When it comes to Tesla and electric-car batteries, the eyes of most analysts are always going to be on the automaker's "Gigafactory," which officially began battery cell production earlier this year. The Tesla Gigafactory is expected to build and develop cells in massive numbers, but using a variation of the same lithium-ion chemistry that is currently dominating in the electric-car sector.
Tesla To Add Different Battery Variant For EVs
However, according to Green Car Reports, Tesla may also be planning to add a different type of battery intended for future electric cars. Several years prior, Tesla began filing numerous patent applications intended for a hybrid system that would utilize both a lithium-ion battery pack and a metal-air battery pack to power an electric car.
About Metal-Air Battery
On January 31 this year, Tesla was granted a patent that is directly related to charging technology for a metal-air battery, according to the said report. A metal-air battery utilizes metal as an anode (much like aluminum, lithium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and vanadium have been discussed), while oxygen coming from the air is utilized as the cathode.
The benefits of a metal-air battery include a lower cell weight and greater energy density. The energy density refers to the amount of energy that can be successfully stored in a given volume.
Tesla Making Huge Strides One At A Time
A battery chemistry with greater energy density would be crucial in an electric car since it would effectively enable an increased range without having to increase the size of the battery pack. According to Smart Stock News, Tesla is now on the verge of launching the mass-market, $35,000 Model 3, which is vital towards meeting CEO Elon Musk's goal of producing 500,000 electric cars per year by 2018.
Achieving that expansion would likely be more of a priority than formulating a new battery chemistry. But that doesn't mean Tesla will disregard metal-air batteries, or even attempt to develop them further in the future.