Published on September 19th, 2013 | by Important Media Cross-Post


New Tesla Patent: 400-Mile Battery Pack Using Metal-Air & Lithium-Ion Batteries

September 19th, 2013 by  

Originally posted on Gas2.
By Chris DeMorro


Tesla Motors is exclusively an electric car maker, with Elon Musk expressing disdain for cars like the Chevy Volt and BMW i3, which pack gas-powered range-extenders. But Tesla may be working on a different kind of hybrid; a hybrid battery pack that could extend the range of cars like the Tesla Model S by up to 40%, allowing for 400 miles of driving between charges.

A report by Global Equities Research shows that Tesla recently filed patents 20130187591 and 20130181511, which describe a combination lithium-ion and metal-air battery pack. This hybrid battery pack would primarily use the lithium-ion side, only drawing power from the metal-air battery pack on extended journeys. Metal-air batteries, which use oxygen as an electrode, have a shorter lifetime when exposed to regular charging, but use more common elements like zinc or aluminum that drastically reduce battery costs.

Drivers would use the lithium-ion battery for daily use, and would either select the secondary battery, or have it automatically switch over on extended trips. A hybrid battery of this type could offer Tesla customers greater driving ranges, while not drastically increasing costs. There’s also mention of a mode whereby the metal-air battery would charge the lithium-ion battery, which powers the car’s systems. 95% of driving consist of short jaunts no more than 90 miles per day, but the option of going 400 or more miles on a single charge could open up the world of electric vehicles to a much wider audience.

For now though, Tesla will still rely on Panasonic for batteries, as they have a four-year, 80,000 unit contract with the Japanese tech giant. But going forward from there, who’s to say Tesla doesn’t deploy ground-breaking battery technology of its own? This could be a peek at the future, folks.

Source: Benzinga

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  • Defiant

    I’ll admit that I have no idea what I’m talking about…especially in the area of electric cars. However, from this layman’s POV, here is ANOTHER claim for a miracle battery and ANOTHER promise of miracle electric energy. I actually hope it’s true…but to believe it out-of-hand would take a bigger fool than I. Until there’s actual proof…this is just more background noise to me…

    • Bob_Wallace

      We are pretty much trying to peer into the future, attempting to peak behind the curtain. Nothing is real until it is. But there’s an awful lot of different technologies being developed and only one has to work out in order for the game to change.

    • Wolfeman Prepare for your miracle.

  • Dave Mende

    Sooo, Tesla must sell 80,000 cars before it can switch to the new system? See you in 80 years.

    • Ivor O’Connor

      You might want to look at their expected sales figures:
      25K sold in 2013
      50K sold in 2014 for a total of 75K
      So sometime in 2015 they will hit their total of 80K cars.

      • Dave Mende

        I hope so. Although many of us will never be able to afford battery powered cars. My Rabbit got 55mpg in ’78. Is that good? Wish I had one of those diesels again.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Your ’78 Rabbit diesel probably cost about $5k new.

          In current dollars that would be $17,358.

          A 2013 Nissan LEAF costs $21,300 after the federal subsidy. A lot less after state rebates. Even at $21,3k you’d save that $4k difference in fuel and maintenance costs in a few years.

          • Dave Mende

            Your point is well taken. If there was time and money I would buy a Leaf. But, I want to buy ‘american’, and I don’t have any money to spend. //I inherited the rabbit. Perhaps the best car, of about 20, I have owned. Ford is the last US carmaker. GM has moved to China. I’ll wager 90% of Ford’s sales go to gov people, or gov sub people. US is done.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The LEAF is built in Tennessee.

            Ford has plants in Thailand, Romania, Portugal, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, Spain, Venezuela, China, Germany, England, India, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Africa, Russia, Turkey, Australia, Vietnam, Belgium, France, Slovakia, Argentina, Canada, Spain, Philippines, Wales and perhaps a couple others I missed.

            Car manufacturers are international these days. There are no longer any “pure” buys.

            And GM is still headquartered in the US and doing fine.

          • Patrick James Bayham

            “The LEAF is built in Tennessee.” and it shows…its a nice lawnmower.

          • Bob_Wallace


          • JD

            ford builds most of their cars in mexico. more “foreign” cars are built in America than american cars.

      • T

        You forgot that they sold about 3,000 of the Model S in 2012. And they sold the Roadster for several years before that (500 or more?) if they count in the 80,000 unit total.

    • T

      Trolls will be trolls.

    • Patrick James Bayham

      going to enjoy ICE cars being pulled by oxen…:) within 5 years.

    • edutainer

      I’m sure you where amazed at the growth of Tesla Share value.
      I predict you have some more dramatic surprises forthcoming on this prediction, as you have not studied the Tesla plan. There are under $40,000 EVS for the masses on the drawing board right after the 4 wheel drive SUV is released shortly.
      I genuinely hope you are wrong, for the benefit of your descendents.

  • Mat

    Would it be better if they used a blend of Ultra Capacitor for high load, Lithium-Ion for medium load and Metal-Air for low load. The power delivery would be managed by the controller that would switch between the modes on demand. I’m not a battery expert by any means, so I might be way off 😉

  • James Hilden-Minton

    I’m not sure it matters much whether this is too obvious to patent. Once purpose of a patent of course is to prevent competitors for using your idea. The other is to preempt a competitor from patenting your idea and forcing you to pay them for what was your original idea. As “obvious” as this may seem, I would hate to see Tesla thwarted in their effort to commercialize a hybrid battery because they did not do everything in their power to secure their IP. Just look at what their faced with in China because of a blattent trademark troll. The last thing they need is to tangle with a patent troll.

  • Miles

    This is great as I’m looking for an Electric Car in Australia however they’re still expensive here. I only need a car for less <100 Miles of travel, 400 miles is overkill for me. I'm sure in a few years we will have more competition. I'm looking at an EV in 12 -24 months (I hope) – P.S The oil companies can jam it !!!

    • bsmsnudge

      Most of the parts and components of a Tesla comprise of materials made from oil products of some type. eg: tyres/tires, interior, electrical insulation, body panels and the dash etc.
      Then there is the little matter of power generation to re-charge it; you can run but you can’t get away from the oil companies.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Well, that’s a pile of fail.

        The S has an aluminum body.

        We use almost no oil to produce electricity. Somewhere around 1% of our electricity comes from oil. It gets used in emergency generators and in remote places.

        • bsmsnudge

          All electric vehicles are what you call “a pile of fail” every last stupid one of them.

          • Patrick James Bayham

            ok…’ve got nothing. that was obvious.

          • edutainer

            I defend your right to have your opinion, however I suspect from your presentation style, you haven’t had an opportunity to test drive a pure EV nor an extended rang plug-in EV.
            If I’m correct, and you don’t have a built in ‘oil’ predjudice, arrange a test ride so you can show your knowledge with your thoughts.

      • Patrick James Bayham

        lol..not very educated on a subject you talk about …a lot.

  • Bob_Wallace

    95% of driving consists of short jaunts no more than 90 miles per day.

    A 200 mile range EV, 100 miles on lithium and a reserve 100 miles on air-metal.

    Half the cost of a 400 mile range EV, plenty range for people who don’t take many 100+ mile drives.

    If one drives 500 mile days only six times a year that would mean recharging the metal air less than 20 times a year. If the metal-air can be charged 400 cycles in its lifetime that’s good for well over 20 years. A one time purchase.

    The big buying market is down a step from the 300/400 mile range luxury EV. Tesla has the manufacturing thing figured out. They can expand and be a big time player as soon as they enter the “more affordable” super-niche.

    • concerned14534

      Bob, I have read many of your comments, and I have to say, you have a way of cutting to the heart of the matter. Very nice observation.

      • Bob_Wallace

        I like simple answers.

        Those are the ones I can understand…. ;o)

        This is a very interesting graph (at least to me). We get all caught up in EVs needing hundreds of miles of range but look at how our driving really plots out.

        Perhaps what we need is “LEAFs” for our normal driving and easy to rent “Prius hybrids” We could cut our oil use to a tiny fraction of what it now is.

  • Rich

    Patent argument aside, the approach is brilliant.

  • Marion Meads

    It would truly be worth it if Tesla can patent their own groundbreaking revolutionary battery technologies as the author have stated. Well, if there are, there should be patent application filed already… So Tesla’s own ground-breaking battery technology is still vapor ware at this point.

  • Marion Meads
  • Marion Meads

    we need to challenge this patent for the obviousness reasons. Anyone can come up with extending range by using existing technologies out there. This patent limits such obvious applications, when in fact none of the components are revolutionary.

    You can comment on it in Google stating the fact that it is not revolutionary, and all of the technologies used existed. Heck, there are even many companies applying the same concept on iPhone, by using ordinary batteries to extend the lithium ion pack. This would no different than the EREV, where the source can be ICE generator, fuel cell, or another battery pack of another chemistry.

    • Shiggity

      By your logic we should all be driving EV’s by now if it’s so simple. Clearly the Model S was ‘obvious’, /sarcasm.

      Elon even talked about this concept in 2009. He hinted at a hybrid battery system that was a combination of ultracapacitor and longer term battery. Metal-air batteries have characteristics that lithium ion batteries do not besides storage density, but I’m sure you knew that.

      • Marion Meads

        You don’t know what you are talking about nor do you know about patents. The obviousness of using many different sources of power is non-revolutionary nor ground breaking method worthy of a patent.

        • Shiggity

          Your obliviousness to how the patent game is actually played makes you look bad. 90% of all patents aren’t even used by the companies that own them. They’re positional goods, look that term up please.

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