Tesla’s Million Mile Battery Lifetimes are Near

Dalhousie battery researchers have an exclusive agreement with Tesla for their lithium battery research. They presented research where batteries will be able to power an electric vehicle for over 1 million miles while losing less than 10 percent of its energy capacity during its lifetime. The group is led by physicist Jeff Dahn who is one of the world’s foremost lithium-ion researchers.

Ultra-long life batteries will greatly improve the economics of self-driving robotaxis and long-haul electric trucks. Current Tesla battery pack lifespan is about 300,000 to 500,000 miles. Long-haul electric trucks and robotaxis will have higher daily miles than your average commuter.

The research paper provides full details of these cells including electrode compositions, electrode loadings, electrolyte compositions, additives used, etc.

A former member of Dahn’s team told Wired that it is likely that Tesla already has at least one proprietary battery chemistry that outperforms what’s described in the benchmark paper. Indeed, shortly after the paper came out, Tesla received a patent for a lithium-ion battery that is remarkably similar to the one described in the paper.

The Journal of the Electrochemical Society – A Wide Range of Testing Results on an Excellent Lithium-Ion Cell Chemistry to be used as Benchmarks for New Battery Technologies

Tesla Dalhousie battery researchers present a wide range of testing results on an excellent moderate-energy-density lithium-ion pouch cell chemistry to serve as benchmarks for academics and companies developing advanced lithium-ion and other “beyond lithium-ion” cell chemistries to (hopefully) exceed. These results are far superior to those that have been used by researchers modelling cell failure mechanisms and as such, these results are more representative of modern Li-ion cells and should be adopted by modellers. Up to three years of testing has been completed for some of the tests. Tests include long-term charge-discharge cycling at 20, 40 and 55°C, long-term storage at 20, 40 and 55°C, and high precision coulometry at 40°C. Several different electrolytes are considered in this LiNi0.5Mn0.3Co0.2O2/graphite chemistry, including those that can promote fast charging. The reasons for cell performance degradation and impedance growth are examined using several methods. We conclude that cells of this type should be able to power an electric vehicle for over 1.6 million kilometers (1 million miles) and last at least two decades in grid energy storage. The authors acknowledge that other cell format-dependent loss, if any, (e.g. cylindrical vs. pouch) may not be captured in these experiments.

Tesla Robotaxi Master Plan Details

Elon described costs and details of the master plan for a robotaxi fleet and service at Autonomy Day. Many are criticizing the full self-driving plan and do not believe it will be achieved or will be far, far later. The future of Tesla and the world will be massively impacted if this master plan succeeds or if it does not.

If it succeeds then Tesla makes billions. 1 million robotaxis making $30,000 per car per year for owners and similar amounts for Tesla would be $30 billion per year.

If would also mean about 50 billion robotaxi miles per year within a couple of years of successful full serlf-driving. Uber provided 26 billion miles of ridesharing in 2018.

In the USA, 3.22 trillion miles are driven on roads and there is about 12 trillion miles driven in the world.

Tesla makes their in-house chip for full self-driving. In 2020, they expect to have 1 million cars on the road with the hardware necessary for full self-driving and which could become robotaxis. They believe they will have the most profitable autonomous taxi on the market. Uber and Lyft lose a lot of money on ridesharing. Elon Musk says that a robotaxi using a full self-driving taxi will only cost 18 cents per mile.

The average Tesla car is parked for 22 hours per day. In 2020, owners will be able to use the Tesla app to their car to pick up and drop off passengers autonomously, earning an estimated 65 cents per mile in fares.

By Tesla’s estimates, owners might be able to earn $30,000 in gross revenue from their cars per year. This would be more than $300,000 in revenue over the 11-year lifespan of an average car.

Elon is saying Tesla cars will last 1 million miles. Tesla owners would need to give nearly 500,000 miles or ride at 65 cents per mile for Tesla car owners. Tesla would make more from their share of the robotaxi business and Tesla would have post-lease vehicles dedicated to the robotaxi fleet.

SOURCES- Elon Musk, Tesla, CNBC, Wired, The Journal of the Electrochemical Society
Written By Brian Wang, nextbigfuture.com

16 thoughts on “Tesla’s Million Mile Battery Lifetimes are Near”

  1. By your comment other automakers already can do electric cars and batteries, Tesla is simply better at it for now – coupled with an extremely aggressive economy of scale and vertical integration model from their gigafactories.

    I believe you meant there will be a plateau point at which battery improvement and electric platform efficiency level off among all automakers.

    This much seems likely, although a breakthrough manufacturing shift to Lithium Air batteries could shake things up again in the future – there are great strides being made on this tech in the labs, but even once these improvements constitute a viable alternative to Li Ion, it will almost certainly take at least another 5-10 years to make it into mass manufacture.

  2. Seems like a relatively simple thing for a robot to accomplish with todays incredible AI/ML capabilities – vastly less complicated than the autonomous systems of the cars they would be recharging.

    Having a standardised port with universal identifying markers would make the job incredibly simple to train a DL neural net identify, range and orient for – a standard target for a robotic charging arm to attach to.

  3. It is even slightly better than that – battery will take a 90% charge after 1 million miles, so there is no reason you can’t go to 2 million miles if you don’t mind the range and peak power reduction.

  4. The Future has arrived, there will be no need to purchase fuel if it is more than the amortized cost of the purchase price of the vehicle vs the cost of electricity. so essentially, if fuel costs more than about $20 in most areas for a full tank, it will be more expensive than an electric. fuel cells remain quite a bit more expensive per watt than batteries, and it will still be years before they are as well integrated as a typical electric sedan of today. The alt fuel wars are over, electric is pulling away.

  5. “at 20, 40 and 55°C, long-term storage at 20, 40 and 55°C, ”
    Don’t they expect to have any customers in cold climates?

  6. I think you misunderstand.

    This isn’t 1 million miles without a recharge.

    This is 1 million miles, over many years, with thousands of recharges. Until the battery finally won’t take (enough) of a recharge any more.

  7. You could, though that makes sense at those supercharger locations where they have other human services (I think they have one that also doubles as a roadside diner?). But having supercharger locations in low rent, remote locations for the robotaxi fleet makes having human attendants problematic. Maybe if you had a car wash/cleaning service location, that might make sense to support the robotaxis with humans. That, and having your humans ride to the location on a robotaxi takes care of their commute (assuming they ride for a reduced fee…)

  8. They still haven’t got their tentacle power cord thing installed at their superchargers yet, so 100% self-driving fleet isn’t a thing as long as they need humans to recharge, yet…

  9. So…

    Turns out that “1 million miles” is pretty easy math. You need:

    R1 = specific mileage for a car. Like 4.5 milles/kWh
    Ec = density of battery pack.  kWh of useable capacity.
    Ce = reasonably useable cycles.  Like 1,500 or 2,000 or 2,500. Subjective!!
    Ch = optimum charge-discharge amount to maximize battery life. Say 75%

    Mi = R1 • Ec • Ce • Ch
    Mi = 4.5 mi/kWh × 90 kWh × 2,000 cycles × 75% optimum
    Mi = 608,000 miles

    Now, to get a million… 

    Ce = 1,000,000 / (R1 • Ec • Ch)
    Ce = 1,000,000 / ( 4.5 mi/kWh × 90 kWh × 75% optimum
    Ce = 3,300 cycles

    Again, there you go. Its kind of “obvious math”, I suppose. But it does demonstrate that the tradeoff is between useable charge-discharge cycles, total battery pack energy capacity and the particular e→mi energy conversion a model-and-make of a car gets.  

    Just saying,
    GoatGuy ✓

  10. That’s not quite how batteries have worked in the auto industry. Look at Audi, their battery tech lags behind even Teslas a couple years old (a few years old when Audi release next year). There will be a catch-up period while automakers figure out how to do electric cars and batteries.

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