Podcast – Tesla and Boron
Welcome back to the Borates Today podcast. Each week we cover a topic that is relevant to the industry and timely. We cover the latest industry news. Who are the key players in the sector? What are the latest trends, driving demand, and supply for boron? What is the science behind boron and who’s doing valuable research into new boron applications and benefits?
We look at how boron helps in advanced energy, in food security, and in providing nutrition. So don’t forget to check out boron applications and benefits on our website borates.today.
Today, we’re going to look at how Tesla uses boron to improve performance.
Tesla is an American electric vehicle manufacturer and clean energy company headquartered in Austin, Texas. Tesla manufacturers, electric cars and battery energy storage from home to grid-scale, solar panels, solar roof tiles, and other related products and services.
With a market cap, as we speak of almost $1 trillion, Tesla is one of the most valuable automobile manufacturers globally. The company uses lithium for its batteries and boron for its neodymium magnets to deliver alternative energy sources and also boron is used to provide a lighter, more muscular frame.
Looking at Tesla’s electric vehicle strategy, the organization’s primary work revolves around automotive energy generation and storage and the energy in the industry sector. The company focuses on design development, manufacturing, and the sales of electric vehicles.
Tesla uses lithium and boron to power its cars. It does not use traditional methods to get energy. Its lithium-ion batteries are lighter than other battery types for electric vehicles. The neodymium magnets in its powertrain contain boron.
Martin Eberhard and mark toppling founded the original company in July 2003. The name of the company, Tesla motors is attributed to the inventor, Nikola Tesla. Elon Musk founded X com in February 2004. He became the largest shareholder and Chairman over time. And since 2008 he has been the Tesla CEO. Elon Musk founded Space X as well in 2002 to reduce space transportation costs.
Musk’s 2001 vision of a Mars Oasis was originally a project to land a miniature greenhouse on the planets and grow plants. But to regain public interest in space exploration and to increase his budget he announced that this project would be the furthest that life has ever traveled.
Tesla relies on extraordinary materials for its automotive car structures and based on a diagram published originally in Visual Capitalist. Tesla automobiles contain a number of extraordinary materials, including bauxite titanium, boron steel, carbon fiber, Silicon, and copper wiring.
Looking at the battery profile in Tesla cars, the cathode is composed of 80% nickel, 15% cobalt, 5% aluminium, and the rest lithium. The anode is mainly Silicon with graphite to hold the lithium islands. An electrolyte of lithium salt is used and other materials include copper or aluminum foil.
This gives the battery profile a high specific energy and lifespan, an above-average performance, and power while the variables of cost and safety are constantly being improved through research.
Critiques have praised the car’s safety rating, range, and design. It’s also worth considering that the incredible materials used in the Tesla Model S help make all of these things possible.
The Tesla battery pack weighs 1200 pounds, which is equal to about 26% of the car’s total weight. At 44.5 centimeters off the ground, the car’s center of gravity is at its lowest point ever. The battery itself contains 7,104 lithium-ion battery cells.
Graphite is used as an anode to hold lithium ions and silicone is also likely to be used in the anode in smaller amounts. The electrolyte is composed of lithium salt and finally, in addition to copper, aluminium is also likely to be used in the battery.
Lithium-ion batteries are also used in electronic devices, many by Panasonic, Sony, and Samsung. For example, cordless vacuum cleaners are equipped with NCA batteries.
NCA and NMC have related structures. They have pretty similar electric chemical behavior and show identical performance. You can witness the relatively high energy densities and the high performance.
It is estimated that the NCA battery of the model 3 contains between four and a half and nine and a half kilograms of cobalt and 11.6 kilograms of lithium.
Let’s have a look at the powertrain where boron-powered neodymium magnets provide the energy source. A Neodymium magnet is a type of permanent magnet that uses the power of neodymium, one of the strongest substances known. Neodymium magnets are part of the electric powertrain.
It acts as the stator or part of a traditional electric motor that does not move. Neodymium magnets in electric motors have more advantages than other types of magnets, especially in high-performance motors or where reducing size is a crucial factor. Bearing in mind that all new technologies aim at reducing the overall size of the product, it is likely that these engines will soon start to take over the whole market.
These neodymium magnets are increasingly used in the automotive industry and have become the preferred option for designing new magnetic applications for this sector. In electric motors neodymium magnets perform better when the motors are smaller and lighter.
Tesla’s focus on R and D is well known. Its critical engineering and design activities help support its new product development. Tesla also has the upper hand in vehicle engineering, innovative manufacturing and energy storage. Its powertrain and battery pack feature a modular design. This helps the vehicles from the future generation to integrate with this technology.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the elements used in Tesla automobiles, including boron.
Tesla Model S body and chassis are made from aluminum. We get aluminium mostly from bauxite ore. This lightweight aluminium helps increase the battery’s range much more than other electric vehicles. Boron also plays a critical role in reinforcing the aluminium here. High-strength boron steel is used at essential points of safety. Iron, boron, cooking coal, and other additives are the main components of boron steel.
What is the role that boron can play in electric vehicle power generation?
Currently, there is a focus in the industry on redesigning cars, buses, and HGVs using lithium-ion batteries as part of the US Government’s road to zero strategy.
Conversations and discussions center on whether there are sufficient lithium and cobalt resources to replace the 2 billion vehicles running on petrol and diesel. However, there may be a better solution using borne and hydrogen. Boron is plentiful with billions of tons of reserves in Turkey alone in comparison to 15 million tons of lithium worldwide.
And there’s no shortage of hydrogen. Boron hydrogen fusion is the new open secret. It has become a remote possibility admittedly in recent times, but with the invention of the chirped pulse amplification, laser, for which Gerald Morrow and Donna Strickland won the Nobel prize in 2018, there is certainly more attention being paid to whether this can become a commercial reality.
Two main features work in favor of boron. It doesn’t release any kind of waste. Secondly, it can produce electricity directly. Boron and hydrogen lead to alpha particles with helium atoms lacking electrons. Vehicles need electrons to neutralize their charge. Electric current is pushed via a circuit, similar to the drive motors of a vehicle.
Even though the technology seems far away, we may see cars using boron hydrogen fusion on the road in a shorter time span as the next decade.
Back in 2017, Cambridge University Press released a paper describing a simulation. Here 14 milligrams of hydrogen and Boron 11 could release 300 kilowatts of energy.
Thinking about it, the Tesla long-range Model S currently goes 370 miles with a 100-kilowatt battery. One gram of hydrogen boron fuel has a potential range of close to 80,000 miles. Gone are the problems of refueling. The future of advanced energy is certainly an exciting one. And you can be sure that Elon Musk will be involved in this.
And that’s all from Borates Today. For more information on boron in the automotive sector and other articles related to Elon Musk and EV power, please refer to Borates Today. Meanwhile, thanks for listening.