In my opening remarks at the Advanced Materials Commercialization Summit on May 13, 2014, I discussed several “giga goals” facing advanced materials in the energy, electronics, health and sustainability markets.
In energy, batteries are widely seen as the Achilles heel of the electric vehicle. A Tesla replacement battery is $30,000 or about a third of the value of the car. On top of that, the range of an electric car is only about half that of a combustion car. The US DOE has a cost target of $5,000 per battery ($125/kWhr) by 2020 and an energy density target of 250 Wh/kg. The question put forth to the battery producers is how will we achieve these lofty goals? Well, significant work needs to happen. Perhaps this is why Telsa is proposing the largest battery factory in the world. When completed, it will produce batteries for 500,000 Tesla cars representing 35 GWh of energy per year. This one factory will produce more batteries than the current world production capacity. The Tesla Giga factory will reduce cost through scale but won’t alone solve all of the battery issues. There will need to be improvements in energy density by identifying and optimizing new materials. Pangaea has seen a number of companies work on promising technology such as layered chemistry for the cathode and silicon for the anode.