Chinese electric car maker BYD reports 632% jump in profits … “Taking Tesla to the Wood Shed”


Electric car maker BYD is speeding ahead of Tesla with respect to profitability.

The Chinese company today (April 28) reported a 632% jump in profits in the first quarter from a year ago. Days earlier, the US car company led by Elon Musk announced one of its worst quarters ever.

BYD is the world’s largest electric vehicle maker (membership), though its brand isn’t widely recognized outside of China. It started out as a battery maker about 25 years ago and transitioned into the car business a little more than a decade ago, making both conventional fossil fuel-powered cars and “new energy vehicles.”

The success of its first mass-produced hybrid caught the attention of legendary US investor Warren Buffett, who in 2008 bought a 10% stake in BYD for $230 million. That investment seems to be really paying off right now.

There is increased demand for electric vehicles in China, BYD says, and it expects continued growth. The company’s profits rose to about 750 million yuan ($111 million) in the first quarter, compared to 102 million yuan a year ago. BYD sold 73,172 new energy vehicles (pdf) in the quarter, up 147% from the same period a year ago.  

Including conventional fuel cars, it sold 73,172 vehicles in the quarter, up 5% from last year. The company is now selling more electric vehiclesthan conventional cars.

“New energy vehicles are expected to continue to sell well in the second quarter, and new energy vehicle sales and revenues continue to maintain strong growth,” the company’s latest stock exchange filing reports.

According to Reuters, BYD expects to sell 655,000 cars in 2019, and will account for a substantial portion of the 1.6 million electric vehicle total that China’s Association of Automobile Manufacturers predicts will be sold this year.

In stark contrast to this positive news for BYD, its US rival Tesla lost nearly $700 million in the first quarter. It attributed over $120 million in losses to a higher return rate than expected after it raised prices for the Model S and Model X.

In its quarterly earnings call, Tesla chief financial officer Zachary Kirkhorn described the first quarter as “one of the most complicated… in the history of the company.”

Beyond its faltering quarterly profits, Tesla also had some bad news in China to contend with recently.

Last week, a video that circulated widely on Chinese social media showed a parked Tesla Model S abruptly caching fire in Shanghai, where the company plans to build its first overseas factory. Earlier in the month, a parked Tesla in the US also caught fire.

The two electric vehicle makers do have something in common, however. Tesla and BYD both plan to expand into each other’s markets. China is the world’s largest car market, and the US comes second.

Read More: BYD Sold Over 28,000 EVs In January — Will China See Over 50% Sales Growth Again This Year? — #CleanTechnica Report

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A new battery for EV’s that lasts 1 million Miles – Coming Next Year – Tesla CEO Elon Musk


Tesla CEO Elon Musk says that the automaker is working on a new battery pack to come out next year which will last 1 million miles.

When talking about the economics of Tesla’s future fleet of robotaxis at the Tesla Autonomy Event yesterday, Musk emphasized that the vehicles need to be durable in order for the economics to work:

“The cars currently built are all designed for a million miles of operation. The drive unit is design, tested, and validated for 1 million miles of operation.”

Tesla says it will roll out robotaxis in U.S. next year

But the CEO admitted that the battery packs are not built to last 1 million miles.

Just a week ago, Musk said that they built Model 3 to last as long as a commercial truck, a million miles, and the battery modules should last between 300,000 miles and 500,000 miles.

At the time, he also said that Tesla plans to provide battery module replacements.

Now, Musk added that there’s a new Tesla battery pack coming that will last as long as the rest of the vehicles:

“The new battery pack that is probably going to production next year is designed explicitly for 1 million miles of operation.”

The CEO said that they are optimizing every aspect of the cars, including the tires, in order to achieve minimal maintenance to create an “hyper-efficient” electric robotaxi.

Read More: Tesla acquires robots company to accelerate car production

Electrek’s Take

With Tesla still being relatively young for an automaker, we have a limited set of data to look into the longevity of Tesla’s vehicles.

Early data about Tesla battery degradation show less than 10% reduction in energy capacity after over 160,000 miles, but that’s about all we have.

It’s pretty good, but 1 million miles is a whole new level.

We know that Tesla has been focusing its battery research on longevity for a while now.

Earlier this year, we reported on Tesla’s battery research group led by Jeff Dahn in Halifax applying for a patent that describes a new battery cell chemistry that would result in faster charging and discharging, better longevity, and even lower cost.

The battery technology that Tesla is trying to get through its acquisition of Maxwell could also potentially result in longevity improvements.

Read More About Maxwell: Tesla’s newly acquired battery tech could result in more power, longer range, and more durability

What CEO EM is saying now might be the result of some of those recent advancements in battery technology starting to be implemented by Tesla.

Apple hires Tesla’s head of electric powertrains in effort to bring electric car to market


There has long been a debate about Apple’s secretive automotive project being only about a self-driving system for vehicles rather than a full electric autonomous vehicle. It now looks clear that the latter is the case as Apple hires Tesla’s head of electric powertrains.

Earlier this month, we reported on Tesla losing its VP of Engineering behind its latest electric powertrains; Michael Schwekutsch.

We described his departure from Tesla as a big loss for the company since he is amongst the most experienced engineers who have brought electric powertrain programs to market, not just at Tesla, but in the industry as a whole.

When Schwekutsch joined Tesla back in 2015, we described his background:

Michael Schwekutsch joined Tesla last year to lead powertrain developments after a two-decade long career working for legendary third-party powertrain engineering firms like BorgWarner and GKN Driveline. More recently, he managed programs for the electric and hybrid powertrains of the BMW i8, Porsche 918 Spyder, Fiat 500eV, Volvo XC90, among other popular vehicles.

Today, he is responsible for Tesla’s drive units from the design and engineering to the manufacturing and validation – all operations currently done at the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California.”

At Tesla, he participated in the development of “leading edge Drive Systems like the one of the Tesla Roadster II and Tesla Semi / Tesla Truck.”

Now Electrek learns from separate sources that he joined Apple’s Special Project Group, which includes the Cupertino company’s Project Titan division.

He is the latest of several top Tesla engineers to join the project, which was for a time thought to only consist of a self-driving system for vehicles after a scale-back of the plan.

Now that Schwekutsch, who has exclusively worked on electric powertrains over the last decade, has joined Apple, it is becoming clear that the company plans to bring a complete electric vehicle to market.

Schwekutsch will join back Doug Field, who was a longtime engineering executive at Tesla before going back to Apple to lead their car project last year alongside Bob Mansfield, who Apple brought out of retirement in 2016 to lead its Project Titan car team.

Electrek has learned that Apple is also hiring several other former Tesla employees in what appears to be another wave of the poaching war between the two companies.

At the height of it back in 2015, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said about Apple:

“They have hired people we’ve fired. We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla Graveyard.”

More recently, however, Apple has hired some longtime executives and engineers that don’t appear to have been let go by Tesla. That said, the company has laid off many employees over the last year and some of them did go to Apple, which has experienced employment cut-backs of its own.

Schwekutsch comes to the program after some layoffs within the team confirmed last month.

Electrek’s Take

This is quite significant. Apple producing an electric vehicle from the ground up is a big deal.

Granted, they have no experience building vehicles, but they are hiring some top talent that made happened against all odds in the past, like Field and Schwekutsch.

If you add to that the hundreds of billions in capital and the incredible software and hardware expertise of Apple, I think you have a winning solution.

I don’t want to get my hopes up to much, but I am excited for them to disrupt the space even more. I can see it accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles.

Why Did Elon Musk Spend $218 Million (in stock) on an Ultracapacitor Company? The Answer may be in ‘Dry Electrode Technology’


Tesla_ElectricVehicles_XL_721_420_80_s_c1 (1)          Does Tesla want ultracapacitors? Or dry electrode technology?

Earlier this month, Tesla announced plans to acquire Maxwell Technologies, an established, 380-employee ultracapacitor and storage materials firm for $218 million in an all-stock deal. It’s easy for a transaction of this sort to get lost in the Tesla media cycle.

 

Elon Musk was once intent on studying ultracapacitors at Stanford University, long before Tesla was even a gleam in his eye. Apparently, Musk is still charged up on the technology.

Maxwell’s total revenue was $91.6 million in the first nine months of 2018, with losses of $30.2 million. Revenue in 2017 was $130.3 million with losses of $43.1 million.

So why is Tesla paying above book value (but still not enough, according to some investors) for a money-losing firm (here’s Maxwell’s SEC filing)?

Does Tesla want ultracapacitors?

Maxwell’s core business is ultracapacitors, the wide-temperature-range, high-power-density energy storage component that can rapidly charge and discharge. Also known as supercaps or electronic double layer capacitors, ultracapacitors are geared for high-power and high-cycle applications.

Batteries use a chemical process to store energy, while ultracapacitors store a static electric charge — physically separating positive and negative charges.

Maxwell’s ultracaps deliver peak power as well as regenerative braking, voltage stabilization, backup power and hybrid stop/start. Ultracaps are also used to power the pitch control adjustment in wind turbines during sudden wind speed changes, since replacing batteries at 500 feet above the ground is tricky.

In a previous interview, Maxwell’s CEO estimated that there is $5,000 worth of ultracaps in the typical wind turbine and $15,000 per electric bus. Maxwell declined to respond to GTM to update those figures.

Or dry electrode technology?

But Maxwell’s allure might not be its ultracapacitors — it might be the dry electrode technology developed by Maxwell that really intrigues Elon Musk.

The “dry” in “dry electrode technology” refers to an ultracapacitor manufacturing process that Maxwell claims can improve battery costs, performance and lifetime across a variety of lithium-ion battery chemistries. 

Maxwell states, in a release, that its dry electrode manufacturing technology, historically used to make ultracapacitors, is “a breakthrough technology that can be applied to the manufacturing of batteries.”passive-dry-electrode-schematic_Q320

white paper from Maxwell claims that its dry battery electrode (DBE) coating technology can be used with “classical and advanced” lithium-ion battery chemistries, but “unlike conventional slurry cast wet coated electrode, Maxwell’s DBE produces a thick electrode that allows for high energy density cells with better discharge rate capability than those of a wet coated electrode.” (Right: Passive dry electrode schematic)

presentation from the company claims it has “demonstrated” an energy density of greater than 300 watt-hours per kilogram and has “identified” a path to greater than 500 watt-hours per kilogram. Maxwell claims to have used the process with a number of available anode materials.

A battery expert colleague notes that solvent-free electrode manufacturing “might be worth $200 million” if Maxwell “has really eliminated the toxic solvent without compromising on performance.” Maxwell’s patent filings indicate that work is being done to eliminate solvent usage in both dry-processing and melt-processing of binders.

Other ultracap suppliers include TokinSeikoEatonCAP-XXLS UltracapacitorIoxus and Skeleton.

This deal was Tesla’s fifth acquisition since its founding; the others being manufacturing-automation firm PerbixSolarCityRiviera Tool and Grohmann Engineering.

During Maxwell’s third-quarter 2018 conference call, CEO Franz Fink noted that its dry electrode business was looking for a partner to provide “significant financial support” and expertise in EVs or energy storage systems. 

If this deal goes through in the coming quarters, Maxwell’s CEO will have gotten his wish.

Story from GTM (GreenTechMedia) – Eric Wescoff

A NEW Battery Patent Application by Tesla could deliver Faster Charging, Longer Life and Lower Cost


Tesla New Bsattery Screen_Shot_2018-04-02_at_6.51.03_AM_grande_9438dcd7-53a9-4c43-b290-bf7dc788a1af_grande

Tesla’s battery research group, led by renowned battery boffin Jeff Dahn, has applied for a patent on a new battery cell chemistry that the company says could deliver faster charging, longer life and lower cost.
In the application, entitled “Novel battery systems based on two-additive electrolyte systems,” Dahn and his team explain that adding up to five different compounds to an electrolyte can improve battery performance, but they have devised a solution using only two additives, which reduces costs compared to other systems that rely on more additives. Above: Tesla’s Model S (Instagram: brian__self)

Above: A look at why (and how) battery advances could be a game changer for Tesla (Source: Wall Street Journal)

The new two-additive mixtures can be used with lithium nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) battery chemistries. NMC chemistry is used in several EV models, but Tesla uses an NCA chemistry for its vehicle battery cells. However, Tesla does use NMC in its stationary storage batteries. According to the patent application, the new technology would be useful for both EV and grid storage applications.

Above: Jeff Dahn seated in the driver’s seat of a Tesla Model S (Source: Dalhousie University News)

Electrek has published both a copy of the complete patent application and a detailed technical summary. This news coupled with Tesla’s recent acquisition of Maxwell Technologies could point to forthcoming advances in battery tech for the Silicon Valley automaker.

Written by Charles Morris; this article originally appeared in Charged. Source: Electrek Video – Wall Street Journal

Tesla’s incredible efficiency lead is becoming clear with range test against Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace


With new premium electric SUVs hitting the market, Tesla is seeing some competition, but that competition is also highlighting Tesla’s incredible lead when it comes to efficiency.

Now a third-party range test against Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace is confirming that the rest of the industry is behind when it comes to efficiency.

The range and efficiency test

German electric car rental company nextmove conducted the test between the three premium electric SUVs.

The company used a pre-series Audi e-tron since they haven’t started deliveries officially, a Tesla Model X 90D with a 90 kWh battery pack. and a Jaguar I-Pace, which is also equipped with a 90 kWh pack.

The test was performed with all three vehicles driving in parallel on a 87 km stretch of the Autobahn between the Munich airport and Landshut in Germany at an average speed of 120 km/h (75 mph):

The results for the Tesla Model X, Audi e-tron, and Jaguar I-Pace

According to nextmove’s test, the Model X came out on top with an impressive lead over the two competitors:

“In direct comparison, the Tesla Model X (drag coefficient: 0.25) performed best. The consumption was 24.8 kWh per 100 km ((39.9 kWh/100mi). The Audi e-tron (drag coefficient: 0.27) showed a 23% higher consumption of 30.5 kWh/100 km (49.1 kWh/100mi). The Jaguar I-Pace (drag coefficient: 0.29) had the highest consumption of 31.3 kWh/100 km (50,37 kWh/100mi). and required 26% more than the Model X. The significantly higher consumption of the I-Pace compared to the Model X confirms previous nextmove tests on the motorway.”

The numbers clearly show that Tesla needs a lot less energy to power its SUV:

They used a Model X 90D to have a more comparable battery size with the I-Pace and e-tron, but the vehicle is no longer available for sale.

For context, nextmove also used the Model X 100D in the range comparison for what is available today:

Electrek’s Take

We already noted the disappointing efficiency in our reviews of the Audi e-tronand Jaguar I-Pace, but it’s interesting to have a direct comparison on the same road at the same time.

Also, it’s especially impressive when we consider that the Model X is bigger than both of those vehicles and therefore, it shouldn’t be more efficient.

We even noted in our review of the I-Pace that we wouldn’t even compare it to the Model X because it is more of a sedan than a SUV.

As for Audi, I think that they are intentionally giving up their efficiency in order to protect the battery pack and get a higher charge rate.

They clearly have a large buffer for their battery pack, which has a capacity of 95 kWh, but I don’t think you get access to more than 85 kWh out of it.

That’s how they manage to achieve an impressive charge rate of over 150 kWand maintain it for so long since the battery is not actually as full as you’d think and it also enables a lower average state-of-charge, which could be good for the longevity of the pack.

The disadvantage of it is that you are carrying around 15% more battery than you are ever going to use and that’s what kills the e-tron’s efficiency in our opinion.

Article by Fred Lambert of elektrek

Lithium vs Hydrogen – EV’s vs Fuel Cells – A New Perspective of Mutual Evolution


Electric vehicle sales are pumping, with an ever-expanding network of charging stations around the world facilitating the transition from gas-guzzling automobiles, to sleek and technologically adept carbon-friendly alternatives.

With that in mind, the community of car and energy enthusiasts still continue to open up the old ‘Who would win in a fight, lithium vs hydrogen fuel cell technology?’.

 

Are hydrogen fuel cell cars doomed?

Imagine being the disgruntled owner of a hydrogen-powered car, only for lithium batteries to completely take the reigns of the industry and in effect, make your vehicle obsolete. It’s not really that wild of a notion, it’s far closer to reality than you may realize, as most electric car vehicle manufacturers consider lithium to be the battery of choice, and a more progressive development tool.

Any rechargeable device in your home, like your portable battery, your camera or even your iPhone, is using lithium. It’s clearly felt in the tech world that this is the path of least resistance for the future, but what does that mean for hydrogen fuel cell technology?

In 2017, with BMW announcing a 75% increase in BEV (Battery Electric Vehicles) sales, Hyundai came out and announced that they were going to focus almost entirely on lithium batteries. They’re not abandoning their fuel cell programme, but their next line of 10 electric vehicles will feature only 2 hydrogen options. Hyundai Executive VP Lee Kwang-guk stated, “We’re strengthening our eco-friendly car strategy, centering on electric vehicles”.

Is it likely that other manufacturers will follow suit? Well, with Tesla’s Elon Musk personally stating a preference for lithium (he called hydrogen fuel ‘incredibly dumb’), and both Toyota and Honda indicating that they will pour R&D funds into this type of battery (despite earlier hesitation), the answer seems to be ‘well, we already have’.

READ MORE:

Toyota vs Tesla – Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles vs Electric Cars

 (Article Continued Below)

Do ‘refueling’ and ‘recharging’ stations hold the key to success?

Did you know that as of May 2017 there were only 35 hydrogen refueling stations in the entire US, with 30 of those in California? Compared to the 16,000 electric vehicle refueling stations already available in the US, with more on the way, it would seem that the logical EV purchaser would opt for a car with a lithium battery. In China, there are already more than 215,000 electric charging stations, with over 600,000 more in planning to make the East Asian nation’s road system more accommodating to EVs.

On January 30th, 2018, REQUEST MORE INFO, invested $5m into ‘FreeWire Technologies’, a manufacturer of rapid-charging systems for EVs. The plan is to install these charging systems in their gas stations all over the UK, though they did not disclose how many. So, even on the other side of the Atlantic, building a network of charging systems is a high priority.

With ‘Range Anxiety’ (the fear that your battery will run out of juice before the next charging point) being a common concern for EV owners, the noticeably growing network of refueling stations, including those with ‘fast charge’ options, are seeming to settle down the crowd of anxious early adopters.

 

Will the market dictate the winner in the lithium vs hydrogen car battery ‘war’?

If we look at the effects of supply and demand, the early clarity of lithium batteries as the battery of choice for alternative energy vehicles meant that there were a great time and cause for development. As a result, between 2010 and 2016, lithium battery production costs reduced by 73%.

If this trajectory continues, price parity is a when, not an if, and that when could well be encouraging you to take a trip down to your local EV dealership for an upgrade.

Demand for EVs instead of hydrogen fuel cell technology means that some of the world’s largest vehicle manufacturers are showing a strong lean towards lithium batteries.

Hyundai, Honda, and VW are all putting hydrogen on the back burner. And whilst market demand for hydrogen is considerably lower, Toyota remains keen on fighting this battle, which they have been researching for around 25 years.

Their theory that hydrogen and lithium battery powered vehicles must be developed ‘at the same speed’ is a dogged one.

You could say their self-belief was completely rewarded by their faith in the Prius, with over 5 million global sales and comfortable status as the top-selling car (ever) in Japan, so there will be many who tune in to the Toyota line of thinking and overlook the market sentiment.

Price will always play a role in purchasing decisions, and with scalable cost reduction methods not yet visible or available for hydrogen fuel cell technology, it looks like lithium is going to be the battery that opens wallets.

 

Can lithium and hydrogen car batteries coexist?

Sure, they can co-exist, but ultimately one technology is going to come close to a monopoly while the other becomes a collector’s item, a novelty, just a blip in technological history. That’s just one theory of course. 

Another theory is that the pockets in which hydrogen fuel cell vehicles already exist and are somewhat popular, like Japan and California, will use their powerful economies to almost force their success.

Why would they do this? Because the vehicles are far more expensive than EVs by comparison, they had to start in wealthy regions, install fuelling stations and slowly spread out into other affluent neighborhoods.

It’s a long game that relies heavily on wealthy regions opting to choose the expensive inconvenience, a feat which could arguably be achieved simply by creating the most visually compelling vehicles rather than the most efficient. Style over substance, for lack of a better phrase.

Take a look! See how Lithium powers the world…

 

Which will stand the test of time?

Looking at this from a scientific perspective, one might say ‘Well, lithium is limited, whereas hydrogen is the most abundant gas in our atmosphere’, and one would be correct. However, science doesn’t always simplify things. Hydrogen is really hard and inefficient to capture, and therein lies a huge obstacle.

Hydrogen fuel is hard to make and distribute, too, with a very high refill cost. The final kick in the teeth is that the technology required to capture, make and distribute all of that hydrogen is not very good for the environment, and is arguably no ‘cleaner’ than gasoline. That same technology uses more electricity in the hydrogen-creation process than is currently needed to recharge lithium batteries, and therein lies the answer to this whole debate, right?

We aren’t saying lithium batteries will be around forever, but they’re more adaptable, useful, scalable and affordable as a technology, right now.

By the time hydrogen fuel cell technology is affordable to the average consumer, we will hopefully have found a true clean energy source.

 

Conclusion: Will the lithium vs hydrogen debate ever be over?

Lithium is this, hydrogen is that, EVs are this and that, HFCs are that and this. The cycle will perpetuate until it becomes clear which is the definitive solution, at least that’s the belief of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who said ‘There’s no need for us to have this debate. I’ve said my piece on this, it will be super obvious as time goes by.’

To be fair though, this quote from George W Bush would beg to differ, when he is quoted as saying ‘Fuel cells will power cars with little or no waste at all. We happen to believe that fuel cell cars are the wave of the future; that fuel cells offer incredible opportunity’. Well, George, you may have been right back in 2003, but this is 2018.

Article Provided By

Mike is Chief Operating Officer of Dubuc Motors, a startup dedicated to the commercialization of electric vehicles targeting niche markets within the automotive industry.

Tesla is reportedly in talks with China’s Lishen over Shanghai battery contract


tesla-model-3-red

  • Tesla has signed a preliminary agreement with China’s Tianjin Lishen to supply batteries for its new Shanghai car factory, as it aims to cut its reliance on Japan’s Panasonic, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.
  • The companies had yet to reach a decision on how large an order the U.S. electric car company would place, and Lishen was still working out what battery cell size Tesla would require, one of the sources said.

 

musk at giga factory in china 105663613-1546876410008rts29mq3.530x298
Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends the Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory groundbreaking ceremony in Shanghai, China, January 7, 2019.

Tesla has signed a preliminary agreement with China’s Tianjin Lishen to supply batteries for its new Shanghai car factory, as it aims to cut its reliance on Japan’s Panasonic, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The companies had yet to reach a decision on how large an order the U.S. electric car company would place, and Lishen was still working out what battery cell size Tesla would require, one of the sources said.

While Panasonic is currently Tesla’s exclusive battery cell supplier, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said in November the U.S. company would manufacture all its battery modules and packs at the Shanghai factory and planned to diversify its sources.

“Cell production will be sourced locally, most likely from several companies (incl Pana), in order to meet demand in a timely manner,” Musk said in a tweet in November.

Other battery makers in the running for contracts could include Contemporary Amperex Technology and LG Chem.

Tesla broke ground on the $2 billion so-called Gigafactory, its first in China, earlier this month and plans to begin making Model 3 electric vehicles (EV) there by the end of the year.

Story from Reuters News Service

Boosting lithium ion batteries capacity 10X with Tiny Silicon Particles – University of Alberta


li_battery_principle (1)
U of Alberta chemists Jillian Buriak, Jonathan Veinot and their team found that nano-sized silicon particles overcome a limitation of using silicon in lithium ion batteries. The discovery could lead to a new generation of batteries …more

University of Alberta chemists have taken a critical step toward creating a new generation of silicon-based lithium ion batteries with 10 times the charge capacity of current cells.

“We wanted to test how different sizes of  nanoparticles could affect fracturing inside these batteries,” said Jillian Buriak, a U of A chemist and Canada Research Chair in Nanomaterials for Energy. ua buriak tinysiliconp

Silicon shows promise for building much higher-capacity batteries because it’s abundant and can absorb much more lithium than the graphite used in current lithium ion batteries. The problem is that silicon is prone to fracturing and breaking after numerous charge-and-discharge cycles, because it expands and contracts as it absorbs and releases lithium ions.

Existing research shows that shaping silicon into nano-scale particles, wires or tubes helps prevent it from breaking. What Buriak, fellow U of A chemist Jonathan Veinot and their team wanted to know was what size these structures needed to be to maximize the benefits of silicon while minimizing the drawbacks.

The researchers examined silicon nanoparticles of four different sizes, evenly dispersed within highly conductive graphene aerogels, made of carbon with nanoscopic pores, to compensate for silicon’s low conductivity. They found that the smallest particles—just three billionths of a metre in diameter—showed the best long-term stability after many charging and discharging cycles.

“As the particles get smaller, we found they are better able to manage the strain that occurs as the silicon ‘breathes’ upon alloying and dealloying with , upon cycling,” explained Buriak.

u of alberta imagesThe research has potential applications in “anything that relies upon  using a battery,” said Veinot, who is the director of the ATUMS graduate student training program that partially supported the research.

“Imagine a car having the same size battery as a Tesla that could travel 10 times farther or you charge 10 times less frequently, or the battery is 10 times lighter.”

Veinot said the next steps are to develop a faster, less expensive way to create  to make them more accessible for industry and technology developers.

The study, “Size and Surface Effects of Silicon Nanocrystals in Graphene Aerogel Composite Anodes for Lithium Ion Batteries,” was published in Chemistry of Materials.

 Explore further: Toward cost-effective solutions for next-generation consumer electronics, electric vehicles and power grids

More information: Maryam Aghajamali et al. Size and Surface Effects of Silicon Nanocrystals in Graphene Aerogel Composite Anodes for Lithium Ion Batteries, Chemistry of Materials (2018). DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.8b03198

Watch a YouTube Video about an Energy Storage Company Tenka Energy, Inc., that has developed and prototyped the NextGen of silicon-lithium-ion batteries for EV’s, Drones, Medical Sensors ….

Tenka Energy, Inc. Building Ultra-Thin Energy Dense SuperCaps and NexGen Nano-Enabled Pouch & Cylindrical Batteries – Energy Storage Made Small and POWERFUL!

via @Genesisnanotech #greatthingsfromsmallthings #energystorage

What’s sparking electric-vehicle adoption in the truck industry?


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACommercial fleets could go electric rapidly. Understanding total cost of ownership and focusing on specific cases is critical.

There’s nothing new about electric trucks; they have labored on the streets of major cities across the world since the first decades of the 20th century.

Fleet managers prized these trucks for their strong pulling power and greater reliability than vehicles powered by early, fitful internal combustion engines (ICEs). And now, in a high-tech second act, both incumbent and nontraditional makers of commercial vehicles across most weight categories and a variety of segments are launching new “eTrucks.” A century on, the question is, why now?

We believe the time for this technology is ripe and that three drivers will support the eTruck market through 2030.

First, based on total cost of ownership (TCO), these trucks could be on par with diesels and alternative powertrains in the relative near term.

Second, robust electric-vehicle (EV) technology and infrastructure is becoming increasingly cost competitive and available.

Nikola Electric Truck 15616_26470_ACT

Nikola CEO: Fuel-Cell Class 8 truck on track for 2021 – SAE International

Third, adoption is being enabled by the regulatory environment, including country-level emission regulations (for example, potential carbon dioxide fleet targets) and local access policies (for example, emission-free zones).

At the same time, barriers to eTruck adoption exist: new vehicles must be proved to be reliable, consumers need to be educated, and employees, dealers, and customers will require training. Furthermore, there are challenges in managing the new supply chain and setting up the production of new vehicles.

Based on the analysis of many different scenarios—which are highly sensitive to a defined set of assumptions—our research shows that commercial-vehicle (CV) electrification will be driven at different rates across segments, depending on the specific characteristics of use cases.

Electrification is happening fast, and it’s happening now

Electric Truck II upsvanMcKinsey developed a granular assessment of battery-electric commercial vehicles (BECVs) for 27 CV segments across three different regions (China, Europe, and the United States), three weight classes, and three applications. The three weight classes are light-duty trucks (LDTs), medium-duty trucks (MDTs), and heavy-duty trucks (HDTs), while the three applications are urban, regional, and long-haul cycles. While our modeling also includes other alternative fuels and technologies such as mild hybrids, plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), natural gas, and fuel-cell electric CVs, this article focuses on full electrification.

Our model concentrates on two scenarios, “early adoption” and “late adoption,” to help place bookends for each weight class and geography (Exhibit 1). The two scenarios reflect different beliefs regarding core assumptions, such as the effectiveness of any regulatory push, the timing of infrastructure readiness, and the supply availability, which results in delay or advancement of uptake.

adoption scenarios for electric trucks in 3 weight classes in Europe, US, and China through 2030

Our research reveals strong potential uptake of BECVs, especially in the light- and medium-duty segments. Unlike decision criteria to purchase passenger cars, CV purchasing decisions place greater emphasis on economic calculations and reflect a greater sensitivity to regulation. Light- and medium-duty BECV segment adoption will probably lag that of passenger-car EVs through 2025 due to a lack of eTruck model availability and fleets that are risk averse. However, our analysis indicates that in an “early adoption” scenario, BECV share in light and medium duty could surpass car EV sales mix in some markets by 2030 due to undeniable TCO advantages for BECVs over diesel trucks.

Comparing the weight classes, our scenarios suggest low uptake in the HDT segment mainly because of high battery costs, and, as such, later TCO parity. In the MDT and LDT segments, our “late adoption” scenario suggests that BECVs could reach 8 to 27 percent sales penetration by 2030, depending on region and application. In our “early-adoption” scenario, with more aggressive assumptions about the expansion of low-emission zones in major cities, BECVs could reach 15 to 34 percent sales penetration by 2030.

The inflection point appears to be shortly after 2025, when demand could be supported by a significant tailwind from the expected tightening of regulation (for example, free-emission zones), in combination with increasing customer confidence, established charging infrastructure, model availability, and improved economics for a variety of use cases and applications.

TCO plays a more important role in commercial-vehicle purchasing considerations and modeling TCO helps companies understand the timing of TCO parity across different powertrain types. We analyzed the sensitivity of TCO parity to see how much earlier a specific use case with a custom-made technology package tailored to a predefined driving and charging pattern can break even. The illustration of the “race of eTrucks” shows the interval of potential TCO breakeven points for various applications and weight classes (Exhibit 2). The light-colored shade behind each point indicates how early a specific use case can potentially break even.

timeline for electric trucks (by weight class and miles traveled) reaching total-cost-of-ownership parity with diesel vehicles in Europe, US, and China through 2030

Medium average daily distances show the earliest TCO breakeven point. Looking across weight classes, we can identify an optimal daily driving distance that establishes TCO parity for eTrucks and diesels. In the example shown, the earliest breakeven point occurs at a distance travelled of about 200 kilometers a day. This sweet spot of operation means the battery is large enough to enable efficient operation without too many recharges, while ensuring sufficient annual distance to benefit from the lower cost per kilometer. At the same time, the battery is still small enough to limit upfront capital expenditures. This effect is strongest where the difference between electricity and diesel prices is high, as in the European Union, where taxes on fuels are high, resulting in a high price differential with electricity prices. In the United States, prices for fuel and electricity are both lower, as is the absolute price differential.

Urban city buses will break even earliest in the heavy-duty segment. Electric city buses—an adaptation of a purpose-built HDT—could break even the earliest in the HDT segment, between 2023 and 2025 for the average application. In China in 2016, the share of new EV bus sales already exceeded 30 percent1due to regulatory considerations. By 2030, EV city buses could reach about 50 percent if municipalities enact conducive policies. City and urban bus segments are likely to experience some of the highest BECV penetration levels in Europe and the United States.

The breakeven point for light-duty urban applications is sensitive to minor changes in use case. While the average LDT-segment truck could break even in 2021, by slightly modifying the use-case characteristics (for example, using a smaller battery, recharging during operation, or assuming higher energy efficiency due to disabled heating for urban parcel delivery), the case can reach parity today.

Three critical assumptions most affect TCO breakeven points.The assumptions that drive TCO uncertainties include the development of fuel and electricity efficiencies for ICE or BECV technologies, the cost of batteries, and the cost of fuel and electricity. Also, our analysis shows that the TCO breakeven of urban applications is more sensitive to changes in assumptions than it is for long-haul applications. That’s because the costs per kilometer associated with both BECVs and ICEs for long hauls remain closer to each other for a longer period. For example, a five percent improvement in a BECV’s TCO would shift the breakeven point by three to four years in urban applications, but only by about two years in long-haul applications.

Infrastructure readiness

The required charging infrastructure represents a major challenge to BECV uptake. Nevertheless, charging may not be as critical as it is for passenger cars, due to the predictability and repeatability of driving patterns and operational uses and the central nature of refueling. In general, charging infrastructure will be required at depots to enable charging when BECVs are not in use (for example, overnight). Building a supporting infrastructure will require investments by vehicle owners and, potentially, end users as well. (Our TCO modeling reflects the required cost of use-case-supporting charging infrastructure.) The possibility of charging while loading or unloading could drive earlier adoption because it has the potential to reduce cost based on smaller battery-size requirements.

Long-haul (and partly regional) applications will require in-route charging, for example, at motorways or resting areas. On the one hand, the high level of predictability of long-haul routes allows for concentrated investment in charging infrastructure. Companies can identify key routes and charging points and prioritize them for investment. Analysis shows that on popular routes a charging point every 80 to 100 kilometers could suffice for the early phases of HDT adoption, so the sheer number of charging points might not be the limiting factor.

Courtesy Of: McKinsey Center for Future Mobility 

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