Tesla Is Researching A New Battery Type That Could Last 100 Years

Tesla engineers in Canada, alongside the Dalhousie University, have released a new paper on what could be a big change for the future of electric vehicle batteries.

According to the paper, new nickel-based batteries could be capable of lasting more than 100 years while still being comparable to LPF cells in terms of charging and energy density.

The Tesla partnership, with Jeff Dahn’s battery lab at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, has been underway since 2016 and has focused on increasing energy density while reducing costs.

Now, the groups have shared more technical details on a nickel-based battery approach that could offer improved energy retention over a larger number of charge cycles, allowing batteries to last for considerably longer before they need to be discarded. As noted by Electrek:

Single crystal Li[Ni0.5Mn0.3Co0.2]O2//graphite (NMC532) pouch cells with only sufficient graphite for operation to 3.80 V (rather than ≥4.2 V) were cycled with charging to either 3.65 V or 3.80 V to facilitate comparison with LiFePO4//graphite (LFP) pouch cells on the grounds of similar maximum charging potential and similar negative electrode utilization. The NMC532 cells, when constructed with only sufficient graphite to be charged to 3.80 V, have an energy density that exceeds that of the LFP cells and a cycle-life that greatly exceeds that of the LFP cells at 40 °C, 55 °C and 70 °C. Excellent lifetime at high temperature is demonstrated with electrolytes that contain lithium bis(fluorosulfonyl)imide (LiFSI) salt, well beyond those provided by conventional LiPF6 electrolytes.

According to the paper, batteries at a temperature-controlled 25c are thought to be capable of lasting for 100 years, although that will obviously fluctuate in real-world scenarios. We’re still a long way off Tesla being able to put these batteries in cars, but the research is progressing and promising.

One of the problems that people often levy at electric vehicles is battery degradation and what happens to those older batteries once they have been removed. This could help ensure batteries don’t require replacing as often.

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