http://www.plugincars.com/tesla-makes-p ... 32868.htmlTesla Makes Progress in Pursuit of a Battery Breakthrough
I generally treat most announcements of battery breakthroughs as so much hot air, but this is more of an announcement of continuing gradual improvement, and it's from Jeff Dahn, who has more credibility than the average startup promoter trolling for investors (which isn't to say that hype is impossible).
researcher working for Tesla said this week that the life of electric car batteries could be extended to 20 years of use. Jeff Dahn of Dalhousie University, based in Nova Scotia, said that battery life—the capability of cells to maintain their energy and power capacity over time—is one of his four critical interrelated research goals. The other three are lower costs, increased energy density and improved safety.
“Doubling the lifetime of the cells was exceeded in round one,” said Dahn in a presentation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The use of an aluminum coating appeared to be helpful in extending the longevity of cells. “We have another four years to go,” said Dahn. “So we’re going to go as far as we can.”
Panasonic is Tesla’s battery partner. “We think the existing technology can extend the energy density of lithium-ion batteries by 20 to 30 percent,” said Kazuhiro Tsuga, Panasonic’s president, as reported last month by Japan’s Nikkei. Increased energy density and reduced costs are the keys to offering long-range electric cars at an affordable price. . . .
Dahn’s research project with Tesla is only one year into a five-year effort—and is already being utilized in “2170” cells being produced in Tesla’s Nevada-based Gigafactory.
IMO, the two out of four which are most important at the moment are reduced cost/kWh and increased longevity. The former will directly lower battery prices for a given capacity, while the latter will reduce the need to oversize battery capacity to give it an adequate range at its end of life, while reducing battery weight and space and contributing to knock-on weight reductions, and indirectly reduce cost even if $/kWh remains the same. It will also reduce/eliminate any concerns about having to find the money for a replacement at some nebulous point int he future. The closer a battery's life comes to equaling the life of the car, the more acceptable and better value for money it will be for the general public (assuming it's affordable in the first place).
Increased energy density is always nice, but cost is the pacing factor to mass adoption right now. Safety seems to be adequate among currently available batteries, but it never hurts to improve it.