Our Next Energy (ONE), a Michigan-based startup, tested its prototype of a new battery in a Tesla Model S and drove 752 miles before having to recharge, Reuters has reported. ONE plans to start producing battery packs that will deliver a similar range in 2023. Mujeeb Ijaz, ONE’s founder and CEO, shared their plans to build these batteries that provide double the range of most existing EVs.
“We plan to build (batteries) in North America, and believe it can be done economically.”
Ijaz is a 30-year industry veteran who has worked for Apple as a senior executive and A123 Systems where he led teams in developing EV battery systems. He started ONE to focus on developing an advanced long-range battery that uses safer materials while not sacrificing energy. Ijaz said that he wants the ONE Gemini 001 battery to eliminate both nickel and cobalt without giving up energy density.
“We want to eliminate both nickel and cobalt, but we don’t want to give up energy density. We aim to re-invent battery chemistry as well as the cell architecture.”
This would provide at least 750 miles or range between charges, which would enable a customer to drive round trip from Detroit to Chicago. The company’s range target is beyond what any EVs offer — even Lucid offers just over 500 miles of range for the top version of the Lucid Air.
Ijaz explained why he picked a Tesla Model S to demonstrate the new prototype battery.
“It has fairly high efficiency and a fairly large battery pack.”
It provided enough space to fit the ONE battery. ONE tested the battery in a road test across Michigan last month. The average speed was 55 miles per hour. The speed and the temperature make the distance driven all the more impressive. However, we don’t know the energy storage capacity or cost of the battery pack.
Car and Driver, which reported on the Tesla Model S going 752 miles with the ONE battery, shared a bit more details on the Gemini 001 battery. The Gemini 001 battery will have two cell types. ONE plans to supplement the lower-cost LFP cells with a range-extender portion for extreme power needs. This will reduce stress and deterioration in the majority of the pack.
The range-extender cells will use a modified anode that will eliminate graphite. The article noted that ONE said that this makes more volume available for the cathode to boost the energy density of the range extender cells.
ONE will design the cathode with a material rich in manganese that can be sustainably sourced at a low cost. ONE has also applied for 14 patents related to the Gemini pack. Ijaz told Car and Driver that the LFP cells cover 99% of the vehicle’s duty cycle and the range extender is used for 1%.
Regarding the Tesla Model S that ONE tested the prototype battery in, Car and Driver noted that it was the same vehicle that won its EV 1000 long-range trip in the spring of 2021 — before being modified. In their highway range test in May 2021, Car and Driver said that the vehicle achieved 320 miles at a steady 75 miles per hour and that this was the farthest distance they’ve recorded.
The article also shared more details about the test drive. It took place in mid-December in Michigan. This is notable because Michigan is known for its winter temperatures and one common issue with EVs is that cold weather affects the range of the vehicles. ONE drove the Model S up and down the state for 14 hours at around 55 miles per hour before going back to its headquarters. The trip was a total of 752 miles.
The news of this new battery prototype with a range of over 750 miles is truly exciting. Recently, I wrote about a study led by Stanford University and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory that found a way to bring dead lithium back to life in EV batteries while providing an additional 30% boost to the battery’s lifespan. The study was inspired by a professor who speculated that applying a voltage to a battery’s cathode and anode could make an isolated island of lithium — “dead lithium” — move between the electrodes. And the team was able to successfully do so.
Although these are two completely different topics, it goes to show that the development in EV batteries is having a lot of progress and success. This is hopeful news. Batteries keep improving. I look forward to hearing more about the Gemini 001 battery by ONE.