Battery tech

Battery tech

Hello all.

Just read from autobloggreen about some new battery manufacturer called "Planar Energy". (

They seem to have tech for pretty good Wh/kg batteries. From one of their pdf (

"One of them combines lithium manganese oxide with other ions, and operates at about three to five volts with a charge capacity of 200 milliamp hours per gram."

Calculating that as 3.5V * 200mAh/g you get 700mWh/g or 700Wh/kg. to put that in right context: Roadster battery: 450kg. Drop 30% off as supporting structure: 315kg battery * 700 = 220.500kWh battery. Nearly four times as much as current tech is. That would allow roadster to go 200 * 4 = 800 miles with one charge.

eidenbenz | March 22, 2011


Directory:Andrea Rossi's Cold Fusion Energy Catalyzer (E-Cat): Frequently Asked Questions

How does this technology compare to solar, wind, hydro-electric, geothermal, and other green technologies?
... First of all, unlike hydro-electric or geothermal power, future variations of the E-Cat could be portable and used to power vehicles such as cars, boats, and airplanes...

2)New battery technology may allow for complete recharging within minutes

The implications for electric vehicles are particularly exciting. "If you had the ability to charge rapidly, instead of taking hours to charge the vehicle you could potentially have vehicles that would charge in similar times as needed to refuel a car with gasoline," Braun said. "If you had five-minute charge capability, you would think of this the same way you do an internal combustion engine. You would just pull up to a charging station and fill up."

Braun and his team believe that the technology could be used not only for making electric cars more viable ...

There are tons of new solutions, since people are starting to look for alternatives. Not a problem at all. Creativity and innovation always was part of mankind.

coonass70460 | March 22, 2011

Here's the one question I've had since I started thinking about purchasing an electric car to begin with....How long will the battery last, how much will a replacement cost, and how will it be replaced when the battery is place underneath the chassis???

Sudre | March 22, 2011

coonass70460, Those answers are buried in the FAQ.

"How many years will the battery last?

Based on testing, Tesla expects the battery to retain approximately 70% of its initial capacity after seven years or 100,000 miles."

The batteries can be swapped quickly... like in minutes but I did not find where I read that.

Cost to replace them will be based on how many miles you want the charge to go. Those prices are not released yet.

VolkerP | March 22, 2011

Tesla guarantees for the battery for span of 7 years or 100'000 miles (whatever comes first) to have at least 70% of initial capacity. If you buy a Model S with the 160 miles battery pack, that is 112 miles left. If that is still usable for you, you can go on driving.
It is common expectation for battery prices to drop significantly within the next seven years.

If availability or price of a replacement battery is a concern to you, you can buy a replacement warranty on delivery of the car. Tesla guarantees the availability of a battery matching your car after that 7 years.

Replacing the Model S battery is a routine job for any Tesla Store. They even plan to lease 300 mile packs to you if you go on a road trip for the weekend! All mechanical, electric and coolant connections are designed for easy replacement.

coonass70460 | March 22, 2011

Thanks a lot guys, that quiets all of my concerns, now all I have to do is wait, which can be the hardest part....

William13 | March 22, 2011

I expect the 300 mile pack will be degraded mainly by time rather than milage as it will cycle half as frequently as the 160 pack. The 160 pack will likely degrade mainly by milage. Of course YMMV.

Unfortunately we can't tell from the panasonic PDF how many years new untried batteries will last. They seem to imply at least 300 or 500 cycles for all the types listed.

I hope that Tesla makes a lot of cars with the Model S battery pack so that we are able to use a new chemistry one day. These cars may last a very long time.

VolkerP | March 23, 2011

The idea is not new and Elon mentions it in his cleantech award speech: use microelectronic fabrication technique to make a supercapacitor from some semiconductor material with a HUUUGE internal surface. Right now, I understand that energy density per volume in supercaps is magnitudes lower than in Li-ion battery cell. If that is overcome, supercaps will give us very high charge/discharge currents and near to endless number of cycles. Voltage will vary with state of charge, of course: An empty capacitor has zero Volt.

So whoever comes up with a solution to the energy density problem will make a fortune here.

William13 | March 23, 2011

Volker, Elon left the field because the problem has no currently identified theoretical solution. It is more than just engineering. Building the Tesla cars is "just" engineering. Of course both involve huge amounts of capital.

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

searcher | March 24, 2011

timo, In reference to Volkerp last post. Waiting on you here,bud. If I may be allowed to get "off topic" for just a nano second, heard on radio today that a small company in Finland came up with the "Angry Birds" game, most hghly downloaded game ever, over one hundred million downloads. Game is a physics bsed game. Now there are fixing to really take off with some super big company. The Finnish company was "Robeo" or something that sounded like that. Are you familiar with this company? I thought of you when I heard this on radio.

Brian H | March 24, 2011

What are you doing up at this time of night? Gotobedarreddy.

Just for you:

Brian H | March 30, 2011

Motor Trend on the latest batteries at TM:

At its current limit, the 300-mile battery will have 7000 cells; the 160- and 230-mile units will contain fewer.

Nvbob | March 31, 2011

Spam, cross posted to multiple threads.

Timo | March 31, 2011

Flagged as such ( post).

Ramon123 | May 11, 2011

As one analysts recently remarked about batteries "It's the cost, stupid." Right now we have batteries that are capable of competing in terms of range and recharge times. With a 300 mile driving range, the ONLY occasion when anyone cares about recharge rate is while traveling. And a 45 minute recharge time is perfectly satisfactory for those occasions. Energy densities are
good enough, but number of recharges needs to be better so that the batteries will last at least as long as the car, hopefully longer. The Planar solid state batteries are promising in terms of
both density and recharge rate and initial price, but their target for 2016 is only 2000 recharges. On the other hand, DBM Energy has
a working battery right now, tested for a good while and ready to manufacture and cheaper than li ions, although how much cheaper is
hard to say. Some say ridiculously cheaper : $1400 for a 400 mile range battery pack. I have a hard time believing that figure.
At any rate, these batteries can be recharged in 6 minutes and
have a charge lifespan exceeding 5000 charges, as verified by a
test lab contracted by the German govt. That's over 30 years of normal use. The biggest mistake the company made so far was to not realize that the environmentalists field is full of loonies who suspect conspiracies everywhere. At this point that's mostly water under the bridge. The company will be producing what sound like
hundreds of 400 mile ranged battery packs this year and has
solicitated contact from any automaker interested. From the data shown, EVERY automaker should be very, very interested. So far, these batteries, developed by a young German named Hanemann, and tested thru the auspices of the German govt material laboratory,
has the best pedigree to be the battery that will utterly destroy the gas powered vehicle. I assume Musk has investigated same.

VolkerP | May 11, 2011

DBM did a publicity stunt driving a converted Audi A2 with the DBM energy nonstop from Munich to Berlin (600km=373 miles) featuring a 98,8kWh DBM battery called "colibri". The stunt was disputed since it was not verified by independent party. Then, rumors had it that the experimental car was destroyed in a fire, unclear with out without the miraculous battery.
(all links to articles in German, sorry)
Now, independent verification of DBMs battery technology has been done.
I didn't pay much attention to the affair since experimental prototypes do not solve the problem, only mass production of EVs. And I have no source giving production schedule/volume, availability, or pricing of the DBM battery. Ramon, can you provide a link?

searcher | May 12, 2011

This battery thing is seemingly going to be worked out fairly quickly. 45 minute pit stops are no inconvience at all on long trip. IN fact they are a good thing as I do them anyway just to avoid fatigue.

searcher | May 13, 2011

Really hope Tesla checks into this DBM Energy Company in Germany and their battery. Surely Tesla knows all about this. Ithink I asked what country and company looked like the front runners in battery development, perhaps I know now. Lets hope so and if that price is right, game over.

searcher | May 15, 2011

Any more word on whether the DBM Energy battery information is legit or not?

searcher | May 16, 2011

@Timo, What say you on the DBM Energy battery? Is this the one?

Timo | May 16, 2011

I have no idea.

Vawlkus | May 17, 2011

I'm very skeptical. There were too many unanswered questions regarding their tests, and I'm highly suspicious of the fire wrecking their only prototype battery.

We'll see, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.

searcher | May 17, 2011

Yeah did sound a little too good to be true didn't it. But this all puts the focus purely on the "battery tech" to be the game changer for now doesn't it.

This along with the folks producing their own charges from solar panels at their homes. And of course the new advances everybody is watching in energy production via fusion etc.

Believe we will eventually get there though.

William13 | May 17, 2011

Someone will get there. It is a matter of time and place.

People who report secretive tests and have things destroyed in "fires" are unlikely to be reliable. If the Audi trip was real why not have a second or an independent observer. Cost cannot be forcast well from early prototypes.

This is why Elon is agnostic as regards to battery technology. There is too much flux for Tesla to add deep investment in the batteries. Hence the use of "commodity" sized batteries which almost any successful technology will enter.

toxic therapy | May 18, 2011

Ther are a few options not consiterd for battery life extention on long trips.
-someone sugested back in august a wind turbine and was shot down becuse of the wind resistance it would cause. That is not the way wind resistance works. (unless when you piture a wind turbine on a car you picture a fan stickin out of the roof) if you intergrate intake holes in to the existing frame the wind resistance stays the same.
-solar panles have come a long way and have become strong enough to be used as the exterior panles. (plus i think it would look awsome).
-a towable trailer battery for cross country trips.
-not sure if they already use regenerative brakeing or not.

by using a few of these they could probable achive 5-600 miles,
however the cost would be much higher(maybe in years to come this will become cost effective. i think the answer to the range is much more likely, fast recharge stations, or battery swap stations.

Timo | May 18, 2011

Air resistance is air resistance. Turbine causes drag, you can't overcome that, and that drag would be more than it can generate electricity.

Consider this: where does the kinetic energy that wind has originate that you are converting to electricity? That's right, from car battery. If you could increase range with it you would had just invented a perpetual motion machine. Reality just doesn't work like that.

Solar is weak. Very weak. Even if you cover your entire car with best solar panels there are you might get something like 2.5-2.0kW max at midday, and moving car at 60mph takes around 18kW (for Model S). That would also more than double the car cost. If you go for cheap thin film solar you'd get max 1kW, and that is in perfect sunny day at midday.

Trailer would work, but is impractical. You would need to pay for that battery and if you do then it would be just as easy to put it in car in first place. If you could rent that trailer, then things could be different.

Every EV has regenerative braking. It would just be stupid not to have it, when it is so easy to implement.

searcher | May 18, 2011

Well wind turbine thing is out there again. Sounds great if "toxic threapy" has it right so where do we go to get the true answer. Hope no one is shooting their mouth off without really knowing the verifiable truth about wind tunnels.

searcher | May 18, 2011

Timo, Do you think that battery tech has the potential to eventually become something like the DBM Energy battery or do you think there is just so much that can be done in the area of the battery capabilities and if so are we about to the far edge of that capability?

David70 | May 18, 2011

Searcher & Toxic Therapy.

Timo is correct. There is no knowledgeable different second opinion.

If you have a turbine with 100% conversion efficiency, the very best that could be done is break even. Any real world result would be a decrease in mileage of the vehicle. The only realistic way you're going to get improved results is by going slower. Look at the graphs on

David70 | May 18, 2011


I really wish we had an edit function.

Of course, reducing the drag coefficient will improve efficiency(and a wind turbine, no matter how it's designed and arranged will increase the drag coefficient), but the Model S already has one of the lowest drag coefficients on cars.

searcher | May 18, 2011

Well David70 who do I beleive you or Toxic Therapy. Which one has the actual testing verifications and not some website reference which often means zip.

Tiebreaker | May 18, 2011

Math and physics. Middle school level. Conservation of energy. Newton. Bernoulli. There is no such a thing as something for nothing.

David70 | May 18, 2011

Ask what his engineering/physics credentials are.

The idea of windmills/wind turbines used to help power vehicles has been around for many decades. At least 30 years ago (and numerous times since then) I would have students (not physics students, but enquiring minds) come into my office to ask about this. My normal response after unsuccessfully trying to convince them it wouldn't work was to tell them "Take the necessary physics and math courses first."

The idea doesn't have to be restricted to electrical vehicles, but if it could work would assist petroleum powered vehicles as well. If anyone had successfully managed to come up with anything like that, we'd know about it by now.

I can't believe that every major automotive company doesn't have (or at least have access to) wind tunnel testing facilities. Even if they didn't have a working prototype, they can do wind tunnel testing and computer modeling.

Of course, it is possible to extract energy from the wind. E.g., a sailboat, and you can even use it to make progress into a wind using "tacking". However, that would require the ability to change your direction at will. If you could make a "smart metal" car that could reform itself for different conditions (i.e. effectively make it a sail), it Could (not necessarily would) be possible to assist the forward motion with wind energy. I wouldn't count on anything like this in the foreseeable future.

William13 | May 18, 2011

Sail boats work only because you can tack against the wind without having to stay on a road, you can go faster than the wind occasionally when you go in a certain small range of directions, or you go slower than the wind. All other times the sail would slow you down.

Turbines will not work. Energy loss.

David70 | May 18, 2011



Brian H | May 19, 2011

A turbine has internal spinning blades and rotors. The incoming air pushes to make them spin. That slows the air down, and pushes the car back. The turbine spins and pushes the car forward -- but less than the air pushes backwards.

(Jet turbines not relevant, of course, since they burn fuel and force it out the rear nozzle at huge velocity.)

Timo | May 19, 2011

Basic rules to follow:

1) fact: we can't create energy, we can only convert it.
2) question: where does the energy originate?
3) question: is the energy just lost otherwise?

Following those simple basic rules gives you immediate result is something wannabe perpetual motion machine or not.

And no, wind turbines in car do not fall in category 3. Energy gaining suspension does.

toxic therapy | May 19, 2011
by using intake holes you are not incresing wind resistance because you are not changing the over all size or shape of the car it self. just letting the air go though not around.

like i said before solor pannels are not cheep. luckly they are steadly improving both in price and efficiency. (nano tubes are great) and when the price becomes more affordible. 5% is still another 5%. with nano tubes meybe much higher. i dont know about you but if i can go 315 miles rather than 300 that is an improvement.

Timo | May 19, 2011

@toxic therapy, you are still better off making car as aerodynamic as possible than making intake holes for turbines. Unless you are using some otherwise lost energy source you do not gain anything.

That "directly downwind" youtube clip you posted has nothing to do with what you are proposing, it has a simple basic physics explanation. That same setting wont work if you try it other way around (upwind, which is the case of car pushing thru air), because it is the wheels that run the propeller and not vice versa. What you are seeing is a basically a rotating sail and neat physics trick. As people here have said sailboats on road do not work very well.

Timo | May 19, 2011

Forgot to say that any change in car shape that changes the airflow changes the wind resistance. Everything counts. Intakes are no exception. Turbine inside or outside of intake cause exactly same drag.

David70 | May 19, 2011

Right Timo.

And we're talking about apples and oranges here. Not the same thing.

Toxic Therapy.

The nice little video is showing the extraction of energy from wind, an existing source of energy. Not recovering energy by holes passing through the vehicle.

Furthermore, if you place holes through the car, it will actually increase the drag since there would be an increased turbulence, as opposed to smooth laminar (layered) flow around the body of a well designed car.

I can assure you that on a calm day, if you were to start pushing one of those wind turbine cars, it would be a lot more difficult than pushing the same car without the wind turbine on it at the same forward speed.

searcher | May 20, 2011

OK, The arguments against the wind tunnel thing that surfaces now and again sound "collegiate" enough for me. I accept that wind tunnels are a "no go". Rcognizing the fact that most of you folks are pretty "collegiate" to begin with with. At least you sound so to me, But actually how would I know?

Now getting back to the DBN Energy battery. What are your opinions on the "battery tech" here. Could something like this be likely or could it ever be likely. In other words, again, have we probably reach the outer limits in battery tech or is their a good possibility that we have just scratched the surface on battery tech.

Same question on very compact solar panels?

Thanks for any discussion. Enjoyed the lively discussion on wind turbines etc.

Timo | May 20, 2011

Solar max is about 1kW / m^2 depending where you measure it. It can't get much higher than that unless you move outside of atmosphere and closer to Sun, like in Venus or something. Then you need to calculate in Sun angle, bad weather, shadows etc.

Basically it is not worth the cost and added complexity in cars. Not now, not ever. For houses it's different.

DHrivnak | May 20, 2011

And to the question about batteries theoretically there is still significant room for improvement. Right now Tesla makes the highest density battery of any manufacturer in KWH/KG, but as we have seen Panasonic has a newer battery with about 20% more capacity. I think we will see a lot of imporovement here over the next few years. But for active R&D there needs to be a realisitc payoff and I believe the electric cars will provide the need and our researches will provide the way.

On solar I agree we can make it work for a home with the larger roof area. But even if a car were coated with the best thin film available and one parked in the sun all day you would gain enough energy to drive about 5 miles. Sunlight is just too diffuse for transportation. At least for normal people.

The reason I include that caveot is that ther are a few demonstration solar cars with a large rrof area, room for one person, normally laying down that are VERY aerodynamic with high pressure bicycle tires, very minimal acceleration, no hear or air that have made some demonstration drives. See But at a cost of $1,000,000 it makes the Tesla Roadster look like a real bargain.

searcher | May 20, 2011

@Timo and DHrivnak, Thanks for the interesting replies. No as long as I have been reading these post I am way ahead of speaking about solar on cars. Think we have discussed something along this line before, if so please excuse the redundancy, but I was speaking of condensed solar panels that one might buy when bought the car that could be set up in the back yard ar on the back roof with relatively small size . For examle set up on steel post with maybe an eight or ten foot suare surface area. This solar panel working independently of house system and just specifically for charging the car at night. Just sort of a kit type arrangement when you bought the car. Could this be a possible doable in future.

Also Timo did you pretty much concur with what DHrivnak said about potential future battery development or do you think we have reached the outer limits on this development.

Thanks again for the informative stuff.

Timo | May 21, 2011

We are far from limits. Lithium-ion theoretical energy density is higher than gasoline. Combine that with EV efficiency and you get 1000 mile range car with battery pack size of small suitcase. We are nowhere close to that yet.

David70 | May 21, 2011

And Searcher,

The advantage of using a condenser/concentrator with solar cells is that can get by with a much smaller array of PVs.

The major disadvantages are that the PVs have to survive much higher temperatures, and that they won't work well (at least not very) on overcast days.

DHrivnak | May 21, 2011

Searcher, there is no free ride. The amount of solar is limited but the sun and quite diffuse. Full sun is about 100 watts/sq ft. So if one assumes 100% conversion efficiency, a solar array 10x20’ (200 sqft) you get enough energy to drive 8 miles. With current PV technology at 25% you get 2 miles of range. Now this is in Arizona at noon. Yes people are working on concentrating the energy but one is still limited to 100 watts/sqft.

Have you considered taking a course on physics?

searcher | May 21, 2011

@Timo, Very glad so much potential left in area of battery deveopment. This was very cool information. Thanks

@DHrivnak. Yes I took physics in high school but thats been awhile ago. Am currentyly involved in an online physics course. Haven't you noticed , "You guys are the instructors". Oh yes one of the big lessons I have had "drummed" into my head is "there is no free ride". But somehow I seem to keep wanting to circumvent this basic. I am getting it though, you won't believe what I have learned just by reading and asking a "jillion" questions on this site.

Just thought it would be so cool to buy relativly small solar charger kit just for the car. Didn't know if this would ever be a doable or not. Know thaat people charge their Evs off the large home systems and I realy like this.

David70 | May 22, 2011

Actually Searcher, one thing you could review that might be helpful would be units/dimensions. Especially those of energy, power, intensity and related electrical units of current and potential difference. That might give you a better idea of what may be practical for energy storage in batteries, and available energy from sunlight.

Roblab | May 24, 2011

Well, Searcher, I would probably trust the engineers, scientists, professors, and laboratory workers who have studied and tested all these theories for decades and centuries.

Sure, to some minds, it might look like the wind moving past a car could be used to capture more energy, but years of study and testing by people who have done nothing but testing and questing, have shown the same thing over and over and over.

Any time you pull energy out of a system, it takes MORE energy to compensate. There are ALWAYS losses. You cannot make energy off of suspension movement, turbines, or anything without having to put more energy into keeping the car moving.

Just because someone says it is a physical law, does not mean that someone has not tried to think of a way that no one else has ever thought of. It's been tried so often that the smart people just accept that it is really, really, a physical law.

It's the students who skipped lab and never did any actual testing that still think the impossible might be able to be done, after all.