New Battery Chemistry 4 Times More Efficient Than Sodium
As the world transition to sustainable energy, Energy storage is going to play more of an important role. Tesla sells Megapacks right now from its Lathrop, California factory and is scaling to sell 10,000 per year at $2 million per Megapack.
This is just from one factory and Megapacks are moving away from Lithium batteries to an LFP battery chemistry, which is more appropriate for stationary storage. Lithium is better for EVs that want more performance and Energy density. Stationary storage doesn't need high performance, it just need stored Energy.
At the University of Sydney in Australia, there is a battery chemistry being developed using sodium that is supposedly 4 times more efficient than Lithium batteries. After 1,000 charge cycles, the batter retained half its capacity still. That would put it still twice as efficient as Lithium at that point.
However, more testing needs to be done to make the batteries more efficient and quality control on the longevity of the batteries will be important as well before they are put into commercial products and vehicles.
The cost of Sodium is quite less than Lithium right now due to the high demand of Lithium. This would drive down the costs of EVs and stationary storage if this battery could be proved. And if it did, the demand for it would go up, which would most likely increase its price too.
Sodium is easier to mine than Lithium and easier to process.
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Can Tesla Make Use of this Battery Chemistry?
Tesla uses two primary chemistries for its batteries right now - Lithium-ion and LFP batteries. The Lithium batteries are used for most EVs except the standard range vehicles that don't need fast acceleration or power and for stationary storage in its Megapacks.
Tesla could make use of Sodium right now, but it would be risky. The reason is that the battery chemistry hasn't been widely proven to have a problem free lifespan and testing hasn't been thoroughly done in EVs.
For Tesla to make use of this Sodium battery chemistry from the University of Sydney in Australia, they would have to allocate a portion of their staff to test this new battery. I think it's worth doing to prove if it is viable and indeed 4 times more efficient than Lithium.
It is the commercialization of this sodium battery that is the bottleneck to the future of it. Like all successful products and innovation, there has to be an extended testing period. Just look at Tesla FSD. It has been tested for many years now and will still be tested for years to come.
For more information, see this video from The Electric Viking:
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Jeremy Johnson is a Tesla investor and supporter. He first invested in Tesla in 2017 after years of following Elon Musk and admiring his work ethic and intelligence. Since then, he's become a Tesla bull, covering anything about Tesla he can find, while also dabbling in other electric vehicle companies. Jeremy covers Tesla developments at Torque News. You can follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn to stay in touch and follow his Tesla news coverage on Torque News.