Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Watch Out Elon: "Wireless EV Charging Hits Key Benchmark"

One of the current (!) and future cash flows that go into analyst models of Tesla's valuation is the charging business. In North America they basically own it, with by far the largest network of charging points and with 20 out of 22 competitors having signed on to the standard.

One figure that's been tossed around is $5 billion in annual revenue by 2030. Whether that's a good guess, I don't know but that's the order of magnitude. Plus it's easy to remember.

From IEEE Spectrum, April 18:

Wireless EV Charging Hits Key Benchmark
Oak Ridge researchers move plugless electric future forward 

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee recently announced that they have set a record for wireless EV charging. Their system’s magnetic coils have reached a 100-kilowatt power level. In tests in their lab, the researchers reported their system’s transmitter supplied enough energy to a receiver mounted on the underside of a Hyundai Kona EV to boost the state of charge in the car’s battery by 50 percent (enough for about 150 kilometers of range) in less than 20 minutes.

“Impressive,” says Duc Minh Nguyen, a research associate in the Communication Theory Lab at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. Nguyen is the lead author of several of papers on dynamic wireless charging, including some published when he was working toward his PhD at KAUST.

The Oak Ridge announcement marks the latest milestone in work on wireless charging that stretches back more than a decade. As IEEE Spectrumreported in 2018, WiTricity, headquartered in Watertown, Mass., had announced a partnership with an unspecified automaker to install wireless charging receivers on its EVs. Then in 2021, the company revealed that it was working with Hyundai to outfit some of its Genesis GV60 EVs with Wireless charging. (In early 2023, Car Buzz reported that it had sniffed out paperwork pointing to Hyundai’s plans to equip its Ionic 5 EV with wireless charging capability.)....


Another development was the unveiling of a battery at the Beijing Auto Show last week. 

From Reuters, another example of those advantage flywheels accruing incremental gains for the best-of breed-companies, in this case the world's largest EV battery producer. From Reuters, April 25:

Chinese EV battery maker CATL unveils LFP battery with 1,000 km range

It's not just the 620 mile range. The battery can handle extremely fast charging. From Electrek, also April 25:

CATL unveils world’s first LFP battery with 4C ultra-fast charging for 370-mi in 10 mins

"....that can add 370 miles (600 km) range in 10 minutes..."

And the flywheels? From the time CATL introduced the predecessor to the new battery, July 11, 2023:

"CATL announces new battery with 400 kilometer range on 10 minute charge"
Have I ever mentioned the "Flywheel Effect?"
I think we're witnessing the Flywheel Effect in action at, not just China's but the world's largest battery producer.
Incremental advantages lead to overwhelming business success. I don't know if there are 16,000 researchers in the entire rest of the battery biz. If that's the case, how can they catch up to CATL? 

Amazing what being able to hire 16,000 researchers can lead to,

And just for grins and giggles, from Reuters, April 29:

CATL boss visits Elon Musk's Beijing hotel on Tesla CEO's surprise trip