Originally posted on Gas2 by Chris DeMorro
Tesla Motors is exclusively an electric car maker, with Elon Musk expressing disdain for cars like the Chevy Volt and BMW i3, which pack gas-powered range-extenders. But Tesla may be working on a different kind of hybrid; a hybrid battery pack that could extend the range of cars like the Tesla Model S by up to 40%, allowing for 400 miles of driving between charges.
A report by Global Equities Research shows that Tesla recently filed patents 20130187591 and 20130181511, which describe a combination lithium-ion and metal-air battery pack. This hybrid battery pack would primarily use the lithium-ion side, only drawing power from the metal-air battery pack on extended journeys. Metal-air batteries, which use oxygen as an electrode, have a shorter lifetime when exposed to regular charging, but use more common elements like zinc or aluminum that drastically reduce battery costs.
Drivers would use the lithium-ion battery for daily use, and would either select the secondary battery, or have it automatically switch over on extended trips. A hybrid battery of this type could offer Tesla customers greater driving ranges, while not drastically increasing costs. There’s also mention of a mode whereby the metal-air battery would charge the lithium-ion battery, which powers the car’s systems. 95% of driving consist of short jaunts no more than 90 miles per day, but the option of going 400 or more miles on a single charge could open up the world of electric vehicles to a much wider audience.
For now though, Tesla will still rely on Panasonic for batteries, as they have a four-year, 80,000 unit contract with the Japanese tech giant. But going forward from there, who’s to say Tesla doesn’t deploy ground-breaking battery technology of its own? This could be a peek at the future, folks.
This article, New Tesla Patent: 400-Mile Battery Pack Using Metal-Air & Lithium-Ion Batteries, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.
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