Friday, December 27, 2019

Tesla Patents A Battery Technology (TSLA)

Always keeping in mind how freaking hard it is to scale new battery tech from the lab bench to commercial applications, this goal of extending the life of the battery as opposed to extending range or reducing charging times attacks two very expensive consequences of using batteries in vehicles:

1) The cost of replacing the battery is borderline cost-prohibitive, despite the rest of the car being in fine shape.
2) As more and more batteries reach the end of their useful lives the question arises: what to do with all this toxic waste? It's a serious problem that is coming very quickly.

From Electrek, a slightly more enthusiastic headline than ours, Dec. 26:
Tesla patents new chemistry for better, longer-lasting and cheaper batteries
and the story:
Tesla has made a lot of battery moves this year and it is closing the year by filing a patent on a new
Earlier this year, we reported on Tesla’s battery research partner, Jeff Dahn and his team at Dalhousie University, unveiling the impressive results of tests on a new battery cell that could last over 1 million miles in an electric vehicle.

The new battery tested is a Li-Ion battery cell with a next-generation “single crystal” NMC cathode and a new advanced electrolyte.

Since then, Tesla has been filing US and international patents on the new battery chemistry.
The automaker, through its ‘Tesla Motors Canada’ subsidiary, filed a new international patent called ‘Dioxazolones and nitrile sulfites as electrolyte additives for lithium-ion batteries’.
They wrote in the patent application:
“This disclosure covers novel battery systems with fewer operative, electrolyte additives that may be used in different energy storage applications, for example, in vehicle and grid-storage. More specifically, this disclosure includes additive electrolyte systems that enhance performance and lifetime of lithium-ion batteries, while reducing costs from other systems that rely on more or other additives.”
Tesla wrote in the conclusion of the patent application for the new battery chemistry:...

Regarding the difficulty of scaling battery "breakthroughs", there was a time in the early twenty-teens that we just stopped posting on new tech, or manufacturing approaches because despite the oohs and aahs it was a waste of time as far as making money was concerned.

Battery tech is the Holy Grail of venture investing and to date no one has cracked the code.
That's one of the reasons the we are entertaining the ideas of the hydrogen/ammonia crowd for certain applications despite its having been, like nuclear fusion, "ten years away for the last fifty years."
For what it's worth, Mr. Musk rejects the hydrogen approach out-of-hand.