Roadster batteries likely to perform better than Tesla predicted

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Tesla Motors

orange tesla roadster with lightwriting

Once the epitome of EV cool, the Tesla Roadster has kind of taken a back seat to the new electric vehicles in the market it helped spawn. Turns out, even in the background, the Roadster has things to teach us. Or, at least it does to the experts at Plug In America who recently took a closer look at the EV’s battery pack.

See, in 2006, when the Roadster was new, Tesla said the Roadster’s 53-kWh lithium-ion battery pack – good for 244 miles of range when new – would have 70 percent of its capacity after five years or 50,000 miles. With plenty of “old” Roadsters on the road, PIA studied four percent of the packs out there today and discovered (PDF) that the packs have an “average of 80- to 85-percent of capacity after 100,000 miles driven.” The numbers were self-reported to PIA’s website by Roadster owners in a project that started in January.

The numbers come from PIA’s chief science officer, Tom Saxton, who conducted the first-ever independent assessment and announced the results at the recent Teslive Tesla users conference. According to a statement, he said, “Our study also found no discernable effect of climate on battery-pack longevity. Roadster owners in hot climates are not seeing noticeably different battery capacity profiles than owners in moderate climates.” Last year, PIA surveyed Nissan Leaf owners and discovered that hot climates were affecting the packs more than expected. Surveys on the first-generation Toyota RAV4 EV and Tesla Model S are underway.

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Roadster batteries likely to perform better than Tesla predicted originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Mon, 15 Jul 2013 14:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Toyota developing magnesium batteries as lithium alternative

Filed under: Hybrid, Technology, Toyota

magnesium on periodic table of the elementsWhether you’re talking about cameras, phones or electric cars, lithium is the current battery of choice. Lithium can pack much more energy than the nickel-metal hydride cells hiding in the boot of a Toyota Prius, but that doesn’t mean that the rare earth metal represents the zenith of battery technology.

Bloomberg reports that scientists and engineers at Toyota’s Ann Arbor, Michigan technical center are on the lookout for the next big thing in batteries, and the automaker thinks it may be on to something. Lithium’s possible replacement is composed of magnesium and sulfur, and Toyota engineering manager Jeffrey Makarewicz reportedly feels the batteries can be ready as soon as the year 2020.

The problem with lithium, according to Makarewicz, is that it can only optimally hold about 2,000 kilowatt-hours of energy. That’s apparently not enough spark to consistently power the plug-ins and EVs of the future. We’re guessing Makarewicz is alluding to the fact that electric cars like the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf only have enough juice to venture 35 to 100 miles on a single charge, while even the most inefficient gasoline mills can travel hundreds of miles

So, will magnesium one day surpass lithium as the battery guts of the future? We have no idea, but we apparently have about a decade of patient waiting before we can find out.

[Source: Bloomberg | Image: Life123.com]

Report: Toyota developing magnesium batteries as lithium alternative originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 12 Jan 2011 14:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Tesla says Model S will be profitable thanks to cheaper batteries

Filed under: Sedan, Technology, Earnings/Financials, Tesla, Electric

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S – Click above for high-res image gallery

It’s not exactly a surprise that battery costs for electric vehicles will go down over time, but the big question is by how much and how fast. Tesla Motors, which uses small lithium-ion cells similar to the kind found in laptop computers, believes that lithium-ion pack costs will be low enough to make the $57,000 Model S profitable even though it’ll likely sell in smaller numbers than all-electric competitors like the Nissan Leaf.

That’s what Tesla’s chief technology officer J.B. Straubel told Bloomberg, adding that Nissan has “a cost challenge that will be more difficult to solve. It will require a lot higher volume before they really get to a cost point that is internally sustainable.” Nissan, of course, paints a different picture because it has been developing li-ion technology for almost two decades, but there you have it.

Nissan’s annual sales target for the Leaf, once full production gets going, is in the hundred-thousands, while Tesla hopes to sell around 20,000 units of the Model S a year. The big difference is in the price per kilowatt hour (kWh). Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard told Bloomberg recently that he thinks Tesla’s battery packs might cost just $200 per kWH, while the large-format cells in the Leaf (and most other plug-in vehicles) could cost around $700 to $800 per kWh. Nissan has previously said the Leaf pack costs just under $750 per kWh.

[Source: Bloomberg]

Report: Tesla says Model S will be profitable thanks to cheaper batteries originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 02 Jan 2011 13:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Elon Musk rips into Nissan Leaf’s “primitive” batteries

Filed under: Hatchback, Nissan, Electric

Elon Musk

If there’s ever going to be a green-car cage match, we can guarantee that one of the fighters will be Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, who apparently can’t pass up the chance to take on any competitor. His latest target? The lithium-ion battery pack in the Nissan Leaf, about which Musk had some critical things to say in a conference call with investors this week.

Even though Nissan is supremely confident in the ability of its battery pack, Musk said it was a “much more primitive level of technology” than even Tesla’s first prototype. Musk also said that the Leaf pack will have temperatures “all over the place” that will cause it to suffer “huge degradation” in cold environments and basically “shut off” in hot environments, according to Earth2Tech.

Tesla’s battery has a more sophisticated/complicated cooling system than the air-cooled system found in the Leaf pack, but Nissan strongly supports its battery pack with an 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty and has been working on lithium-ion battery technology for a long time. We imagine they know what they’re doing, and the proof will be in driveways soon enough.

[Source: Earth2Tech]

Elon Musk rips into Nissan Leaf’s “primitive” batteries originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 08 Aug 2010 18:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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