Typically, car batteries can last for up to five to six years, which would then need to be replaced, but sometimes sooner, if they get worn out quickly and easily. Engineers working for Tesla are aiming to change that. They claim to have developed batteries that could power a vehicle for up to a million miles, which can be run for over a decade.

 

Tesla’s new battery could be equipped into existing electric vehicles, giving them a boost in battery power. (Image Credit: Tesla)

 

Researchers at Dalhousie University in Canada ran tests on a newly developed lithium-ion cell battery, which can be recharged up to 6,000 times and could power a vehicle for nearly 20 years, or one million miles. The researchers published their findings in a report in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society. The team’s research received funding support from Tesla, and they stated in the report that the new batteries could run very well in the futuristic “robo taxis,” similar to what Elon Musk proposed in April at the Tesla Autonomy Event. If these batteries get deployed in electric vehicles, they could cut down on costs per mile of operating an electric vehicle, which would also help with everyday transportation.

 

Musk also mentioned that his goal is to have a million robo taxis running on the road by 2020, though experts have uncertainties in his vision. With or without robo taxis, these new batteries could also change things for electric vehicles, potentially powering them in the future that Musk and others are hopeful for. 

Batteries can also wear down quite easily in extreme weather conditions, especially when it’s too hot or cold. The extreme temperatures can have an impact on it by causing batteries to lose their juice much faster than its original life span.

 

Since heat can be quite damaging to batteries, researchers turned up the heat and ran a number of tests on batteries in 68, 104, and 130 degree Fahrenheit temperatures. The batteries still had two-thirds the amount of power when they became exposed to 104-degree weather. Tesla batteries are also built with a cooling system, so equipping the new batteries with the system could also help them maintain their million-mile capacity, despite the heat. The new battery could also be charged around 4,000 times in extreme heat.

 

These new lithium-ion batteries have been specially designed with a next-generation “single crystal” NMC cathode that uses advanced electrolytes capable of holding a higher charge at higher temperatures over an extended period of time. The team published their report in March, showcasing the supercharged batteries.

 


Charge cycles of the new lithium-ion battery, which can last for 6,000 cycles. (Image Credit: Journal of Electrochemical Society)

 

The researchers at Dalhousie hope to continue with further developments with their batteries. As stated at the end of the report:  “It is our opinion that more sophisticated models will lead to even longer lifetime projections.”

 

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