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Researchers come up with battery models powering more than a million miles

Researchers come up with battery models powering more than a million miles

Jeffrey Dahn and his research group from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia has filed for a new patent on lithium battery technology which can power more than a million miles. Dahn holds an exclusive agreement with Tesla and his team has published the testing results on new batteries which according to them can be used as benchmarks for other scientists dealing with similar technologies. The report can be found in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society.

The most innovative section of the battery used by Dahn’s team is the cathode. Different batteries use different types of lithium compounds for achieving good characteristics. Dahn’s team has been investigating on NMC –  lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide. This material has been used by several other electric vehicle makers in the past such as Nissan and Chevrolet but not Tesla. Dahn uses synthetic graphite for anode with the electrode being a blend of lithium salts and several other ionic compounds. These components do not differ much in compositions used by other makers however Dahn’s team used a different technique for the NMC cathode’s structure. The team used large single crystals replacing smaller ones which would develop lesser cracks as the battery goes through charged and discharged states. 

Battery research has been mostly focused on increasing the range that can be powered in a single charge. Dahn, on the other hand, has focused on improving the battery’s overall lifetime making it suitable for self-driving taxis and electric trucks that are expected to go through several charges and discharge cycles. The current Tesla battery pack lasts for 300,000 to 500,000 miles which is not enough. On the other hand, batteries in this paper are expected to last 4000 charges – four times more than the present commercial batteries. 

Since the paper has been categorized for “benchmarking”, it implies that the batteries mentioned in the paper would not be used by Tesla in its vehicles. Dahn mentioned that these batteries are capable of powering an electric vehicle for more than a million miles while lasting two decades in grid energy storage. 

Tesla and Dahn were awarded the patent for a single crystal NMC battery with an additive named ODTO, similar to the description in the paper, which has been described by Dahn’s team in another paper last year. There is still room for improvement in the batteries described in the current paper as the specific energy density of mentioned batteries is lesser than the maximum ability of advanced Li-ion batteries. There is a possibility of Li-ion batteries powering more than 500kms in a single charge.

Reference: Journal of the Electrochemical Society.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk: The Real-Life Tony Stark (Iron Man)

Elon Musk, one of the most inspiring businessmen of the 20th century is the CEO and CTO of SpaceX CEO, chief product architect of Tesla Motors, chairman of SolarCity, and co-founder of PayPal. Musk is associated with many other revolutionary projects like Hyperloop and he owns many potential companies like Neuralink and OpenAI. So, let us know more about this revolutionary man and get to know how did Musk manage to achieve so much.

See: A beautiful infographic on Musk’s Life

Personal Life and Education

Elon Reeve Musk was born on 28th June in the year 1971. He was born in the city of Pretoria, South Africa and then moved to Canada to attend the Queen’s University – one of the top schools in Ontario.  Musk was a child to a South African father named Errol Musk who was an engineer by profession and a Canadian mother named Maye Musk who was a nutritionist and a model.

He exhibited early computer and entrepreneurial talents. Musk was fascinated by science fiction and computers in his teenage years. When he was twelve, he developed the code and programming for his own video game and immediately sold the prospects to a company.

Musk left South Africa in 1988 after acquiring a Canadian passport because he was reluctant to help dictatorship through compulsory military service and because he was searching for higher financial prospects in the United States. Musk went to Canada and studied at Queen’s University.

In the year 1992 Musk left Canada and went to the USA. Musk studied business and physics at the Pennsylvania University in Philadelphia. He then graduated with a degree in economics and continued to pursue a second bachelor’s degree in Physics. After completing his courses at Penn, he went on for a Ph.D. in the subject of Energy Physics from Stanford University. 

This drastic shift was completely and totally timed with the Internet boom, and after just two days of joining he dropped out of Stanford to become a major part of the internet boom, starting his first business, the Zip2 Corporation. The company developed and marketed an Internet city guide for the newspaper publishing industry. Zip2 soon began providing content for the newly curated websites of the famous Chicago Tribune and The New York Times. But then Compaq acquired Zip2 for around 341 million USD in February 1999.

PAYPAL THIEL ELON MUSK

Chief Executive Officer Peter Thiel, left, and founder Elon Musk, right, pose with the PayPal logo at corporate headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif.(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

Just one month after selling Zip2 Musk co-founded X.com which then went on to become PayPal after merging with Confinity in 2000. In October 2002, PayPal was acquired by eBay for a whopping 1.5 billion USD in stocks out of which Musk got 165 million USD. Then Musk went on to set up, own and lead massive companies. Let us look at those companies.

List of Companies Elon Musk Owns

Tesla Motors

Tesla Incorporation, which was originally known as Tesla Motors was incorporated by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. These men played active roles until the involvement of Elon Musk. He had been interested in the possibilities of electric cars for a very long time and was intrigued by science and fiction. In the year 2004, Musk became one of the major funders of Tesla Motors.

Elon Musk devoted the firm to the manufacture of inexpensive, mass-market electric vehicles, battery products, and solar roofs. Musk now extensively supervises the creation, architecture, and layout of all the products of the company.

Almost 5 years after Tesla was created, the company unveiled the Roadster. It is a sports car capable of going from 0 to 60 mph in approximately 3.7 seconds. The Roadster is also able to drive nearly 250 miles between various charges of its lithium-ion battery. 

Tesla Motors went public in June 2010, earning $226 million with a share in the business taken by Daimler and a strategic alliance with Toyota.

The company’s additional achievements include the ‘’Model S’’, which is the first electric sedan of the firm. The Model S was honored by Motor Trend magazine as the 2013 Car of the Year, capable of covering 265 miles between charges.

Tesla has also launched its Model 3 recently. The car was initially priced at $35,000, a much more accessible price point than the $69,500 and up for it’s Model S and X electric sedans.

Tesla has also launched its Model Y and Semi-trucks recently.

SpaceX

Musk founded his third company, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX, in 2002 with the intention of building spacecraft for commercial space travel. By 2008, SpaceX was well established, and NASA awarded the company the contract to handle cargo transport for the International Space Station—with plans for astronaut transport in the future—in a move to replace NASA’s own space shuttle missions.

On May 22, 2012, as the firm launched its Falcon 9 rocket into orbit with an aerial capsule, Musk and SpaceX created history together. With 1,000 pounds of supplies and types of equipment for the astronauts stationed there, the vehicle was sent to the International Space Station, marking the first time a private company had sent a spacecraft to the International Space Station. Musk was quoted from the launch as saying, “I’m very lucky… It’s like winning the Super Bowl for us.”

Today, Musk has various ambitious plans with SpaceX ranging from sending humans to Mars to building a network of 12000 satellites (Starlink Project) in lower earth orbit to provide super fast internet

Solar city

Musk provided SolarCity with the initial concept and financial capital, which was then co-founded in 2006 by his cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive. SolarCity was the second most massive solar power system provider in the United States by the year 2013. Tesla, Inc. acquired SolarCity in 2016 and is currently a completely owned Tesla subsidiary. 

The underlying motivation for both SolarCity and Tesla Motors was to help combat global warming. In 2012, Musk declared that SolarCity and Tesla Motors are working together to ease the effect of rooftop solar on the power grid by using electric vehicle batteries.

Some other companies of Elon Musk also include:

Elon Musk’s Achievements: 

Elon Musk is definitely considered to be one of the biggest inventors and innovators in this era. Some of his incredible life achievements can be summed up as:

  • In the year 1983 Musk taught himself computer programming and at the age of 12, he programmed and sold the code for a BASIC-based video game he created called Blastar for approximately US$500.
  • In 1995 he started Zip2, a web software company.
  • In 1999 Musk co-founded X.com, online financial services, and e-mail payment company, with US$10 million from the sale of Zip2. He used every single penny he had and invested it into his business and had to borrow money also. 
  • In 2002 PayPal was acquired by eBay for US$1.5 billion in stock, of which Musk received US$165 million.
  • CEO and chief product architect of Tesla Motors. Elon Musk has revolutionized the concept of electric cars. 
  • Founder of Space Exploration Technologies, also known as SpaceX.
  • Proposed the concept of Hyperloop in 2013
  • In 2015 Tesla launched Powerwall.
  • In 2015 Musk stated the creation of OpenAI.
  • Musk unveiled a concept for a high-speed transportation system Hyperloop.
  • Acquired  SolarCity for $2.6 billion.

Elon Musk’s Vision and Views

Space exploration’s boundless potential and the conservation of the human race’s future have become the foundations of Musk’s ongoing concerns. He has established the Musk Foundation which is completely devoted to space exploration and the advancement of renewable and clean energy sources.

Elon Musk

Credit: Flickr

In a more political manner, Musk has evidently portrayed himself to be a half Democrat and a half Republican. He considers himself to be fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Elon Musk has also actively stated that he doesn’t want the US government to provide subsidies to various companies but should instead use and implement a carbon tax to put a price on the negativity of air contamination and to discourage their poor behaviour. 

Artificial Intelligence:

Musk has frequently spoken about the proposed risks of artificial intelligence, calling it “the most severe threat to the human race’s existence.” During a 2014 interview at the MIT AeroAstro Centennial Symposium, Musk outlined AI as the greatest existential threat to humanity, adding, “I am increasingly willing to believe that there should be some parliamentary supervision, perhaps at the national and International levels just to make sure that we don’t end up doing something foolish.” 

The creation of Artificial Intelligence has been described by Elon Musk as something similar to that of summoning the demon. 

Conclusion

In a nutshell, we can definitely say that Elon Musk is not an average human being. From the creation of Zip2 to that of SpaceX, he is a self-made man and has taught himself how to code in just a matter of a few days. He has earned degrees in both Physics and Economics and is now a billionaire. 

Quite interesting to know, Robert Downey Jr, used Elon Musk as his inspiration for getting into character like Iron Man. Musk’s enthusiastic embrace of technology for technology’s sake and his passion to push the limits of what was considered to be potential for private enterprise made him a close real-world analog for Marvel’s billionaire arms dealer.

If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it. Click To Tweet

For all the entrepreneurs looking for motivation, Elon Musk sure acts as a character of success. The goals that Musk have persevered have been those that have not only inspired himself but also the team of people he’s assigned to work with him. 

An Infographic on Musk’s Life

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Elon Msk infographic

National High Magnetic Fieldac

National MagLab creates a miniature magnet producing the largest magnetic field yet

A magnet which is half the size of a cardboard tissue roll has now the title of “world’s strongest magnetic field“. But the makers say that this is just the beginning. By packing such a strong magnetic field in a coil which can be carried in pockets, engineers from MagLab have shown ways to build electromagnets which are powerful, smaller in size and thus portable. The study has been published in the Nature journal.

MagLab scientist, Seungyong Hahn who is the head behind this project and also a professor at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering remarked that they are opening a new door to a limitless future of possibilities. This technology has the ability to change high-field applications in a way never known before due to its compact nature.

Director of National MagLab, Greg Boebinger remarked that this new magnet is a David to the conventional Goliaths which are made by MagLab. He further added it has the capacity to bring a revolution in magnets the way silicon brought to the world of electronics. This feat is a tribute to the quality of faculty and the nature of research in the laboratory.

So the magnetic field generated by the miniature magnet is a massive 45.5 Tesla. A regular MRI magnet at the hospital produces nearly 2 to 3 Tesla. Before this, the strongest and continuous magnetic field was produced by MagLab’s own 35-ton magnet since 1999, amounting to 45 Tesla. This magnet known as 45-T is still the strongest working magnet in the world. It makes high edge research possible in the field of materials science.

The new mini magnet invented by Hahn weighs 390 grams and it briefly surpassed the magnetic field of the giant magnet by half a Tesla. So the question arises, how can a magnet so small surpass the magnetic field that huge. The answer lies in the design and use of conductors.

The superconductors used in 45.5 T are niobium-based alloys which have been used for quite some time. In addition to it, a newer compound named REBCO( rare earth barium copper oxide) was used here. Its current density is twice that of a section of the niobium superconductor. The REBCO product which was used here, paper-thin wires that are tape-shaped was manufactured by SuperPower Inc. 

This magnet also does not contain insulation, which is present in many modern day electromagnets. Without insulation, the current flows different paths and avoid quenches. Quenches occur due to damages in the conductor which cause the magnet to heat up and thus lose superconducting properties.

The main problem in REBCO is that it is a single filament conductor which cannot be manufactured perfectly. So it will have a variety of defects whose impact cannot be understood properly now. This is the challenge which scientists have to resolve next.

Tesla Autopilot Engaged in Model X

Tesla announces self-driving chips along with a ride-sharing network of driverless cars

Tesla has revealed its plans of launching a cab sharing network consisting of only self-driven cars. Tesla held an ‘Autonomy Day’ for promoting the driverless system to its investors. Apart from this, they also revealed the “Full Self Driving” computer chip which is the best chip right now according to its CEO Elon Musk.

This self-driving machine has been in the discussion for years now and the company also declared that the previously named “Autopilot Hardware 3.0” is in production and it has been already installed in the Model S and X vehicles. Pete Bannon, Head of Tesla Autopilot Division said during the presentation that the hardware developed by them possesses an improvement factor of 21 in fps processing against the previous model.

The chip production is being handled by Samsung in Austin, Texas. The CEO is optimistic about Tesla that the software which will have everything needed to conquer the self-driven system will be completed by the end of this year. He also explained that this version will need a bit of attention of a driver but he says it will stop by Q2 2020. After this Tesla will start working on a fully driverless system and Musk is sure that this will be released by the end of next year. Tesla has planned to launch a Robotaxi network by providing an update to its present mobile application.

The Tesla owners can also add their cars and earn money from the app or they can choose any random Tesla car to pick or leave them in their destination. Musk studied very intensely in economics about the fully self-driven car from both the Tesla perspective and Tesla’s owner’s perspective. Now Tesla’s vehicle’s hardware is developed as per his studies and what he presumes to achieve the goal of the fully self-driven car by giving updates to the software. He also approximated that the values of the cars based on self-driven networks are of $200,000 minimum whereas Tesla is selling cars having values of the maximum range of $50,000. He also roughly calculated that these cars can be seen everywhere by the end of next year.

Musk also said that buying any self-driven cars other than Tesla can be a loss to the buyers because there will be no fully self-driven car other than this. Tesla convinced very well by giving their presentation on how fully self-driven system is more safer than normal cars. The self-driving space is getting quite competitive as companies such as Google, Uber have made decent moves already.

How Will Self Driving Cars Change the Way People Live

How Will Self-Driving Cars Change the Way People Live?

Cars have changed our lives for the better in all sorts of unforeseen ways. Indeed they bestowed upon us with a lot of freedom but in return levied upon us heavy costs. Drivers commuting daily generally count their lucky stars before going out for the day. Accidents on road, pollution, congestion, etc. are the heavy costs that all drivers have to pay at least once in their lifetime. Hence, comes the new era of self- driving cars. These can change the whole scenario of driving. According to WHO, cars are the leading cause of death from ages 15-29. 20 million to 50 million people get injured due to these accidents. Self-driving cars can reduce these numbers drastically. Nowadays due to our smartphone generation, we are constantly distracted. Self-driving cars would let drivers ride even while using our gadgets behind the wheel.

Are self-driving cars safe?

Google has already launched videos in 2009 and 2014 about helping people with disabilities to drive. Blind and elderly people could easily drive in cars now. How much easier it would make their lives!

Waymo, the self-driving car remains the clear leader of such cars on U.S. streets. Now there square measure dozens of autonomous vehicle firms testing on U.S. streets. Over subsequent few months, Waymo’s fleet began driving regarding twenty 5000 self-driven miles per day, or 1,000,000 miles per month.

In the last year 2018, Waymo hit another major milestone of eight million self-driven miles as its new electrical panther I-Paces vehicle hit the streets.

Google's Waymo self driving car

Google’s Waymo Self-driving Car. Image Source: smoothgroover22 (Flickr)

The next most skilled firms, Uber and gram Cruise, square measure still many million miles behind Waymo.

That doesn’t embody miles driven within the semi-autonomous modes that several cars currently supply, like Tesla’s Autopilot, that square measure a lot of driver-assistance systems than true self-driving vehicles.

In the previous few years, the best strides taken within the self-driving business are by ride-hailing firms, WHO square measure devoting Associate in the nursing exceptional quantity of your time and cash to develop their own proprietary technologies and, in several cases, giving members of the general public rides in their vehicles.

In 2017, Lyft’s business executive foretold that at intervals 5 years, all their vehicles are going to be autonomous.

At a news conference in March 2018, wherever Waymo’s business executive John Krafcik proclaimed its ride-hailing program. Krafcik claimed that the corporations are going to be creating a minimum of 1,000,000 journeys per day by 2020.

Autonomous cars could take away certain jobs of taxi-drivers, truckers, etc. But on the bright side, it will keep us safer on the road as so many new companies are setting out on the road, quite literally, to bring this gear shift on the way.

Benefits of self-driving cars

With car crashes increasing every day on the road, self- driving cars are making their mark on the road more in the very near future.

Listed below are some of the many self-driving cars’ benefits:-

  1. Road safety

According to the government, drivers pose a threat in 94% of crashes. So instead of that, self-driving cars can reduce driver error. It can potentially reduce risks and dangers considerably, securing human lives and reducing accidents.

road safety self driving cars

Image Source: Frank Derks (Flickr)

Drivers behind the wheel are often drunk, drugged, unbelted, speeding or distracted. This’ll be the greatest promise to reduce the repercussions for such incidents.

  1. Independent driving

Disabled people like the blind can now lead self-sufficient lives however they want to. Senior citizens can also be greatly benefited from this. Car-pooling of such vehicles can also reduce great costs providing such services to every household.

  1. Cost-effective

With medical bills we are having to pay off with increasing pollution and car crashes and other injuries, self-driving cars serve as a boon in cutting off so much of medical expenses and hospital bills. Not to mention the amount of work time we would lose if we were bed-ridden. On top of that the cost of repairing the damaged vehicle. Hence, these cars are helping us save up so much and also reduce the costs of insurance well over time.

  1. Increase productivity

Self-driving cars can enable us to watch movies, create presentations or even write documents while driving. We don’t even have to worry about parking because the vehicle parks itself upon reaching a particular destination, be it an airport or a shopping mall. We could do our jobs and respond to emails without the worry of paying attention to the road or crashing or running red lights.

  1. Reduce road traffic

Automated vehicles could reduce the mistakes caused by drivers on roads which leads to road congestion and thereby an increase in traffic. Intelligent vehicles as such are programmed to maintain a safe and consistent distance between two vehicles. This reduces the number of stop-and-go traffics that increase confusion and congestion.

  1. Greener future

When traffic jams are reduced and the roads are considerably less congested, it would mean no more idling of vehicles on the road emitting greenhouse gases. It would save so much of fuel and would pave the way for a less-polluted greener and cleaner future.

Greater demand for electric vehicles might be felt and even car-sharing. When electric, i.e, battery-powered vehicles are shared, the cost of battery usage could be shared too. Hence the vehicle can be used for more hours of the day because that would mean more commuting at less cost. This will increase the economic appeal of self-driving cars.

  1. Save more space

Self-driving vehicles could pave the way for a smarter future in the sense that they will affect in the building of cities and the infrastructure of smarter designs of roads and parking spaces. In our day to day parking, it creates a lot of hassle in selecting a parking spot, checking the space in between the vehicles and then parking our vehicle with adequate space between them. Self-driving cars will be programmed to negate such hassle and calculate the distance by themselves and then park accordingly. Estimations point out that this can be done saving 15% less space which will result in saving way more space for more efficient commuting and parking in all urban areas all around the globe.

  1. Saving time

Each driver in urban areas is estimated to spend around 27 minutes extra in commuting in the US. With self-driving cars out on the road, this could save well up to an hour, if not more each day. The time which they can devote to their well-being and even boost the economy and other benefits that lead to a more efficient life.

These are some of the numerous self-driving cars’ benefits.

Self-driving cars future

While talking about the future of these wonderful cars, there are countless wonders and expectations and possibilities to come true. Johann Jungwirth of Volkswagen says that restaurants might cover the cost of travel for certain customers to boost up their sales. Fancy ones could advertise these vehicles as part of their meals too. In-vehicle advertising would sky-rocket taking the help of ride-hailing networks such as Ola, Uber, etc. riders can choose between expensive ones or cheaper along with the offers that come with them.

Other avenues of comfort will be opened up to people such as letting us work out in the gym with our trainer for a quick while on our way to work or call a make-up artist or a hairdresser on our way home.

Toyota has already designed e-Palette vehicles which are kits that can be delivered to offices, salons, parlors, shops, etc. These vehicles will modify our entire social lives by merging groups of people with similar interests while assigning rides, which means much more fun while even commuting! Dating apps could take up this advantage and pair up people with similar interests out for a ride on the way to the date or even long drives. Self-driving vehicles might also serve as a mobile hotel while out for a trip. Spacious ones, of course.

Wrapping UP!

From the sci-fi movies featuring robot cars, who knew they would become a reality someday? In the past five years, driving has become smarter and smarter with each new innovative design to the existing models. From Bluetooth to remote lock and now driverless cars! Keeping human safety the utmost priority these vehicles will venture out on the road in greater numbers making our lives easier and our traveling hassle free.

No doubt, every new technology, and invention come with its own pros and cons but these vehicles are mostly targeted in making our lives easier, connecting more people socially and professionally. Once these self-driving vehicles are economically affordable to the regular folks, these will sweep over our roads in no time.

In answer to the question will these vehicles change our lives for the better? Yes, they will. Commute will become cheaper and less of a drag. People will no longer have to worry about traffic or finding a parking spot. Like most technologies, these vehicles will surely channel the best in us and pave the way for a promising future ahead.