How does Envia's "battery breakthrough" affect Tesla?

How does Envia's "battery breakthrough" affect Tesla?

Does this appear to be a legitimate significant breakthrough in battery cost and energy density?

If so, how does it affect Tesla: Model S depreciation & future price, Model X and GenIII price, stock price, etc?

Would Tesla have access to this technology if they wished or does GM have it locked up via their investment?

Sudre_ | 27 February, 2012

Telsa doesn't make batteries they purchase batteries from other vendors and build a battery pack. I don't think anything would stop Tesla from purchasing batteries similar to these in 3 years when they finally get the factories built to start cranking these things out.
They could then build battery packs for all models.

I think we are going to see a lot more breakthroughs coming up. This battery does not look that impressive altho better than current tech. Timo will be by shortly to point out the details if he hasn't posted already by the time I hit submit :-)

Vawlkus | 27 February, 2012

It'll make Tesla's products be in demand, especially if this breakthrough is legit, and Tesla can buy Enviras battery cells for Tesla's battery packs.

Remember, Tesla only uses proven battery tech, not experimental ones.

Timo | 27 February, 2012

I thought that I posted one already... Might not have been this thread.

Timo | 27 February, 2012

Found it:

Those pouch cells have good gravimetric energy density, but the charts did lack good indication of how many cycles it takes to drop the capacity to that 80%. To me it looks like it drops almost immediately to very close to 80% and then stays there (which is quite characteristic to high capacity silicon-based anodes).

80% of 400Wh/kg = 320Wh/kg, Panasonic 3.4Ah batteries are at 266Wh/kg so the difference isn't that huge. Size and power density do matter also, and those they didn't mention at all there. Panasonic 4Ah batteries are actually worse than 3.4 Ah batteries for weight but they have 18% better energy density than 3.4Ah ones. It might be that Panasonic is actually ahead of those already for size. Or not. I don't know, there just isn't enough information to make definite conclusions.

Projected price OTOH is cheap. $125/kWh is cheap. With that price 85kWh battery would cost only $10625 (cells alone though). That would make 300+ mile $30k GenIII car very much doable.

Larry Chanin | 27 February, 2012

Timo do you know whether this battery technology is likely to be adapted to laptop form factor type batteries? Tesla repeatedly makes the point that there is an advantage to using these smaller batteries.



Timo | 27 February, 2012

You mean Panasonic batteries? I can't think of any reason why not. I have no idea about those Envia batteries.

Larry Chanin | 28 February, 2012

No, I was referring to the Envia batteries, but checking their website it seems that Envia can produce the 18650 form factor batteries that Tesla uses.


BruceR | 28 February, 2012

Anybody else notice that after 5 cycles their capacity went from 47Ah to 32Ah?? Still good numbers at 300Wh/Kg, but not the huge gain the headline promised. I agree that we will continue to see battery improvements, but want to caution on the speed that these will be proven out and made commercially viable. Having worked in the li-ion manufacturing bussines, I have seen first hand how slow the industry has changed.(It has taken >10 years to go from 2.4 to 3.4Ah in the 18650!) I firmly believe Li based batteries will continue to improve and evolve, but this improvement has not following the same exponential change curve that silicon has followed, nor do I see any reason to expect it. Take the weekly announcement of amazing new battery technology with a large dose of reality pills.....

michiganmodels | 28 February, 2012

@BruceR - yes, I noticed that too. It's covered in the NYT Article's comments:

"The capacity drops off in the first three cycles because the first 3 cycles were done at 100% DoD (C/20, C/10 and C/3 rates respectively). Cycles 4-400 were conducted at 80% DoD at C/3 which are typical charge/discharge profiles in automotive EV applications.

The 400Wh/kg at $125/kWh (cell level) breakthrough should enable an affordable 300-mile EV. Current state-of-the-art in automotive is $250-$350/kWh (cell level). This price point and energy density enables a larger pack and fundamentally solves the "range anxiety" problem affordably."

Timo | 29 February, 2012

@BruceR (It has taken >10 years to go from 2.4 to 3.4Ah in the 18650!)

...and less than a year from 3.4Ah to 4.0Ah.

Silicon-based anodes are the key to create great li-ion batteries. Both Envia and Panasonic use that in the coming batteries.

Panasonic might well have already developed equal battery as those Envia batteries, I think 18650 packaging just makes them heavier then pouch batteries. That might not matter in battery pack scale much.

Battery weight or size isn't anymore the limiting factor. 85kWh battery with Panasonic 4Ah batteries weights about 330kg and takes around 133L space without counting supporting structures. Even if you double that it is not huge if you consider the saved weight from the engine and transmission. It really doesn't matter much if Envia gets a bit smaller batteries than those.

Problem is price. If Envia can really produce those in mass with only $125/kWh then that really starts the BEV revolution: consumer price for Panasonic 2.4Ah battery is about $6. If we assume same for 4Ah it costs over $400/kWh to use those.

BruceR | 29 February, 2012

@Timo (...and less than a year from 3.4Ah to 4.0Ah.)

Except this is a perfect example of getting confused between a press anouncement and commercial availability of the product. The only cell commercially available right now is actually the 3.1Ah!!! Pansonic first released this roadmap to higher cells back in 2009. They have repeatdly delayed actual mass production. The 3.4Ah is now slated for mass production start in March and I hope they get there for Tesla's and all our sakes. The 4.0Ah ia a lab rat. Not even scheduled for production until March 2013 at the earliest.

Again, I am not trying to put down anybody or any company. A little enthusiasim is good. Just trying to put people's expectations in line with reality. I have worked in the battery and LED bussiness and these industries share the same beleif of announcing a break through first and then actually figuring out how to mass produce it later. (The devil is always in those minor details.)

(P.S. Silicon based anodes are interesting but have their own set of issues. The 15 to 20% loss in the first few cycles is a known problem. The short cycle life is the other. Promising, but not quite there yet.)

Timo | 29 February, 2012

The 3.4Ah is now slated for mass production start in March and I hope they get there for Tesla's and all our sakes. The 4.0Ah ia a lab rat. Not even scheduled for production until March 2013 at the earliest.

That's a year. From March 2012 to March 2013.

It is whopping 18% increase within a year, and that just first of the silicon anode production batteries.

Silicon anode initial drop is caused by structural damage of the silicon structures caused by molecule swelling when charged (lithium ions make them bigger), but after that initial damage is done it doesn't drop very rapidly anymore. There are few quite promising techs that reduce that initial damage as well as all the sequential damages (graphite grid/silicon nanostructures). Trick to make them work is known, but problem is how to make it suitable to mass production.

Anyway it looks to me that these Envia batteries are in fact a bit over 300Wh/kg, not 400Wh/kg just because of that initial drop. Because of that it isn't much better than those 3.4Ah Panasonic batteries.