Electricity Management In The Production Of Lead-Acid Batteries

The just had their battery day event where they announced some exciting battery technology break throughs that will change the future of electric cars. In this video we’ll go over the most important parts of Battery Day so you can know what to expect from  upcoming vehicles.  mission is accelerate the transition to sustainable energy which is obviously a huge task that requires a lot of batteries. Like a lot of batteries. So Tesla has two goals that their new battery technology hopes to solve massively scaling battery production and producing more affordable battery cells. Currently electric vehicles are still relatively expensive compared to gasoline vehicles mainly due to the high battery cost.

Vertical Integration:

Up to this point Tesla has focused on vertical integration to minimize production costs meaning they aim to build their factories and vehicles themselves from the ground up. And now they’re doing this with batteries with a 5-step plan to cut the cost of batteries in half. Let’s take a look at these five steps. The first step is cell design. Tesla’s current battery design includes a separator tab and a jelly roll, though it sounds delicious it is not to be eaten because it’s actually the wound film of electrodes. The last time Tesla released a new battery was in 2017 with their 2170 cell that started shipping.

Cylindrical Cells:

To move to the next step in battery cell design, Tesla needs bigger cylindrical cells because those actually cost less. This brings us to Tesla’s brand new biggest battery cell ever the 4680 tables cell which has no separator tab and brings a huge amount of improvements including: simpler manufacturing, fewer parts, and 5x reduction in electrical path meaning the electricity inside the cell travels a much shorter distance than before. These new 4680 tables battery cells also have 5 times the amount of energy, adding16% more range to vehicles, and 6 times the power as if Tecla’s didn’t already have enough power.

Mass Adoption:

It also allows for faster Super charging times. These benefits are the core to what will move Tesla toward their overall mission: making their vehicles more affordable, making their vehicles travel further, and making their vehicles charge faster. Those are so important for the mass adoption of EVs. Elon said this was extremely difficult for the Tesla engineers to do and why it’s such a big deal. And these new battery cells aren’t just a prototype. Tesla said they’re already ramping the production of these batteries at their new pilot plant in California. Elon said it will probably take about a year to get to 10 GWh annualized rate at the pilot plant, but either way it’s happening right now. The second step in their plan is cell factory and how the batteries are made.

Capability:

The typical wet process is complicated and lengthy where the powders are mixed with water or solvent then they have to go into a dry oven then compressed into final density. The newer “Dry” process is an extremely more simple process which makes the powder directly into film. This sounds great, but Elon definitely made it clear that this is very difficult and they’re still refining the process especially to scale. He basically said it’s working, but not at a high yield yet. They’re on a 4th generation machine for this dry process ,and Elon estimates the 6th generation machine should have mass production capability.

Major Scalability:

When that will be but when that does happen, the biggest benefits of dry battery electrode is a 10x footprint reduction and 10x energy reduction which is a massive improvement. Also with Tesla’s new high speed continuous motion assembly their goal is to make one factory have the same production output as 2-3 factories with a 75% reduction.

In expenses and 10x smaller footprint. For example, the same amount of space that produced 150 Gini 2018 now can produce 1TWh which is an exponential increase. Elon said that all other goals aside, Tesla’s biggest grand scheme goal is to be the best at manufacturing which will lead to major scalability.

Internal Battery:

Tesla’s internal battery cell production plan is 100GWh by2022 and 3TWh by 2030. The third step in their plan is anode materials. Bottom line: Tesla loves Silicon. It’s the most abundant element in earths crust after oxygen, and it stores9 times more lithium than graphite. However, the bugaboo with Silicon is that it expands. So after many cycles it starts to crumble and in technical terms gets “gooey”. To fix this, Tesla plans to design for expansion and use raw silicon then stabilize the surface through an elastic coating which will increase vehicle range by 20% and lead to cheaper electric vehicles.

Cathode Materials:

Cathodes are like bookshelves. A battery needs a stable structure to contain the ions. This structure cannot crumble or get gooey as the ions move back and forth. If there isn’t a stable structure the battery loses cycle life and degrades quickly. Cobalt is very stable, but has its ethical and environmental woes. Tesla believes Nickel will solve this problem. Nickel is the cheapest metal and has the highest energy density, but Nickel needs to be stabilized.

Well, Tesla’s high nickel cathode development aims to maximize nickel and remove cobalt which should lead to 15% reduction in cathode cost. But Tesla doesn’t want to be constrained by nickel availability so they’re choosing a diversified cathode approach which will be a combination of iron and nickel depending on the product.

Manufacturing:

Long range vehicles like Cyber truck and Semi will be high nickel. This simplified cathode manufacturing process should lead to major cost reductions. Tesla is also taking advantage of nickel and lithium mining for cathode production in North America for simpler mining and simpler recycling. There is significant untapped lithium clay. In fact there’s enough lithium in Nevada to convert all the gasoline vehicles in the US to electric. Tesla has discovered a sustainable, environmentally friendly way of getting lithium by using table salt to extract the lithium.

Electricity Works:

This new sulfate-free process has a 33% reduction in lithium cost. To prepare for Tesla’s Battery Day I was able to learn more about the basics of how electricity works through today’s sponsor, Brilliant, which is the best place to learn about all things related to math and science. Brilliant is a website and app that has over 60 interactive courses to help you learn fundamental knowledge from things like basic mathematics to chemistry all the way to machine learning.

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