As the world looks-to reduce carbon emissions, electric transport is one of the ways being promoted to help meet the emissions targets that countries have set for themselves. To ensure this in a sustainable way, countries must switch to renewable energy sources, while electric vehicle manufacturers must ensure that the cars themselves do not become a cause of concern.
Tesla’s tie-up with world leader in battery technology
Elon Musk’s Tesla has teamed up with Jeff Dahn, one of the world’s leading experts on battery technology. As one of the pioneers of lithium-ion batteries used in most electronic devices today, Dahn has been working on lithium-ion batteries since their invention.
Dahn works at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, & Tesla established its Advanced Battery Research department at the university to benefit from Dahn’s expertise in area. Dahn is credited for commercial success of lithium-ion batteries after he worked on increasing their life-cycles.
Now that these batteries are a runaway success and therefore the foundation for electrical transportation, Dahn has been working-to extend their energy density & durability.
What is energy density of a battery?
Energy density is the amount of energy that can be stored in a unit volume of fuel. This is an important metric for an electric vehicle as it determines range. A lower energy density battery would require a larger battery pack to traverse a given distance. In contrast, a battery with higher energy density would take up less space in the car while also addressing-range anxieties related to electric vehicles.
It is worth noting that fossil fuels such as gasoline have the highest energy density known to humanity & man made batteries have less than 100 times the energy dense as fossil fuels. However, the impact of fossil fuels on climate is too big to ignore and we need to work to improve the battery technology we have today.
Dahn’s work in this area has already produced many patents & documents for Tesla, Electrek reported. A recent article in Journal of The Electrochemical Society provides details of new type of battery cells that could be vastly superior to the lithium-ion cells in-use.
The paper talks about battery chemistry that use nickel in its mix, bringing to the picture high energy density that can ensure higher range for electric vehicles. Interestingly, these batteries also show longer lifespans than lithium-ion batteries when charged at different temperatures. In a hypothetical situation where the battery is used at all times at a temperature of 25 degrees, battery life could exceed 100 years, the document says.
In the past, nickel batteries were used with cobalt in-them. However, due to concerns about cobalt, the researchers determined that their new battery design would deliver the desired results and work just as well with little or even no cobalt in the battery composition.
So it’s no surprise that Tesla recently decided to increase its collaboration with the Dahn Group until 2026. Certainly we can see Tesla exceeding range expectations in the future.