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Reuters has published an informative article on Tesla's development of its "million mile" battery. These next-gen batteries will first be used in Model 3 sedans in China, but will then make their way into North American Teslas with even more improvements (better energy density, capacity, cost).

With the million mile battery set to be announced imminently (perhaps at the Tesla Battery Day targeted for sometime in next 2 week), there's certainly enough time for it to make its way into the Cybertruck by its start of production late 2021 - early 2022.


Article: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-tesla-batteries-exclusive/exclusive-teslas-secret-batteries-aim-to-rework-the-math-for-electric-cars-and-the-grid-idUSKBN22Q1WC

Exclusive: Tesla's secret batteries aim to rework the math for electric cars and the grid

Electric car maker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) plans to introduce a new low-cost, long-life battery in its Model 3 sedan in China later this year or early next that it expects will bring the cost of electric vehicles in line with gasoline models, and allow EV batteries to have second and third lives in the electric power grid.

For months, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk has been teasing investors, and rivals, with promises to reveal significant advances in battery technology during a “Battery Day” in late May.

New, low-cost batteries designed to last for a million miles of use and enable electric Teslas to sell profitably for the same price or less than a gasoline vehicle are just part of Musk’s agenda, people familiar with the plans told Reuters.

With a global fleet of more than 1 million electric vehicles that are capable of connecting to and sharing power with the grid, Tesla’s goal is to achieve the status of a power company, competing with such traditional energy providers as Pacific Gas & Electric (PCG_pa.A) and Tokyo Electric Power (9501.T), those sources said.

The new “million mile” battery at the center of Tesla’s strategy was jointly developed with China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) (300750.SZ) and deploys technology developed by Tesla in collaboration with a team of academic battery experts recruited by Musk, three people familiar with the effort said.

Eventually, improved versions of the battery, with greater energy density and storage capacity and even lower cost, will be introduced in additional Tesla vehicles in other markets, including North America, the sources said.

Tesla’s plan to launch the new battery first in China and its broader strategy to reposition the company have not previously been reported. Tesla declined to comment.

Tesla’s new batteries will rely on innovations such as low-cobalt and cobalt-free battery chemistries, and the use of chemical additives, materials and coatings that will reduce internal stress and enable batteries to store more energy for longer periods, sources said.

Tesla also plans to implement new high-speed, heavily automated battery manufacturing processes designed to reduce labor costs and increase production in massive “terafactories” about 30 times the size of the company’s sprawling Nevada “gigafactory” — a strategy telegraphed in late April to analysts by Musk.

Tesla is working on recycling and recovery of such expensive metals as nickel, cobalt and lithium, through its Redwood Materials affiliate, as well as new “second life” applications of electric vehicle batteries in grid storage systems, such as the one Tesla built in South Australia in 2017. The automaker also has said it wants to supply electricity to consumers and businesses, but has not provided details.

Reuters reported exclusively in February that Tesla was in advanced talks to use CATL’s lithium iron phosphate batteries, which use no cobalt, the most expensive metal in EV batteries.

CATL also has developed a simpler and less expensive way of packaging battery cells, called cell-to-pack, that eliminates the middle step of bundling cells. Tesla is expected to use the technology to help reduce battery weight and cost.

The sources said CATL also plans to supply Tesla in China next year with an improved long-life nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) battery whose cathode is 50% nickel and only 20% cobalt.

Tesla now jointly produces nickel-cobalt-aluminum (NCA) batteries with Panasonic (6752.T) at a “gigafactory” in Nevada, and buys NMC batteries from LG Chem (051910.KS) in China. Panasonic declined to comment.

Taken together, the advances in battery technology, the strategy of expanding the ways in which EV batteries can be used and the manufacturing automation on a huge scale all aim at the same target: Reworking the financial math that until now has made buying an electric car more expensive for most consumers than sticking with carbon-emitting internal combustion vehicles.

“We’ve got to really make sure we get a very steep ramp in battery production and continue to improve the cost per kilowatt-hour of the batteries — this is very fundamental and extremely difficult,” Musk told investors in January. “We’ve got to scale battery production to crazy levels that people cannot even fathom today.”

Tesla has reported operating profits for three quarters in a row, driving a near-doubling of its share price this year. Still, Musk’s ambitious expansion plans depend on increasing both profit margins and sales volume.

A number of the technical advances made by Tesla and CATL in battery chemistry and design originated at a small research lab at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The lab has been run since 1996 by Jeff Dahn, a pioneer in the development of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and grid storage.

Dahn and his team began an exclusive five-year research partnership with Tesla in mid-2016, but the relationship dates back at least to 2012.

Among the critical contributions from Dahn’s lab: Chemical additives and nano-engineered materials to make lithium-ion batteries tougher and more resistant to bruising from stress such as rapid charging, thus extending their life.

The cost of CATL’s cobalt-free lithium iron phosphate battery packs has fallen below $80 per kilowatt-hour, with the cost of the battery cells dropping below $60/kWh, the sources said. CATL’s low-cobalt NMC battery packs are close to $100/kWh.

Auto industry executives have said $100/kWh for battery packs is the level at which electric vehicles reach rough parity with internal combustion competitors.

Battery expert Shirley Meng, a professor at the University of California San Diego, said NMC cells could cost as little as $80/kWh once recycling and recovery of key materials such as cobalt and nickel is factored in. Iron phosphate batteries, which are safer than NMC, could find a second life in stationary grid storage systems, reducing the upfront cost of those batteries for electric vehicle buyers.

In comparison, the new low-cobalt batteries being jointly developed by General Motors Co (GM.N) and LG Chem are not expected to reach those cost levels until 2025, according to a source familiar with the companies’ work.

GM declined to comment on its cost targets. Earlier this year, it said only that it planned to “drive battery cell costs below $100/kWh” without specifying a timetable.
 

Aces-Truck

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Good news on the horizon. I find it interesting how they have to look at batteries from so many angles:

- Raw materials and scarcity impacts on price.
- Battery costs, at production quantities.
- The effect of shape of cells in how you bundle small cells into Banks of cells.
- Internal construction, and cooling strategies, to allow for rapid discharge and recharge.
- Battery longevity.
- Assembly costs,and how cell shape affects automating assembly.

Tesla has a great track record in managing Battery technology. The big question is: at what point do you switch from incremental improvements, to taking radical changes.
 

ldjessee

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Considering how people have misunderstood or taken things out of contexts or just jumped to conclusions, including reporters, I am going to have to wait till the 'Battery Day' presentation before I get too excited.
 

Blue Steel

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I'm glad to see Tesla using this tech in Chinese Model 3s first. Let them work out the issues and optimization on them before implementing these batteries in the CT. ;)
 

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I don't get the focus on a million mile battery as being this great thing.

To be honest i don't really care about million mile battery life. Let's face it most cars last about 200,000 or less before they need mechanical repairs. Hopefully EVs will go longer before they need major repairs, but things wear out. Rubber bushings, bearings, hinges, motors, etc. Factor in accidents and the like and the probability of a car reaching 1 million miles is slim.

I'd be much happier with a 500,000 mile battery that can take a vehicle 750+ miles on a single charge.
 

scomer

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I don't get the focus on a million mile battery as being this great thing.

To be honest i don't really care about million mile battery life. Let's face it most cars last about 200,000 or less before they need mechanical repairs. Hopefully EVs will go longer before they need major repairs, but things wear out. Rubber bushings, bearings, hinges, motors, etc. Factor in accidents and the like and the probability of a car reaching 1 million miles is slim.

I'd be much happier with a 500,000 mile battery that can take a vehicle 750+ miles on a single charge.
We're not just talking cars and trucks. Remember Musk's comment that his virtual power plant plans would be far more important than his auto manufacturing. If you have a battery that can be charged and discharged without degradation, then you have the basis for a vehicle to grid system that converts all of Tesla's vehicles into a national grid network. Your truck now has the potential to "make money" sitting in your garage. It's a major milestone in Tesla's mission plan to ween the world off fossil fuels.
 

Auric

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I don't get the focus on a million mile battery as being this great thing.

To be honest i don't really care about million mile battery life. Let's face it most cars last about 200,000 or less before they need mechanical repairs. Hopefully EVs will go longer before they need major repairs, but things wear out. Rubber bushings, bearings, hinges, motors, etc. Factor in accidents and the like and the probability of a car reaching 1 million miles is slim.

I'd be much happier with a 500,000 mile battery that can take a vehicle 750+ miles on a single charge.
Imagine a battery that doesn't degrade like the batteries today, one that you can cycle twice a day for the next 20 years.
connect this mobile battery to the grid as a buffer, that's what is missing with all that stupid solar farms and windmills.

Imagine to earn money by connecting it to the Grid as a buffer, Tesla takes care of the usage and the billing, you can tell them do what you want but I need 150 miles tomorrow morning

Imagine that you can rent this battery for a small fee and give Tesla the promise to connect it to the Grid whenever possible, you don't care about how much it costs the wear of the battery, the more or less only thing that degrades on a ct is the battery, and imagine the price for a ct less the battery
The battery is the only thing with lots of possible improvements to do, and one that is cheaper and lasts longer is the better one.

Imagine that the battery-charger could run in the opposite direction, Jack Rickard from EVTV said something, that the M3 battery-charger could run as an inverter and supply AC current it's just a question of Software. With this technology, all you need is a cheap EVSE like a destination charger to connect the ct to the grid and act like energy source.
 
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I don't get the focus on a million mile battery as being this great thing.

To be honest i don't really care about million mile battery life. Let's face it most cars last about 200,000 or less before they need mechanical repairs. Hopefully EVs will go longer before they need major repairs, but things wear out. Rubber bushings, bearings, hinges, motors, etc. Factor in accidents and the like and the probability of a car reaching 1 million miles is slim.

I'd be much happier with a 500,000 mile battery that can take a vehicle 750+ miles on a single charge.
Your're right, the vast majority of people are not excited by a million mile battery for a car they will have sold off in roughly 3 - 6yrs. After doing an average of 16,000 miles per year.

The million mile battery has come about as a function of the development of a battery for the semi.
And all the commercial requirements around that.
Including very hi cycle rates, Resale, Battery Replacement costs.
You don't want to be replacing a 900 kw/h or so battery many times during the life of the truck.
Very very unviably expensive. Likewise resale value of the truck would be dropping dramatically.

Whats we're all waiting to see is, does the million mile battery mean the current battery degradation of approx. 2.5 % per year, ( Tesla guarantee's 70% capacity after 10 years ) or will that now go up to say 1 % ?

ie. If a 500 mile semi was getting 85% efficiency to begin with, and after 5 yrs, battery was also degraded 15%. You would be down to a practical range of 361 miles !
That may make the truck useless if your trips where longer !

Also hi cycle life enables better viability as a consistent vehicle to grid power source.

But Cybertruck (even without out the new battery ), with its powerpoint can easily function as a source to power appliances at home and as a backup for when grid power goes out.

Any improvement from the new battery tech will be a worthwhile advantage.
Even if its just a "regular" improvement on battery energy density of a few percent alone.

(2nd and 3rd life function of the battery as a stationary power source is not new, they were already identified)
 
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ajdelange

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I don't get the focus on a million mile battery as being this great thing.

To be honest i don't really care about million mile battery life. Let's face it most cars last about 200,000 or less....
You are taking the term too literally. Batteries decline in capacity a they age. To throw out some rough numbers lets consider that Tesla warrants the batttery to retain at least 70% of its capacity for 7 years, The average driver does 13000 miles per year so a battery with the specs implied by this warranty looses 30/7 = 4.3% a year, For the CT it is 21.5 miles. At the end of a year your 500 mile truck is a 457 mile truck ans so on. That really bothers a lot of drivers. You can read of their dismay on sites like TMC. It would take the average driver 77 years to cover a million mile so million mile battery would lose 30/77 = 0.4 %/year, That's 10 timers better. At the end of 2 years your 500 mi truck is still a 496 mile truck.

I think this range loss anxiety has largely replaced range anxiety on the part of BEV owners. Thus dubbing the new batteries "million mile" appears to be a smart marketing move. The real benefits, of course, lie elsewhere i.e. after the vehicle has been scrapped. Wind and solar are getting cheap and plentiful but the problem with them is that the wind blows when it wants to and the sun shines when electricity is needed least. Practical storage is the missing piece of the whole puzzle.
 
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You are taking the term too literally. Batteries xecline in capacity a they age. To throw out some rough numbers lets consider that Tesla warrants the batttery to retain at least 70% of its capacity for 7 years, The average driver does 13000 miles per year so a battery with the specs implied by this warranty looses 30/7 = 4.3% a year, For the CT it is 21.5 miles. At the end of a year your 500 mile truck is a 457 mile truck ans so on. That really bothers a lot of drivers. You can read of their dismay on sites like TMC. It would take the average driver 77 years to cover a million mile so million mile battery would lose 30/77 = 0.4 %/year, That's 10 timers better. At the end of 2 years your 500 mi truck is still a 496 mile truck.

I think this range loss anxiety has largely replaced range anxiety on the part of BEV owners. Thus dubbing the new batteries "million mile" appears to be a smart marketing move. The real benefits, of course, lie elsewhere i.e. after the vehicle has been scrapped. Wind and solar are getting cheap and plentiful but the problem with them is that the wind blows when it wants to and the sun shines when electricity is needed least. Practical storage is the missing piece of the whole puzzle.
Interesting post a.j.

I like reading your posts, I'm usually learning something from them and
often there're much more accurate, I think you might be slipping a little champ ;)

Is the degradation of the battery a function of age as you put it ?
Implying that 77 years in your example is the reason 30% degradation may appear and so a regular person will only experience 4 miles of degradation on a 500 mile Cybertruck,
or is it a function of charge / discharge cycles ?

And length of each of the cycles ?

Meaning that a battery that gets discharged down to 20% and charged unto 80%, will get more cycles and retain nominal range, better than a battery going from 0% - 100% ?

Would that not mean your nominal 500 mile battery will get you a regular 300 mile range ?

And when driving for that range, real world conditions /externalities at 85% efficiency will mean an achievable range of 255 miles. Or is that wrong ?
(If I recall correctly you have previously used 82% efficiency)

As a commercial semi with a nominal range of 500 miles, doing trips of 400 miles, 5 days a week will cover about 1 million miles in 10 years. Do you not believe that is a practical example ?

Is that because of previous 255 mile scenario or not ?

I think you will find, the “million mile battery” is literal.

In fact its not unreasonable to find semi’s will do considerably more than 1 million miles.

Its a very real challenge Tesla has identified and is working hard to achieve a battery that fits the life cycle of the Semi itself.

Yes, the range all along the life of the battery is a legitimate concern.
Yes, how many cycles are possible during the life of the battery is a legitimate concern.
Yes the range and the life of the battery will be greatly impacted on how it is charged and discharged.

I think you'll find Tesla will even decline a warranty claim on a battery, if the battery degrades by even more than 30% in less than 10 years. If in their opinion there was “excessive use ”.

P.S. I think the pursuit of the million mile battery for the semi will have notable benefits for the regular cars and their drivers who will usually keep them for far less time, and drive them far less distances.

I'm still speculating the Tri Motor Cybertruck will get a range of about 680 miles,
and the dual Motor about 380 miles.
 
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Geo

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I'm glad to see Tesla using this tech in Chinese Model 3s first. Let them work out the issues and optimization on them before implementing these batteries in the CT. ;)
I take your point MP, I hope they don't put those Chinese Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries in the Cybertruck.
They have less energy density than the Panasonic 21700's.

They just use a bigger (heavier) overall battery to get the same 75kw/h capacity !

Benefit is they are cheaper.
And no cobalt apparently.
 
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What really happens in a battery is a complex function of a whole lot of things. Degradation overall is a function of what Apple likes to call "chemical age". Chemical age would be partially a function of chronological age but also stronger function of the number and depth of discharge cycles, which I lump together as "round trip coulombs" recognizing that the same number of round trip coulombs in shallow cycles will have a different effect on chemical age than the same number of round trip coulombs in deep cycles, that putting coulombs in with Super Chargers and taking them out while driving at 85 mph will result in faster chemical aging than charging Level 2 and driving conservatively and that storage and operating temperature and maybe the flood stage of the Nile may have something to do with it. Clearly, whether you drive the average 13,000 miles per year, the old fart's 8,000 or Tesloop's 200,000 the chemical age of your battery increases with its chronological age whatever your average round trip amperes are. Bottom line is that the less sensitive the cells are to round trip amperes the less degradation there will be per unit of time and the less loss in range the owner will see over the time he owns the car. The "million mile battery" is clearly not going to be driven for a million miles by the vast majority of users even though it could be. On average, assuming that an American driver keeps his car 10 years and drives the 13,000 miles an average American does, he will have driven it 130,000 miles. It thus has 870,000 miles worth of life in it though at this point, and indeed throughout, we should be talking charge/discharge cycles or round trip coulombs.
 

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Considering how people have misunderstood or taken things out of contexts or just jumped to conclusions, including reporters, I am going to have to wait till the 'Battery Day' presentation before I get too excited.
There is just way too much talk from sources that want to be the ones that predict correctly more than they actually know. So it is frustrating (though understandable) that Battery Day keeps getting postponed. Does it mean that all the amazing things Elon Musk has told us to expect are in not really in place? Or is it simply an artifact of the coronavirus, or maybe it is just politics and logistics, and not about technology. Only one way to find out.
 

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What really happens in a battery is a complex function of a whole lot of things. . . . .
the flood stage of the Nile . . . .
Wo boy, I think you left a few things out of your explanation, where’s the wave particle duality, quantum entanglement, worm holes, event horizons, Heisenberg’s Dog, Schrodingers cat and the length of your drive way
 

ldjessee

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Take the latest rumor about 2 million mile battery from the synergy from different battery improvements (chemistry, dry electrolyte, etc)... if this turns out to be true, then the batery pack will actually last longer than the drivetrain and suspension components. Even commercial fleet operators would have a tough time racking up enough recharge cycles before the electric motors wear out.

But, I am not so sure I would believe those rumors.
 













 
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