Tesla recently patented a new Nickel-Cobalt Aluminium (NCA) single crystal battery cell. These new battery cells will be impurity-free single crystal cells and are expected to be cheaper with a longer life.
Initially, Panasonic was the only battery distributor for Tesla electric cars. However, due to some internal issues, Tesla now seems to be making its own electric battery cells. And according to recent developments, it appears to be doing pretty well.
The patent is more about how Tesla would be making these new battery electrodes using various techniques. The name of the Tesla patent reads “Method for Synthesizing Nickel-Cobalt-Aluminum Electrodes.” The company has revealed some technical drawings and you can see them down below:
According to Electrek, the patent reads,
The present method allows for single crystal NCA materials to be produced without impurities which lead to “dead mass” in electrodes. A mixture of NCA(OH)2 and LiOH.H2O is prepared with a Li:OM ratio less than 1.0. It should be noted that the Li:OM ratio of the amount of lithium in the lithiated material to the amount of other metals in the lithiated material. This mixture is first heated to a temperature large enough to allow for single crystal growth. Because the Li:OM ratio is less than 1.0, the formation of Li5AlO4 is avoided. However, because the Li:OM ratio is less than 1.0, the product is Li1-z(Ni1-x-yCoxAly)1+zO2 with z>0. Such materials have poor electrochemical properties unless z is very near zero. In a second heating a small amount of excess Li,q, is added so that: q<z. The temperature of the second heating is chosen to be lower than that of the first heating so that the Li:OM ratio in the final product approaches 1.0 and that no Li5AlO4 is created. In such a way, impurity-free single crystal NCA can be created.
Additionally, Tesla’s battery research partner Jeff Dahn and his team at Dalhousie University shared some of the test results on the new battery cells with Electrek. According to them, the battery cells could last over 1 million miles with around 4000 charging cycles.
Generally, the li-ion batteries used in most electric vehicles nowadays have a charging cycle of around 1000, meaning they can be charged a thousand times. If Tesla can produce these batteries with high energy density, they could be as good as solid-state batteries.
How Tesla plans to solve the problem of flammability and high cost remains unknown. Nevertheless, we may get these answers during the upcoming Tesla battery day.