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.

landon.bruno | May 24, 2011

It’s really a valuable idea. Tesla motors should really look into this one. Can work wonders for saving a lot of money and energy on making cars. :)

searcher | May 25, 2011

Roblab, If you will check the few previous posts here you will see that I was just making a "sidebar" commentary on the "wind turbine" idea coming to surface again as it does from time to time. I wasn't taking a position either for or against. Ditto on the solar panels, which suggestion surfaces almost twice as much. As stated I have accepted all this, never did have question about solar panels on cars to start with. My question on the solar panel was if present or future tech cold come up with something jst big enough to charge the car at night and be sold independently as a kit,so to speak, just a question , not particular advocacy. I did mention that I liked the idea that some peope charge their EV's off the large solar units they use for their homes. As you will note I percieve that certain people who post on this site sound prety "collegite" and credidble to me, thus I don't bother with a lot of other links much. So you can see I fully accept your premise about the smart people fully working within the confines of physical laws, so no problem here. Although I wil admit in some of my earliest comments this was not apparent at all and I accused some, no doubt, sound acamedians of being bound up in their text books and made comments such as "I don't think some of you folks could have made it to the moon", Ha. But as you can tell I have tempered things down quite a bit.

I really liked the prospects Timo gave about the future of batteries. The sooner the better and this thing will be "game over" as far as ICE and EV's.

@landon.bruno: Exactly what idea were you referring too?

KevinYoung | May 26, 2011

What might be the general consensus on a stepping stone approach to EVs. To get a very fast embrace ($$$) from all of USA, introduce a Tesla with out a fixed battery, but instead, interchangeable battery packs. You are able to stop and get a "full tank of battery" just as you do with your fossil fuel vehicle, at least until battery technology make this unnecessary. Additionally, these are leased, not purchased, and should greatly reduce the initial cost of my new Tesla. Tesla owners would stop by a participating Tesla Dealer or "Marathon" type service station and be able to swap out their mostly used battery pack for a "refill" AND get a credit for unused remaining charge. New technology battery packs are introduced as science progresses and routed into the "refill" battery stream as the older technology packs are pulled out and recycled - funded by the lease cost structure. Recharge/Refill location pop up like dandelions along routes frequented by Tesla cars. Sign me up!

Vawlkus | May 26, 2011

Project "Better Place" crops up yet again.

That concept is being tested over in India I believe. We'll see how it does

Ramon123 | May 26, 2011

Once again the idea of leasing batteries pops up. The basic economics are that leasing always must cost more than buying.
Someone has to own the batteries and lease them out. All that requires capital - to buy the batteries, pay interest on the money spent, do the actual leasing, and, not least, try to estimate
income and value over an extended period of time, which is not exactly known. I would have zero interest in owning batteries to be leased by others. Its an enterprise chock full of uncertainties.
I don't know how long the batteries will last, how do I lease ? by mileage or time or what? What will the batteries actually be worth 5 years down the road? That will depend in large measure upon what kind of batteries are available 5 years from now - their intial an long term costs. Guess what? I don't have any idea. I think you can see that rational leasing, in which costs are accurately known, is the only situation that allows one to lease at or near true cost or value. We ain't there, so battery leasing would have to have pretty high rates to avoid losing money if much cheaper and/or better batteries show up within the lifespan of the batteries that I'm leasing. In other words, battery leasing is not only high cost, it simply won't be available. It's way too risky
for anyone to try.
I did read a proposal to electrify the highways with embedded
recharging segments every so often, that worked the same way as
parking pad rechargers do. The cars would have minimal sized batteries and recharge for the few milliseconds while travelling over these recharge segments embedded in the highway. That is actually rather clever. Batteries will probably get cheaper and make this system obsolete before it's ever built, however.

VolkerP | May 27, 2011

project better place is actually putting serious money in a "leased battery" business. They will start in Israel this year with a nation wide network and 100'000 cars, as well in Hawaii. The initial investment is shocking ($1.1m for 7 cars in Hawaii). Should improve with growing number of cars. The lease rate depends on the miles driven, so they must link to your car's computer. Actually, they own the computer (they wrote the software), the comm network and the charging+swapping stations. This is quite an intrusive approach and might be not acceptable to some customers.

Brian H | May 27, 2011

there's a danger of dragging or even locking down battery progress if leasing became dominant, I'd think. Otherwise the lessors would be periodically writing off major chunks of inventory. So the pressure would be on to "prolong" their use and usefulness, which would mean going slow on new tech.

Brian H | June 5, 2011

New electrode design "carbon sponge" for capacitors, able to reach energy density nearly the same as lead acid batteries. Not clear what the units are: by weight? That still leaves the caps HUGE per unit charge.

Timo | June 9, 2011

Liquid batteries that can have around 300-400Wh/kg and 600-800Wh/L energy densities.

Solves the competition between all other competitive techs. Can be pumped in like gasoline if needed (once depleted battery has been pumped out) == battery swapping, charged if preferred, costs fraction of what current batteries cost, do not need huge supporting structures. And so on and on.

Sounds familiar...Demolition Man, anyone? Reality catches with SciFi.

Brian H | June 9, 2011

Interesting! About a 3-5 yr timeline if it's for real:

The target of the team’s ongoing work, under a three-year ARPA-E grant awarded in September 2010, is to have, by the end of the grant period, “a fully-functioning, reduced-scale prototype system,” Chiang says, ready to be engineered for production as a replacement for existing electric-car batteries.

Vawlkus | June 10, 2011

I was wondering when the 'capacitance gel' idea would get floated :)

It's scary how often life imitates art, or in this case, life adapting fiction to solve a problem.

searcher | September 5, 2011

Timo, Any late breaking news on long distance battery tech?

Ramon123 | September 29, 2011

News from University of Singapore

Claims for a new electrical storage device claimed to be 4 to 8 times cheaper than li ion batteries ,produce more power and weigh far less.
If true, we have here what's known as the "holy grail."

Brian H | September 30, 2011

Yes, just saw that link. 500,000X the energy density per sq. cm. of caps! At about 10% the cost of batteries. Approx 2% of the cost per kwh stored. Extrapolated, reduces a $20K battery pack to $400 (plus housing and electronics, etc.)

Electric storage just got dirt cheap. Charge/discharge etc. supposedly better than LiIon, too.

2000Km batteries, here we come!

Timo | September 30, 2011

Hold your horses, Brian H. 8 times cheaper does not translate to 2%, 10 times cheaper is 10% price, 8 times cheaper is just 12.5%, four is 25%. $20k drops then to $5000-$2500, not $400. I bet batteries get there eventually even without these membranes.

Also there is no mention about energy density, just cost.

This could be great for supercaps though.

David70 | September 30, 2011

You're right to be suspicious about energy density Timo. Otherwise the article would have been talking about use in EVs rather than for grid storage.

Brian H | October 1, 2011

Yeah, arithmetic errors, too late at nite? 12-25% the cost per kwh, but the micro- vs tenths of farads ratio suggests large voltage and current, hence charge, improvements. Supposedly can store "more charge", but how much per unit volume matters, not just weight, though that's a biggie.

Especially for electric planes! :)

aziltener | October 3, 2011

Ok, I'm a new follower, but interested in the new Model S. However, living in California must be nice and all, but most people live in states with 4 seasons, I happen to be one of them. I live in Wisconsin, and at times it can get to -30 F below zero, and it is typically 0 for the better part of winter. How negatively will this affect battery life, because most batteries typically don't withstand cold temperatures very well d/t basic chemistry, and I couldn't find any info on the website. Hoping to get some feedback.

Thanks, Aaron

Vawlkus | October 4, 2011

It's the difference between Lead Acid (your standard car battery) and Lithium Ion (your typical computer laptop battery).

Li-Ions actually like a constant temperature, or even being on the cool side of things (they generate a bit of heat, as any laptop user will quickly tell you about).

Put it this way: there are Roadsters in Canada doing quite well, and I'm sure you'll agree, we do know about winter up here ;)

Timo | October 5, 2011

AFAIK li-ion batteries actually like the cold for battery life (just not too cold). They do produce a bit less power output while cold, but the energy doesn't dissipate, it's all there even in cold.

That however is quite moot point with Tesla batteries, they have their own climate control so they are in constant temperature all time as long as you are using the car or you have plugged it in.

I'm not sure what happens if you leave the car unplugged for long time in -30F/-34C though. Roadster guide says that you should plug the car in if temperature is below -20C/-4F. That cold might hurt the batteries (liquid electrolyte freezes). There are electrolyte chemistries that withstand temperatures way below anything experienced in face of the Earth, but I don't know the limits of batteries Tesla is using.

Kallisman | October 8, 2011

In that low temperatures I'd be worried about the LCD diplays too. At least in my current car LCD doesn't work very well in very low temp. But maybe new tech is better. Anyway, better plug in when not in use for a long time so the car don't get too cold.

searcher | October 23, 2011

Anybody: About what would be the range for EV about the size of a Geo-Metro? Or is the deal we have to get up to a certian size of car before we can get decent miles just for commuting to work. Guess this would kind of be a plus that it can be fairly spacious and still be primarilly a commmuter car.

Another question : About how far out are we from 500 mile range EV? That seems to be kind of a majic mark because how many people really want drive more than 500 miles in one day althogh I have done it many times but very tiring.

David70 | October 24, 2011

I still do 750 miles in one day at least 4 times a year (although never more than one day at a time these days), probably wouldn't do more than 500 miles after getting the Model S.

Timo | October 24, 2011

Problem with range is battery weight. You just can't have huge range with safety regulations fulfilled and still lightweight car. Edison VLC (Very Light Car) does great job in that, but it isn't that good example of a real car.

What makes 500 mile car impossible? Nothing really. Just price is impractical. You could make 500 mile battery right now, it would just cost you a lot.

woshiniyeye | November 2, 2011

It's my first time to come here. Haha,Nice to meet everybody. I learn from my friends that this forum is very interesting.

Where there is a will, there is a way.
[url=]Diablo 3 Gold[/url]

searcher | November 15, 2011

So Timo what would be your best guess on optimal size/weight of car and optimal range of the all electic commuter car with thought in mind ,in USA at least, the commutes are becoming longer and longer?

Do you see any "breakig of the barrier" on cost of electric batteries anytime soon. If so what likely company/country?

markp1950 | November 15, 2011
Northwestern university showing a new Li_on design to hold between 5x-10x capacity and 10x the charging rate.
Could you Imagine 1,500 to 3,000 miles on a charge.
Developments like that will absolutely make Tesla the best car on earth!

Brian H | November 20, 2011

Another new battery tech, this time from Leeds (UK): polymer jelly.

The Leeds-based researchers are promising that their jelly batteries are as safe as polymer batteries, perform like liquid-filled batteries, but are 10 to 20% the price of either.

The secret to their success lies in blending a rubber-like polymer with a conductive, liquid electrolyte into a thin, flexible film of gel that sits between the battery electrodes.

Brian H | November 20, 2011

Arg. Forgot the autoclose of tags each paragraph. The last one is part of the cite, too.

Brian H | December 4, 2011

Would you believe 40,000 charge cycles? Super-fast charging? Very high energy density?
New cathode from Stanford, no lithium required:
also see:

Now if they can just get an anode ...

But it could be adapted for some of the new LiIon designs, AFAIK. They'd had big advances on the anode side, and were looking for a cathode.

Timo | December 6, 2011

That's high power density, not high energy density. My impression was that this is significantly worse than li-ion for especially specific energy density (because of heavy materials used), and also volumetric energy density is weaker.

Brian H | December 7, 2011

It's not clear, but I think they're referring to both power and energy: "This new cathode promises a better solution to both sectors, personal and industrial. The battery can be produced to power small devices, where it completely out classes current lithium batteries."

The original Stanford news release doesn't say much more:

David70 | December 8, 2011

"But energy density really doesn't matter as much when you're talking about storage on the power grid. You could have a battery as big as a house since it doesn't need to be portable. Cost is a greater concern."

The above statement implies that the energy density wouldn't be high. Otherwise, why mention that it doesn't need to be high.

jackhub | December 10, 2011

@Brian H
I believe the author of the first citation is confusing two aspects of battery construction, the electrode transfer rate and the energy capacity. The transfer rate determines how long it takes to charge the battery. The work that has been cited elsewhere discusses the breakthrough at the nano-level in the design of battery electrodes. This will facillitate a high transfer rate of energy to and from the battery, reducing the charging time. If you read down through the article, the author eventually mentions the improvement in the anode, but the article is none too clear.

This is still important for it does substantially increase the number of cycles the electrodes can perform-lengthening battery life, and it does increase the transfer rate by a factor of 10-thereby reducing the charging time.

There is another announced breakthrough that would increase the storage capacity of lithium batteries by a factor of 10, but I can't find it!

Waymond | December 10, 2011

New Concept on lighter and smaller batteries in liquid form for EV that can be removed and refilled(with new fully charged liquid batteries) after depletion. see link below.

This might be a possible solution to the range and refill limitations for long trip.

Hope Tesla can use new technology on new models.

Smaller & More Powerful Batteries from MIT Team at Yahoo.


~Waymond from Palmdale

Timo | December 10, 2011

@Waymond, in case you start to wonder why so few answers, that has been discussed here over a year ago. Great invention, makes me immediately think about Demolition Man :-)

Timo | December 10, 2011

@jackhub, that Brian H quoted article doesn't use lithium ions as electron vessel, so it can't be used with lithium ion batteries. Chemistry is completely different.

That could make great hybrid battery though (hybrid being FC or traditional ICE with smallish battery). Small capacity battery in those require that they stay useful after many more cycles than BEV batteries. I wish some article gives some hint about how good that energy density is so that we would not need to speculate.

Waymond | December 10, 2011

To Timo,
Is the liquid batteries idea possible to use for EV?
When are the discussion dated in this forum? It is hard to search that topic in discussion forum of 8 pages long.

Timo | December 10, 2011

This thread, Timo | June 9, 2011, Brian H | March 6, 2011

Seems that I remembered wrong how long it has been. Feels like old news though... maybe that is some indication how fast things change in world of batteries.

Not much actual discussion, just few comments, but that is the nature of this forum.

Waymond | December 10, 2011


There is a video part on "lighter and smaller batteries".

Here is the link again:

You need to view it to understand that this is not the same as the two discussion on June 9 and March 6, 2011.

Here is part of the article from yahoo.

By Bill Weir, C. Michael Kim & David Miller | This Could Be Big – Thu, Dec 1, 2011

"At MIT, Professor Yet-Ming Chiang and his team of researchers are trying to reinvent the rechargeable battery for electric vehicles and and grid storage.

The new lightweight and inexpensive batteries would be half the weight and price of current batteries, and would make refueling as easy as filling a traditional tank with gas. No more waiting overnight for a charge.

The new battery relies on an innovative architecture called a semi-solid flow cell, in which solid particles are suspended in a carrier liquid and pumped through the system. Flow-cell batteries have been around for awhile but they use a liquid fuel that is low in energy density and therefore too large and impractical for cars.

The semi-solid flow battery uses a fuel called "Cambridge Crude" designed at MIT, which is 10 times more energy dense than liquid flow-cell, making it compact and lightweight enough for cars.

These batteries are also well suited for large scale electricity storage because they be easily scaled up at a low cost."

No Demolition Man, .....MAN,


Timo | December 11, 2011

It is the same thing as the later of those two discussions. (First is not the same). "in which solid particles are suspended in a carrier liquid and pumped through the system". That's exactly what is being referenced in that later one. That same sentence is actually from this link referenced there:

And this is the actual scientific article:

Brian H | April 1, 2012

Here's another candidate; graphene capacitors, similar "density" to LiIon (I assume energy density) and 3X the speed.

Brian H | April 5, 2012

A123 -- swirling, swirling ... the gurgles are becoming deafening. Will it take Fisker down before Fisker takes it down?

Timo | April 13, 2012

In Science article it says "The LSG-EC can exhibit energy densities of up to 1.36 mWh/cm^3" which is 0.00136Wh/cm^3 which is again 1.36Wh/L. A bit less than one hundredth of Li-ions.

Still very far from Li-ions in capacity. Power density is a lot higher (like same ratio but other way around).

Mark Z | March 22, 2013

Rather than start a new battery thread, I'll recharge this one.

The current battery problem I am having are the dead batteries in two GM ICE vehicles due to lack of use. After a month or two of exclusive enjoyment of the Tesla Model S, the old gas vehicles wouldn't start and now must have trickle chargers on both of of them.

Time to sell the dusty unused cars! Until then, a 5 minute engine run once a month is a good preventive measure. If it's good enough for a Volt to run it's engine once a month, I figure it's a good idea for the unused ICE cars. A longer drive will be needed to "empty" the gas tank at least once a year.

Koz | March 22, 2013

@Mark Z

Volt doesn't run it's engine once a month but does do a maintainance burn after a longer period of non-use. Not an issue unless you are blindly chasing an ideal.