Last week, Elon Musk on his Twitter page reported that less than 3% of cobalt is used in electric cars for the Tesla Model 3 electric car, and in the next generation of power sources this chemical element will be completely absent. But all this can happen in the long run.
Cobalt is a key component of modern batteries. In addition, this is the most expensive material in the battery, and often its extraction is carried out in severe inhuman conditions. Most of all cobalt is mined in the Congo. This country accounts for 66% of all its world reserves. Scientists and major technology companies are interested in creating alternative energy sources, in which this element would not be available.
In this endeavor, Tesla is no exception. Now the company uses lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt-oxide batteries or abbreviated NCA, which already have a low content of cobalt. Over the past few years, the main supplier of batteries for Tesla, Panasonic has reduced this figure by 60%. Experts believe that there is nowhere else to lower because in this case, you can face certain problems. And here are some of them.
Reducing the content of cobalt leads to a decrease in the life cycle of the battery. And this, in turn, is an additional financial burden that will fall on the shoulders of consumers. Another problem is more serious, this is a security problem. Reducing the content of cobalt will have to increase the amount of nickel. In this case, the battery may overheat and, in the final analysis, fire a battery. The probability is small, but still, have to take additional security measures to avoid this.
Elon Musk believes that the current technologies will still dominate for at least 10 years. According to him, lithium-ion batteries have exhausted themselves, the use of cobalt in this industry is at the limit of possibilities. The next generation of batteries Mask sees in solid-state batteries with the solid electrolyte. There are also alternative options like sodium-ion sources, but all this is still at the stage of laboratory experiments.
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