Battery Technology – The Future Of Electric Cars

Interesting, Others | March 20th, 2015 by 30
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Want to know the future of electric cars?  First you have to understand where battery technology is going, and more importantly—when. You think, if Tesla …

Want to know the future of electric cars?  First you have to understand where battery technology is going, and more importantly—when. You think, if Tesla is selling fast, long-range EVs today, and Chevy has announced its “200-mile” Bolt, why can’t BMW build its own new 200-mile i-model before 2020?
Why, indeed.


You may have heard about the remarkable Envia lithium-ion battery, or should I say the rise and fall of said infamous battery.  The story bears repeating, because it explains a lot about the pitfalls of EV development (and marketing)—why some electric car manufacturers make claims that are aggressively optimistic, while others have more conservatively opted for the battery in hand, over the two prettier ones in the bush.
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A lithium ion is a charged particle, a few atoms with the negatively-charged electrons and positively-charged protons not balancing out.  A lithium-ion battery is a fairly simple device, as long as you ignore the details and permutations.  Lithium-ion batteries have two electrodes (one with a positive charge and the other negative) separated by a typically liquid electrolyte that enables the flow of charged lithium ions from one electrode to the other.  The electrodes are labeled either cathode or anode, depending on which way the current is flowing—charging or discharging.
Lithium in its elemental state is a metal—a very combustible metal.  So lithium ion batteries generally use a safer lithium compound instead (for example—Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LiCoO2)).  The lithium compound is in the cathode; the anode has traditionally been graphite.  A good battery, but pretty low energy density, particularly for electric cars.  If you want long range, that basic battery would need to be really heavy.
So back to the Envia story.  Two engineers founded the company in 2007, on the strength of a cathode patent licensed from the Argonne National Laboratory (a U.S. government facility outside Chicago).  That nickel, manganese, and cobalt (NMC) -based cathode yielded a battery with a 66% better performance than standard Li-ion batteries.
That got them initial funding, and they started working to turn Argonne’s discovery into something commercial.  But by 2009, however, their marketing efforts had not borne fruit, and they were about to go belly up.  They turned to their venture capitalist for help, bringing him in as CEO of the company, along with another bit of cash.
If they could win a government competition with their battery tech, they thought the resulting grant would solve their money problems.  The new cathode they developed yielded a 280 watt-hour per kilogram (Wh/kg) battery.  (watt-hour is a measure of energy)  That laboratory performance was very good, but certainly not jaw-dropping.
But for the competition, they added a silicon-carbon anode—a potential game changer.  A standard graphite anode can absorb only so many lithium ions.  Silicon, however, can absorb a LOT more—ten times more than graphite.  Each lithium ion represents so much energy.  The more of them you can move from one electrode to the other, the more energy you can store.  So silicon is big!
Which is the problem, really.  During the charge/discharge cycle, the insertion of the lithium ion into the silicon causes it to expand 400%.  Unless you can accommodate that expansion, the electrode self-destructs, pulverizes (like water freezing in a pipe, only much worse).  The battery would give you great range, but only for a couple of charge cycles.
The Envia engineers thought they could solve the problem.  They built their battery and had it tested by an independent lab.  It yielded a remarkable 400 Wh/kg!  Not only that, but Envia claimed they could build it for half the cost.  They got their $4 million grant.
The big boys took notice, to wit, General Motors.  Notwithstanding opposition from their engineers (who were suspicious of the small start-up with no track record), the GM brass wanted Envia’s battery for their 2015 model year Volt, and for a planned 2016 BEV with a 200-mile range.  It would be a game changer.  They started paying Envia $2 million per quarter to commercialize the battery.  For the 200-mile EV, GM needed a 350 Wh/kg battery pack that could last 1000 cycles with little degradation.
That went in the contract; the battery also had to be ready by October 2013, with a further 10 months allowed for final optimization.  After that, no changes.
When the time came and Envia’s battery was tested, it failed miserably, not coming close to the earlier test results.  On its face, that is.  For the government competition, Envia had claimed their battery yielded 400 Wh/kg, and that it had been tested to 300 charge/discharge cycles.  True.  What they had not revealed was that the 400 Wh/kg figure was only produced for the first three charge cycles.  The stored energy dropped precipitously after that.  By cycle 300, the battery was only good for 237 Wh/kg.  The culprit, of course, was the extreme volumetric expansion.  Envia had not been able to devise a fix.
It also turned out that the anode material was not proprietary to Envia, as had been claimed, but had secretly been sourced from a Japanese supplier.  Envia’s founders had hoped they could solve the problems in time, had hoped they would become hugely rich, but their miracle had not come home.  They had even kept Envia’s CEO in the dark.
It would seem that GM’s plans for the Envia battery to power its 200-mile car in 2016 had been smashed, but GM claimed it had an alternative battery in the wings.  One report, however, suggested that it was too expensive.  Another speculated that the car might show up as early as 2018.  GM hasn’t shed any light.
There are other possibilities, of course (but not for 2016—maybe a few years later).

California Lithium Battery (CalBattery) 

In 2009, another small company — California Lithium Battery (CalBattery) — started having discussions with a scientist at Argonne National Labs (them again).  Those discussions ultimately led to the Argonne scientist becoming the Chief Technical Officer for CalBattery, to lead the development of his patented lithium-ion anode into a commercial product.
That anode also used silicon to greatly increase the energy density of the battery, but adopted a novel approach to accommodate the 400% volume change during the charge/discharge cycle.   The Argonne scientist had discovered that a gas deposition process to embed silicon into a graphene matrix could provide enough cushion to prevent the pulverization of the electrode.  (Graphene is a two-dimensional hexagonal lattice with one carbon atom at each vertex—basically a one-atom thick form of carbon, with remarkable properties.)
In the fall of 2012, CalBattery had produced a sample battery and announced it had been independently tested to store 525 Wh/kg of energy.    By comparison, commercial lithium batteries at that time had energy densities between 100 and 180 Wh/kg.  This was huge news!  In February 2013, CalBattery said it could make the anode material commercially available by 2014.
By December 2013, however, CalBattery said it was working to scale up production, and expected to produce anode material in commercial quantities “in a few years.”  Initially working toward supplying its battery tech for use in EVs, CalBattery later shifted its focus to consumer electronics, which would bring in revenue faster.  They discovered that getting its batteries into EVs could take up to seven years.  EV batteries are made up of many cells.  The cell would have to be proven, and then the battery pack would have to be developed and tested, and then the car would have to be tested—extensively.  Car makers are very focused on product liability issues.
By the middle of 2014, CalBattery had teamed up with another small company called CALEB, pooling their respective cutting edge battery chemistries.  They have been scaling up their production methods, with the goal of keeping costs down.  They are now optimizing their third-generation continuous-flow reactor (a proven design adopted from another industry).  They hope to be producing thousands of tons by around 2018.  Some OEMs have already been given samples for testing, and one large corporation has reportedly tasked them with building a cell phone battery.
This effort seems one of the most promising over the next five years, but it is just one of many, mainly government and academic research programs ongoing worldwide, all working to solve a piece of the puzzle.  The academic people are publishing their results, perhaps trolling for financing.  The government scientists want their work to end up in a product.  The big corporations, on the other hand, are pretty quiet about their progress.


Secretive may be a more apt description.  VW recently acquired a 5% stake in a Silicon Valley start-up called QuantumScape, a company that is pioneering a solid-state lithium battery based on Stanford University research.  Neither the company nor VW is offering a description of the battery, but a number of people have done some research into patents and some of the Stanford research conducted by the founders of QuantumScape; the clues are compelling.
The new battery might use something called the All-Electron Battery (AEB) effect—no ions shuttling back and forth, just speedy electrons.  A thin film of a synthetic material called antiperovskite could be involved, doped with aluminum material, which could enable the use of metallic lithium (instead of a lithium compound).  All of which would give a very high energy density, and very little degradation with repeated charge/discharge cycles—thousands of them.
VW has suggested this new technology could give their e-Golf a 700-kilometer range, more than triple what it is now.  VW says development and testing are progressing enough to permit a decision on its future use by this July.  Another intriguing development.
With batteries having up to 500 Wh/kg energy densities potentially coming within the next five years, what sort of energy densities do we have now?



Tesla leads the pack with its small Panasonic cylindrical cells (thousands of them in a pack).  233 Wh/kg.  These are the same sorts of cells used in consumer electronics, which generally have higher energy densities, but at the expense of longevity and safety.  When the battery in your cell phone dies, just buy a new battery or upgrade to a new phone.  No big deal, and the life-span of consumer electronics is typically a couple of years.  Not so with cars, but Tesla has done a good job of managing the downsides through active cell monitoring, and careful design to limit heat build-up and protect the cells from puncture.  Because the individual cells are so small, each produces a very small amount of energy, so if cooled effectively, there is less chance for a fire.
Other manufacturers are using large format cells for EVs (simpler to package), and therefore need to use battery chemistries that are inherently safer.  The tradeoff is lower energy density.
Panasonic also supplies battery cells for the VW e-Golf, although these are larger prismatic cells having an energy density of 170 Wh/kg.  VW says its short-term roadmap is projecting an increase to 220 Wh/kg.
Nissan-Renault have been using batteries made by NEC (but they seem to be shifting to LG Chem).  The current LEAF batteries have an energy density of 155 Wh/kg; the Renault Zoe gets a 157 Wh/kg battery.
The Smart EV uses a 152 Wh/kg battery from Deutsche/ACCUmotive.
The Mitsubishi i-Miev uses a battery from Lithium Energy Japan (GS Yuasa/Mitsubishi) — 109 Wh/kg.
The Bosch/Samsung battery used in the Fiat 500e is rated at 132 Wh/kg.
The Toshiba lithium-ion battery used in the Honda Fit EV comes in last with an energy density of just 89 Wh/kg.
The source for most of these values did not have a rating for BMW’s i3 battery.  I found another reference that listed the energy density for the i3 as 95 Wh/kg.  (not sure if this is for the cell or the pack)  Samsung says the nickel-cobalt-manganese cells used in the i3 have the industry’s highest volumetric energy density (Wh/per liter).  In other words, heavy, but they don’t take up much space.
The choice of any particular battery chemistry is a compromise.  Car manufacturers not only look at energy density, but also safety, longevity, power density (rate of energy release), charging rate, reliability, and cost.
They want a battery supplier they trust, with a reputation to uphold, and having the resources to perform on a contract.  Those qualities make it unlikely that one individual would be able to make overly optimistic claims (and get away with it).  Those qualities, however, also tend to favor an incremental development path to new technology, rather than relying on the proverbial big scientific breakthrough.  It may be that the small startup actually achieves the breakthrough, but would a BMW bet on that before it’s been proven?

Samsung SDI

BMW’s lithium-ion battery partner is Samsung SDI, which is collaborating with the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (headed by General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler) to develop a new lithium-ion battery.  According to Samsung SDI’s technology roadmap, they expect to produce an advanced cell having an energy density of about 250 Wh/kg, sometime around 2019.   Until that time, their roadmap shows a battery chemistry with just 130 Wh/kg. (!)
Samsung Investment Ventures Corp. has also provided funding to Seeo, a company that is developing advanced lithium polymer batteries.  Their cells, which use a non-flammable solid polymer electrolyte, are now testing at a very respectable 350 Wh/kg, and aiming to achieve 400 Wh/kg.
Assuming BMW will stick with Samsung as its lithium-ion cell provider, it would be crazy for them to plan a new model roll-out before Samsung’s 250 Wh/kg battery becomes available in commercial quantities (circa 2019-2020).
Will there be 400 Wh/kg batteries available before then, or in the same time frame.  Hopefully, yes.  Should BMW plan on designing a new i model based on a small company’s predictions?  Probably not.  Should they be tracking those developments and testing any available samples?  Absolutely.  Undoubtedly Samsung is doing the same thing, and would be ready to license the best proven technology, if available at a commercially attractive price.  But changing batteries late in the planning, design, and engineering development process for a new car model would be chaotic, to say the least.
Battery progress drives the release of new BEV models.  Whether to meet cost targets, range targets, or performance targets, the development of successful new EV models will be driven by the performance of the batteries that are commercially available.  That holds true for the Tesla Model 3, the Bolt, and BMW’s next new i model.

Modern electric cars are at a very early stage in their development, and yet they are already so good that we want much more, and we want it now.  More models, more performance, more range, less weight, and of course much cheaper.  But we understand all this is new, so we’re willing to wait a year or two to get all that.  Ha!

You haven’t seen anything yet.  Wait five years, or ten—lithium-sulfur batteries are on the way, and after that, lithium-air!  Or maybe they’ll all be blown away by something else.  Patience.

30 responses to “Battery Technology – The Future Of Electric Cars”

  1. BMW is waiting until 2020 to get battery cells equivalent to 10% better than Tesla has had in their car since 2012.
    Tells you a lot about the commitment and strategy (or lack thereof) of the auto makers who are trailing behind Tesla…

    • Terd Ferguson says:

      BMW also has a successful $75B business of selling 1.8 million units to run, which happen to not involve focusing solely on the development and production of an electric car. I’m sure they wish they could invest $0 capital into their main business and just focus on producing 32k Tesla replicas.

      • And Nokia had no reason to compete with the iPhone, because “who would want internet on their phone, or who would be willing to pay for data in their phone, or ….”
        BMW can continue to make buggy whips and hope the future doesn’t arrive and outrun them and take the profits with it.

    • cove3a . says:

      You missed the whole point of the excellent article. Density is only one factor. Tesla went with thousands of tiny cells, bmw and vw purposely went with lower density prismatic cells. To quote: “The choice of any particular battery chemistry is a compromise. Car manufacturers not only look at energy density, but also safety, longevity, power density (rate of energy release), charging rate, reliability, and cost.” In the long run, the larger prismatic cell design (bmw/vw) will dominate over the smaller cylindrical design (Tesla). When mass producing assemblies, fewer
      components and fewer operations are *always* better and more cost effective. Additionally, fewer connections in any electrical device equals fewer failures.

      • My Smart ED uses large format cells, similar to BMW i3. These larger format cells have many layers of anode cathode and separators. The actual amount of material needed is very similar to small format 18650 cells used by Tesla.
        So, there is not reduction in simplicity, as the same amount of material needs to be processed, combined and mated together to provide the total storage capacity.

        Arguing that reducing complexity is better is laughable considering how complex any BMW (or modern car) is, as there are hundreds of complex systems (CPU, etc) in each car running all sorts of systems.

        If you like simple, a bicycle is great.
        If you want to drive a car, get used to complexity.

        Again, Tesla has an advantage in cost and years of well earned experience compared to other manufacturers like BMW.

        • cove3a . says:

          1. Do you have links and an analysis of Teslas cost advantage? It certainly has no profit advantage with 1.3B of cumulative losses or 25K/car

          2. Explain why you disagree with the following from an authoritative article:

          “In the long run, the larger but lower density prismatic cell design will dominate over the smaller but higher density cylindrical design. When mass producing assemblies, fewer components and fewer operations are *always* better and more cost effective. Additionally, fewer connections in any electrical device equals fewer failures.

          3. 50 electrical connections is simpler than 2000 connections

          4. bmw and vw have 30 years experience building electric cars, Tesla has 12

          5. Every product I know attempts to achieve the function with the minimal number of parts. If Tesla could get its car down to the number of parts in a bicycle, it would have competitive advantage

          • 1. Tesla makes 25% profit margin on their cars. The profit is spent on R&D to build even cheaper battery and for supercharger network, neither of which BMW or any other car maker is investing in. WIN for Tesla.

            2. Fewer components is not always better. Engineering is about achieving the best result for the least cost. WIN for Tesla. No one else has a pure EV that competes with gas cars, BMW can’t even drive 100 miles without a recharge or needing gas.

            4. BMW is way behind Tesla. The i8 accelerates slower and is more expensive. WIN for Tesla.

            5. Again, ride a bike if the key objective is to ride on something with the least number of parts.

            6. Tesla is driving the industry to expand and innovate to compete with them. Panasonic is along for the ride.

          • nikolas says:

            i only want to reply you for number 4
            4) Tesla has 12 years experience and have achieved lot more in electric cars than bmw , mercedes, vw.
            Tesla also will build a gigafactory so the replace of battery after 8-10 years will be lot cheaper. german automakers dont have factories for batteries.Tesla in future will be the best car company in electric cars, its the end of dominance for bmw mercedes etc, they will never compete with tesla , in 2020 when bmw has 200-300 mile range battery (if succeed) tesla will already has 400-500 mile range, plus more supercharger connectors.

  2. Jim says:

    eLOON Musk & Tesla fan boys ought to be in prison like Kevin Trudeau. eLOON Musk and Tesla fan boys fraudulently claim Tesla batteries are green, environmentally friendly, non-hazardous, non-toxic, and contain no heavy metals. Despite the fact that Tesla’s own emergency responder guide for the Tesla model S indicates that Tesla batteries contain hazardous toxic materials and heavy metals.

    The facts prove that eLOON Musk and his fan boys are big on making promises & very short on making good on those promises. eLOON Musk & Tesla sycophants have no credibility and are a laughing stock.

    • Mike Vella says:

      Can’t believe you forgot to malign the president at the same time. Didn’t you mean to say something like “Obummer gave all these handouts to them” or some such thing.

      More Fox News propaganda.

      BTW, all the battery fire stuff is not some sort of conspiracy. It’s been well documented.
      Here’s an article to combat this loon sent here to post by Sean Hannity.
      Get back on your meds,

      • Jim says:

        You Elon Musk brown noses are conspiring to cover up Tesla battery problems. Elon Musk and Tesla fan boys like you belong in a prison psycho ward. You greedy Tesla sycophants are ecoterrorists that don’t care about public safety or the environment.

        Even though Tesla’s own emergency responders guide indicates that Tesla batteries are toxic, hazardous and contain heavy metals; Elon Musk and Tesla fan boys like you are lying to cover up the facts.

        Even though Tesla’s are on video burning and exploding, some of the Tesla suck ups fraudulently claim there is no fire hazards, injuries, deaths or explosions related to Tesla.

        A few examples of the hate, ignorance and lies the Tesla Mafia has spammed:

        WeaponZero “lithium ion batteries(non-toxic)”.

        WeaponZero “Lithium ion batteries are non-hazardous in both materials and waste”

        WeaponZero “There are no toxic heavy metals in a lithium ion battery”

        WeaponZero “lithium ion batteries are non-toxic”.

        WeaponZero “lithium ion batteries do not pose risk if they are land filled”.

        WeaponZero “As I mentioned before, heavy metals are not a bad thing just because they are heavy metals. Lithium ion batteries are considered non-toxic. The CEO of BYD even drank one”

        WeaponZero “landfill fires have nothing to do with lithium ion batteries”

        WeaponZero “if a battery is discharged and not being used, even if compacted there is no issue”

        WeaponZero “I have done way more research on manufacturing of batteries and heavy metals than you”

        WeaponZero “Lithium Ion batteries are non-toxic and pose no environmental risk when disposed of”

        Peter Gordon “Tesla lithium ion cells contain no heavy metals, nor any toxic materials”.

        Peter Gordon “Tesla batteries are 100% non-toxic and declared completely safe for landfill”.

        Doug_G “The batteries are non-toxic”

        teddyg “To set the record straight our vehicles at Tesla, including our batteries, are non-toxic”

        FANGO “lithium ion batteries are non-toxic”

        FANGO “Just in case anyone here doesn’t know, btw, Li ion batteries are completely non toxic”

        ERIC VFX “Lithium is Non-Toxic”

        tonybelding “lithium-ion batteries are non-toxic and landfill-safe, so there is effectively no problem with dumping them in a hole”

        MarcDaniel Erasmo “Lithium ion batteries are non toxic as you been told over and over again”

        Red Sage ca us “The EPA found that Lithium-ion batteries are environmentally neutral. They are landfill safe.”

        camosoul “Lithium-chemistry batteries with no loss or pollution”

        WeaponZero “There is 0 Tesla cars at risk of fire”.

        WeaponZero “To note, 0 Tesla batteries exploded”.

        WeaponZero “Actually, those things you see flickering are not battery cells but fireworks”

        grendal “the car didn’t explode”

        grendal “there were no explosions”.

        grendal “no car has ever exploded”.

        grendal “You also said the car exploded (it did not) and released toxic fumes when neither happened”

        CMCNestT . “The battery did not explode”

        NΘΘR “This is not even an explosion”

        sranger “False, they are fireworks (4th of July after all)”

        strata8 “Did not explode”

        Albertico “The car did not explode at all”

        Tesla755 “No batteries exploded”

        stopcrazypp “the amount of gas expelled is not enough to act like a rocket and carry a cell two stories high”

        stopcrazypp “It didn’t actually explode”

        stopcrazypp “not any sort of explosion”

        Xixo “Teslas were actually not explosions”

        Dave_SRQ “There haven’t been any Tesla Model S recalls”

        Stewart Pid “the batteries didn’t explode”

        sranger “I used LiFePo4 cells. They do NOT heat up when charger or discharged at up to 1000 amps so NO cooling is needed for these cells”

        VulpineMac “They’re capacitors, not “batteries”

        grendal “Even with this stupid thief that wasn’t even wearing a seatbelt the tally is that ZERO people have died in a Tesla”

        geoffrey bailey “zero fatalities”

        Greenforce88 “The guy survived”

        geoffrey bailey “He was lucky that didn’t kill him”

        grendal “the fact that the thief and his passenger are still alive after this happened is telling”

        Albertico “the driver survived this accident”

        jeepesq ‘this thief was only ‘injured’ and not killed”

        Simonts “The driver survived!”

        Mirko “Guy steals car, walks away alive”

        Peter Gordon “zero fatalities for Tesla”

        Peter Gordon “no fatalities”

        Peter Gordon “There have been zero fatalities in a Tesla”

        9Awesomeb “He did survive the crash”

        Albertico “The Tesla does not have anything that can catch on fire in the front”

        WeaponZero “For this to happen to a lithium ion battery is extremely rare, though more common with lithium polymer batteries”
        (WeaponZero doesn’t know that lithium polymer is a type of lithium ion battery) lol

        9Awesomeb “SOMEBODY would have at least gotten burned in one. But there have been ZERO!!”
        (Several people have been burned/injured unplugging Teslas from chargers)

        Mark Yates “NICKEL, Aluminium, Lithium – the prime components of a lithium battery are not heavy metals”

        The facts are that Tesla batteries are toxic and contain heavy metals; despite the fraudulent claims by Elon Musk and Tesla sycophants..

        The leaking chemicals can be so dangerous, that it seems to suggest evacuating civilians from the proximity of a Tesla battery fire and it’s plume of toxic fumes. Emergency responders should wear full protective gear and self-contained breathing equipment to protect themselves from the toxic materials from the Tesla battery.

        The facts show that Teslas have exploded. Despite that the Tesla driver was killed in West Hollywood, Tesla fan boys exploited the tragedy by spamming fraudulent claims. The Tesla driver died but was revived by emergency responders, only to die again later at the hospital. Many Tesla shills falsely claimed he did not die, some even claimed he only had minor injuries and walked away. Many denied that the Tesla battery burned, exploded or that there were toxic fumes. Etc…


        “Photos: Stolen Tesla Splits In Half and Explodes After Crashing In West Hollywood”.

        “The Tesla’s lithium battery exploded into flames that shot up several stories into the air”

        “Video shot from a nearby apartment showed burning lithium batteries popping and sending fiery debris more than three stories into the air”.

        “A stolen Tesla speeding up La Brea Avenue at up to 100 miles per hour was sliced in half, and its lithium batteries exploded and burned, in a crash that injured at least six people today”

        “Tesla Model S Explodes After Accident in Mexico”.

        Despite the fact that Tesla’s battery “armor” is aluminum; Tesla shills have spammed fraudulent claims that it is steel.

        ABC News; possibly via Elizabeth Jarvis-Shean, a spokeswoman for Tesla Motors. “The Model S battery’s 16 modules are located underneath the car, protected by a steel plate.”.

        ABC News; possibly via Elizabeth Jarvis-Shean, a spokeswoman for Tesla Motors. “The Model S’s steel plate keeps its battery protected during everyday driving.”.

        brainboyz “They’ve got a 1/4″ plate of steel shielding the battery”

        jvonbokel “AFAIK, the bottom of the battery pack (and possibly the whole pack) is already steel”

        perpenso “They’ve got a 1/4″ plate of steel shielding the battery”

        GregP507 “Tesla, which has a 1/4″ steel plate on the bottom”

        lph “strongest floor you will ever see with a 1/4″ steel plate at the bottom (also almost bomb proof IMO)”

        TonkaMan97 “1/4″ steel plate”

        Igor “a 1/4 steel plate”

        nafhan “slicing through a quarter inch of steel”

        ebno-10db “punch through a 1/4″ steel plate”

        dm2 “They were already using a 1/4 inch steel plate as an underbody shield”

        Elios “the battery pack is protected by a 1/8″ steel plate”

        teddillard “huge spike that went through 1/4 in steel”

        superhumble “The tesla has an armored steel plate under the car, a spike shot through this plate and the battery with tons of force.”

        mcintyre1994 “They hit a trailer hitch, fast, and it pierced 1/4 inch of steel armor.”

        octoberasian “The chances of this happening again in the Tesla vehicle is slim to none”

        Nearly all Tesla’s were recalled because of faulty universal mobile chargers. The recall replacedthe UMC adapter. The UMCs had bad connector welds and the plastic originally used wasn’t sufficient for the high temperatures. Tesla, Elon Musk and Tesla shills fraudulently tried to scapegoat faulty Tesla UMCs on house wiring.

        t1oracle “It wasn’t the car, it was bad wiring in the house.”

        Elon Musk and Tesla shills/fanboys are such lowlife scum that they slandered firefighters that risked their lives to put out the first highly publicized Tesla battery fire. Elon Musk and Tesla shills/fanboys slandered the firefighters claiming they shouldn’t have cut a hole through the firewall. According to the report by the firefighters, when they first tried to put out the fire with water, the fire flared up then didn’t go all the way out. They followed Elon Musk’s procedures, but Elon Musk’s procedures failed because the fire did not go all the way out because firefighters couldn’t get enough water on the battery. So the fire reignited. Firefighters then cut out the firewall and only then were able to successfully and completely extinguish the fire. Elon Musk and Tesla shills/fanboys are advocating what failed, and bashing what was successful..

        Most electricity is generated by coal, some of the hazardous pollution from burning coal is radioactive. Ecoterrorists don’t need a dirty bomb, they can just drive a Tesla. Tesla batteries use hazardous materials, toxic chemicals and heavy metals that are known to be health hazards and harmful to the environment. Teslas can waste a lot of energy via battery heating, battery cooling, vampire loss, etc..

        Tesla sycophants don’t want you to believe sources like Scientific American. Instead Tesla fan boys want the public to believe greedy corporate shills.

        Scientific American “Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste”

        According to eLOON Musk we don’t have much longer to live. According to eLOON Musk; computers are supposed to become self-aware, takeover and start killing humans in five years and no less than 10 years

        eLOON Musk is a pitchman, that ought to be in prison like Kevin Trudeau. Elon Musk and his cronies are examples of corporate greed. Tesla, eLOON Musk, and Tesla sycophants ought to be under SEC investigation.

        Though eLOON voices warnings of impending doom about AI, don’t assume he is against it. He and his companies have vested interests and are developing AI. Is he a madman contributing to the end of the world for mankind?

        Tesla and Tesla fan boys were hyping China and hydropower; yet when allegations surfaced that allegedly only about 120 Teslas were sold in China in January, then Tesla fan boys starting bashing China and hydropower for the low sales. Tesla and Tesla fan boys are arguing/lying out of both sides of their mouths. Even if only 120 Teslas were sold in Hong Kong in January, that would be dismal. Yet allegedly things are much worse.

        What’s worse than Tesla sales, is the lack of ethics from Elon Musk, Tesla and Tesla fan boys.

        Note: quotes used under fair use doctrine.

        • Mike Vella says:

          FWIW, I don’t own a Tesla. But I appreciate what they are doing.

          Seriously, you’re unhinged and should be locked up as soon as possible, and/or medicated.

          Sci American link below. Yea, they really laid into Tesla.

          • Mike Vella says:

            BTW, a lot of the stuff that was relatively “negative” in those articles are properly addressed and debunked in the comments by people more knowledgeable than the writers.
            Furthermore, you can’t get a better crash rating than the Model S.
            Generally, I don’t feed trolls. But aside from being clearly unhinged, you are also obviously astro-turfing on behalf of someone else and repeating Fox News propaganda and the like.

          • Jim says:

            You have proved that you are ignorant and dishonest. You fear and hate the truth. You are a shill for a greedy corporation that skimps on safety to manufacture overpriced products that endanger the public and harm the environment

          • Jim says:

            You Tesla fan boys are so sick that you appreciate Tesla for fraudulent advertising, using hazardous toxic materials and heavy metals that are harmful to people, the water supply and foodchain. You appreciate Tesla for slandering and censoring; emergency responders and safety advocates. Instead of taking heed of what experts and facts prove, you expect people to believe your lies.

          • Mike Vella says:

            Hey, Jim. When you come down from the book depository, try posting links to your claims.
            I actually responded to your “comments” with stuff from places you said had bad things to say about Tesla (which were actually fairly even handed) and have been waiting for you to produce evidence.

          • Jim says:

            You Tesla cultists are scary. Post a link to your manifesto. Do you have access to any weapons?

          • Mike Vella says:

            I’ll take that as a no for evidence. Thanks, then. Carry on.

          • Jim says:

            As I already pointed out according to Scientific American, Tesla is contributing to nuclear pollution. Most of the electrical grid is powered by coal. So ecoterrorists like you don’t need a dirty bomb, you just drive a Tesla to destroy the environment.

          • Horatiu B. says:

            Ok guys, let’s slow down. This article is about battery tech, not Tesla

          • Mike Vella says:


            To that end:
            Battery cars vs gas cars, etc.. c02 emissions –


    • jason bourne says:

      Jim, your incessant name-calling hardly lends credence to any claims that you make.

      Give it a rest.

  3. Steve says:

    Nice article. Thanks!

  4. Jeff says:

    article, presents a good overview of why we should be both skeptical
    and optimistic at the same time. Wonder why you didn’t mention Sakti3
    in the article though?

    • Chris Llana says:

      Thanks, Jeff. There are many, many organizations doing great work on battery tech. It was beyond the scope of this article to even attempt a comprehensive accounting (the post is long enough as is). The few case studies I included were meant to be illustrative of the difficulty in advancing EV battery technology. But good luck to them all!

  5. tech01xpert says:

    Tesla uses Panasonic cells in the Model S that is closest to the NCR18650BE, which has a specific energy above 250 Wh/kg. Tesla’s cells are even higher due to the changes in the casing.

  6. Batterybhai says:

    Good article. Thanks for the post!

  7. cove3a . says:

    Excellent article. It raises a really interesting question. Only two companies have stuck their neck out by announcing a 200 mile bev by 2016/2017. Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt. However, the article makes a strong case that the battery density required won’t be available until 2020. Something’s got to give


  8. Roger Atkins says:

    On of the best summaries explaining state of the art with batteries that I have read. Great job Mr Llana. I have only just stumbled across your work and I’m very impressed. I’ve been in and around EV’s for a while so I hope I’m qualified to ‘benchmark’ you… PS A few of my thoughts are shared via my LinkedIn page if you fancy a glimpse sometime.

  9. Raman Raghav says:

    Nice article!
    It presents a good knowledge on why we should be both skeptical and optimistic at the same time.
    However, the article makes a strong case that the a href=””battery density required won’t be available until 2020.
    Thank You.

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