and why Tesla Modl S batteries are better and safe.
A new business-prospect for Elon Musk?
Just some input from a long time friend, a PHD, holding many battery patents, working for years as the head of a battery lab for a large national company
I read the article -- not sure that there is anything super useful for
a Tesla owner or Boeing for that matter, as I think the twitter was
more about PR than anything. With that said, I'll offer two thoughts:
the Roadster does have active cooling, which is probably more to do
with extending battery life than preventing a catastrophe. More
significantly, I think the use of many smaller cells rather than a few
huge ones, probably does more to set the Tesla design approach apart
from Boeing. Despite the probability of a bad cell being greater
with more cells, the consequences of failure and large thermal events
can be lower, provided the pack is designed well (adequate thermal and
electrical isolation between cells).
One take away message is that lithium ion batteries are wonderful
things but have more narrow design margins than other batteries. This
results in a less robust or forgiving system that does not tolerate
abuse or manufacturing defects. I say this with some amount of
knowledge. It is possible to engineer more robustness into the
systems, but this comes at a cost of performance (size, weight, range
and/or dollars). Therefore, there is a balance point. Seeking the
right balance point is different for batteries used aerospace or
medical devices than from consumer electronics. Boeing is learning
this lesson the hard way. Empirically, the Tesla batteries have
held up very well. In sum, I think you should be able to enjoy your
car with confidence in performance and safety.
I still look forward to joining you for a test drive when yours
I suppose the large cells could be made safer with pass-through cooling tubes, etc.
Here is an interesting article on the battery technology used by Boing, Tesla and its competitors.