Tesla’s battery research team, led by Jeff Dahn, has published a new research paper on the progress of their anode-free lithium-metal battery cell.
The new battery cell represents a step forward in improving energy density. An important detail was highlighted in the article, as battery researchers mentioned, that this new battery could even allow “electrified city flying”: “Such a high energy density could increase the range of electric vehicles by approximately 280 km, or even allow electric city flying. “
They’re actually talking about “city” flying, which probably refers to the electric air taxi services that several companies like Uber also work on.
These services are based on vertical take-off (eVTOL) electric aircraft, which can usually carry some passengers over short distances.
Current anode-free lithium-metal battery cells, tested by Tesla’s battery research team in Canada under Jeff Dahn, achieve energy densities and bulk energy densities of approximately 460 Wh / kg at 1000 Wh / L. This may result in higher capacity eVTOL aircraft, but at the same time it is very close to the implementation of commercial electric aircraft.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously mentioned that he is planning a commercial VTOL electric aircraft, and estimates that Li-Ion batteries will need to achieve an energy density of 400 Wh / kg in order for the batteries to be able to “beat” kerosene, and electric aircraft be viable.
Last year, Musk said he thought it would happen in five years.
Anode-free lithium-metal battery cells only need to increase by approximately 10% in terms of energy density for Musk’s design to come true. However, Dahn’s team is primarily focused on improving the energy density of the cells, as they currently only achieve 200 cycles (so they can withstand 200 full charges) – although this is already a big improvement over last year.