posted at 06:00
Author Name: Dave Smith
Elon Musk May Use Graphene Tesla
According to China's Xinhua news agency, Tesla could soon achieve this 500-mile battery thanks to a development in graphene-based anodes, which can reportedly quadruple the density and output of lithium-ion batteries. First isolated in 2003, graphene is as an excellent conductor of heat and energy, and certainly an ideal material for batteries. The molecular lattice of graphene is perhaps the best way to understand its incredible properties: The structure is remarkably strong and efficient - even self-repairing - but it is essentially two-dimensional. Researchers have been hard at work experimenting with graphene compounds for batteries that can be scalable, cost-efficient, but most of all, powerful. In 2011, Northwestern University engineers found graphene anodes are better at holding energy than anodes made of graphite - with faster charging up to 10x. And just last May, Rice University researchers found that graphene mixed with vanadium oxide can create battery cathodes that recharge in 20 seconds and retain more than 90% of their capacity, even after 1,000 cycles of use. While Musk has repeatedly made note of Tesla's plans to build an affordable electric car, a battery even partly made of graphene would still make the car very expensive. Most Tesla Model S sedans cost about $100,000, but graphene is exorbitantly expensive at the moment, which means it would be difficult to produce a sub-$100,000 vehicle. So despite its benefits, the cost of graphene simply wouldn't justify the cost of disrupting Tesla's existing industrial processes to make way for this new material - at least for the immediate future.

Posts Archive