Elon Musk has a great portfolio of businesses from SpaceX to Tesla, an ultra-fast high-tech car. Besides these, he also aims to change the battery industry.
It is hard to talk about Elon Musk and not think about Tesla, which is one of the world’s leading electric carmakers. Tesla has achieved great milestones over the years and it shows no signs of slowing down. Now, watchers are expecting the company to announce another benchmark for its batteries. If successful, everyone might turn to electric cars and abandon gasoline vehicles.
How the Battery Technology Will Be the Future
It’s no secret that electric vehicles have a lot of advantages over those with combustion engines. They run without harmful emissions, especially when the battery is charged by electricity obtained from renewable sources. Plus, electric vehicles are very quiet and achieve more than ninety percent efficiency, which is tons compared to combustion vehicles.
The battery of an electric car has a highly complex component. This is why electric vehicles aren’t cheap. If you are thinking of having one, it is common to be concerned about its price. Some even worry about where and how long it would take to charge it. Nevertheless, the market certainly thinks that battery tech is the future.
The advancement in the battery technology
Electric mobility is undoubtedly popular, but cars aren’t the only vast market that takes full advantage of battery technology. The world seems to be weaning off coal. Just take a look at the massive batteries connected to electricity grids. They are also starting to focus on renewable energy and gigantic batteries are becoming the center of this great revolution.
Experts on emerging battery technologies expect electric cars alone to drive up demands for European batteries. However, this increase in demand will be possible only if batteries are cheaper, more efficient, and made more durable than other options available.
Elon Musk’s battery bay
Thanks to a whole wave of breakthroughs, Elon Musk’s “Battery Day” is highly anticipated. For months, Mr. Musk has been giving Tesla investors and rivals a hint about the “Battery Day”, where he promised to reveal remarkable advances in battery technology. Part of the agenda is the new, cost-efficient batteries that are designed to last for a million miles of usage. With this, electric Tesla cars will be sold profitably for a similar price or less than a vehicle powered by gasoline.
Most batteries for cars provide warranties for 60 thousand to 150 thousand miles over a 3 to 8-year period. On the other hand, a new battery can power a vehicle for over a million miles or 1.9 million kilometers over a sixteen-year lifespan. This is definitely a huge improvement in the life of car battery and according to Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) chair, Zeng Yuqun, it will only cost ten percent more than the existing products.
What does this mean to people?
For those leaning towards a more efficient and environmentally-friendly vehicle, this means owning a car that they want for a long time. It is also a cost-effective option in the long term since they don’t need to regularly buy gasoline for their vehicle to keep running.
It is amazing news for the electric car industry for providing their customers a car with a powerful and durable battery they would never have to change. Electric carmakers who take advantage of this new technology will be stepping up ahead of the competition.
These longer-lasting batteries also play a crucial role in “stationary” storage. They can be attached to solar panels or wind turbines so that renewable energy is always available when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining. Who knows, in the future, homes might have this battery in their home to store cheap source of electricity or to collect power generated by their own solar panels.
The raw materials and factory
Now that it has been established that the production of these longer-lasting batteries is highly beneficial for the industry and potential buyers, the next concern is how and where are they going to manufacture these power storages. Mr. Musk is yet to announce the actual location, but many reckon the UK to be the prime candidate. Factories might also be found in the US too, perhaps in Austin, Texas.
When it comes to the battery chemicals, the Chinese partner of Tesla, CATL, has discovered a way to make batteries without cobalt for shorter-range cars at least. It is important to note that cobalt is very expensive and most of it is sourced from DR Congo, where it’s been linked with child labor.
The new batteries will depend on innovations like cobalt-free and low-cobalt battery chemistries. The use of coatings, chemical additives, and materials will lessen internal stress and allow batteries to store more energy for longer periods.
They don’t have any plan to get rid of the main ingredient in lightweight batteries, which is lithium, as there are tons of large supplies in salt deposits worldwide. However, the process of extracting lithium still takes a long time, even months and recovers only about thirty percent of lithium.
This is why Teague Egan is currently working with scientists to make the process more effective and quicker. Currently, he is developing a nanoparticle filter designed to separate lithium from other properties including salts in solution. That way, they can recover more than ninety percent of the lithium and instead of months, the process could eventually take just a few days. If this becomes successful, it could cut the cost of lithium dramatically. This will remove one of the biggest challenges of boosting up the production of battery.
If cheaper, these longer-lasting batteries will enable a rapid switch to electric devices, including mobility. It will make everyone ditch their petrol and diesel cars, turning to electric vehicles. But, it also means a lot bigger to the world than just revolutionizing our driving experience. It could be the key to decarbonizing our economy, fighting off the negative effects of the impending climate change.