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This is a part of the EV Innovation Intelligence series

For about a year now, there has been buzz around the concept of million mile battery.

Now, I think it was Tesla that started it all, though there are some variants of the million mile battery we keep hearing about in the e-mobility innovation circles.

What exactly are these guys talking about when they mention this term, and how close indeed is such a battery to reality?

Not a battery that runs a million miles without recharging

At first read, we tend to think that we can ride a million miles on such a battery, that is on a single charge.

That’s too ambitious, even by Elon Musk’s standards, and that’s not what he means by the million mile battery anyway. A million-mile battery refers to a battery that will last for 1 million miles or more before it pretty much needs to be disposed.

So is this a big deal?

It could be. Today’s batteries have limits on the number of times they can be recharged, most of them last about 1000 recharges (though some Li-ion batteries can hold up to 2000 cycles) – and at 200 miles a charge, these come to about 150,000-200,000 miles.

A battery that lasts 1 million miles could handle 4,000 full recharges or more, at about 300 miles a charge – so what we are talking about are batteries that are 1.5-2 times better than the current batteries in terms of number or cycles and perhaps another 1.5 times for the range

Not the eye popper that you originally thought it was, but 2-3X is certainly not a small deal.

Here are some factoids about the million mile battery concept:

  • The Chinese battery leader Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd(CATL) developed a power pack that lasts more than a million miles. The company  is ready to produce a battery that lasts 16 years and 2 million kilometers (1.24 million miles), Chairman Zeng Yuqun said in an interview at company headquarters in Ningde, southeastern China. Warranties on batteries currently used in electric cars cover about 150,000 miles or eight years, according to BloombergNEF.

  • A research paper released last September by Tesla-funded scientists at Canada’s Dalhousie University reported they’d created a million-mile battery in the lab. The team was led by Jeff Dahn, a major figure in lithium-ion battery research who began working with Tesla in 2016. The three-year project showed that by using specific combinations of cathode and electrolyte materials, charge-recharge limits could be pushed from about 1,000 cycles up to 4,000 cycles, a major step toward longer-lasting car batteries.

  • Also perhaps, swappable batteries could power long-haul trucks, city buses and driverless robotaxis, all of which log many miles a day, every day. The same batteries could also pump energy into the electric grid when the vehicle’s not being used, with less worry about battery life degradation.


This is a part of the EV Innovation Intelligence series

Posts in the series

Tesla’s Valuation | EV’s in different countries | Purpose built EVs | Mainstream Fuel Cells | IT in Emobility | EVs versus ICEs | Advent of China in Emobility | Charging vs Swapping | Micromobility & EVs | Electric Aviation | Li-ion alternatives | Million Mile Battery | Battery Startups versus Giants | Sales & Financing Models | Ultrafast Charging a Norm | Heavy Electric Vehicles | Material Sciences in Emobility | Lithium Scarcity | Solar Power in EV Ecosystem | EV Manufacturing Paradigm | Innovations in Motors | EV Startups – a speciality Oil Companies’ Strategies | EV Adoption Paths | Covid-19 affect on the EV Industry |

 

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