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New Battery Design Could Crush Tesla

Fisker

We all know the story behind Fisker, it was one of the world’s first plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in 2008, and even had a legal spat between Tesla, but shortly after in 2012 the company crashed and burned in bankruptcy. Last year, Henrik Fisker decided to relaunch his brand. He thought that one failure wasn’t enough—-just like Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets. During Fisker’s relaunch, he made a shocking comment that caught the attention of Musk and it was on the claims of a new breakthrough in battery technology using graphene-based hybrid material that would revolutionize battery storage and make Musk’s batteries appear obsolete.

Thirteen months passed, and Musk wrote off Fisker’s claims, as Musk decided to focus on other things like his Boring company. That might have been Musk’s fatal flaw, because Fisker just came out and dropped a bombshell on the electric vehicle (EV) industry: ‘New Fisker Batteries 2.5x Density, 500 Miles Per Charge & Charging in 1 Minute’..

Musk will shortly have developed uncontrollable convulsions with the understanding his Gigafactory producing thin-film lithium batteries could be obsolete.

Autoblog reports the new breakthrough, calling it a solid-state battery revolution:

It seems that we’re on the cusp of a solid-state battery revolution. The latest company to announce progress in developing the new type of battery is Fisker. It has filed patents for solid-state batteries and it expects the batteries to be produced on a mass scale around 2023.

In the game of electric vehicles, it’s all about batteries. Musk’s technology would be considered legacy when compared to solid-state. Here is why:

o Greater energy density
o Rapid charging times

Fisker claims the batteries underdevelopment have a density of 2.5x when compared to the standard EV batteries. This should give the range of a Fisker vehicle well over a 500-mile and recharging capabilities in as little as a minute.

Here’s what Dr. Fabio Albano, VP of battery systems at Fisker Inc. claims:

This breakthrough marks the beginning of a new era in solid-state materials and manufacturing technologies.

We are addressing all of the hurdles that solid-state batteries have encountered on the path to commercialization, such as performance in cold temperatures; the use of low cost and scalable manufacturing methods; and the ability to form bulk solid-state electrodes with significant thickness and high active material loadings. We are excited to build on this foundation and move the needle in energy storage.

Here’s a representation of the 3-dimensional electrodes:

Easily Explained: The Solid-State Battery Revolution

The current standards for Tesla Model S depending on the type of charge ranges from 10 minutes to 1:15 for a max distance up to 300 miles.

Fisker on the other hand, claims their battery will enable ranges of more than 500 miles and a charge as low as one minute. Fisker’s technology would increase distance by over 66 percent and drastically reduce charging time, along with no explosions something that Tesla has a long history of.

(Click to enlarge)

Roberto Baldwin of Engadget asks one question: Can Tesla avoid becoming the BlackBerry of electric cars?

The simple answer is no.

As we have highlighted the short thesis for Tesla in yesterday’s post titled: Jim Chanos Adds To Tesla Short, Sees Musk Stepping Down… We had to make one adjustment and add line 8, which now includes the understanding of Fisker’s solid-state battery technology and how it could disrupt the entire EV party.

1. Negative Cash Flows

“If you can’t make money selling a $100,000 car to rich people, how are you going to make money selling a $45,000 car to normal people?” Rocker told The Times. He was referring to the upcoming mass-market Model 3. “I’m saying they’re going to lose money on every Model 3 they build and sell,” Spiegel said. Based on Tesla’s Q4 2016 earnings report, he figured the combined average selling price for non-leased Model S and X is about $104,000 and the combined average cost of building them about $82,000.

Related: Falling Iraqi Oil Output Drags OPEC Production Down

2. Competition from the Big Guys

Electric vehicles are still only a tiny fraction of total new vehicle sales in the U.S.. Tesla sold about half of them. In March, according to Autodata, Tesla sold 4,050 vehicles in the U.S., similar to Porsche. All automakers combined sold 1.56 million new vehicles. This gave Tesla a market share of 0.26 percent. “Tesla faces a formidable set of competitors, and they’re coming in with guns blazing,” Wahlman told The Times. “Once the market is flooded with electric vehicles from manufacturers who can cross-subsidize them with profits from their conventional cars, somewhere around 2020 or 2021, Tesla will be driven into bankruptcy,” Spiegel said.

3. Tesla’s vanishing tax credits

The federal tax credit of $7,500 that EV buyers currently get is limited to 200,000 vehicles for each automaker. Once that automaker hits that point, tax credits are reduced and then phased out. Of all automakers, Tesla is closest to the 200,000 mark. Under its current production goals, the tax credits for its cars could start declining in 2018. This would give competitors, whose customers still get the full tax credit, a major advantage. About 370,000 folks put down a refundable $1,000 deposit on Tesla’s Model 3, perhaps figuring they’d get the $7,500 tax credit. But as it stands, many won’t. Rocker thinks that this is going to be an issue. The refundable deposit “commits them to nothing,” he said. Those that don’t get the tax credit may just ask for their money back and buy an EV that is still eligible for the credit.

4. The Question of patent protection

Tesla has made its patents available to all comers, thus lowering its patent protections against competitors. Also, the key part of an EV, the battery, is produced by suppliers; they, and not Tesla, own the intellectual property. This is true for all automakers. But Tesla might still be closely guarding crucial trade secrets that are not patented.

5. Musk’s distractions from his day job

Musk has a lot of irons in the fire: Tesla, SpaceX (with which he wants to build a colony on Mars or something), solar-panel installer SolarCity which Tesla bailed out last year; projects ranging from artificial intelligence to tunnel digging; venture capital activities…. “He’s all over the map, from tunneling to flights to Mars to solar roof tiles,” Rocker said. These announcements have the effect of boosting Tesla’s stock: “It’s ‘Let’s get the acolytes excited. Implant in the brain! Let’s buy Tesla stock!’”

6. Execution risk

“Investing is all about possibility and probability,” Yusko said. “Is it possible that Tesla will produce 500,000 cars in the next two or three years? Yes. Is it probable? No.” Tesla has missed many deadlines and goals, and quality problems cropped up in early production models. As Tesla is trying to make the transition to a mass-market automaker, execution risk will grow since mass-market customers are less forgiving.

7. Investor fatigue

Having lost money in every one of its 10 years of existence, Tesla asks investors regularly for more money to fill the new holes. In March, it got $1.2 billion. In May last year, it got $1.5 billion. Tesla will need many more billions to scale up production and to digest the losses. Tesla has been ingenious in this department. But when will investors get tired of it? “We’re awfully close to the point where people wake up and realize these guys are seriously diluting our equity” with new stock and convertible bond issues, Yusko said. According to The Times, Yusko “is looking for the moment when the true believers begin to lose faith.”

*Update

8. Emerging solid-state battery technology

Musk has invested a lot into his Gigafactory and technology producing lithium-ion batteries. The EV game is all about the best battery technology and a new threat has emerged using solid-state technology. If Tesla does not adopt to these new battery trends consumers would likely gravitate to EVs who possess such technology, because of the longer distance and shorter charge time.

By Zerohedge

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Leave a comment
  • LJ on November 16 2017 said:
    This will affect not only Tesla, but oil will tank.
  • snoopyloopy on November 16 2017 said:
    If the technology is really that transformative, Tesla can just integrate those batteries into their cars instead of the ones they currently use. And no, that wouldn't obsolete the Gigafactory, just open up all that available capacity to the stationary storage market that they're presenting having to resort to outsourcing to fill.
  • Dubby on November 16 2017 said:
    "If Tesla does not adopt to these new.. ..trends consumers would likely gravitate to EVs who possess such technology, because of the longer distance and shorter charge time."

    What an obvious statement, do you seriously think TSLA is completely oblivious to this? Me and my buddy were talking about solid-state battery tech in high-school, it's not viable yet dude. If TSLA is still around as the significant improvements in battery tech make it to the mass-market, TSLA will produce 50% of that growing market too. If they make it past 2020, it's not going to be new battery tech that's going to do them in (BK) during a booming EV market, LMAO.

    Let me be more clear: EVs will explode as the biggest draw-back for EVs, Li-ion batteries, makes it harder for customers to justify buying ICE vehicles. This is exactly why TSLA suffers -- they're ramping up the company to be ready for this market. Musk wants EVs on the road in a significant fashion as soon as he can possibly make it happen -- that's a fact. The speculation, is that he's not going to be able to do it.

    Generally, I don't bet against the .01% -- and I respect Moore's Law.

    Also, TSLA addresses Solid-State Batteries: http://bit.ly/2A5J7i1.
  • Aquilan on November 16 2017 said:
    Here comes another snake oil peddler! Lead acid battery is the most economical, most recyclable, most established, cheapest materials, no patents & most integrated battery technology around! All other battery technology only viable in niche product markets. The day I can buy an alternate tech replacement battery for my petrol fueled car as cheap, as available and as recyclable as a lead acid battery is the day I believe Musk et al have genuine tech and products!
  • Lee James on November 16 2017 said:
    I know it's early yet, but I'm looking for more info about the expected production cost of the new Fisker battery.

    Seems to me that an Achilles tendon for the Lithium-ion battery is a couple of minerals in the quantity needed. Nano technology does not come cheap either.

    -Looking forward to more on the Fisker design.
  • Bill Simpson on November 16 2017 said:
    Imaging how much current you would need to charge a battery that big in a minute. You would dim the lights in the entire neighborhood if it was possible, which it isn't, because the wires into the home and the circuit breakers would never be able to handle the huge electrical load.
    This article is probably written by someone with a short position in Tesla stock. It is mostly BS.
    Musk may fail. But even if he does, he has already changed the world by forcing the mass production of ecars by the major car companies, who fear his creation, Tesla. The giants aren't all planning electric cars to help humanity. They fear Musk's little startup car company.
    Then there is the first rocket to come home and land, something the global superpower United States, nor giant Soviet Union, never could accomplish. That changed the world too, by significantly lowering the cost to place things in space.
  • Philip C Branton on November 17 2017 said:
    Great comments by everyone. What I find interesting from this article and comments is rather stunning. I grew up with a father who dedicated his entire career to the battery industry and field. My high school science teacher started out as a lab technician for General Battery Corporation and worked with my dad. Even though the plant on Old Chicksprings Road in Greer was a lead acid manufacturing facility, research and discussions surrounding the next evolution in battery development was always percolating due to the impacts of such technology on the huge PENSIONS involved in the worldwide battery industry.
    The points highlighted in this article are substantive but it's the holy grail of battery development that is not discussed. This whole article is about solid state battery technology as a Tesla killer. Pointed comments made by aware readers counter this.
    Solid state batteries allow for energy storage to be similar to LEGO blocks that are stackable and modular to be used not only in cars... BUT,... drills, Golf carts, lawnmowers, boats, and most every thing in one's home..!
    The Tesla battery as it is right now is not modular or swappable by a child or woman to be used for other uses or swappable with extra storage batteries in one's garage.
    The solid state battery will change all of this and it is the strategic patents on this technology that is being presently... "choked".

    That is what is not being discussed or related in this article.
    Think for a second.....why are Lithium Ion batteries not stackable and modular to be used for more than one purpose..? Just look at your battery powered drill.

    Elon Musk understands this. I know first hand that Google understands this. (Think battery UPS needed for server needs)
    I have personally WARNED city officials about the need to change building codes and zoning to meet transformative "changes". They do not even want to discuss the issue.
    Is solid state battery technology a silver bullet? NOPE.....it is a dynamic portion to the decentralized energy production and storage economic transformation.

    The real nugget of information left out of this article is the point that solid state batteries will allow people to produce their own 3D printed batteries for use. Why does one think LEGO as a corporation is so valuable.? They may not print or produce batteries now, but think of the 3D printing technology they intellectually own that will be used to print future stackable and modular batteries..?

    Dare to wonder how aware Elon is of this..?

    I personally know that our research labs know this as a 30 year civil servant.
  • Robert Bernal on November 17 2017 said:
    Sounds like the author is using the promise of the SSB as an excuse to derail Tesla. Why couldn't he or she (yes, I forgot to look before I typed) considered that, just maybe, the SSB components would be produced in the same exact manner as li-ion in the GF. Same film like structures rolled up into cells, but different elements and molecules. That would make his batteries 2.5x more energy dense, too.
    Of course, this is if Elon is already considering partnering with the inventors...
  • Terry on November 18 2017 said:
    This may be possible but highly unlikely. There was an aluminum battery that should have been in some vehicles this yr. Have not seen the aluminum battery. The aluminum battery was suppose to go a 1000 miles and than exchanged. Sounds good but have not seen the battery. When Fisker vehicle was on the market it looked good but not many sales. I also wonder about the service needed on those Fisker vehicles who does it
  • Sunny Guy on November 19 2017 said:
    As soon as I read the falsehood ...

    “... along with no explosions something that Tesla has a long history of.“

    the red flag went up.

    My 2013 Model S has 118,000 miles on it — guess I should feel lucky still to be in one piece. :-)

    Mark
  • Jan Jaspers on November 20 2017 said:
    Whatever battery employed... I strongly believe the answer to extended mileage of electric vehicles is simple and easily applicable: Standardisation:

    If all electric vehicle producers get their act together to decide on a (global!) standard type of battery, batteries could be quickly replaced at the usual petrol stations, even without any interference of service staff.

    All of us, nobody accepted, are using many kinds of devices or toys running on AA or AAA batteries, why not inventing, deciding upon, and applying global standard batteries for electrical vehicles?

    Jan Jaspers, former sr. Petrohysicist at Shell
  • Terry on November 20 2017 said:
    Teslas real problem is that it's a pyramid scheme. The other stumbling blocks will only expose this problem. Losing massive amounts for ten years with no end in sight. Same problem as the us government. Simple math.
  • the masked avenger on November 21 2017 said:
    I love the Musk haters. He simply prove the wrong. SpaceX is wildly successful setting a record this year for launch cadence and landing, reusing first stages. He has revolutionized space travel and will continue to dominate.
    As for fisker......haw many cars does he have in production and how many new batteries has he produced?? He won't be able to supply anyone but rich owners who polish their cars with diapers.....not drive them.
    Tesla will lead, the others will follow. Those who make fun of Musk are simply jealous of him. Keep cutting him down, he will keep roving you wrong. If new batteries become viable, Musk will make them. It is amazing to me how truly ignorant most oil writers are...they have zero foresight and blond to anything non-oil/greed.
    Tesla is her to stay, Musk won't step down, SpaceX will continue to innovate and dominate. Good luck Musk haters, enjoy the crow.
  • oskar on November 24 2017 said:
    The concept is quite interesting. energy density is very important, so charge time is the key. However, that charge time means that to get such a high Kwatt/hours into a battery requires a conductor the size of a thigh. It would mean that at home is out of the question, especially at the home electric rates. I see 17 cents/kw and then 42 above a 350 kw threshold. I see a greater problem in availability at the "pump". Stations, that are built to supply, need the infrastructure from the source. And the source requires larger generating capability.
    Despite all the possibilities, fast replacement at a station via a standardized battery form factor is the only counter answer. You basically buy an empty car and "rent" a battery. Might be promising.
    This may all be coming, but a lot of interim issues are not clear. Perhaps if we solarize all of Nevada, the generating capability will be there and then super batteries will cover the nigh. All fun for the future.
  • eingriff on November 25 2017 said:
    Fascinating article and comments.

    Hope civilization survives long enough to see these developments come to fruition.
  • Kawika on November 26 2017 said:
    Flexibility to adapt to the technological advances in batteries is a must so one can stay viable. Someone mentioned the tech being choked up in the mainstream somewhere. Someone has to have a hand in the pot! I'm not a tenth as smart as the others who commented, they should be a commitee from the ground up to fully functioning "service" stations. It was eye opening and a pleasure reading the comments.
  • Minor Heretic on November 27 2017 said:
    I was in the EV business for a number of years, and the people I trust the least are those with revolutionary battery designs. There are several problems with bleeding edge batteries.

    If you want to know if a battery will last seven years, it takes...seven years to find out. In fact, it takes multiple battery packs being used in multiple charge/discharge/storage/temperature patterns for seven years. Battery developers rush this because the investors get impatient. Hilarity ensues.

    Making a battery in a lab, or even in a pilot production run, is a different universe from churning out batteries on an assembly line.

    The higher the Watt-hours per liter (about 1100 for these) the greater the problem with thermal control. There is theoretical Wh/l with a battery the size of a stick of gum putting out milliamps. Then there is a real world Wh/l when you are trying to keep a 200 kg pack from combusting while pumping out 200 amps. No battery is 100% efficient in charge or discharge, and that waste heat has to get to the outside world somehow. You lose volumetric density in an effort to expose battery elements to cooling liquid or air. The higher the density and the higher the draw, the smaller the chunks of solid battery compared to the cooling medium.

    The ugliest, nastiest, most abusive thing you can do to a battery is to power a car with it. It will be subject to wide temperature swings, shock, vibration, irregular charge regimes, and high rate charge and discharge events. Lots of battery chemistries look great on a lab bench.

    I'll believe in these batteries when they have been mass produced and tortured on the road for five years.

    That said, like other commenters above I'd love to see a standard form factor and performance spec for EV traction batteries. I can buy a starter battery for my car in any parts store in the U.S. That's the way a mature market works.
  • petergrt on December 06 2017 said:
    Two points:

    1.Samsung is working on similar technology . . . .
  • petergrt on December 06 2017 said:
    Two point:

    Samsung is working on a very similar technology, as as IBM and others . . . . the real question is who is going to get to the commercialization first . . . .

    The 'mega-factory' is, I am sure easily adoptable to employ new technologies to build batteries . . . .
  • joseph boggi on December 07 2017 said:
    When our Jedi Master hears someone wants to crush his EV into tiny pieces of sand, he says GREAT. That is the point. Crush the ICE, and put an EV in every garage. ( they would not fit in a pot)

    We've got a bet on Secretariat in the fourth. The fourth being the fourth generation Tesla's, more or less.

    Would you bet against Secretariat. or Einstein, or Edison?

    The most amazing part about all of this. All the other engineers so much engineering progress on the table. It allowed one engineer, using everything differently. And Elon is into transportation for the most part.

    While Musk will more than likely dominate the world for the rest of my liifetime, 30 years, that is not necessarily his goal. His goal is to change the world. Chanos will never do that, Smart guys can and will do that.

    2023 is six years away. By then, 20% of all new cars will be EV. There is room for everyone in the market, and when the battery technology changes, the industry will change with it.

    Who knew that this would be such a terribly exciting time in which to live. We are back at the beginning of the Industrial revolution,. Tech is taking such a leap, it will affect out every waking moment. Again.

    Computer, Yes Joe.
  • joseph boggi on December 07 2017 said:
    All the other engineers left so much engineering progress on the table.
  • Spaceflightengineer on December 09 2017 said:
    Seems at least half the commenters here are "a-scared" of better anything. Relying on Musk to improve life on planet earth is what should scare anyone. His two launch vehicle failures- due to unchecked non-flight qualified material usage, continued safety incidents at the factory that WILL eventually find it's way to the launch pad and kill someone, automating the crap out of 4-wheeled vehicles when most Americans can't drive anyway, going into projects without pre-thinking consequences, which is the new hallmark of anything Musk touches, that's not a "pioneer" to follow, it's a formula for disaster.
  • rdpoor on December 11 2017 said:
    Perhaps a better comment for the article would be "New Battery Design Could Energize Electric Vehicle Market": what's good for Fisker will be good for other EV manufacturers.

    A couple of points worth noting:

    From the referenced article: "Fisker anticipates the technology may be ready for automotive applications post 2023." A LOT can change in six years, as we've already seen. As other readers have mentioned, Samsung and others are working hard on solid state battery designs; it's not at all clear that Fisker will win the battery race.

    From the article: "500 Miles Per Charge & Charging in 1 Minute". Let's do the numbers. An EV that consumes 0.3 kW-h per mile will require 150 kW-h to go 500 miles. Assume some kind of "Level 4" charger that works at 1000 volts (stand clear, kids!). To transfer 150 kW-h of energy in one hour at 1000 volts requires 150 Amperes. To transfer that much energy in one minute requires 9,000 Amperes. I think Dr. Fabio Albano and Doc Brown should have a little chat Ohm's Law.
  • Ernst on December 15 2017 said:
    SIlly article! I've seen nothing but claims of new battery technology for decades, none of which got out of the lab - except lithium batteries.
    If there is a new battery technology, then all would be expected to benefit, including Tesla.
    The difference between Tesla and Fiskars is that Tesla not only has fancy prototypes, they are shipping product that works, and very well - just ask my son who recently bought one.
    This is just a bunch of BS by Fiskars to get more suckers to invest in a company that certainly has good ideas about electric cars but just a little trouble realizing them in the real world.
    In the last round, a lot of investors were fleeced by Fiskars. Is this round 2?

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