Tesla Patent Applications Reveal Next Generation EV Technology

Tesla Patent Applications Reveal Next Generation EV Technology

Can't tell you how good this makes me feel knowing they are working hard to see some of these seemingly "pie in the sky" battery technologies actually make it into a real working product instead of remaining on the page of a press release. Despite what they say in the article I have my doubts it could make it into a vehicle by 2017. Still, props to Tesla for continuing to push the boundaries.

Noah.S | April 23, 2013

Couldn't read the second page of the article, didn't want to register.
It sounds a lot like Aluminium batteries that other car makers have talked about before. The downside with these is that you're actually consuming the aluminium bars (well, turning into aluminium oxide dust), requiring a physical swap out to recharge. Sounds like a lot more work than a li-ion, even if the range ends up farther.

Imagine, instead of a jerry can in the back for backup, you have a couple aluminium plates.

I do have faith in Tesla though, we'll see what they put out.

Brian H | April 23, 2013

As the article notes, it would appear that TM is actually ahead of the game, but holding its cards close to the vest.

olanmills | April 23, 2013

This is pretty normal for tech companies. They file and hold patents for things that may not be used for a long time or ever at all.

I'm not saying it's not interesting; I'm just saying that it doesn't really mean much with regards to predicting their next product. Patenting an idea is just sort of a prudent thing to do.

jackhub | April 26, 2013

I posted this in another thread but here is a summary. Implication of patents could be a two pack battery setup. The Li-ion for acceleration (slow charge and fast discharge) and an Al-air for cruising(fast charge and slow discharge). Software similar to that used in ICE/EV hybrid would be used to seamlessly meld the two for a range of driving requirements. 500 mile range and lighter weight, too. Maybe planned for the Gen III with Model S upgrades?

Cattledog | April 28, 2013

Let's hope this patent is more than holding the card without playing it. Dual batteries appears to have lots of merit, at least to this non-engineer.

Brian H | April 28, 2013

It's more like a hybrid battery. Similar matings with a superconductor are in the wings.

jamesd567 | July 6, 2013

I'm not sure the metal air patents matter. What is interesting to me is how the batteries are being used in both the vehicle and in the home, vis a vis Solar City. To dominate electric vehicles AND the energy needed to move them, batteries are key elements. Looking at Tesla as a battery company that happens to sell vehicles and solar panels (via SCTY), makes for a very interesting future..., and not too far away...With the right battery in my home (I already have panels), I can disconnect from the grid. Not sure that's quite economical yet, but the panels are already 33% less expensive than the lowest residential tariff here in San Diego. In the medium term, it looks like the regulated, monopolistic electric utilities will face strong competition. That's good for consumers...I can see the day when my car battery gets retired for use in the home, and instead of buying a whole new car, I just get another battery. Bad news for the auto industry, unless you are Tesla :-)

jamesd567 | July 6, 2013

Not to mention, getting a new battery is as simple as driving in to the swapping station...and arranging via the monitor for the old battery to be installed at home...

Brian H | July 6, 2013

Can you really generate 110V AC and 240V AC 60 cycle power for your appliances and car from the solar panels without using the grid? I have my doubts.

jackl1956 | July 6, 2013

At current pricing, grid-tied solar systems are the prudent financial choice. It is the combination of LED lighting, electrical & HVAC efficiency products, and electric vehicles that will empower energy independence. LED lighting prices are falling exponentially, as is the price of solar power installations. I expect in the next ten years to be able to power my home and automobiles with solar power coupled to energy storage, while using a minuscule amount of utility-supplied electrical power.

Today we possess the economic wherewithal to control our energy needs.

GeekEV | July 6, 2013

@Brian H - Inverter output is 240v 60Hz, so it's possible. But you'd need a pretty good size array to go fully off grid, not to mention a battery backup for nighttime use. Possible for not practical for most people. I just installed an additional 12 panels on my system which I hope will make me grid neutral. But I'm not willing to shell out for the battery system, the ROI just isn't there when the grid will double as my battery for (almost) free.

GeekEV | July 6, 2013

Er, "but not" instead of "for not".

Chuck Lusin | July 7, 2013

@Brian H,
Can you really generate 110V AC and 240V AC 60 cycle power for your appliances and car from the solar panels without using the grid? I have my doubts.

This is an inverter that works off-grid:

TeslaRocks | July 15, 2013


Especially if shifting power consumption to off-peak hours could help you pay for your panels because you are selling power at twice the price as what you use. Not sure you are allowed to make money from solar panels in most places, but it would really change the game if you could, especially in sunny locations where heating is not a need and cooling can be done in passive ways like being earth sheltered rather than AC.

carlgo | July 15, 2013

What do you do when you have a metal/air battery that is three-quarters gone? Get a new one and pay full price? The metal might be recycled into new batteries, but the scrap value is low.

Accessible and quick charging is more important than range.

aleks | August 31, 2013

As for the solar panels, for those considering going off grid, you can slash your price estimates as you don't have to use the high grade UL listed panels. You can get panels for about .78/w cents pallet prices. Actually by using cheaper panels ( that are still good we have some running 5 years now with 0 failure and unnoticeable output decrease) you can save enough to pay for the battery back up so going off grid or grid tie can cost similar amounts. For me I installed with my dad and we figured out the wiring so we didn't have install costs, permit costs, wait times, inspection costs, UL listed panel costs, grid tie inverters which tend to cost more than off grid, and we were able to eliminate the elec bill to 0.

If you are interested in where you can get off grid panels cheaply let me know I have found a couple companies that sacrifice customer service for price lol. (Which can add up to thousands)

robby81 | August 31, 2013

@GeekEV At the moment you need a good size array to fully come off grid, but looking forward to panels with better efficiencies coming onto market = array size shrinks or energy abundance occurs. The future's bright..

bonaire | September 1, 2013

@aleks, careful there. Of you dont have UL listes panels and you end up with a solar caused house fire, should they be on the roof, then your home insurance company may not pay out. Especially if you did it without permits and your township may require them. Check it out further but be careful. Usually, going cheap means paying twice.

aleks | September 1, 2013

Bonaire@ no insurance here built the homes our selves, we installed safety features but if something tragic happened like that I guess I'm screwed but we actually have UL listed panels but they are grade B. I'm just saying if you want cheap cheap, then you can always find better prices.

The advantage to doing what I did here is no debt no mortgage, no elec bill, no water bill, etc

aleks | September 1, 2013

And I know what you mean about going cheap can mean paying twice, but I buy a lot of expensive stuff on Craigslist and yes there is a risk but when you get something for 1/4 of what it normally cost, you would have to fail 4 times to pay what you pay retail upfront, and that just never happens, I've had 1 power tool battery fail from Craigslist and even then I got 4 for the price of one so it went down to 3 brand new batteries for the price of one.

Same with solar, our setups cost 1/4 of what a legitimate company would of charged, but it required reading and studying how to do it your self.

Hi_Tech | September 1, 2013

@aleks - Well done, but make sure you did think of all potential issues as you are doing this yourself. As this generates energy back through the lines, we had to have multiple cut-off switches installed so that in case of power issues, the utility workers can have access to work on the lines without risk of other power sources feeding the lines. Of course I live in a very heavily regulated state and they would have our heads before we were allowed to build our own house without ransom... errr, I mean permits. But, some of these rules are for the general safety. :)