The Tech

Tesla on the way to eliminating cobalt from its batteries

Battery makers are keen to reduce their use of costly and controversial cobalt. Half the world’s supply of the metallic element comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a war-torn land in which child labor is common. Worse yet, the stuff is getting expensive – cobalt prices have climbed to their highest level in a… Read more »

Auto consultant Munro gives Model 3 thumbs-down for build quality, thumbs-up for electronics and handling

Sandy Munro takes cars apart for a living. Specifically, Munro & Associates, the Detroit consulting firm of which he is the CEO, performs teardowns. Munro and his team dismantle cars and analyze each part in minute detail (what’s it made of, what supplier made it, and how much did it cost?) and write up their… Read more »

Researchers achieve extended cycle life using molybdenum compound as protective anode layer in Li-S batteries

Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas have used two-dimensional molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) as a protective layer for Li-metal anodes to greatly improve the performance of Li-S batteries. In “2D MoS2 as an efficient protective layer for lithium metal anodes in high-performance Li–S batteries,” published in Nature Nanotechnology , the researchers report that such a use of MoS2 results in… Read more »

Mazda and partners to develop lithium-ion starter batteries

Mazda has agreed to partner with ELIIY Power and Ube Industries to jointly develop 12-volt lithium-ion starter batteries by 2021. Lithium-ion batteries offer a promising alternative to conventional lead-acid car batteries, because of their lower weight, and because of environmental regulations in some regions that restrict the use of lead. However, their application as starter… Read more »

KULR Technology to manufacture NREL-developed battery safety testing device

KULR Technology has reached an agreement with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to be the exclusive manufacturing and distribution partner for the patented Internal Short Circuit (ISC) device. The device, which was developed in 2015 by NREL and NASA researchers, creates cell failures in predictable conditions, allowing for improved research into safer battery technologies…. Read more »

Subaru uses National Instruments’ hardware-in-the-loop tech to simulate road conditions

Subaru is using hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) technology from National Instruments (Nasdaq: NATI) to simulate actual road conditions for EV testing. Traditionally, engineers have conducted vehicle tests using finished cars on test courses or public roads. However weather and fluctuating road surface conditions can make it difficult to conduct reproducible tests. Moreover, according to NI, EVs are… Read more »

PNNL research finds that optimal salt concentration increases battery life

Researchers at the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have discovered that the “special sauce” of batteries is all about the salt concentration. By getting the right amount of salt right where they want it, they’ve demonstrated that a lithium-metal battery can undergo about seven times more charge/discharge cycles than batteries with conventional electrolytes. Finding an electrolyte solution… Read more »

NREL scientists discover new approach for magnesium-metal batteries

Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have pioneered a method that enables reversible chemistry of magnesium metal in noncorrosive carbonate-based electrolytes. The technology has several potential advantages over lithium-ion batteries, including higher energy density, improved stability and lower cost. Magnesium batteries can theoretically store almost twice as much energy per volume as lithium-ion… Read more »

Neutron imaging improves battery filling process

Researchers from Bosch, the Technical University of Munich, and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg are using neutron imaging to analyze the filling of lithium-ion batteries with electrolytes. Since very few neutrons are absorbed by the metal battery housing, they are ideal for analyzing batteries. In “Visualization of electrolyte filling process and influence of vacuum during filling… Read more »