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Elon Musk's Interest in Supercapacitors

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by tonybelding, Sep 5, 2006.

  1. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    Money.cnn.com had an article where they surveyed a bunch of entrepreneurs and asked them what kind of startup companies they would be interested in investing in. One of those they asked was Elon Musk. Here's what they got. . .

    Elon isn't the only one interested in storage technology. Next they asked the people at Kholsa Ventures. . .

    When they say "five times the life", I don't know if they mean five times greater energy density (which would be revolutionary) or merely five times the lifespan before it needs replacement (which would be less revolutionary, but still great).
     
  2. danny

    danny Administrator

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    wow, interesting investments.
    These techs really excite me.
    Hopefully they can make a tesla protype with one of these batteries in years to come.
    That would really place electric cars as a more permanent and inevitable system ;)
     
  3. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    Elon added a bit of new information to the end of the latest blog entry on Tesla's website. He wrote:

    Lithium-Ion batteries are the most efficient way to store electricity today, but I suspect we will find that there are even better technologies down the road. In fact, my original reason for moving to Silicon Valley about a dozen years ago, before I got distracted by the Internet, was to do a Ph.D. at Stanford in the physics and materials science of high-energy density capacitors, specifically for electric vehicle applications. Prior to that, I had worked for two summers at a small company called Pinnacle Research, which focused on ultra-capacitors. Capacitors have the advantages of a quasi-infinite cycle and calendar life, extremely low charge/discharge losses, and charge times measured in minutes (if you have high voltage and thick wire) for a car-size pack. If the capacitor energy density problem is solved, the gasoline vs. electric car contest goes from being a contestable fight to gasoline getting the WWF Smackdown.
     
  4. danny

    danny Administrator

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    Good to hear ;D
     
  5. Roy

    Roy New Member

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  6. CTF

    CTF Member

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    On a much, much larger scale, I believe that American Superconductor was doing and actually delivering capacitors to be used for grid management. They were also getting on to applications for marine motors for the navy. Any Relevance to the Tesla thing. Maybe a topic for another thread, but the decaying infrastructure of the electrical power grid is going to be an issue especially on point for an industry that will be making significant draws.
     
  7. sergeklapwijk

    sergeklapwijk Member

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    Li-Ion/Ultracapacitor combo?

    Has Tesla ever considered a combination of a small UltraCap with their Li-Ion battery pack in their ESS? If so (which I suspect), why have they chosen not to implement it?

    Much like:

    AFS Trinity
    AFS Trinity Power – A revolution in Fast Energy Storage™ featuring the Extreme Hybrid™.

    or Maxwell + Tianjin Lishen

    Green Car Congress: Maxwell Technologies and Tianjin Lishen Batteries to Develop and Market Hybrid Energy Storage Systems (HESS) Combining Ultracaps and Li-ion Batteries
    Green Car Congress: Maxwell Technologies and Argonne National Lab to Collaborate on Testing Ultracapacitor/Lithium-Ion Battery Combination for Hybrid Vehicles

    With rapid charging/discharging going through the ultracap, feeding and being fed at a slow rate by the Li-Ion battery, allows much longer lifespan..

    As lithium supplies will get scarce in the future, the experience of ultracapacitors (by then greatly developed) can be used to create a full ultracap ESS system.

    Ultracaps were discovered 10 years before anyone heard of Lithium Ion, so it would be a mistake to say it is an infantile technology. Might be for automotive, but so is Li-Ion.
     
  8. Palpatine

    Palpatine Banned

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    ::cough:: There was a lot of dust on this thread.
     
  9. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    #9 TEG, May 5, 2009
    Last edited: May 5, 2009
    This idea was discussed on their blogs years back and the short answer was that they didn't need to.

    There was some discussion here:
    Tesla Motors - Customers
    (search for "Brandon" and look at responses)

    I think they project that the calendar life of Li-Ion will run out around the same time as cycle life in this application. Also their pack is built such that it can take in or put out as much power as they need (e.g.: it can soak up full regen, and get their target 0-60 < 4s). So why bother with the expense and complexity of an ultracap front end? Apparently the control electronics would be very tricky as ultracaps go through a much wider voltage range than batteries.
     
  10. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    This is one area that I totally believe Elon is all over. If it's smart, he would do it. No doubt at all. No doubt.
     
  11. sergeklapwijk

    sergeklapwijk Member

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    Apologies for clogging up the ol' filters with dust from bringing this subject back to life, I really wanted to know this. Li-Ion does not like the fast (dis)charging from brake energy regen etc., even if the battery would be capable of it, it lowers the lifespan, batteries like to take it slow.
    Reminding myself of laptop batteries that are totally wasted after 2-3 years, while I am positive their calendar life is a multiple of that.

    It is true there is a voltage problem, but that seems a minor technical challenge rather than a argument against it. Complexity and benefit seems to have been weighed, IMO the benefit has been underminded, maybe I am wrong. Elon knows a lot about it, he would have been part of the discussion.
     
  12. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Mainecoon Butler

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    Regen braking is far from strong enough to really task the batteries. Roadster's pack has maximum power output of about 220kW, maximum regen power goes up to 30kW (limited with tire grip) which is about 0.5C. Ultracap pack would have to be really really big, expensive and heavy to make any real difference for batteries. Your are much better of investing that money, space and weight into batteries. You also get more range doing this and more lifespan.

    Laptop batteries are put into environments that stress exactly their weakest points. They are being charged to 100% and than completely discharged, during their work hours they are being heated by powerful CPUs above 40, even above 50 degrees Celsius, they don't have anything resembling adequate cooling etc.

    Roadster's battery pack has 4 year warranty. Why Tesla can afford this? Because they've learned much about what you can do with Li-Ion batteries and what you should not do.
     
  13. sergeklapwijk

    sergeklapwijk Member

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    Why do you come to the conclusion they have to be really big? Have you seen the AFS Trinity car? That is the system I am envisioning. Charging and discharging cycles, most significant example being acceleration, limits the batteries life cycle (it's no trickle charging), see the quote in my previous post, ultracaps are a whole different story. They have a power density that are multiples of the power density of batteries, so I don't agree on heavy. AFS Trinity's system of pretty compact as a whole and they use off-the-shelf parts..

    xh-cutaway.jpg

    All I am saying the development is moving towards viable implementation. Why would we solely rely on lithium? And why would we stress a battery to rapid discharging if we can increase the mileage + life cycle with a simple energy flow system?
     
  14. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Mainecoon Butler

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    You are trying to solve nonexistant problem with a nonexistant solution. Good luck.
     
  15. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    It makes more sense for vehicles with smaller size packs using low power density cells. The Roadster pack is so big that it has all the power it needs.

    I wonder how well the Model S 160 mile pack can handle 300kW output?
     
  16. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Mainecoon Butler

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    #16 WarpedOne, May 7, 2009
    Last edited: May 7, 2009
    In such circumstances it makes more sense to simply use higher power density cells like A123.

    We already speculated about that, shorter range version will very probably be lower power.
    Otherwise it would outperform the much more expensive long range variant. Politically incorrect.
     
  17. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    L.A. Auto Show: EcoGeek Talks to Tesla and GM About Supercapacitors
     
  18. tdelta1000

    tdelta1000 Active Member

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    #18 tdelta1000, Mar 22, 2011
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    Mr. Musk is at it again. This was found on Gigaom.com

    Here's a link to an interesting video. Ultracapacitors
     
  19. theganjaguru

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    Supercapacitor made inexpensively.. Wouldn't this be sweet if this was the future of the Tesla product line?!?

    [video=vimeo;51873011]http://vimeo.com/51873011[/video]
     
  20. Alpha

    Alpha Member

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    Elon talks about ultracaps again

    I've wondered before why ultracapacitors aren't used in the Model S as a buffer between the battery, to ease usage of the battery and also so that regen can be used when the battery is cold.

    Well someone recently had the chance to ask Elon just that question, and the answer is that they simply aren't good enough yet for that task:

    http://www.greenoptimistic.com/2013/02/23/model-s-cold-weather-elon-musk-interview/
     

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