Future Tesla Batteries Will Likely Use Less Lithium
For decades, Lithium has been the go-to source for batteries. Lithium is not only instrumental to EVs, but it also is used in the batteries for everyday objects such as mobile phones and computers. Lithium batteries have many advantages, but they also have their drawbacks such as the increasing cost. Tesla has been working to save resources by recycling their batteries.
Why Lithium could become problematic
These wouldn’t just be minor price increases for Lithium. For example, Tesla is trying to expand into new markets, and they are also constructing Gigafactories. Tesla is already having to contend with chip shortages and rising steel prices. The inflation could slow down at some point, but prices for Lithium will depend on the demand for it. Demand is expected to go up by a lot if you factor in all the charts that forecast the growth of the EV market.
The extraction of Lithium consumes a lot of water. Some regions are very dry and don’t have that much water. Lithium is hard to find, and geologists are on the hunt for more places to get lithium from. In the meantime, it would be wise for Tesla to do their own research on what kind of battery composition will make the most sense for them going forward.
There is not just one solution to this. There are scientists out there who are studying the elements that go into making a battery. Some scientists at Penn State University are doing research involving lithium iron phosphate batteries. These batteries are said to be cheaper. However, the most impressive thing about these batteries is that they can allegedly be charged up to 250 miles of range in just 10 minutes. This is an impressive time that could probably be improved upon.
Another possible solution is sodium-ion batteries. These batteries are cheaper, but they store less energy. Therefore, sodium-ion batteries seem to be a one-step forward two-steps back approach.
Something else to note is that Elon Musk has invested in Copper, so we shall see how much that will factor into Tesla vehicles from here on out.
The bottom line here is that Tesla will probably be using Lithium in some capacity for the foreseeable future. Scientists also want to study Multivalent batteries. The ion in Multivalent batteries is supercharged compared to today’s batteries. Multivalent batteries are not that close to being used in vehicles because the technology still has a ways to go.
It would be a great technological feat if Tesla eventually made batteries that could charge almost instantaneously. However, one of the most important things is whether the new batteries will make the car more efficient to drive. Let us know in the comments your take on the future of Tesla’s batteries.
Daniel Cappo reports Tesla developments at Torque News. He has had a passion for cars ever since age five when his grandparents let him drive their old golf cart around their property in Upstate NY. He has attended numerous auto shows, and even got the chance to drive a Ferrari California on the track. Ever since Tesla opened up a dealership at his local mall, he's been an avid follower of their cars and technology. Dan has a B.S. in Public Communication from U Vermont. Follow Daniel on Twitter and LinkedIn for daily Tesla News.