quantitative, but it's a pretty good trend." 
  • Elon:"We think we can get the cobalt to almost nothing." 

So with this tested formula using more cobalt than Tesla’s current batteries (Tesla Battery), it raised the question: is this really the energy density formula that Tesla will even use? The answer is most likely no. 

As excited as everyone got over this report, this specific formulation doesn’t align with Tesla’s stated goals. 

They’re committed to reducing or even eliminating cobalt from their lithium-ion batteries, not increasing it. And they’re also committed to reducing the cost of manufacturing their battery pack, and in turn the car, to make it more affordable in the market. 

Cobalt is very expensive, so if you used this formulation you might see the cost of the battery pack rise by $400 - $500. Which again, doesn’t align with Tesla’s goals. 

I’m not trying to be wet blanket here and make this report sound like it’s not worth celebrating. It _is_ exciting research, but it’s just that … research. 

And This is one piece of a much larger puzzle. We shouldn’t expect that this is exactly what we’ll be seeing in our cars in a couple of years. 

This could be a good fit for Tesla’s Megapacks and grid scale storage systems because they aren’t as constrained for size and cost, but that doesn’t feel like the ultimate answer either. 

New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles
New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles

This report is surfacing some key findings around a single crystal cathode with protective nano-scale coating. 

While it seems like the report may be giving up what seems like proprietary information with the single crystal, it’s important to remember that research like this takes time and is done in phases. 

It’s about methodically testing the different building blocks of the Tesla Battery to zero in on what combination will result in the perfect fit for a certain use case. 

New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles
New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles

Tesla Battery Lithium-ion and Jeff Dahn Research

Jeff Dahn actually has a paper on single crystal vs. polycrystalline in lithium-ion battery 
(Tesla Battery) cells from 2017. 

So this current paper is an extension of that previous work combined with other research and experiments that they’re doing. 

  • This latest paper was released to help the research and automotive community to demonstrate the latest lithium-ion battery technologies and benchmark it. 
  • Battery research is extremely complicated and the artistry comes with how you combine these different techniques and chemistries togetherin the paper. 
  • That’s the secret sauce. And that’s why, after reading this paper, it’s clear to me that there’s still another shoe to drop … or a couple more shoes to drop. 

I have no doubt that Jeff Dahn and his team have research currently in progress on single crystal chemistries that will make more sense in Tesla’s cars

Combine that with Maxwell Technologies Dry Battery Electrode manufacturing technique that Tesla acquired, and then we could be talking about the million mile battery in Tesla cars. 

Something that lasts for the life of the car and is cheaper to produce. Most likely a formula with very little or no cobalt. 

The big tell will be what, if any, papers Jeff Dahn releases around the end of this year or early next year. 

And we’re also waiting on Tesla to hold their Tesla Battery and drivetrain investor day event, which has been pushed into early next year. 

This research paper isn’t the destination, but it’s a sign post along the road towards that destination. It’s a very clear hint as to where things are going. 

New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles
New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles

Tesla Battery Million Mile Battery

A million mile battery for a typical driver is a little nutty. The average American driver puts on about 13,000 miles each year. That means it would take the average American driver almost 77 years to drive 1,000,000 miles. 

  • Why would Tesla even want to have a car with motors and battery packs rated for that number of miles? 

New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles
New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles

Tesla Hornsdale Power Reserve in Australia

Which Tesla built for $50 million. In the first six months of operation it was responsible for 55% of frequency control and ancillary services in South Australia. 

And by the end of last year was estimated to have saved $40 million is costs. Taxis and trucks will also be cycling a lot more than the average drivers electric cars. 

Working and driving all day, rapid charge, and then repeat. Not the 10 - 20% battery drain, sit and wait, drive again scenario that the average driver does with a car. 

The longer these batteries last, the greater the return on investment (ROI) the owner of the car or energy storage system will see without paper. 

New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles
New Tesla Battery and 1 Million Miles

New Tesla Battery and Jeff Dahn’s Research

I was very excited when I saw the initial reports of Jeff Dahn’s research, and it’s advancements like this that show there are still big gains to be made in Tesla Battery technology. 

But it’s always important to try and look past the headline and understand what the research is actually doing, and to understand that its arrival in our lives may not be right around the corner. 

And having said that, I’m really excited to see what Jeff Dahn paper has cooking in his labs that will eventually end up in our cars and probably powering parts of the electrical grid at some point in the future. 

It’s research like this that is not only going to make our cars even better than they already are, but help to make a brighter future. 

Are you as excited about this type of paper advancement as I am? I’m curious if you think this is a big leap forward and how the competition will be able to match up? Jump into the comments and let me know. 

If you liked this article, be sure to share it with your friends because it really helps the blog. 

Your support is really helping to make these articles possible. 

Be sure to check out my other articles for additional details about Tesla Battery and electric cars. And as always, Thaks so much for reading, see you in the next one.