Battery Story of the Week

Battery design breakthrough could make electric cars safer, cheaper and more environmentally sustainable
The Independent

A battery design breakthrough has opened up the possibility of developing zinc-ion rather than lithium-ion batteries for use in everything from smartphones to electric cars, making them safer, cheaper and more environmentally sustainable.

“There is still much to explore,” the researchers note, “but our findings open a way to low-cost and non-flammable organic electrolytes for practical Zn batteries with enhanced sustainability.”

Translation: Not happening anytime in the next decade, if ever.

Tesla to Add 50,000 PowerWalls in Australian Homes, Creating Virtual Grid Battery

According to this story from Electrek, the government in South Australia is working with Tesla to install 5kW solar arrays and 13.5 kWh battery packs on 50,000 houses, including 1,100 low-income houses, creating what amounts to 250MW virtual power plant, with 650MWh of battery storage. Australia seems to be embracing the modernization of its electrical grid having just complete a 129MWh battery site just this past Fall.

Now if only we could fix Puerto Rico with his solution.

Musk sends Tesla

Tesla Is Sending Battery Packs to Storm-Ravaged Puerto Rico
Bloomberg News

Tesla Inc. is sending to Puerto Rico hundreds of its Powerwall battery systems that can be paired with solar panels in an effort to help the battered island territory restore electric power, the company said Thursday. Some of the systems are already there and others are en route.

The equipment is sorely needed, since the island remains largely without electricity more than a week after Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20. The company has employees on the ground to install them and is working with local organizations to identify locations.

Apparently, that S.O.S. paid off. I note from the article that Musk moved faster than the U.S. government in dispatching equipment and trained techs to coordinate with locals on which arrays to get up first.

Battery price drop still vastly understated

This chart shows the predicted price of lithium-ion batteries by the Energy Information Agency (part of the US Department of Energy), Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Navigant, a technology consulting group. Each of these groups predicted where battery prices would be from 2013 through 2048.

So, how accurate have their predictions been four years out? Let’s look:

EIA – $575 per kWh
BENF – $450 per kWh
Navigant – $400 per kWh

Average – $475 per kWh

Right, so what was the actual price? Well, we are not sure, but the best guess based on industry watchers who have taken Tesla cars apart and priced the components, the best estimate is $227 per kWh, meaning the EIA missed the number by a mile, and even the average was more than twice the actual. But what is the price actually? According to Tesla probably somewhere around $124 per kWh.

If true, “experts” need to seriously re-evaluate their price prediction methodology.