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Should Tesla Motors be the First to Commercialize New Battery Technology?

Discussion in 'Battery Discussion' started by Electric700, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. Electric700

    Electric700 Member

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    Oak Ridge National Laboratories announced that they have developed a lithium-sulfur battery capable of four times the energy density of lithium-ion technology, and they are looking to commercialize this.

    Here's the article:
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory - New all-solid sulfur-based battery outperforms lithium-ion technology

    Should Tesla Motors create a new company to produce batteries using this or other new battery technology? There's also the lithium-air battery that's currently being looked at by IBM, but that appears to be further off.
     
  2. santana338

    santana338 Member

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    IMHO, Tesla should focus on cars, not batteries. If Elon wants new battery tech, it is better to work with an existing battery supplier to develop the battery to a Tesla spec, or spin off another company to focus on this.
     
  3. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    More like, hey Panasonic, would you build some Sulfur batteries for us into 18650 Cell's with the attached set of reliability & performance specifications at a price point of $4.00 or lower per cell? We'll order 100 million of them per year. Thanks!
     
  4. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    haha this. For now, they should keep working their relationships and getting volume discounts where they can. I don't know the details, but starting a battery R&D division sounds capital-intensive.
     
  5. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Maybe Tesla could buy exclusive rights for 3 years to give them an ever bigger jump on the competition. Leave production to Panasonic as stated.
     
  6. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Panasonic, LG Chem and a slew of Chinese companies make cells (cell cores).
    Tesla wires, gunges and cages cell cores into a battery.
    Tesla will use whatever cell they think is best value. Tesla doesn't need 4 times the density. 33% better density and 1/3 the cost is what they're looking for. As JB Straubel has said, Tesla's first request to a cell manufacturer is to see their cost roadmap.
     
  7. Palpatine

    Palpatine Banned

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    I agree 100%. Tesla needs to stay focused on cars and recharging technology, not a commodity part like the battery cell.

    However, building battery packs from all of those cells, with the cooling and battery management systems, that is a core business that Tesla has. Tesla sells the complete battery package to others. So it is likely in Tesla's interest to investigate new ideas from credible sources like Oak Ridge National Laboratories.
     
  8. theganjaguru

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    ... But tesla has been innovating with battery management technology. - Thermal management, Supercharging etc. - The Nat Geo program on the TSLA factory stated that TSLA is using a proprietary pattern for lining up the battery cells when they make the packs. And since they are selling their packs to TM and Daimler AG, aren't they kind of already commercializing battery tech?

    Unless they figure out how to make a very low cost graphene-sulfur-air super battery, they should stay out of mining and manufacturing individual cells. With the advent of free supercharging, I see TSLA as an energy company in addition to being an automotive manufacture. They seem to have already put a lot into the technology so they might as well continue to innovate and research. We are at the beginning of the electric car, TSLA would be silly not to continue their innovation and commercialization of battery tech.

    TSLA could use new battery tech connected to these superchargers in a second or third phase of testing.
     
  9. ggr

    ggr Roadster R80 537, SigS P85 29

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    Maybe a better way to put it would be: Tesla should concentrate on cars and battery technology, but not get involved in cell chemistry.
     
  10. Zzzz...

    Zzzz... Member

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    If Tesla go with that lithium sulfur solid state battery described in OP link - I would suggest Tesla should use gasoline heaters. I mean they are very efficient. You just get into car, turn it on and wait till battery warms up. I could see how that work out.

    PS. Optimal temperature for that chemistry is 60 degree Celsius. It is quite hot to touch. But it works in temperatures as low as 25[SUP]o[/SUP]C.
     
  11. theganjaguru

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    Maybe... But I prefer to reply in wordy paragraphs! :biggrin: Plus I do think that eventually getting into battery chemistry could benefit tesla. However, I do like your short and eloquent translation. - PS,I haven't seen your BGC around San Diego yet.
     
  12. ggr

    ggr Roadster R80 537, SigS P85 29

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    Well, I'm seeing an average of two Model Ss per day on my commute. But none of them that color :).
     
  13. curiousguy

    curiousguy curious member

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    So ORNL is a national lab. they dont commercialize anything. if there is anything worth it there there will be a spin-off company hoping to make it work. But the solid state lithium sulfur batteries did not garner that sort of interest. diffusion rates through the solid state electrolyte are abysmal, and the reported thickness of the sulfur cathode was around 10 microns (based on the published paper). commercial L-ion batteries pack ~10 mg/cm2 of cathode material. this technology is just not up to par for commercialization which is why no investor is funding it.
     
  14. strider

    strider Active Member

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    I agree but they've already violated this idea w/ the GF. Tesla is absolutely in the cell creation business which IMO is a huge risk if there's a big change in technology. They'll have spent billions of dollars on a Li-Ion factory and won't be able to just switch to whatever new tech comes down the pike.
     
  15. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    It takes a very long time for new battery technology to come to the point where it's usable in vehicles. I don't see any reason why Tesla wouldn't be able to switch. Batteries are basically chemistry in a case, so all they would really need to do is change the chemistry and the battery management programming in the cars. Now it's remotely possible that the battery management system would have to be so different that it couldn't be back-ported, but that would only affect existing cars.

    I'd be really surprised if the plant wasn't designed with flexibility in mind.
     
  16. RobStark

    RobStark Active Member

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    Elon answered that question at this years shareholder meeting and last years too.

    Changing chemistry is easy and not very expensive.

    Tesla expects lithium ion to be dominant for ~10 years or so then something else will take over.

    They are not building this factory to moth ball it in 2024.

    It is a battery factory not a lithium ion battery factory.
     
  17. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Exactly.

    Panasonic works on the cell chemistry and the cell and has partners for their piece of the process. Tesla does batteries and some cell casing design. But now they really want to scale up and together they can work on optimization of the entire process.
     

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