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Tesla has been exploring the use of more manganese in its batteries.

22 March 2022

Kingbo Power Technology

According to foreign media reports, Musk made a brief but interesting comment about manganese batteries after the first Model Y was delivered at Tesla's Berlin Gigafactory: "I think manganese has potential." Musk said Tesla sees the potential of manganese-based cathodes in battery chemistry. Tesla has been exploring the use of more manganese in its batteries. The automotive industry needs to pay more attention to the battery supply chain, even including minerals, according to Musk.

Musk was asked about graphene batteries during a speech to employees after the first Model Y was delivered at Tesla's Berlin Gigafactory. Musk said he was skeptical because of the complexity of making graphene, but he revealed that Tesla is indeed making batteries from more materials. For a long time to come, Tesla will focus on nickel-based chemicals for long-range cars, like others in the industry, and iron phosphate for short-range cars. But Musk made a brief but interesting comment about manganese batteries saying, "I think manganese has potential." Tesla has reportedly been exploring the use of more manganese in its batteries.

At Tesla's Battery Day 2020, Musk said, "It's relatively simple to use two-thirds nickel and one-third manganese for the positive electrode, which would allow us to increase battery capacity by more than 50 percent with the same amount of nickel." Several of Tesla's research groups have now published papers on manganese-rich cathode batteries, which could offer higher energy density than iron phosphate batteries and a potentially lower price than nickel-rich batteries.

In fact, the advantages and disadvantages of lithium manganese acid batteries compared to ternary batteries are very obvious. At the end of last year, in the CCTV financial channel "Consumer Advocate", the personnel of the Energy Storage Products Inspection Department of the National Light Electric Vehicle and Battery Product Quality Supervision and Inspection Center made two sets of tests with lithium manganate and lithium ternary, one is the safe use experiment of lithium battery after entering the water, and the other is the deep discharge test. The results of the experiments show that the safety of lithium manganate is much higher than that of the mainstream ternary lithium battery on the market, both in the water experiment and in the deep discharge.

This mainly stems from the following two advantages: 1, from the crystal structure, the spinel-type lithium manganate structure is more stable than the ternary lithium layer oxide; in addition, the spinel-type lithium manganate belongs to the cubic crystal system, due to the three-dimensional tunneling structure, lithium ions can be reversibly de-embedded from the spinel lattice, which will not cause the collapse of the structure, and thus has excellent multiplier performance and stability. 2, from the viewpoint of thermal stability, the Although the energy density of ternary lithium battery is the highest among the mainstream lithium batteries, its sensitivity to temperature is very high, and it will decompose at about 200℃, and the violent chemical reaction will occur, and then an explosion will occur. In contrast, the synthesis temperature of lithium manganate is at least 700℃, and its thermal decomposition temperature is much higher than that of ternary materials. Therefore, compared with ternary lithium, lithium manganate material itself has very good safety.

As for the cost, which is of great concern to the industry and consumers, lithium manganate is abundant in raw materials, and the price of lithium manganate material is much lower than that of ternary lithium battery. In addition, the higher voltage of lithium manganate battery means that the battery PACK can use fewer cells, which shows the volume advantage, and the cost of PACK is obviously lower than that of ternary lithium battery. However, in terms of fast charging ability, energy density, and cycle life, the performance of manganese batteries is not as good as ternary lithium batteries, which may be the direction Tesla focuses on.

As of March 25, domestic Shanghai nickel futures touched a price of 281,250 yuan/ton on March 24 at night, hitting a record high, up 200% in two years' time, considering that the current prices of lithium and nickel commodities have soared all the way up, resulting in rising power battery costs, and the major car-making new forces have raised prices many times this year, if this idea of Musk is not pie in the sky, due to the price of manganese If Musk's idea is not a fantasy, it may be a good thing to benefit consumers if it can be really commercialized.

It is worth noting that on March 25, published a report on the average vehicle R&D costs of major car companies, in which Tesla cars are far ahead with a cost of $2,984 (about RMB 19,000), which is three times the average of the auto industry.

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Tesla has been exploring the use of more manganese in its batteries.