Maybe this Magic Battery Will Make eCars Workable

From the “This time for sure!” department, yet another magic battery advance:

As that link keeps putting up an obnoxious “subscribe” pop-up-ad, I’m quoting heavily here:

EV Range Set To Triple With New Lithium Battery Breakthrough
By Brian Westenhaus – Dec 20, 2017, 12:00 PM CST

The University of Waterloo researchers breakthrough involves the use of negative electrodes (the anode) made of lithium metal, a material with the potential to dramatically increase battery storage capacity.

Quanquan Pang, who led the research while he was a PhD candidate at Waterloo said, “This will mean cheap, safe, long-lasting batteries that give people much more range in their electric vehicles.”

The increased storage capacity, or energy density, could boost the distance electric vehicles are able to travel on a single charge, from about 200 kilometers to 600 kilometers (360 miles).

A single ion conducting protective layer is created on the lithium surface. Image Credit: The University of Waterloo. Click image for the largest view.

The team’s research paper has been published in the journal Joule, which at this writing is open access.

It references this article:

An In Vivo Formed Solid Electrolyte Surface Layer Enables Stable Plating of Li Metal
Quan Pang1, Xiao Liang1, Abhinandan Shyamsunder1, Linda F. Nazar1, 2, ,
• A single-ion-conducting protective layer is created on the Li surface in vivo
• Membrane lowers interface charge transfer resistance, Li plates underneath
• Stable, dendrite-free Li plating in long-life symmetric cells up to 8 mA cm−2
• Full cells using high-loading LTO electrodes demonstrate close to 99.99% CE at 5 C

Context & Scale

A stable Li metal anode is key to fulfilling the promises of Li-O2 and Li-S batteries and to increase the energy density of lithium transition metal oxide batteries in liquid electrolyte or solid-state configurations. However, on cycling, Li metal’s tendency to dendritic growth poses safety issues, and the loss of active lithium and accumulation of a high-impedance interphase leads to cell failure. Here, we describe a new strategy to stabilize Li plating by forming a micron-thick Li+-ion conductive solid electrolyte layer in vivo on the Li surface using an electrolyte additive. The glassy homogeneous layer reduces parasitic reactions and eliminates dendrite formation. We achieve a 50-fold lower interfacial charge transfer resistance in Li|Li symmetric cells with stable Li plating/stripping for 2,500 hr at 1 mA cm−2, and over 400 cycles at high rates in cells with an intercalation counter electrode at close to 100% coulombic efficiency with this unique, scalable method.


We describe an efficient yet facile strategy to stabilize Li plating by forming a single Li+-ion solid electrolyte layer in vivo on the Li surface using a rationally designed electrolyte additive. This amorphous, homogeneous layer not only reduces the direct contact and parasitic reactions of Li with the liquid electrolyte but also avoids ion depletion and electric field inhomogeneity at the vicinity of the Li surface, thus eliminating dendrite formation. This is evidenced by a 50-fold lower interfacial charge transfer resistance and an 8-fold longer Sand time in Li|Li symmetric cells. The protection layer maintains chemical and electrochemical stability over repeated plating/stripping cycles. We demonstrate stable Li plating/stripping for 2,500 hr at 1 mA cm−2 in symmetric cells, and efficient Li cycling at high current densities up to 8 mA cm−2. Over 400 cycles were achieved at 5-C rate in cells with a Li4Ti5O12 counter electrode at close to 100% coulombic efficiency.

And the rest of the article looks to be readable at the link…

It does look like it ought to work, but we’ll see when they ship product…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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30 Responses to Maybe this Magic Battery Will Make eCars Workable

  1. p.g.sharrow says:

    Sounds too good to be true! way too good. Such improvements generally come by increments not orders of magnitude…pg

  2. John F. Hultquist says:

    My Subaru Crosstrek (2016 version) will go over 500 miles on a tank, while producing heat or cool, wipers, radio, lights.
    If this new battery gets into a 500 mile range Subaru by 2022, I might buy one.
    We have a 2014 Forester that is showing technological obsolescence, so maybe that one first.
    In case you think we upgrade too often — the 1980 Chevy PU still works. Okay, not all parts of it.
    By 2025, I think we’ll move into a community where a car isn’t needed.

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    By 2025, IF I’m still kicking, I intend to be in a community where a golf cart is the preferred mode of transportation…

    It was that last damn Florida contract whot dunnit… Spent about a year in an “immobile home” vacation “cottage” in an RV park. Just loved the life style. 2 pools. No maintenance nor mowing. (Only one hot tub, though). While I had to drive to work, the “locals” all were tooling around in golf carts to the club house, the pool, or across the street to the small strip mall with grocery store (Publix is great!) banking via ATM, and some restaurants. GOOD bus service to the rest of Orlando, too, if you wanted to do parks or other restaurants. Folks would “form up a group” and the person who had a car would drive for various outings (mostly shopping or restaurants).

    First time in about 30 years that I felt bad about leaving a rental… IIRC it was about $1200 / month all included (and I do mean all). Furnished with soft goods and dishes, TV / cable, A/C, heat, light, the works. Phone was via my own cell though ;-) and internet was something like $10 / month? via the park wide WiFi network.

    If (when?) a hurricane threatens, we’ll just power up the coach and point it somewhere else for a week… (need to get a motor coach before then though…) Also need to work out what kind of cart or scooters work best for us. Prefer electric then as “that’s included” ;-) The spouse has a scooter that’s got something like a 10 mile range and splits into parts of no more than 35 lbs each. I may just get a matching one… That would cover pretty much everything but outings to downtown. (Oh, it was on a lake with fishing too… so don’t even need a fishing truck really…)

    When you say your Forester is having technical obsolescence, what’s the issue? The reason I ask is we are thinking about getting one for back there (since nobody in Orlando works on old Mercedes ‘cept one guy out in the boonies and he’s about to retire). I got laughed at when I’d ask about servicing an old Mercedes and said any age prior to 2000. Frequently was told exactly that “We don’t work on anything older than 2000” and some were even newer cutoff than that. Even the Mercedes Dealer. Said the one guy who knew how to use a dwell meter was on vacation (after I said I had a dwell meter after he said they didn’t have one any more… after I said yes it was older than their cut-off but I had the parts and just needed a basic tune up…)

    So if Subaru is “off the list” maybe I ought to know what year is the time to place my cut-off… (but lots of old ones are still driving around…)

  4. jim2 says:

    I wonder how it might work using a irrationally designed electrolyte additive?

  5. Larry Ledwick says:

    Subaru updated their engine designs in the 2002 – 2003 time frame. Those engines have conventional cable control throttles until 2004 when they went to drive by wire throttles.
    The cam timing belts are the only major maint item. They and sometimes the idlers on the cam drive need replacement at about 100,000 -120,000 miles. It is an interference engine so if you break a cam belt on the modern subaru engines you bend most of the valves – that is an event best avoided.
    Well taken care of, the engine is about broken in at between 20,000 and 60,000 miles, and begin to need major repairs (like rings) at around 185,000 – 250,000 miles depending on how they are maintained and driven.

    Well taken care of, they will last a long time. All electronic fuel injection in that series with coil on plug ignition. Avoid going too wide on the plug gap. Max recommended is about 0.31 inches will work fine up to about .40 but that tends to kill the coil on plug coils due to internal insulation failure.

  6. u.k.(us) says:

    You can’t let people play with the electrical charges that these must batteries hold.

  7. Larry Ledwick says:

    That is one of the issues which I think, like exploding steam boilers, will be learned the hard way. A high energy density battery will be very unforgiving if they get shorted or someone touches a hot lead.

  8. u.k.(us) says:

    Ya wanna try to run a governed motor, that is just dying to rip it self apart.
    Well this is your sport:

  9. gallopingcamel says:

    Like Chiefio I loved the golf cart which was truly wonderful for my ten years in Florida. Now I am back in North Carolina it is not so practical. However with better batteries I can imagine driving a more road worthy electric car 800 miles north of Miami.

    Given that a battery driven car can go coast to coast in 50 hours we may not have long to wait:

    While we are still a long way from making electric cars competitive you have to love this kind of crazy achievement.

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    I did roughly the same distance in 56 hours with multiple drivers. We did do meal stops and one night in a hotel when we couldn’t stand it any more (about a 10 to 12 hour stop) using a Mercedes Diesel. So 5 hours longer than the Tesla, but a shower meal and bed stop.

    Since they were “cannonballing” I think they skipped the hotel stop and likely napped in a chase coach during charging cycles.

    A real accomplishment, but brutal on the person… In real world use, hotel time would not overlap with fast charge station time. I usually do about 1000 miles a day. For the Tesla, that is three charge cycles so three naps, not a night in the hotel…

    When they can do 500 miles on a charge and fill in an hour lunch stop, with “super chargers” at eating establishments and hotels, give me a wakeup call…

    FWIW, the theoretical drive only time for 2800 miles at 70 Mph average (doable as many places on I-10 now 80 Mph posted limit) is 40 hours. Anything above that is stops and sleeping. I’ve done it in about 61 hours solo… and regretted it…

  11. gallopingcamel says:

    My understanding is that the model 3 was traveling at up to 140 mph that was only possible because there was a spotter plane looking for police vehicles.

    Clearly it is impossible to average over 70 mph across the entire country without exceeding the speed limit!

  12. John F. Hultquist says:

    I learned long ago that I am not an auto mechanic.
    We have a local shop and the Subaru Dealer 45 miles away.

    Larry mentions the cam timing belts, and yes, you do not want to have one go out on you. We maintain and fix as the company recommends.

    We got the Forester with a trade in of a 2004 Outback.
    Got the Crosstrek with a trade in of a 2009 Outback.
    The new ones (2014 & 2016) have BlueTooth and my cheap cell phone powers up and works great. The Forester’s cabin stuff is not as good, and I guess never was. The ’04 and ’09 cars did not have this stuff.
    That is what I mean by technical obsolescence.
    Subaru ships most cars (maybe all soon) with an automatic continuously variable all wheel drive longitudinal transaxle. Their words. The CVT gets slightly better mileage. Crosstrek has it. Forester does not.
    Over many years, I’ve noticed the “cruise control” has gotten better. We had a ’93 Buick — “CC” would fail going down a long grade, and we have lots here.
    The one on the ’16 Crosstrek works very well.
    People tell me I will appreciate some of the other safety features. Animal avoidance IR sounds good. Lane drift technology sounds good in some situations and not others. I do lots of driving on narrow county roads. The edges are crumbling so I often cross the center line. I don’t need reminded with a ‘beep’ if I do this. Blind Spot detection is good; experienced that on a loaner. On that car, I drove into a rain storm — the car slowed dramatically before I reached the wiper lever. A dirty windshield detector. Good idea, poorly implemented.
    There are other things, but perhaps that’s enough.
    The Crosstrek is smaller with a bit more clearance. I drive on mountain roads to hiking trails and it works great. In addition to the Forester, we have a big PU, so we have choices.
    The cars don’t wear out in 6 to 8 years, but they do lack new technology.

  13. gallopingcamel says:

    In 1982 my Rover 2600 could only do 135 mph on the M6 and it made some scary noises at that speed.

  14. Larry Ledwick says:

    Years ago I had a gps system in the car that computed average speed. It was really hard to average over 60 mph even if you had iron kidneys. On 70 mph highways if covering a long stretch your true average speed (while moving) was about 65, but even very brief stops or slowdowns absolutely killed your average.

    Back in 1971 when Nevada had no speed limit outside of towns I averaged about 110 mph in a 68 Barracuda (speedometer indicated speed on the open highway) across the state from Reno to Wendover Ut, (~400 miles) and only got passed by two high end sports cars – a Mercedes 300 SL and a De Tomaso Mangusta sports car, but my travel time was about 7:00 am to about 1:30 pm with gas stops and slow downs for towns and traffic.

    Then the highway went through the towns not on a bypass, and much of it was a 2 lane road so you sometimes got caught behind slower moving traffic. My true average speed was just over 60 mph.

    If I remember correctly I made only two gas stops one in Winnemucca and the other in Elko although I might have topped off in Lovelock (the Cuda got a bit thirsty at those speeds and since you don’t want to run out of gas in the middle of Nevada, I never let the tank get too empty.)

  15. E.M.Smith says:


    Got it! As I want a car to go forward in comfort and not much else, it looks like most of the tech toys are not an issue for me.

    @70 MPH:

    Um, I guess I wasn’t clear. By “drive only” I was explicitly saying “Only while in motion not counting stops for gas, food, drink, potty, or anything else” and then explicitly called out that it excluded stop time.

    I also stated I-10 and an 80 MPH speed limit… where you can do 89 and not get a ticket… (though it did feel bizarre doing 85 and having a Texas highway patrol pass me at about 95 completely ignoring me…)

    Now I-10 in Texas is about a gas tank long of nothing, Van Horn for gas and grub, another gas tank of nothing, Austin for gas and grub, and then scattered bits of something until Huston and you exit the State. 936 miles? Something like that. I believe almost all of it posted 80 MPH limit (and most folks ignore the limit in rural Texas). I’ve easily averaged over 70 there NOT COUNTING STOPS. I regularly average over 60 including stops for large parts of the trip. (i.e. the parts that do not involve sleeping; but including all other stops). For much of the rest of I-10 into Florida it’s posted 70 to 75 at least (so 79 to 84 reasonably safe and what I’ve usually run).

    With a 450 mile Diesel tank and those kinds of speeds, with “stops” being gas, fast food eaten in the car in motion, and a quick run to be boys room; my average speeds are “respectable” (until I need to sleep…) including all stops and a 10 hour sleep in the hotel, we averaged 50 MPH overall. You can’t take a 10 hour “hit” and still be at 50 without some serious high average “while in motion”

    Per 140 MPH:

    WITH a spotter plane AND that kind of speed they still only did it in 50+ hours? Yikes!

    FWIW I did 1/2 the trip in 24 hours once (stopped in Texas to see relatives). IF it were not necessary to sleep, that would have made 48 coast to coast… but solo I’m only good for one 24 hour marathon then I need sleep time… (and bottom decompression time ;-) That’s about 60 MPH average including stops and IIRC one 1/2 hour or hour nap near the end when I wasn’t staying awake well ( I actually started after being up about 8 hours, so it was 34 hours without sleep…)

    IMHO, with spotter planes and 140 ish MPH peak, it ought to be doable in about 30 to 32 hours no-sleep-stop one driver though better with two and sleeping off shift in the seat…

  16. John F H we have a 2004 Forester with about 330,000 km on the speedo. Still going strong pulling a (box) tailer regularly with rubbish for the tip and also less regularly our caravan. It has manual gears and I like the high-low ratio and 4 wheel drive (we have driven it along the beach on Fraser island). I will swap to another Forester (probably diesel) when it eventually gives up. Distances are long in Australia and I do not know of any service station anywhere near where I live that has electrical charging points. With a Jerry can (20l) I can manage a range of about 1000km.

  17. Paul Aubrin says:

    Metal-air batteries (iron-air for example) will offer several times the energy density of Li-ion batteries, provided that they can be industrialized. Research on them was almost abandoned during the 1980’s due to technical difficulties.

  18. albert says:

    Maybe this Israeli battery will trump lithium ones. It doesn’t contain metals, heavy, light or rare, but is made of an organic soup:

    Israel has a very high per capita ratio of scientists.

  19. jim2 says:

    RE the Israeli battery, it will require a 350-kilowatt charging station. This makes 10 gallons of gas with a 2 minute fill look very attractive indeed.

  20. catweazle666 says:

    Having some experience of the interesting and highly spectacular effects of out-of-control industrial quantities of electricity, I will be interested to see the type of idiot-proof connectors that are going to be necessary to carry the magnitude of current necessary to charge these magic batteries in service station in the time it takes me to take a leak and drink a cup of coffee.

    Currently I can put enough diesel in my ageing Merc in a couple of minutes to take me over 500 miles, and further, I can carry 40 or 50 miles’ worth in the boot in a can in case I get caught short in a dark and lonely place due to unforeseen circumstances.

    I can’t see EVs coming anywhere near satisfying those criteria for some time yet – if ever.

  21. John Silver says:

    How many times have we read this?

  22. John F. Hultquist says:

    John Silver asks: “How many times have we read this?”
    . . . Twice a year since 2008; when we got a DSL connection.

    @ cementafriend
    Most vehicles do not have an outside rack for fuel.
    Gasoline inside is a bad idea. Diesel, I don’t know about, but it would still smell.
    Easy enough to have an out side rack added or pull the trailer.
    I would not want to go across Australia, or Nevada, without such things.
    Many times we (sometimes with 2 of us, several dogs, & 2 horses) traveled south from northern Idaho to Winnemucca and on to Reno and CA.
    Lots of nothing along that route.

  23. Larry Ledwick says:

    When I went up to Wyoming to shoot pictures of the eclipse last august they put out warnings the the sudden influx of several hundred thousand people would cause fuel shortages. I carried 15 gallons of extra gas on a trailer hitch mounted platform. It worked quite nicely. I saw a lot of people struggling to find fuel during the rush home.

  24. E.M.Smith says:

    #1 or winter Diesel is indistinguishable from K1 kerosene as far as your engine is concerned. Every few years, I buy a gallon jug of kerosene and put it in the trunk. Old one goes in the tank. In the passenger compartment works too and there is no smell.

    #2 Diesel is very flame safe. It must have a wick. Toss a lit match in it, the match goes out.

  25. Another Ian says:


    Re “#2 Diesel is very flame safe. It must have a wick. Toss a lit match in it, the match goes out.”

    Here diesel is rated as a “combustible”, ulp as” inflamable.”

  26. Larry Ledwick says:

    It is like JP4 and other kerosene derived fuels, its very low volatility makes it difficult to get surface ignition on a puddle of exposed fuel. but if it does reach flammable vapor limits in an enclosed area it is very dangerous as it will be vulnerable to ignition for a long time, where fuels like gasoline quickly get such a rich mixture with air that they cannot ignite in a confined space. They in turn being more volatile create a flammable vapor cloud above the surface of an exposed puddle deep enough that any ignition source (lit match, cigarette, or static spark) is very likely to ignite them.

    The flash point for diesel fuel is (143 °F) so a puddle of fuel needs to be heated to that temperature before it will evolve enough vapor to burn. This temperature can be achieved on the surface of a burning wick but it would take a very large hot object to cause ignition if dropped into a puddle of diesel fuel. Once a flame is established on the surface of a pool it will quickly heat nearby fuel by radiation to a high enough temperature for the flame to “walk” across the surface but it normally will not flash like gasoline in the same circumstances.

    Risk changes radically if diesel fuel is in a spray mist of very small droplets then it is very easy to ignite because the micro droplets are not big enough to quench the ignition source and heat to above their flash point.

    gasoline flash point is (−40 °F) so it forms an ignitable mixture with air near its surface at any common temperature.

  27. Larry Ledwick says:

    Auto ignition temperature for diesel is one of the lowest there is for common fuels at 410 °F (210 °C).
    Where gasoline has an auto ignition temperature of 475 °F to 536 °F (246–280 °C) depending on the specific blend. There are only a handful of common fuels that have auto ignition temperatures below 400 °F and the majority of them are not readily available.

    Diethyl ether (starting fluid) at 320-338 °F 160-170 °C is about the only one most people would ever run into.

  28. gallopingcamel says:

    One of the interesting challenges for that Tesla cannonball run was choosing a route that had enough high charge rate Telsa stations. My understanding is that they can deliver up to 60 kW if the battery can stand it but perhaps that is a figment of my faulty memory.

  29. ROM says:

    The Germans seem to have lost something lately when it comes to the transportation scene what with hi-speed trains, the newest ones are slower than the old ones, losing wheels, diesels not so diesel clean any more , quoted fuel consumption more relevant to “per kilometre” than “per mile”,
    the Energwiende beginning to go the inevitable tits up as the realities of affordability , dispatchability and the social consequence begin to bite home and consequently the peasants are revolting and etc.

    They are maintaining that trend with their Deutsche Post electric delivery Vans according to Pierre Gosselins “NoTricksZone” blog.

    German Post Electric Delivery Vehicles Falter, “Lose Power Mid Delivery Route”

  30. Another Ian says:

    Looks like they need all the help they can get

    “2017: US Electric vehicle sales fall further behind Ford F-Series pickup truck sales.”

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