Why A Million-Mile Battery Means Teslas Could Last A Lifetime


The average lifespan of
a car is 150,000 miles. Your average driver drives
13,500 miles every year, meaning a car lasts
about 11 years. Now, imagine you had a car
that could last 400,000 miles. 800,000? How about 1 million miles? Your car could last
an entire lifetime. But a million-mile battery
is the stuff of fiction…isn’t it? In April, Elon Musk announced
Teslas would soon be powered by a battery with a lifespan
of more than 1 million miles. The current battery
pack is about maybe 300,000
to 500,000 miles. The new battery pack
that’ll probably go into production next year
is designed explicitly for a million miles
of operation. In September, a team
of battery researchers at Dalhousie University,
with support from Tesla, published a paper
that describes a very special
kind of battery — a battery that it says
“should be able to power an electric vehicle for
over 1 million miles.” Soon after, Tesla filed
a patent for a battery with a similar cell composition
to the one in the paper. Many of the Dalhousie
researchers, including Jeff Dahn, Xiaowei Ma, and Stephen
Glazier, are listed as inventors. So, is this the battery
Musk needs? The paper presents the
results of years of testing on a new battery cell
formula, or chemistry. And the team says
the results from tests on the battery
are “far superior” than other
lithium-ion batteries. So, what’s so good about it? Battery science is an
exercise in experimentation. The right tweak in the
combination and efficiency of the elements commonly
used for batteries could yield big results. In addition to a
winning combination, the million-mile battery
uses one large crystal instead of many
small crystals. This single-crystal
nanostructure is less likely to develop cracks when
the battery is charging. Cracks cause a
decrease in the lifetime and performance
of the battery. How’d the new design do? Well, the life of a
battery is measured in discharge cycles. Using an amount equal to
100% of the battery’s charge is one cycle. Where a typical lithium-ion
battery could give you only 1,000 to 2,000
discharge cycles, tests showed the
million-mile battery had 95% of its life left after
1,000 discharge cycles and about 90% after 4,000. You’re probably thinking: “That’s awesome!” “We’ve got a great
battery here.” And you’re right. This is an awesome battery. But we’re not going
to see this version of the battery in a Tesla. There is one major thing
Tesla would have to sort out before it can use a battery
like this in its cars. This cell chemistry uses
a large amount of cobalt. Cobalt, a popular element
in battery development, carries inherent challenges. One, cobalt is finite
and running out. So it’s very expensive. Two, mining cobalt
is hazardous and some cobalt mines have
exploited children for labor. Tesla is trying to
eliminate cobalt from its batteries entirely. So, if we don’t have a
viable battery here, what’s the significance of
the battery in the paper? Well, it shows that we’re
close to obtaining a battery that lasts a million miles and is compatible
for use in Teslas, one that is cheaper and
probably contains less cobalt. A major announcement
is on the horizon. Specifically, we’re waiting
on Tesla’s battery and drivetrain investor day, which has been pushed
back to early 2020. The paper and patent
represent a big advancement in battery tech and are
undoubtedly a preface to the actual million-mile
battery composition that will land itself in Teslas
in the coming years.

100 comments

I have a 2012 Prius and had a diagnostic recently. The only thing that had to be replaced were my headlights and smaller front-end battery(the conventional one).

Not sure shareholders would be okay with their customers holding onto a car for their whole life when they could keep buying a new one every decade.

Ug! Stuck with a short range Tesla for a lifetime. No thanks. It will be like the I-phone for a while. Every new model will have vast improvements over the last one. Nobody will want the old model anymore. So what good is a lifetime battery when we are constantly upgrading.

The likelihood of my chrysler outliving the tires the factory equipped it with is pretty low. Imagine putting like 15 sets of tires on a single car?

My corolla is already passed 150K but it’s still a on its way out. I would buy something that guaranteed 500Mil let alone 1M Miles.

So. An anyone tell me if I should buy a tesla model 3 That will last me a lifetime or buy cars that are around 30k and drive them up to 175k to 200k miles. What's the better investment that will save me money? Like if I drive 200k miles on every gas car that's like almost every 16 years I will need to buy a car.

It’s pointless trying to make a battery last 1 million miles, because way before anybody achieves 1 million miles there will be newer technology again, which will make batteries obsolete

Nothing will ever last a lifetime. Longlasting products dont make money.
Thats not what this economy and its companies want.

That and developing new more efficient flexible solar cells that can cover the body of the vehicle and be used to power all interior electronics therefore, providing more battery life and better economy/range.

Wait… but can’t you just replace the battery when it’s dead? Why is this acting like the car becomes useless and the battery can’t be replaced once the battery dies?

ProTip form a mechanic: Extreme sub-zero temperatures shorten the lifespan and capacity of a battery. It remains to be seen how an electric car will handle life in rural Canada for example. The world will not be switching to electric in regions with winter anytime soon. Investigate Hydrogen fuel cell technology or ultra efficient diesel hybrids. https://apnews.com/04029bd1e0a94cd59ff9540a398c12d1

Why is no one talking about Desulphurisation of Crude Oil using cobalt catalysts. Most of the cobalt left after the process ends is unrecoverable. Considering the vast volumes of crude oil being refined using cobalt catalysts, the cobalt that may be required in Tesla batteries is just a drop in the ocean. And think of the reduced crude oil usage after we start using EVs with cobalt batteries. We'd either be using the same amount of cobalt as before or maybe even less.

You clearly have no clue of what you're talking. There are many things that wear and brake down apart fron the power unit. Electric cars have the same parts and they will show the same wear.

So, theoretically maybe, whats the probability of being able to drop in a newer battery chemistry on our older Teslas in the future?

Does this battery last one million miles over its life span or in one single charge? Say charging a 500 mile battery 2,000 times is equivalent to one million. Is that what this battery can do or can it last one million miles in one full charge?

This must be super-exciting if you have absolutely no clue about the actual issues with electric vehicles.

The challenge is not battery lifetime (the current – Panasonic – batteries have proven to be quite reliable). The issue is energy density, and this does NOTHING to address that.

But, the propaganda campaign continues apace, so here we are…..

Also, my diesel has 500k on the odo and the engine is the least of my concerns. So it would be with an electric vehicle.

This video is a joke.

The actual motor is rarely the highest failure item on most cars, it is usually suspension and electrical systems that cause most problems. Tesla already has average to poor reliability, once they are out of warranty and some major components start to fail (and they will), they will be recycled like every other new car. Just like all other cars and appliances, complexity makes them disposable. Because of this you have to replace relatively large and expensive subsystem and few people want to risk spending lots of money on one repair only to have something else fail weeks later, so they would rather cut their losses and get something new with a warranty.
The only items that last are simple designs with low cost parts and service, and very few things are like that these days. That is certainly not Tesla, at all, in fact just the opposite.
There are some ICE cars that have gone over a million miles on the original engine, but just because it is possible does not mean most cars will last that long. From what I have seen I would not touch a Tesla unless it had plenty of time left on a bumper to bumper warranty. Service and parts cost and availability are extremely poor with those cars.

Technically, almost any car could last forever if you want to put an unlimited amount of money into repairing it. What Tesla is proving is that a their cars can last a lot longer than ICE cars without extraordinary expenses to keep the car running. This longevity is tied directly to the simplicity of the power train.  

Remember, a Tesla has less than 20 moving parts while an ICE car has about 2,000.

"the average lifespan of a car is 11 years old", bish the busses where I live is from the 60's with the same 4BC2 3300cc Isuzu engine with a tens of millions of kms on the clock…

That's impressive, but over my lifespan I've come to realize there's a world of difference between "designed to" and "actually does." considering the cost of replacing those batteries, telling me they're "designed to" last over 1,000,000 miles isn't nearly as important as ones that have proven to average more than a million miles. So talk to me when these batteries average a million miles; that will be truly impressive.

Electric vehicles will never be much more than a novelty. Musk will be dead and gone before there are a significant number on the road. Why are people too stupid to realize this?

Name me one luxury vehicle, other than maybe Lexus, that can run 300k+ miles. You can’t compare a Toyota to a Tesla. Two completely different driving experiences with similar mileage outcomes. Something to consider.

150 k that's for American cars which is a shame, European cars better than America cars but not even close to Japanese cars, specifically Honda,Toyota or Mazda. Nissan it was good in the 70's, 80's and early 90's but not anymore.

Elon has his cultist in the media promising everything with nothing to show for in Production. Just to keep investors happy !

A million-mile battery doesn't mean a Tesla will last a lifetime. All it means is the rest of the car will fall apart before the battery does.

Forget lasting a million miles , I would rather have a ev that lasted 500,000 miles and could be fully charged in 5 minutes from flat .

battery operated devices can last forever. Look at many Japanese electronics from the 1980s and 1990s still going strong, It is all about build quality.

Given our desire to upgrade.building smtg that last forever is not neccesary yet.until 90% of the people r minimalist who doesnt buy new cars every 5-10 years. N at the rate of new tech upgrade incorporated in cars.people r gna upgrade.apple knew this.

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