Million Mile Electric Car Batteries Aren't a Million Miles Away, Study Says

The research was carried out for Tesla but has been released to the public.

While the lifespan of an internal combustion car varies, an engine should be able to reach over 200,000 miles (321,868 km) with good care. 

That's not bad, but according to new research, electrical vehicles may soon smash this mileage with new improved lithium-ion batteries that could last up to 1 million miles (1,609,344 km).

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Million-mile batteries

The average Tesla battery lasts somewhere between 300,000 to 500,000 miles (482,803 km to 804,672 km). This could soon be set to change, with new batteries that have the potential to outlast the car itself, a study claims.

The paper, published in The Journal of the Electrochemical Society, details the work of battery researchers in Canada, who are from Halifax, Nova Scotia’s Dalhousie University.

The team describes a new lithium-ion battery that has the potential to power an electric vehicle for over 1 million miles (1,609,344 km). This, as Gizmodo points out, would be equivalent to 4,000 charging cycles.

The paper also claims that the new battery technology would allow for the EV to only lose approximately 10 percent of its charging capacity (and vehicle range) towards the end of its lifespan.

The new type of battery will likely be invaluable for the widely predicted revolution of autonomous vehicles — including taxis and delivery trucks — that will be on the road around the clock.

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The new technology could be invaluable for autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles. Source: Tesla

Tesla battery patent

Interestingly, the research behind the new type of battery was funded by Tesla but has been released to the public. The paper reveals the makeup of the new battery, which is the result of research starting in 2016.

The million-mile battery is made by optimizing all of the components,  including artificial graphite, of the car battery, before improving the nanostructure of the lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide. This creates a crystal structure that is more robust, meaning performance degrades more slowly over time.

As WIRED points out, Tesla was recently awarded a patent based on the research, while the new research has been published as a benchmark for the other R&D labs working on improving battery tech.

This means million-mile batteries could be just the beginning of the road for massively improved EV battery lifespans.

Elon Musk will probably prepare an unveiling event when the technology is closer to being implemented.

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