Electric vehicle specialist Tesla has filed a patent for a battery component it believes will be crucial in powering an electric car for 1 million miles (1.61 million kilometres) of driving.
The patent application extends to a method of producing purer ‘single crystal’ nickel-cobalt-aluminium (NCA) electrodes for lithium-ion batteries.
“The [method presented] allows for single crystal NCA materials to be produced without impurities which lead to “dead mass” in electrodes," Tesla's patent states.
The NCA technology may supersede a nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) cathode lithium ion battery the company previously patented.
In testing, Tesla’s NMC technology battery was shown to last more than 4000 charge cycles at a temperature of 40 degrees celsius. However – when equipped with a cooling system – the NMC units were able to complete more than 6000 charge cycles, as reported by Electrek.
Above: Tesla's autopilot function
If an average driving range of 250 miles (402km) per charge for an NMC battery-equipped electric car could be achieved, this would equate to a total driving range of 1 million miles (1.61 million km) over the lifetime of the battery pack, Tesla claims.
A recent Twitter post by Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO confirmed the brand's Model 3 had been built with the intention of robotaxi duties, which could prove the ideal testing ground for a battery designed to cover 1 million miles.
Musk has also previously said the Model 3 is built with componentry designed to last up to 1 million miles of driving, however the model’s battery packs are only expected to make it to 300,000-500,000 miles (483,000-805,000km) before needing replacement.
Tesla’s NCA electrode patent marks another step towards fully-autonomous robotaxis, with the brand filing a patent for updated autopilot software last week.