In recent months, Nikola Corp. and Tesla have announced major leaps in battery technology that, if proven, could lead to big improvements in EV range. But in an industry where exaggerated claims are commonplace, not everyone is convinced these latest breakthroughs will live up to their promise.
In April, CEO Elon Musk teased a lithium ion battery that would have the capacity to power Tesla's electric vehicles for more than 1 million miles. This would allow a vehicle to weather 4,000 charge cycles as compared with the battery modules in the Tesla Model 3, for instance, which Musk said can weather 1,500 charge cycles, or 300,000 to 500,000 miles.
Musk backed his claim by filing a patent application for the 1-million-mile battery technology almost simultaneously with the release of a paper from a team of researchers at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia in September. The team concluded that cells such as the one Musk announced "should be able to power an electric vehicle for over 1.6 million kilometers" or 1 million miles.
Based on that research, these batteries would last two to three times longer than the existing Tesla battery cells. The researchers stated the unique chemistry of the battery could be ideal for robotaxis, long-haul electric trucks and vehicle-to-grid applications.