Ones we have moved into technology space the progress will be very fast. Battery technology depends on advance chemistry and new materials, the reduction in cost is not as dramatic as with chips, but still the major difference to the Oil based ICE technology is that lithium batteries are getting better and cheaper every year. The next tipping point will come with mass market lithium batteries production at Tesla Gigafactory and Megafactories from LG Chem, Foxconn, Boston Power, BYD and A123. Cost of $100 per kWh will bring the magic and mass market for EVs will arrive with Tesla Model 3, GM Bold and Nissan Leaf with 500 km range. Other auto-makers are rushing into the electric space as well and Apple iCar will change landscape of our industry overnight. Lithium is the magic metal at the very heart of this rEVolution. Lithium security of supply is taking the central stage now.
Finally, we have the confirmation about Apple Electric iCar. Now we can prepare ourselves to the overnight rEVolution and mass market for EVs with Apple brand power behind it. We have first Trillion market cap company in the making: Apple has finally found the place where to park its cash and brilliant team of designers and engineers, its powerful branding and distribution channels will bring EVs to the masses. Low cost manufacturing base will help as well, China Yuan devaluation is very timely and you can check on my entries below about Foxconn. This largest producer of iPhones and iPads is building its own Megafactory for mass production of lithium batteries and investing almost one billion dollars in the $15k Electric Car to be produced in China.
Lithium technology is already here, I was always advocating for Apple to buy the time to market and if not buy Tesla Motors outright, than to create the strategic partnership and use Tesla Model 3 power-train. Lithium is the magic metal which is at the heart of this rEVolution. Now we have the tide coming, all cars will be electric.
I will allow myself to put a lot of links today, after writing for years about it, I will celebrate the Steve Jobs' Legacy and Electric iCar is the best tribute to such great visionary. He has inspired Gary Schellenberg and myself to start International Lithium, when electric cars like Tesla were still a dream. Now, thanks to Elon Musk, they are here! Below you can find my thoughts on why, how and when Apple will create the mass market for electric cars.
We have great news today from our both J/V projects with Ganfeng Lithium! You already know about my personal vision for the lithium industry and our strategic partnership between International Lithium and Ganfeng Lithium from China. Now we have results coming in from our exploration and development programs.
Until someone figures out a replacement for lithium-ion in rechargeable batteries, research will continue into how to cram more energy inside as well as extending their useful lifespan. Two scientists believe they have managed to extend the life of such batteries significantly, and all because of an accident in the lab.
Today's lithium-ion batteries typically rely on graphite anodes to offer a long lifespan. Rechargeable battery performance declines and eventually falls off a cliff (becomes unusable) due to those anodes repeatedly expanding and contracting as lithium ionsmigrate during the cycle of charging and discharge. Lithium compounds build up on the electrodes during this process then break off during the expansion and contraction. This exposes the surface of the electrode and over time decomposes it to the point of failure.
A better alternative to using graphite for the anodes would be aluminum, but aluminum expands and contracts too much during each cycle. If scientists could stop that happening, we'd have much better performing batteries.
Dr Wang Changan of Tsinghua University and Dr Li Ju of MIT have been working together to stop the oxide coating that forms on the surface of aluminum nanoparticles when it is exposed to air. Their idea was to soak the nanoparticles in a sulfuric acid and titanium oxysuplphate mix, which would dissolve the aluminum oxide and replace it with titanium oxide.
Achieving the new outer coating required a set time of soaking. The accident occurred when Wang and Li forgot to remove one batch of the nanoparticles from the soaking process. That batch ended up soaking for several hours longer than intended with the result being the sulfuric acid and titanium oxysulfate mix leaked into the 50nm nanoparticles and dissolved some of the aluminum inside. What this left was a nanoparticle with a 4nm outer shell of titanium hydroxide and an inner 30nm "yolk" of aluminum.
Rather than discarding this forgotten batch, they decided to test it by building batteries using these particles. It turns out they have potentially solved the problem of using aluminum for the anodes in the battery. The extra long soak meant the anodes did not expand and contract, in fact they created a battery that over 500 charge/discharge cycles retained up to four-times the capacity of the equivalent graphite anode batteries. These batteries last considerably longer in terms of usable lifespan and, according to MIT, can hold up to three-times the energy.
Clearly, sometimes being a forgetful scientist can lead to a breakthrough. The discovery is expected to be an easy one to scale up to mass production, meaning the next-generation of rechargeable batteries could use aluminium anodes, bringing with it longer battery life per charge and batteries that have a much improved lifespan."
Disclosure: I am/we are long TRRXF, ILHMF.