Tesla Battery Expert Dahn Says Existing Lithium Ion Are Already Beyond 3 Million Mile Batteries

Jeffrey Dahn is an energy expert who is working with Tesla. He has been testing lithium ion batteries for three years and has reached 10,000 and even 15,000 discharge and charging cycles. The lithium ion batteries they are testing have not reached the end of life. They have shown minimal degradation.

A 350 kilometer (217 miles) range electric car would be able to drive over 2 million miles with 10,000 charges. However, the only reason Dahn cannot claim 30,000 charging cycles is that he will need about six more years to prove that the batteries last that long. Tesla is making longer range cars with 400 miles range and in the next few years will have 500-700 mile range cars. This likely means that 30,000 charging cycles for a 500 mile range car would mean 15 million mile range vehicles.

This also means that the better lithium ion batteries can be used for vehicle to grid and many other applications.

46 thoughts on “Tesla Battery Expert Dahn Says Existing Lithium Ion Are Already Beyond 3 Million Mile Batteries”

  1. Well, there would still be a market for oil for lubricants, Petrol-chemical manufacturing, tires and the like. Of course, if there is no need for coal at some point in the future we could use coal to make this "liquids" as well.

  2. More good points. You've made me reassess my thinking on this. You're on the mark regarding my perspective on the antique thing. I would also offer that ICE was invented in tinkerers garages, while EV's require mega factories and 21st century tech to pull off. Any average joe can theoretically build an ICE if he devotes the time and effort. My dad resurrected a number of them from junkyards when I was a young lad. Not so with EV, unless perhaps (i'm theorizing here) you could 3d print it. But then again, you need all kinds of rare earth metals to do EV, but with ICE iron or aluminum will do.

    I would make one minor quibble that ICE is simpler right now then EV because EV is more expensive, especially the hybrids, and gas stations, unlike charging stations, are everywhere. I actually drive a Prius for that exact reason. I like knowing that no matter where I am, there's a gas station nearby if I need it. I wont go full EV until I have the same level of mental comfort.

    I would also point out that there's a number of Toyota dealerships in my area, but only one Tesla. Of course, that can easily change, and Toyota could go full EV.

    Still, like a paperless world, the flying car, and fusion power, I'll believe that EV is going to become predominant when I see it. I've just seen too many other predictions all flat to believe it (for right now).


  3. There is a vague connection in that Tesla is the leading company in both fields.

    But it's like saying that turbocharged vehicles are rear engined because of the 1970s Porsche 930.

  4. Mmmmm…. I think one of the selling points for EVs right now is that they are simpler than ICVs.

    Unless you mean "simpler for someone with current vehicle knowledge and experience to work on and repair". A modern vehicle, especially the more interesting ones (presumably the ones less likely to be thrown away for scrap as soon as the owner gets a new eCorolla) can be fiendishly complex with variable valve timing, quad overhead cams, 7 or 8 speed gearboxes, etc. etc. But this is all known stuff, with existing expertise to deal with it.

    But if you're trying to keep your antique going by yourself in 2075, you might be better off with points, carburettors, and four-on-the-floor manual gearbox.

  5. You make good points. I don't disagree with your logic. I would offer that ICE will always be simpler then EV. Simple tends to stick around, hence my "paperless" example. Let's see where we are in 2050 : )


  6. Carfax = vehicle history report. Tells you if the car has been in accident, been recalled, if it was a rental or fleet car, how many times it's been sold. stuff like that. Helpful stuff to know, but I do see your point as well.

    Chris 68

  7. I don't understand why people associate battery powered vehicles with autonomous driving. They are completely different and uncorrelated technologies.

  8. Peak shaving? Is that when laser hair removal takes over, along with hair follicle suppressants? Would certainly help to get me out of the house faster in the morning. Dare to dream.

  9. Though it depends on what your thresholds are.

    I can easily imagine new cars sales of 75% EVs by 2030. I wouldn't be surprised by 90%.

    Now that will be selling out into a market with 2 decades worth of older vehicles, so all else being equal it'll take 2040 for ICVs to be unusual on the roads. And 2050 before they are rare.

    How rare is it to see a 1990s or earlier vehicle? I sold my 98 Ford only this year. I know a guy who just bought a 98 Porsche.

    Of course, I used the phrase all else being equal. This is rarely so.

    The EVs will become cheaper to run, especially for all those boring, shopping trolley cars that just go from home to work to shops to drop the kids at school to home again. So that would accelerate the changeover.

    But once the changeover begins, the price of oil will fall. The price of fuel will be lower. This will decelerate the changeover.

    As cars get older, they usually end up with people who put less km on them each year, and usually have less cash on hand. So the price of fuel becomes less important, and the purchase price becomes more important. This will favour any cut price ICVs.

  10. Never heard of carfax, but you see my point?

    People are always worried that the previous owner may have overheated the engine, run it low on oil, let the engine bay get too hot, or too cold, or too wet, and hence there is a serious discount on second hand cars (and most other goods) because you just don't trust it.

    Attempts to track services and other information will help, but there is still a whole lot that can go wrong but won't show up on the paperwork, or even on a computer memory. At least by the time you get to inspect said records.

    Batteries will be the same.

  11. Have you not seen the "Show Me the CARFAX" commercials? People absolutely want to know "what the previous owner did with any other sort of vehicle". You're asking for a lemon if you don't.


  12. Maybe. This reminds me of an old Apple Computer commercial from 40 years ago. The gist was that the PC would enable us go "paperless". Paper is still being used today in mass quantities. Thus I'm skeptical that in 10 years we are going to see the beginning of the end of ICE and the advent of EV. EV may supplant ICE, but I'd wager the latter will still be around for a long time to come.


  13. There already exists a huge, global commercial battery 2nd market recyclers/resellers/repackagers to specialist cottage industry 'small guys' doing the same.

    Today, if you purchase some cheap lithium battery pack on ebay, you're likely to be able to open it up and find that half the batteries have been used in some previous battery pack, then dissassembled and rewelded into a new pack.

    All sorts of torches, or e-bike power packs, or phone-rechargers, actually contain cells originally packed into a 2006 deWalt drill or something. Once one cell dies, the pack is sold for scrap and someone cuts it up and reuses the working cells.

    It's a big reason not to go for that bargain battery pack.

  14. I think that it's perfectly possible to have an old fashioned gramophone end up lasting a lot longer than an iPod.
    The iPod was much smaller, more convenient, used less power, was portable… but that improvements didn't mean it lasted longer than Dad's old, heavy, wall socket powered Kenwood from the 1970s.

  15. That breakeven point will be pushed forward for people who put fewer miles per year than the average on their vehicles.

    By pushed forward, do you mean that it will happen earlier, or it will happen later?
    I'd interpret pushed forward as "cars that don't get driven much will be the first vehicles where EVs are cheaper to own" and that seems backwards to me.

  16. Not necessarily. The new batteries are optimized for cost and we *know* that the anode will expand/contract more. Completely different.

  17. It isn't actually as bad as all of that with regards to fueling stations. Keep in mind a reduction of 75% of the number of fuel stations means you have to travel roughly twice as far in an area grid to get to one. 89% means 3 times as far.
    The death spiral in oil production will be in capital infrastructure breakeven. When major oil pipelines and refineries shut down due to poor economics and prices start going up from that.
    The death spiral with ICE will start in earnest when it is clear cost of ownership of a used EV is better than a used ICE. We're about 10 years from that tipping point (5 years to reach breakeven on new, 5 years to reach a used price). That breakeven point will be pushed forward (EDIT pushed to a later date) for people who put fewer miles per year than the average on their vehicles.

  18. This is a big reason why "no brainer" pumped hydro projects have been "inexplicably" delayed recently. Inexplicably in the sense that the demand for pumped hydro (that is, energy storage) should skyrocket in the next 5-10 years. They're not cost effective any more compared to what batteries would cost by the time they are finished. An alternative – adding reversible turbines to a hydro plant – are not competitive economically with just floating solar panels in a hydro dam reservoir first. Economic breakeven for pumped hydro has been pushed forward a decade or two, and likely to get pushed further.

  19. Absolutely, Rick. Petroleum is dying. We will NEVER ever ever ever run out of oil. We will simply stop caring about it and leave the rest in the ground. Oil served us well but its time has passed. You might as well but a CRT television. It still works, but nobody cares anymore.

    If 50% of the country goes to EV's, gas prices will drop for a time.
    "I'll just keep my old V-8 until it drops…"

    Car companies are already halting ICE production. Soon there will be fewer and fewer repair shops for ICE vehicles. There will be fewer gas stations also. You won't be able to find gas or get your car fixed. It would be like trying to find a VCR repair shop today. Good luck. There's not enough demand. Also, who's paying all these mechanics to sit around all day and wait for an ICE Car to break?

    People with money and options will switch to electric. Poor people with no money will try to ride out their clunker until it drops. They won't pay thousands of dollars for repairs because they don't have the money. You can forget all about engine rebuilds. Those experts will find jobs elsewhere on the EV side. Almost all of car repair will switch to EV.

    ICE vehicles will depreciate like pumpkins in December. Someone will have paid $50,000 for a new ICE car and 6 months later it's worth $10,000. Nobody else will want them. After enough defaults, banks will stop approving loans for them.

    There are so many reasons the ICE market is collapsing. It's happening fast.

  20. If the battery can last the equivalent of 30M miles, then you would use it for everything. It would replace a lot of other energy systems and you'd still get your million miles of real driving.

  21. Then look at it this way. If an 'old' design is that good, then the next generation (4680), which logically sports vast improvements, will be even better. I don't think anyone can argue against the constant march of technology and improvements.

  22. I predict everything from huge, global commercial battery 2nd market recyclers/resellers/repackagers to specialist cottage industry 'small guys' doing the same. Multi-million mile lifespan batteries will become a commodity item.

  23. Gas will be fine. There are use cases where the charging times of electric is too much of a wet blanket. There is massive installation of wind and solar that necessitate some kind of backup and there will never be enough batteries for diurnal storage, let alone seasonal; that's a huge market for gas turbines (yes, gas turbines can be powered with gasoline) for as long as the wind and solar nutbaggery will last, which is at least lifetime of the current fleet, ~30 years for solar and ~20 years for wind.

  24. What evidence is there that Jeff Dahn is talking about the new 4680-batteries? He claims to have cycled the batteries for years, which presumably rules out the new 4680-cells. Also, the new cells assume 20% silicon in the anode and this in turn requires anode that can shrink as to allow the silicon to expand and contract.

    I.e., by cycling the "old" chemistry, you don't really learn anything about the future 4680 batteries….

  25. People don't pay for polluting the grid with solar electricity (solar peak is ~9 hours before peak use, causing a decrease in electricity consumption mid day and a very, very fast ramp to peak in the afternoon and evening) or pay different rates at different times in general. You have to make rates depend on supply and demand in near real time for this to have the effect you are looking for, and it would strongly disadvantage wind and solar which are highly correlated (act as one country-sized plant).

  26. I'm not seeing any difference between not knowing what the previous owner did with his EV, and not knowing what the previous owner did with any other sort of vehicle.

  27. It'll trickle down eventually. Battery manufacturers won't want and sit there manufacturing 'old tech' batteries.

  28. How can anyone read about this immense leap and not come away thinking gas has one foot in the grave already?

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  30. Dukosi in Edinburgh are working on a battery cell monitor that is a kind of independent black box that records the life of the battery, so in resale of a battery pack the value can be judged.

    They say: "We place permanent memory on each cell to record its lifetime service history. As second life applications become more common for battery packs, the importance of understanding their provenance and likely future performance increases."

  31. So,,, the PERFECT application of the used batteries would be home-solar over-generation storage. Tesla's powerwall concept, but with used cells.

  32. Absolutely. I switched from IT to trucking a year ago, so these are very appealing to me. A tractor has a life expectancy of a million miles with a diesel motor, roughly 100k miles per year, current technology. Realistically 100k per year is the limit for a human driver. With these electric new truck technologies at 100k per year, that makes these 30 year batteries. Every million miles buy a new truck body without the battery, the most expensive part of the truck, and place your old battery into the new truck.
    Of course self driving trucks will change that equation a bit, but not that much. Trust me, there are things we have to do in these trucks that self driving computers are not going to handle well, especially constricted areas. Also, if self driving regulations change truckers will be able to put in more miles where we are not driving but just being passengers and not affecting our drive clocks. The next 10-20 years will be interesting, and I will be retired after that anyway.

  33. If second hand batteries are cheap enough they could be used for peak shaving which could significantly reduce a large electric consumer utility bill.

  34. The idea of a second use, to build another car upon … just seems to be asking for trouble. Once all the ingredients are “in the can” of a battery cell, what evidence can be sussed from the cell to indicate whether it was very heavily charged-discharged over its previous life, or not?

    Moreover, what about the consumer side?

    “How about this slick looking auto, John? Perfect in every regard, and guaranteed to give at least 250,000 miles of battery service”.  (In tiny print: “and its batteries are made from 3rd use cells”).

    Still, I see the angle. Could be made to fly.  

    Perhaps if at manufacture the exact full-charge voltage were laser-etched onto the casing, at least then there might be a way to determine predictable future capacity.  High confidence, not perfect.  

    Oh boy… just thinking about the “recall” issues.

    Dunno, goats. 
    Seems like a dud of an argument.

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  35. I ordered a Cyber truck, mid range, and I figure I am 20K in line give the order ratios of performance version, economy version and the first ones to be produce which are the mid range. This combined with a stainless steel body should allow me to put that truck in my will. Any commercial trucks that do no use the Tesla trucks are at a disadvantage when it comes to economic viability. This is especially true to the semi versions.

  36. Excellent news. Before long (2025?), autonomous electric taxis should become common. Long life batteries will help to make these taxis economical transport and perhaps too, the most popular form of passenger transport.

  37. Batteries at $60 / kwh at 10,000 cycles means 0.6 dollarcents or 0.006 dollar per kWh-charge-discharge.
    This means that you can shift power for a cost of 0.6 dollar cents per kWh.

    This is cheaper and more efficient than pumped hydro. Pumped hydro is only 70 to 85% efficient. With batteries lasting this long, the costs in lost power (charge-discharge efficiency) are larger than the costs of degradation of the battery.

    Fleets of robotaxi's and cars that have V2G-capability will make a lot of sense. V2G plug-in should be subsidized, because the amount of storage that governments need to build will be greatly reduced if lots of cars are plugged-in.
    Solar+home-batteries make a lot of sense as well.

  38. Fleet cars and trucks can drive 100,000 miles each year. fully time taxis and ridesharing cars can drive 100,000 miles each year. Being able to drive to 2 million miles would enable 20 years for fleet cars and trucks. Adding another 20,000 charging cycles would enable grid storage or vehicle to grid storage in addition to lots of driving. Grid storage with 30,000 charges would last for 75 years.

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