Tesla CEO Elon Musk wants to extend the battery life of an electric car to 1.6 million kilometers, according tomedia reports, and the company’s new patent confirms that Tesla is accelerating its goal. The new patent describes the nickel-cobalt aluminum (NCA) electrode synthesis method and process used in the manufacture of new battery lithium, which can greatly improve battery life while reducing battery manufacturing costs.
Tesla has been applying for U.S. and international patents for the new technology. According to the latest news, Tesla has applied for an international patent for the battery technology through the Canadian subsidiary Tesla.
Tesla’s development of long-lived batteries is no secret
The revelation of a new patent for Tesla’s batteries comes after it was revealed last year that Tesla was developing a battery with a long life.
In 2019, Jeff Dahn, Tesla’s battery research partner, published a new paper on batteries that is being developed in collaboration with Tesla to continuously perform 4,000 charge-discharge cycles at extreme temperatures of minus 40 degrees, with a battery range of more than 1.6 million kilometers.
Also in 2019, Tesla moved in the battery space, announcing a $218 million acquisition of Maxwell Battery At a premium of 55 percent, a self-built battery secret research center, and university collaborations on new battery technologies.
This time, Tesla filed a new patent called “Nickel Cobalt Aluminum (NCA) Electrode Synthesis Method”, which describes a new high-efficiency new electrode synthesis method in battery production, known as nickel-cobalt aluminum electrode heating process.
Previous heating methods have sometimes led to the formation of impurities called lithium substrates (L15AIO4), while reducing the amount of lithium in batteries, while reducing contamination, but also lead to poor electrochemical performance.
As mentioned in the new patent for this phenomenon, the battery will be heated to a temperature sufficient to allow the single crystal to grow. The ratio of the modified lithium to other metals will limit the formation of impurities during the first heating process. Lithium will be heated for a second time at a temperature below the first heating cycle.
The researchers involved in the patent point out that this process helps to develop impurity-free monocrystalline NCAs, enabling batteries to reach more than 4,000 charge and discharge cycles, resulting in a battery life of up to 1.6 million kilometers.
At this stage, the battery life used by Tesla models is far from 1.6 million kilometers, in fact, the vehicle was designed to take into account the 1.6 million km usage target, the current body structure, electric drive system and electronic system life can be done, but the battery is undoubtedly short board. Tesla Power has a battery life of only about 500,000 kilometers.
By then, Tesla’s 1.6 million km battery life will be a revolutionary innovation for the automotive battery industry and a great achievement.
At present, many models on the triple lithium battery charging times about 1000 times, the most durable iron phosphate lithium battery is only about 2000 times, the number of future charge can reach more than 4000 times after the advent of Tesla’s new battery undoubtedly has an overwhelming advantage.
But the new battery, which is available on Tesla’s models, doesn’t mean the car will be able to reach 1.6 million kilometers, because the service life of the car depends on many factors, and has a lot to do with the quality of the car’s components, manufacturing and the vehicle’s craft.
Internal combustion engine cars have been in use for more than 100 years, and life is rare with a range of more than 1 million kilometers.
Internal combustion engine technology is now very mature, production costs are relatively low, very strong maintenance. Electric vehicle batteries need to be replaced once there is a problem, the cost is not only expensive and maintenance is very difficult, the development of long-lasting battery is an urgent problem to be solved, and the development of long-life battery is also a major industry trend.
Two kinds of mainstream batteries of new energy vehicles in China
At present, China’s new energy vehicles in the field of the most common use of iron phosphate lithium batteries and three types of lithium batteries.
Lithium acid iron lithium battery, lithium acid iron is a lithium-ion battery using lithium acid iron as a positive material. (The positive materials of lithium-ion battery are lithium cobalt acid, lithium manganese acid, lithium nickel acid, teravan material and lithium iron phosphate, etc.).
Low cost, cheap
Safe and stable: high temperature, non-flammable.
Stability is currently the best car in the car power pool, mentioned earlier about 2000 times or so the number of charge is the highest battery type.
Energy density than the triple lithium battery, cobalt acid lithium battery still has a big gap.
Large and heavier, the vehicle will take up a lot of space in the car and force the weight of the vehicle to increase.
Under the condition of low temperature, it will seriously affect the service life, iron phosphate lithium battery application model, not suitable for the cold area in the north of China.
The three-way lithium battery refers to the lithium-nickel-cobalt-manganese tri-positive material of the positive material.
Small size, high energy density, strong power storage capacity (high-end tram preferred battery solution)
Can better adapt to cold weather, low temperature charge and discharge, the battery is more stable.
With a low cycle life, the use of vehicles is a cost increase.
The cost is high (although manufacturing costs have fallen sharply over the past two years to increase the size of the three-dollar lithium battery, and the price of low-priced models is still high).
Poor stability, three-way lithium-electric energy density ratio is high, safety stability is bound to be lower than the lithium acid iron battery (and the chemical reaction of the terayuan lithium material is particularly strong, 50-300 degrees C high temperature will produce decomposition, once the release of oxygen molecules, in the high temperature action of electrolyte rapid combustion, then the explosion phenomenon).
Graphene batteries have been hotly charged in recent years, and in experiments, graphene batteries can reduce the charging time for hours to less than a minute. Adding graphene to lithium batteries can help lithium batteries reduce heat in capacity, minimize energy loss, avoid a lot of energy waste, reduce the damage of heat to the battery, and improve the life of the battery.
Graphene battery also known as “pure gold” built batteries, in the lithium battery to add graphene, production costs are too expensive, about 2000 yuan / g, simply can not be large-scale applications, graphene batteries at this stage only for aerospace these non-cost industries.
At present, the new energy vehicle graphene battery is still in the experimental stage, there is no production model.
Lithium iron phosphate batteries are now widely used in the electric vehicle industry, except for small new energy vehicles, such as electric buses and other heavy vehicles are using lithium iron phosphate.
Three-dollar lithium battery in these years in the rapid development of domestic can not be separated from the domestic previous years of new energy subsidies policy, in recent years the state in the subsidies in favor of long-range range, battery system energy density of high models, so many car companies are close to the three-way lithium battery.
But many low-cost and cost-effective models have had to rethink the use of lower-cost lithium iron phosphate batteries after subsidies receded.
Why should Tesla develop long-life batteries?
Tesla currently uses a single 18650 and the latest 21700 battery, both of which now fall far short of the 1.6 million kilometers of life mentioned in Tesla’s new patent.
On January 4, 2017, Tesla announced that a new 21700 battery developed jointly with Panasonic will begin mass production.
After the 21700 battery was used, Tesla officially said the 21700 battery was 20 percent more energy dense than the 18650 battery, the system cost is expected to drop by about 9 percent, and the weight is also about 10 percent, and the battery currently used by the Tesla Model 3 is produced by Panasonic and LG Chemical. But whether it’s an 18650 battery or a 21700 battery, it’s a triple lithium-ion battery.
In 2017, the court estimated the actual storage capacity of the battery used in the vehicle’s residual value in the 12 Tesla operating fleets that were auctioned off.
The 12 Tesla model S have an average range of 160,000 km, an original range of 550 km, an average battery cycle of more than 290 times, and an estimated average range of only 361 km. The percentage of installations, which measured the vehicles’ 160,000 km, decayed by 34.36%, which is equivalent to the battery being close to the end-of-life standard, a far cry from the 5% announced by Tesla. This affected consumer confidence in Tesla’s batteries to some extent at the time, and also affected the subsequent rate of preservation of Tesla models in the second-hand market.
Battery decay problems have plagued all new energy vehicle companies, even if the industry’s best Tesla, after using a triple lithium battery, can only maintain 70% of its power after 3,000 tests, and it’s urgent to develop a long life.
1.6 million km of long-life battery can not be separated from the battery management system
Let’s not lose sight of another core when the 1.6 million km battery described in Tesla’s new patent comes out. Batteries are the core of electric vehicles, while the core of batteries is in the Battery Management System (BMS).
Many new energy vehicle companies, including Tesla, look at battery management systems as the core technology of enterprises.
Battery management system is one of the most important systems for electric vehicles, is related to battery safety, is used to connect the in-vehicle power battery and electric vehicles an important link.
Its main functions include: battery status estimation, real-time monitoring of battery physical parameters, online safety alarm and early warning, charge and discharge control, heat management and so on.
In Tesla’s “Big Three” electric car, batteries, motors and other components are purchased externally, and only the battery management system Tesla has been developing itself.
Most of the core intellectual property rights that Tesla is applying for are closely related to the battery management system, which shows the importance of the battery management system for new energy vehicles.
Simply understand that the iPhone may not be configured as high as the price tag brand phone, but through ios system monitoring, so that each part of the interaction, so that the entire phone in the smoothness, power consumption and start-up speed of all parties are in the most ideal state.
By predicting that the future of the introduction of ultra-long-life batteries may have a new battery management system followed, the two work together to achieve the patent description of 1.6 million kilometers of ultra-long life, if not Tesla’s suite of battery management system, assuming that the new battery licensed to other new energy vehicle companies is also expected to reach 1.6 million kilometers of life.
In the field of batteries, Tesla has initially partnered with Panasonic to develop into panasonic, LG Chemical, and Ningde era battery suppliers. The new patent exposes Tesla as it wants to end the situation in which the battery is held hostage to the human state, and the production of the tram’s vital three-power system is controlled by its own production.
In addition to self-driving technology and battery management systems to achieve industry-leading, I believe that in the field of self-developed new energy vehicle batteries, Tesla’s new battery will be faster than everyone expected. As a comprehensive technology company that builds cars and rockets, Elon Musk’s ambitions are bigger than expected.