Electric cars are truly exciting. Just look at my wife Gallagher with her BMW i3 if you want proof (Gallagher is not even a geek).
The i3 uses lithium-ion batteries and they work great but within the next few years, lithium-ion batteries will be replaced with even better batteries. Stick with me and I will tell you why geeks like myself are so excited about these new batteries.
My good friend Elon Musk (who I have never actually met), builds his Tesla cars using 2, 976 little lithium-ion cells. That’s right; 2,976 of the little suckers!
The cells are called 2170 because they measure 21 x 70 mm. Tesla has a new 4680 (46 x 80) lithium-ion cell just coming on the market at the end of 2021. The 4680 will go into the Tesla Model Y, the Tesla Cybertruck and the Tesla Semi. The Model Y will have around 600 of the new 4680 cells because they each hold about 5 times the energy of the older 2170 cells.
But the Tesla batteries are soon to be eclipsed by a completely new battery made from Aluminium-Graphene and those new batteries are really something!
Aluminium-Graphine batteries are being developed by our Australian cousins GMG (Graphene Manufacturing Group) and The University of Queensland. Get a load of these features:
1 – made from environmentally friendly aluminium and graphine (made from methane) (1)
2 – charges 20 to 60 times faster than lithium-ion (1)
3 – higher theoretical energy density (2.6 times the energy density of lithium-ion) (2)
4 – generate less heat than lithium-ion (probably will not need a cooling or heating system) (3)
5 – longer lasting than lithium-ion (over 2,000 cycles with no deterioration in performance) (4)
6 – safer than lithium-ion (4)
The invention that makes aluminium-graphine batteries possible is GMG’s new method of making graphene from methane. Ever since 2010 when Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov won the Nobel Price in physics for experiments in graphene, people have been trying to find a cost effective way to make graphene for use in industry. Now GMG along with The University of Queensland in Australia, have cracked it. Actually they crack methane to make their graphene rather than mining carbon.
Graphene is a 2 dimensional form of carbon (as opposed to 3 dimensional graphite). Graphene is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. The GMG folks claim that they will start customer testing by the end of 2021.(2)
Of course I can’t be certain that aluminium-graphene batteries are the next big thing but they are certainly something to watch. The best battery EVs (BEV) are now getting over 500 km (310 miles) of range. Folks are next going to want super fast charging. Aluminium-graphene batteries offer the super fast charge path.