Tesla superchargers and graphene batteries

Tesla Model S at a Supercharger


It seems that 350 kW aren’t enough for Elon Musk.


Fred Lambert from Electrek recently exchanged two tweets with Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, that generated much enthusiasm about the third generation superchargers.


In the below we have the two tweets.


While most got excited about the faster charge, my immediate reaction was: “finally they are getting graphene batteries!”


In his articles, Fred Lambert noted that to get the full CARB ZEV credits, zero-emission vehicles are required to have over 300 miles EPA range and the capability to recharge from 0 to 95 % in 15 minutes or less. While the 100 kWh battery is enough to give the Tesla Model S P100D a 315 miles EPA range, it doesn’t charge fast enough to get 9 credits.

The soon to be made at the Tesla Gigafactory, 2170 cylindrical battery cells are reported to be 30 % more energy dense when compared to the 18650 used now. The kWh cost will be roughly 30 % less, since the same raw materials will store 30 % more energy.

A 130 kWh battery needs roughly 500 kW power to fulfill the CARB’s charge time requirements to get the 9 ZEV credits. But more important is what kind of battery can be recharged at 4 C-rate?

Currently there are some LiFePO4 and LTO batteries that can handle 4 or even more C-rates, but their energy density isn’t great. To get high energy density and high charge/discharge C-rates Tesla needs to replace the mixed graphite-silicon anode with graphene-silicon and can keep using NCA as cathode.

When compared to graphite, the extraordinarily higher electron mobility of graphene contributes for a lower internal resistance, which not only enables higher charge/discharge rates, but also keeps the temperature lower and increases the lifespan.


But where are we now? When can we get graphene batteries?


Well, they’re here already, for quite some time…


Besides Turnigy, there are other battery cell makers, for example the Chinese Westart company is already selling graphene batteries with good reviews from the Endless-sphere community.

More important is that Henrik Fisker, promised a 400 mile range electric car on graphene nanotech, the Fisker EMotion that will be unveiled next year. Graphene batteries aren’t sci-fi anymore.


Until recently, mass producing graphene was a problem, but it isn’t anymore. In the video below, Robert Murray Smith show us how to mass produce graphene from graphite with a simple and cheap method.



Robert Murray Smith is a great Science Communicator, he’s the Carl Sagan of battery technology, if you’re interested in the subject you should check out his YouTube channel.


We still don’t know if the first generation of Tesla/Panasonic 2170 cylindrical battery cells will use graphene, but I do suspect that Tesla have been quietly working on graphene since 2014, as this Chinese magazine suggested back then.

I’m sure that Elon Musk doesn’t underestimate Henrik Fisker and his promises about the upcoming graphene battery.


What do you think? Will Tesla introduce graphene batteries next year, or it’s more probable to be delayed until the Gigafactory reaches full capacity?



More info:


Tesla’s upcoming ‘Supercharger V3’ is the last piece of the EV adoption puzzle – and means more ZEV credits


Pedro Lima

More than natural resources, are wasted human resources that bothers me the most. That’s why I’m a strong advocate of a society based on cooperation, not competition, that helps every individual to reach his full potential so that he can contribute back to society. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”.

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16 Responses

  1. Anonimus says:

    No, sorry Pedro, but the graphene needs a least 10 more years to evolve.

  2. Rafael says:

    Ojala Pedro Lima tengas razón pero opino lo mismo que Anonimus las baterías de Grafeno necesitan más años para madurar. Sinceramente opino que la batería del model 3 de Tesla no traera ninguna evolución quimica destacable “grafeno-silicio” si no cambio de formato y reducción del coste de la batería……Ojala me equivoque y tenga que tragarme mis palabras pero todos los signos apuntan en esa dirección Pedro Lima. Lo siento como puedes ver soy muy pesimista las promesas incumplidas por varios fabricantes me han hecho serlo estos años.

  3. I hate to pop your bubble, but even if Tesla could magically add 95% of 300 miles range in 15 minutes, that rule expires after 2017.

    There is no “fast refueling” credit in 2018 and beyond.

    If Tesla really want the extra credit, they would have continued to pursue battery swapping. They didn’t.

    The article by “Fred” is mostly hyperbole with lack of knowledge of the actual rules.

    • Pedro Lima says:

      Thanks for the information Tony. As European, CARB’s rules aren’t my expertise.

      But even without the ZEV credit incentive, Elon seems decided to go beyond 350 kW for the next generation superchargers.

      • JyKiaNiro says:

        Elon says a lot of things. If 350 kW is child’s play, then what is Elon planning?

        Anything above 600 volt requires a different set of electrical code. We are heading towards arc flash territory.

        • Ralf K. says:

          Using voltages above 600 Volt (in the range of 700-800V) for charging is already standard for electric and hybrid busses, and for Formula E as well.

          In essentially all Toyota+Lexus hybrids, the electric motors are run at 650VDC. There is a voltage converter between the battery’s 200-300VDC to the voltage of the electric motor/generator. This has been around as for more than 10 years.

          I assume, Elon (and a team of electrical engineers behind him) are planning a new system at around 800V-900V, 500-800A (around 400-720 kW) to create a Tesla showcase for light and heavy commercial vehicles and battery sizes of 300 to 500 kWh. BYD K9 has offered 324 kWh for quite some time already.

          For normal passenger cars (but the larger ones), I’m confident that the race for the largest battery and range will continue. See Faraday Future FF 91 with 130 kWh and VW I.D. Buzz with 111 kWh batteries.

    • Josh M says:

      Elon has said he wishes the credits didn’t exist. Tesla are not doing it for the credits.

      • JyKiaNiro says:

        Tesla wants the credits to go away because they are running out. Once Tesla is out of credit, their cars will be $7500 more expensive than the competition.

        Tesla was profitable in 2 quarters because of the revenue from selling the ZEV credit.

  4. Apkungen says:

    I think it will be introduced with the model 3 part 2 unviel.

  5. mmezo says:

    I don’t know if it is graphene or some other innovation, but I was thinking along the same line. Even with 100kWh batteries as the top model S or X, 350kW chargers is already 3,5C charging. This is “insane” for current chemistries, so I was wondering if they have something hiding under the hood.

    300 to 400km real range (ie 60 to 80 kWh) with 15 minutes charging, that is 4C or 240 to 320 kW charging power at reasonable prices would be the definitive push to EVs. No more excuses about range.

    • mmezo says:

      I also wanted to add that if I understood all right, Tesla has said that it doesn’t en visión building batteries much larger than they are now. So the higher currents will not be needed for much larger batteries, but for speeding up the charge, and this would be impossible with current chemistries.

      • Ralf K. says:

        3C charging is not insane, it just needs proper cooling with NMC batteries.

        For lithium-titanate batteries even 6-8C charging is well within spec with standard air cooling. They just lack the energy density of the other chemistries. See Toshiba SCiB batteries for a commercial application.

        Tesla said, they will not go higher in Model S soon, but they will have to build larger battery for the full-size truck, pick-up truck and neighbourhood small bus that they are planning to present this year.

  6. Ryan says:

    Graphene is the technology of our future, there are so many different benefits and how this will change the world. I found this site that supplies high-quality graphene and carbon nanotubes for research.

  7. David Woodward says:

    Toshiba replaced the titanium with niobium and regained the lost
    energy density and kept the fast recharge. Battery of the future.
    Https http://www.toshiba.co.jp/about/press/2017_10/pr0301.htm

  1. December 28, 2016

    […] by /u/rafaelima [link] […]

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