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Dahn’s Discussions: Tesla’s million-mile battery could contribute to the electric grid

Halifax, Nova Scotia — Elon Musk’s vision of a million-mile EV battery–a battery with a lifecycle of one million charges–leaves some pondering the question, “but why?”

The actual goal is not to produce an electric vehicle capable of driving 1.6 million kilometres through its lifespan, according to Dalhousie Professor and lithium-ion battery pioneer Jeff Dahn. Instead, Dahn’s team of researchers believe a million-mile battery could be used in vehicle-2-grid (V2G) applications, also known as bidirectional charging.

With bidirectional EV chargers, electricity can flow two ways: from the electric grid into the electric vehicle and vice-versa, as opposed to unidirectional charging, which only supports grid-to-vehicle charging (one-way). With bidirectional charging, storage capacities built into electric vehicles can be used for grid tasks.

“If an EV battery is designed for 800 cycles, that is enough for most car applications, but it cannot be used well for V2G,” said Dahn during an appearance a the Twaice Vision battery software conference. “At 10,000 cycles, such a battery cell will last 25 years, which also matches the lifespan of solar panels and wind turbines.”

Dalhousie University holds an exclusive research partnership with Tesla, which was renewed in January 2021. The first agreement was signed in June 2015, and the current agreement runs until at least 2026.

 

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