Never one to be outdone, Tesla has patented a new battery cell, called ‘Cell with a Tabless Electrode,' that CEO Elon Musk tweets is "way more important than it sounds." The patent is pretty self-explanatory, indicating at the beginning why there is a need for this new technology.
Way more important than it sounds— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 7, 2020
A jelly-roll design
"Current cells use a jelly-roll design in which the cathode, anode, and separators are rolled together and have a cathode tab and an anode tab to connect to the positive and negative terminals of the cell can. The path of the current necessarily travels through these tabs to connectors on the outside of the battery cell. However, ohmic resistance is increased with distance when current must travel all the way along the cathode or anode to the tab and out of the cell. Furthermore, because the tabs are additional components, they increase costs and present manufacturing challenges," reads the patent.
To fix this issue, the new patent describes a novel way of building cells.
“A cell of an energy storage device with at least one electrode that is tabless, and methods of forming thereof, are described. The cell includes a first substrate having a first coating disposed thereon, wherein a second portion of the first substrate at a proximal end along the width of the first substrate comprises a conductive material. An inner separator is disposed over the first substrate.
A second substrate is disposed over the inner separator. The second substrate has a second coating disposed thereon. The first substrate, the inner separator, and the second substrate in a successive manner, the first substrate, the inner separator, and the second substrate are rolled about a central axis.” cells," reads the patent.
Tesla has been filing quite a few patents related to its batteries lately. There are even rumors of a so-called Roadrunner project, a secret project that would see the firm produce battery cells on a major scale.
It's hard to know exactly what Musk means when he calls this particular patent more important than it sounds but time will tell when the newer vehicles are released.