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New article on tesla/ li-ion batteries from c&n chemical and engineering news

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by curiousguy, Jul 17, 2014.

  1. curiousguy

    curiousguy curious member

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    "Elon R. Musk, the billionaire founder of PayPal and chief executive officer of the California-based car company Tesla Motors, took to an open-air stage in London recently for the U.K. launch of his new all-electric car, the Model S. During a rock-concert-like event he handed over the keys to Britain’s first Model S purchasers and told a crowd of customers, partners, and the press that anything combustion engine cars can do, the Model S can do too..."

    http://cen.acs.org/articles/92/i28/Chemistrys-Electric-Opportunity.html
     
  2. slipdrive

    slipdrive Member

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    Nice concise article. Thanks!
     
  3. techmaven

    techmaven Active Member

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    Article is full of mistakes that I would expect from automotive journalists or Wall Street journalists. For an engineering trade publication, however, it is extremely disappointing. They get the battery chemistry of the Leaf wrong. The author bothers to mention energy density of gasoline, but then doesn't follow through on actual efficiency to the wheels. The issue of battery firm bankruptcies is more akin to cancer research firms, where startups that try a new tech and fail and then go bankrupt is actually a sign of health and vibrancy, not one of decay. It also gets the weight of Tesla's battery pack wrong. It's just so very sloppy that is output more akin to the level of a high school reporter. The fact that LiFePO4 supply chain manufacturers may drop like flies is not a sign of the decay of the overall battery market, no more than the decline of any number of computer companies like Commodore, DEC, SGI, Be and others was a sign of stagnation in the computer industry. Further, there are a slew of issues with new battery technologies and the author doesn't point out the major weaknesses of each one as opposed to the promise of much higher specific energy.

    Finally, it ends on a sour note, thereby ignoring the fact that we are right around the corner from mass adoption of battery electric vehicles.
     
  4. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    @techmaven, I agree, that article is a mess. This quote:

    "Although Tesla may have found a niche in the luxury car market, there is a risk that too many battery developers are chasing a mass electric car market that may never develop. With gasoline an order of magnitude more energy dense than electric car batteries and private financing for the sector scarce, analysts predict that many battery firms will go bankrupt in the next few years."

    So what if some battery companies go broke? How is that a negative for the future of EVs? It's inevitable and expected that at a time of rapid technological innovation many companies fail and some succeed. The winners win big, and we all benefit.

    And the statement that the S battery contains the amount of energy in less than two gallons of gas only goes to demonstrate how incredibly energy inefficient the ICE drivetrain is!
     
  5. ThosEM

    ThosEM Space Weatherman

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    It's not so bad an article, even with mistakes. I haven't seen such a nice summary of the various alternatives being considered before, and the plot of energy density targets seems very useful as a compact reference. I know more than I did before reading it, even if some of what I now "know" may be in error...

    It really does blow the discussion of energy density. First, the Model S 85 battery holds the equivalent of 2.5 gal / 9.6 L of gasoline, not 7 L. Perhaps they used some measure of "useful capacity", but I've never heard a gas tank characterized by the amount by which its volume exceeds the reserve tank.

    Second, as techmaven points out, the entire point of EVs is to do the range on much less energy and no emissions. Which would we prefer? 2.5 gal tanks that go 250 miles, or 15 gal tanks that go 250 miles? If we had Tesla sized batteries with the same energy density as fuel, we'd have ranges up towards 2500 miles, which is not a very practical goal since no human could possibly drive anywhere near that far without a break. Not to mention that charging time would become that much more challenging as well.

    I personally would applaud ranges up to 500 miles / 800 km, and it sounds like they may be within reach before too long. Then if the charging time on the highway can be kept down to the time it takes for a snack and a bio break (30 min), it seems to me that one would reach the point of diminishing returns for further investment in battery tech, either at the R&D or consumer levels.

    There was no huge investment in gasoline tank capacity or pumping rates. It was inherently cheap, potent and easy to transfer. But that will be less true as it becomes more scarce and expensive, and as the other costs of using it accrue and are appreciated.
     
  6. igotzzoom

    igotzzoom Member

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    I feel it's a Catch-22 scenario of the established OEs building 70-80 mile range EVs, and throwing their arms up and saying, "See? Nobody wants EVs!" Tesla, which is the only automaker so far that is committed to longer-range pure EVs, is pushing the technological envelope in terms of range, and is being rewarded for it. Yes, the Model S is expensive and exclusive, but it's out-selling many more established rivals in the luxury space. If Tesla is successful bringing the Model III to market for a reasonable price point, with a 200+ mile range, you can bet there's going to be a massive sea-change in the auto industry, and suddenly, you're going to see everyone and their brother chasing EV technology.
     
  7. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Just to clarify...what @igotzzom (clever username :) shows as "originally posted by ecarfan" is text that I quoted from the article being discussed, it is not text I wrote.

    I don't want anyone to think that I wrote such nonsense.
     
  8. igotzzoom

    igotzzoom Member

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    Noted. :smile: Wasn't implying as such, just a point I wanted to make from the quote.
     
  9. curiousguy

    curiousguy curious member

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    im not an engineer (as i would guess many of you are on this forum) but the general ideas put forward in this article are pretty common in the battery research field. if you attend various conferences where cutting edge research on batteries is presented, this is the kind of stuff you hear in the intros or conclusions. keep in mind 90% of speakers or attendees at these conferences hold a PhD in various hard sciences, especially chemistry, and do not have any engineering background.

    as i take it, there seems to be a disconnect between the research "world" and the engineering "world" when it comes to the future of batteries.
     
  10. Kermit

    Kermit Member

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    I think you are missing the intended audience's perspective. They are chemists and chemical engineers, not automotive engineers, and putting your blood, sweat, and capital into battery development that goes belly up is not a good outcome for the employees and investors. I worked at and invested in one of your afore-mentioned computer companies, and... that was painful.
     

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