Although Tesla’s Model S sedan is able to travel close to 265 miles on a single battery charge, the company’s CEO Elon Musk has his sights on nearly doubling the mileage using new graphene based anodes which are said to be able to “quadruple the density and output of lithium-ion batteries.
First discovered in 2003, graphene is a carbon-based “super material” with nearly 200 times the strength of steel, that has proven itself to be a great conductor of heat and energy. Thanks to its two-dimensional lattice-like molecular structure. Not only that, engineers at Northwestern University engineers found that graphene anodes are superior at retaining energy than anodes made of graphite “with faster charging up to 10x,” while researchers at Rice University determined that they could create battery cathodes that recharge in 20 seconds (while keeping more than 90% of their capacity) by mixing graphene mixed with vanadium oxide. This was true even after 1,000 cycles of use according to their report.
However, don’t count on the new batteries being available for commercial use any time soon, given the fact that the material is very high-priced and the fact that most model S sedans already cost around $100,000.