News hardware Tesla is revolutionizing batteries and that could change everything for all electric cars
A scientific article written by Tesla researchers imagines a battery that could last a century before seeing its total charge capacity affected. If Tesla really achieves this feat, it is a huge revolution for the entire electric car sector and even for the entire tech market.
Tesla invents batteries of a new kind: will they soon be in the electric cars of the firm of Elon Musk?
The find of the day comes to us from the Tesla research and development teams led by Jeff Dahn in association with a laboratory of researchers from Dalhousie University in Canada.
The research article that could upset a lot of things is called… watch out:
Li(Ni0.5Mn0.3Co0.2)O2 as a Superior Alternative to LiFePO4 for Long-Lived Low Voltage Li-Ion Cells
By browsing it and looking for popular articles (we assure you that it’s tough), we are able to summarize the main thing to remember for ordinary mortals.
- A chemical formula slightly different from that currently used in our batteries results in a much higher storage density, and therefore much longer life.
- This new chemical composition is a mixture of nickel, cobalt, manganese and lithium, like what is already done on so-called NMC batteries.
- The difference ? We use another type of lithium, the lithium LiFSIand we add some graphite at all.
- According to the research team’s first tests, a battery equipped with NMC technology could be used at 100% capacity for approximately 100 years
- … provided it is maintained at a temperature of 25 degrees.
Staying around 25 degrees maximum is a challenge, but it’s not impossible; cooling technologies are also constantly improving. Thanks to active cooling, the feat would even be achievable today.
The problem of battery life: an immense ecological burden
Electric cars are often touted as a great green alternative. Even if the advantages of electricity are numerous, it would still be very naive to act as if it were the miracle solution to the pollution of means of transport.
We are not going to mention all the ecological limits that electric cars can impose, that is not the purpose of this article. Let’s focus on the topic of the day: batteries.
Li-ion batteries are by far the most efficient in the world.
These Li-ion batteries are above all based on a metal: lithium. Many alternatives have been sought, but nothing beats lithium to store energy.
The demand for lithium is exploding on a global scale, and, given the development of the electric car sector, it is not ready to stop. Two ecological problems then arise:
- The world’s lithium reserves are not unlimited.. We should have enough by 2050 but certainly not by 2100.
- And especially : the extraction of 1 ton of lithium requires an emission of 15 tons of CO2, huge water consumption and the disfiguration of the magnificent landscapes of South America.
All of this is not to mention the other metals needed to make Li-ion batteries, such as cobaltwhich also poses similar concerns… to which must be added the problematic situation of Congolese miners.
As a reminder, today, a battery is only efficient for about twenty years at best.
With batteries capable of withstanding 1 century in the electric cars of the future but also in future laptops or smartphones, the ecological impact of technology would be really reduced. If recycling happens to follow, that would be great.
Finally, note that the batteries are the main limit of the second hand market on tech’ products, it would therefore be led to develop, which will be good for the bank account in addition to doing good for the planet.