Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) might be looking to develop a 500-mile graphene battery. Graphine has a reputation of being an excellent material. According to a Chinese website, Tesla is already working on the graphene battery. Previously, CEO Elon Musk announced that a 500-mile battery could be launched anytime soon, says a report from Clean Technica.
Tesla could reap many advantages
There are some convincing thoughts that suggest that the EV manufacturer could potentially employ graphene for its battery. Graphene can enhance the energy density of EV batteries and increase the speed of charging the car. Graphene is around 200 times stronger than steel and is also a strong conductor of heat and energy. It is almost transparent when laid in sheets.
Last year in May, Rice University researchers unearthed the fact that when graphene is mixed with vanadium oxide, it can create battery cathodes that can recharge in 20 seconds and hold back 90% of its capacity, even when used 1,000 times. This means that Tesla batteries, if made up of graphene, will not just charge faster but also get more out of each charge. On average, an individual does not drive more than 100 miles a day, but Musk wants more capacity in the battery, as it appears he is not satisfied with the current range of the Model S sedan’s 85 kWH battery pack.
Is use of graphene viable?
Now there are enough reasons why one should take the news with a grain of salt. For example, it is still questionable about how the crystalline allotrope of carbon will affect human health. Musk did indicate that until now there has not been any breakthrough in the battery. Currently the company is focused on setting up a battery gigafactory with Panasonic to manufacture lithium-ion batteries, which will be used to power current Tesla cars.
The cost of battery manufacturing can be subdued by economies of scale and not changing the material. Musk suggested that they would manufacture some new battery cells if some groundbreaking technology evolves, but according to IIRC, there has not been any development until now.
Musk is striving to make a car for the masses, but if the company switches to graphene-made batteries then the cost will shoot up higher. At present, Tesla Motors’ Model S is priced at $100,000, and graphene is very expensive as of now, which suggests that the company would have to forgo its plan to develop an under-$100,000 car if it uses a graphene battery.