New Tesla battery? Jeff Dahn and 1 million miles
100 Comments


At the beginning of September, the distinguished
battery researcher Jeff Dahn, who runs a lab at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, released
a report about a new battery formulation that could power an electric vehicle for 1.6
million kilometers (or 1 million miles). And since Jeff Dahn and his team are Tesla
research partners, the public speculation of what this could mean for Tesla’s upcoming
battery tech kicked into high gear. I’ve put together several videos myself
on the future of battery technology, battery recycling, and where Tesla may be heading
with the Maxwell Technologies acquisition, so it should go without saying … I got pretty
excited when I saw this news spring up. While the 1,000,000 mile battery is a great
headline, my curiosity went into over drive, so I read through Jeff Dahn’s research paper
and talked to an expert to see if I could tease out some of the details. And it may not be exactly what you’re expecting. Before I dive in, take a moment and hit the
subscribe button and notification bell, so you don’t miss out on future videos just
like this one. I’m Matt Ferrell … welcome to Undecided. Jeff Dahn has been researching lithium-ion
batteries for decades, and is one of the people responsible for the batteries we all take
for granted in our laptops and mobile phones today. He knows his stuff, so when he and his team
publish a report like this, people listen. After reading through the report myself, there
were a few key things that jumped out at me. This formulation shows very little degradation
over time and can withstand full depth of discharge cycles better than your typical
lithium-ion battery. On a typical battery you can expect the equivalent
of 1,000 cycles from 100% to 0% charge and back again.(fn) Getting to 1,000-2,000 cycles
is considered good. The test formulation from Dahn’s research
was showing over 95% of the original capacity available after 1,000 charging cycles. Compare that to the standard formulation they
tested with about 50% capacity left after 1,000 charging cycles. Even after 4,000 charging cycles, the test
batteries were still showing capacities of around 90%. That’s … kind of crazy. One of the other pieces of the report that
jumped out at me was temperatures. We all know that batteries don’t like extreme
temperatures and it impacts performance. But it can also impact the overall lifespan
of a battery too. These tests showed that this battery is very
resilient and doesn’t take much of a hit. At 40C (104F) the test formulation showed
90% of the original capacity after 3,500 charging cycles. To quote directly from the report, “this
cell chemistry is extremely tolerant to extended periods at elevated temperatures.” So it really sounds like this may be the battery
we’ve all waiting for, right? Yes, but not exactly … because there’s
a nuance to this that wasn’t immediately clear at a quick glance. In fact, there are two things worth calling
out. First, the formulation tested was a 5 parts
Nickel, 3 parts Manganese, and 2 parts Cobalt recipe. NMC batteries are commonly used pretty much
everywhere today like our phones, laptops, power tools, and even some EVs. It’s a very effective battery formula that
has a solid track record, and the version tested has a specific energy of 200 wh/kg. The battery cells in the Model 3 are somewhere
around 250 wh/kg.(fn) While these tested batteries may be able travel 1,000,000 miles over their
lifetime, with the lower specific energy of the NMC battery, they won’t be able to travel
as far on a single charge as the current Tesla NCA battery. The difference may be something like 260 miles
versus the 310 miles we get today on the long range Model 3. The second thing that surprised me was that
the tested formulation has more cobalt than Tesla’s current batteries. And unless you’ve been avoiding the news
on cobalt, you’ll know that there’s some serious issues with cobalt mining. It’s very dangerous work and some mines,
like in the Democratic Republic of Congo, have been exploiting workers.(fn) The rarity
of cobalt also makes it very expensive. Tesla and other companies have been trying
to reduce their dependence on cobalt with new formulations, which is something that
Elon and his team have talked about on quarterly calls in the past. JB: “You know. Being on a path to reduce cobalt usage for instance. Has been something we’ve been working on for…” “For literally several years now. And…” “And this has been extremely helpful in the overall cost per kW/h” “Especially with recent commodity price movements.” “I think we can be completely quantitative, but it’s a pretty good trend.” Elon:”We think we can get the cobalt to almost nothing.” So with this tested formula using more cobalt
than Tesla’s current batteries, it raised the question: is this really a formula that
Tesla will even use? The answer is most likely no. As excited as everyone got over this report,
this specific formulation doesn’t align with Tesla’s stated goals. They’re committed to reducing or even eliminating
cobalt from their batteries, not increasing it. And they’re also committed to reducing the
cost of manufacturing their battery pack, and in turn the car, to make it more affordable
in the market. Cobalt is very expensive, so if you used this
formulation you might see the cost of the battery pack rise by $400 – $500. Which again, doesn’t align with Tesla’s
goals. I’m not trying to be wet blanket here and
make this report sound like it’s not worth celebrating. It _is_ exciting research, but it’s just
that … research. This is one piece of a much larger puzzle. We shouldn’t expect that this is exactly
what we’ll be seeing in our cars in a couple of years. This could be a good fit for Tesla’s Megapacks
and grid scale storage systems because they aren’t as constrained for size and cost,
but that doesn’t feel like the ultimate answer either. This report is surfacing some key findings
around a single crystal cathode with protective nano-scale coating. While it seems like the report may be giving
up what seems like proprietary information with the single crystal, it’s important
to remember that research like this takes time and is done in phases. It’s about methodically testing the different
building blocks of the battery to zero in on what combination will result in the perfect
fit for a certain use case. Jeff Dahn actually has a paper on single crystal
vs. polycrystalline in lithium-ion cells from 2017.(fn) So this current paper is an extension
of that previous work combined with other research and experiments that they’re doing. This latest paper was released to help the
research and automotive community to demonstrate the latest lithium ion technologies and benchmark
it. Battery research is extremely complicated
and the artistry comes with how you combine these different techniques and chemistries
together. That’s the secret sauce. And that’s why, after reading this paper,
it’s clear to me that there’s still another shoe to drop … or a couple more shoes to
drop. I have no doubt that Jeff Dahn and his team
have research currently in progress on single crystal chemistries that will make more sense
in Tesla’s cars. Combine that with Maxwell Technologies Dry
Battery Electrode manufacturing technique that Tesla acquired, and then we could be
talking about the million mile battery in Tesla cars. Something that lasts for the life of the car
and is cheaper to produce. Most likely a formula with very little or
no cobalt. The big tell will be what, if any, papers
Jeff Dahn releases around the end of this year or early next year. And we’re also waiting on Tesla to hold
their battery and drivetrain investor day event, which has been pushed into early next
year. This research paper isn’t the destination,
but it’s a sign post along the road towards that destination. It’s a very clear hint as to where things
are going. A million mile battery for a typical driver
is a little nutty. The average American driver puts on about
13,000 miles each year. That means it would take the average American
driver almost 77 years to drive 1,000,000 miles. Why would Tesla even want to have a car with
motors and battery packs rated for that number of miles? The answer is, it’s not meant for us, the
average driver. Tesla is looking towards things like the self-driving
robo taxi future. Let’s look at the average New York City
taxi cab, which travels over 70,000 miles per year. For that you’d be looking at about 14 years
of use before the battery and motor may need replacement. That’s longer than the average New York
City cabs lifespan of 3 to 4 years. Long distance semi-trucks can drive upwards
of 100,000 miles per year,(fn) so you can also see how this could tie into Tesla’s
Semi. But building out batteries this resilient
also benefits longevity and scenarios with high depth of discharge rates. Just take a look at grid-scale energy storage. The batteries that Dahn’s group tested could
last at least 20 years as part of an energy storage system, which are systems that will
be cycling charges _a lot_ over their lifetime. A perfect example for how this could benefit
grid scale energy storage would be something like the Hornsdale Power Reserve in Australia,(fn)
which Tesla built for $50 million. In the first six months of operation it was
responsible for 55% of frequency control and ancillary services in South Australia. And by the end of last year was estimated
to have saved $40 million is costs.(fn) Taxis and trucks will also be cycling a lot more
than the average drivers electric vehicle. Working and driving all day, rapid charge,
and then repeat. Not the 10 – 20% battery drain, sit and wait,
drive again scenario that the average driver does with a car. The longer these batteries last, the greater
the return on investment (ROI) the owner of the car or energy storage system will see. I was very excited when I saw the initial
reports of Jeff Dahn’s research, and it’s advancements like this that show there are
still big gains to be made in battery technology. But it’s always important to try and look
past the headline and understand what the research is actually doing, and to understand
that its arrival in our lives may not be right around the corner. But having said that, I’m really excited
to see what Jeff Dahn has cooking in his labs that will eventually end up in our cars and
probably powering parts of the electrical grid at some point in the future. It’s research like this that is not only
going to make our cars even better than they already are, but help to make a brighter future. Are you as excited for this type of advancement
as I am? I’m curious if you think this is a big leap
forward and how the competition will be able to match up? Jump into the comments and let me know. If you liked this video, be sure to give it
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I’ll see you in the next one.

100 thoughts on “New Tesla battery? Jeff Dahn and 1 million miles

  1. Watched this video from end to end hoping to learn about the time line launch date of this piece of technology … I am sorry that I missed it.

  2. hello thank you, could the million mile pack be put in a newly purchased car without a pack, thus the pack is good for 2 cars in its lifetime.

  3. Your analysis is spot on.. million mile taxis and truck together with resilient stationary batteries are the key coming developments..

  4. When I used to drive cabs in Australia, working Christmas eve, I would drive 700 to 800klm in a 12 hour shift. (435 to 497 miles) A battery that only reqires two 30 min charge cycles would still be losing a cab driver money. I used to take 3-15 minute brakes during my shifts on busy nights so charging is a massive hurdle.

  5. The chatter about "a million mile battery" did not start with this paper being released. It started with Elon himself stating that Tesla will be releasing a million mile battery. This paper came out a few months later.

  6. Great Video. Awesome Demonstrations. I'm drive a lot around 5 to 6,000 a month. No Hot Shoting, or Uber. To me it seems more like in the next 8 to 10 years is when more family are going to buy electric vehicles.

  7. Wouldn't they care about the total cobalt usage over the life of the battery? If the longevity of the battery makes it so that they actually use less cobalt, why wouldn't they go for it?

  8. I remember reading an article that indicated the 'new battery chemistry' was Nickel Metal Hydroid, which resulted in a lighter and more energy dense battery. The formulation was apparently much better than what we have seen in the NMH batteries from years ago. Has anyone noticed this little detail?

  9. I see a battery that can be recharged with a liquid/gel ….to where you pull up to a station it sucks out your spent fuel and bammm your refilled with new electric charge…no cobalt needed!

  10. If used over 1,000,000 miles is the total cost of ownership AND total used of cobalt decreased. What are the macro numbers 10 batteries vs 1 is what I am seeing in aggregate.

  11. Lithium Titinite for quick charging and ultra high fast energy access seems like a good bet on Tesla's part. They contain no cobalt, but they have a comparable energy density (now 250 but up to 300) They aren't as good on volumetric density though… But nothing beats 10,000+ cycles at super high C ratings!
    I think even if Tesla doesn't place these in their cars, they will start adding them to their power walls and quick chargers for the high current on demand situations… like starting a dryer while using a table saw and a microwave lol.
    Most likely they will add like 5KW to existing vehicles so they can get 15 miles in 15 seconds in Super Chargers, and jump start other Tesla's basically.

  12. This looks like a nice battery for use in the lab, because I don't think it's ever going to leave the lab. The great batteries never do.

  13. careful of hype. Sometimes just like the FUD in the news, announcements are made to stir investor and market interest. Dressed up fluff exists.
    And sometimes the promise isn't realized…..we're still waiting on the graphene revolution.

  14. No need to be too concerned about Jeff Dahn et al not using Tesla's proprietary formula as their starting point. Researchers like to vary a single variable at a time so they can gauge ("benchmark" to use the report's term) exactly how it affects the outcome. It's the responsibility of companies like Tesla and Panasonic to take that basic research and turn it into productive reality. The end result is a compromise between several variables utilizing several research results to give the best overall results for the application. And those companies keep their final "secret sauce" secret, so of course researchers and competitors don't have access to it.

    Another nuance you fail to mention is that Dahn et al used a pouch form factor while Tesla and Panasonic are using 18650 and 2170 cylindrical form factors. Why? Because pouch cells are easier to make in small test batches in the lab. Not a big deal, but again, not what one might naively expect if you know they're doing the research for Tesla.

    Finally of course, Dahn et al did not have access to Maxwell Technologies' proprietary dry electrode technology so that wasn't part of the testing either. But it will surely be part of Tesla's final "secret sauce" for a production million mile battery.

  15. Last year a South Korean company, LG I think, said it had a chemical formulation using a lithium Ferrous tech and stated, it could be fast charged in minutes, not hours, could be recharge up to 10,000 times, and wasn't prone to fires. 10,000 charges would be battery for life of the car. Not sure what happened since. LG said it was ready to be developed

  16. The statement is quite clear in the abstract of the academic publication that, "…to serve

    as benchmarks for academics and companies developing advanced lithium-ion and other “beyond lithium-ion” cell chemistries to

    (hopefully)exceed." which is based on three-year test data. It is nothing related to the cell that Tesla will be used. Media always try to make big & fake news unprofessionally…

  17. It would be interesting to see how battery life is affected by temperatures at the other end of the spectrum, going down to typical European or northern US state winter temperatures. This would be more relevant to the typical EV car owner/operator.

  18. When I heard about the million-mile battery, I just shrugged my shoulders. I don't care if a plastic bag can be folded one million times with no embrittlement if what I need is good tensile strength. Longevity is not the challenge. Energy density, cost of materials and ability to charge rapidly are the only things I hear people talk about, and 10-15 years of useful battery life doesn't seem to worry anyone. Besides, all this is moot because most of the solid-state chemistries promise all those things in spades.

  19. I think you’re exactly correct that this is research first and foremost and that it’s mostly targeted at the Semi, where the total number of cells sold is small (lots per individual vehicle, but small on an annual basis). They can still keep their low-Cobalt goals if they only deploy this on the Tesla Semi, where it would be most useful.

  20. So, whatever happened to Graphene batteries? A new formulation was present by a team in northern Europe, which has an extremely short charge cycle, (literally within minutes) and has greater capacity and output. Maybe they should contact each other and see if the two technologies can be integrated to produce what everyone has been hopping for, a car that can go hundreds of miles and can be charged in as little time as it takes to fill your tank with gas.

  21. First time viewer of your content and I'm impressed by your cogent analysis of both the technology and potential applications. Well done! Subscribed for sure!

  22. I see the point of a million mile battery for long haul trucking and electro-prop planes and boats. However, would autos, which are normally replaced WELL before their ICE engines are dead, be better served by a super-easy recycling of the battery?

  23. Hmm What is that other company Elon owns? I wonder where a million mile battery might come in handy? Somewhere where there is a ton or sun light and nose cone with two battery walls installed. Hmmm

  24. Its all about the batteries, solid state technology seems great also. It is easier to work on the capacity than on charging speed and I think they need to focus on that more.
    I don't care if I have to wait and hour or two for full charge if I can drive on that battery for two million miles.

  25. It's not the composition of the cathode it is its crytallinity. The same technique would likely work with NMC 811 or even NCA. Another company Nano One Materials has been working along these lines for years and has an extensive patent portfolio for the inexpensive manufacturing of these materials.

  26. Wait… 1000 charging cycle is good? Many people charge their car every night, so the battery will be 50% capacity in 3 years?

  27. The NEW battery technology that is the most exciting right now. Comes from the inventor of the Li OH batteries that are everywhere today. He (John Goodenough) has a new battery. It has a storage density 3 fold more than the current Lithium. It doesn't weaken with cycles, but rather gets stronger. Don't take my word on it, read some about it here https://news.utexas.edu/2017/02/28/goodenough-introduces-new-battery-technology/.

  28. Hi, good video it clears up most of the questions people may have about the new battery. What I would like to see I think what the majority of the people are waiting for is for a battery that can go over 500 miles on a single charge, this make possible long distance trips. Thanks for taking the time to clear things up for us.

  29. The mitigating factors may not necessarily mean that much. You've got a car that has residual trade value, vs a battery / car that is dead in 15 years.

  30. I think you missed a report that Tesla already patent a similar, but very different battery chemistry type that can last 1mil on Tesla car. This will be in line with what Elon said that Tesla car battery will have a 1mil validated miles.

  31. "look past the headline"
    my dear sir
    you are the one slapping on the headline
    (wich is misleading since its 1 million miles of endurance and not the much needed caacity)

    media is always taling reseach and fucking running their own ideas about a conclusion they jumped to

    good on you for actually reading the thing and coming to your senses
    but this sensationalistic bs needs to stop
    media needs to dial it back

  32. All that said, does it make sense that Tesla bought Maxwell? Did they get any critical patients or was it just about getting a great R&D shop?

  33. Tesla semi is a scam. Do the math. I’m in a international semi truck right now the max weight by United States law for a five axle truck is 80000 pounds. The two axles on the trailer max 34000 pounds the drive axles 34000 pounds the front axle 12000 pounds just the semi tractor ( truck ) is around 26000 pounds. The load inside a dry box trailer ( outside temperature trailer) can be up to 46000 pounds. With the Tesla semi it has a battery pack that weights around 26000 pounds. Now if you add a trailer the front axle can go up in weight. This truck I’m in if I put just one front tire on your foot it would crush your foot with 6000 ft pounds of force. So if you don’t get the weight balanced and you get in a wreck by law your truck is illegal and you as the driver can lose everything and go to jail. Now please tell me how a 300 to 500 mile of range going to replace this truck at 1400 mile of range and I can and have filled both diesel tank 120 gallons each and def 25 gallons tank under 15 minutes and I can find a diesel fuel truck stop in every state and most towns.

  34. Matt, just came across your channel. Fascinating stuff, really loved how you presented the information. Keep it up – you have my sub! 🙂

  35. Maybe it's will only be used in their new roadster or..

    Maybe it was put out there for other companies to use and experiment in their own ways to get more EVs out there.

  36. may be they were talking about Solid State Batteries. I thought the Model S they drove in the German Circuit that that battery which weight 300 pounds less. Doesn't that indicate something?

  37. Why need battery storage when long ago Nikola Tesla's electric vehicle conversion by utilizing a 'receiver & a transmitter devices' on a electromagnetic motor that ran off free energy as he had proven exists in the atmosphere and in the Earth?!? He did it in 1918 and again in 1930/31… Oil/gas industry along with big bankers with the backing to lobbied our government and private sectors have always prevented his inventions to be manufactured and marketed! Not to mentioned the fact how Edison fought hard against Tesla's A/C system and to be blacklisted in the scientific and engineering community including academic universities/ prevented any fund raising to attract socialites and businesses!
    He had demonstrated the same feat prior with his radio controlled boat having similar devices… all of this is documented…

  38. The largest problem as I see it from a chauffuers viewpoint is that unless an electric vehicle can achieve over 600 miles on a single charge with EVERYTHING RUNNING, A/C or heater, all of the lights on and radio on loud enough to understand, can be trickle charged while in use to extend range/distance and be able to recharge fully to 100% in about 1 hour without degrading or shortening usable number of charging cycles then any electric vehicle is unusable in the passenger transport industry. Add to that lower cost, durability and ease of maintaning the vehicle. I cannot personally see all that taking place in the forseeable future.

  39. If anyone could clarify this to me. I could only hear he talking about an increase in cobalt on the new batteries, but not about how much.
    In the paper, it says “In this paper, testing results on LiNi0.5Mn0.3Co0.2O2/artificial graphite (NMC532/AG) cells are presented.”. What I was able to find is that NMC532 stands for 50% Nickel, 30% Manganese and 20% Cobalt. Since Tesla’s batteries use about 15% Cobalt, I guess a 5% increase would definitely be a fair trade for 4 times the charging cycles, wright hahah?
    I don’t know if the autor has purposely hidden that fact to create a different opinion then other media. It just seems that at least he should had mentioned what an increase it was.
    Anyways, I am definitely not an expert on batteries. If anyone could check if what I mentioned proceeds, or add mor information.

  40. In 2012, Tesla released their second-generation battery and powertrain. It topped out at 85 kWh and 265 miles of range (EPA). What I find crazy is that still, to this day (2019, seven years later), I cannot buy a production all-electric car in the United States with 265 miles of EPA range from any automaker other than Tesla (though the Hyundai Kona EV gets admirably close). Meanwhile, Tesla's long rang Model S currently sits at 370 miles of EPA range.

    It's crazy how far ahead Tesla still is, and just when legacy automakers start thinking they might stand a chance against Tesla, the latter releases some new technology that changes the whole equation and crushes the competition on quality and economics. I absolutely believe Tesla will eventually sell all kinds of EVs, from sedans to semis, that retain 90% of charge capacity after one million miles.

  41. The true battery revolution will only arrive once light-weight Solid State Batteries become the economical long-life norm.

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