Interesting week for electric vehicles and the companies that are producing them. Tesla Motors Inc. has seen the exit of two top executives whilst they confidently stride forward to releasing the Tesla Model 3. Tesla initially said that they would be delivering the car at the end of 2017 and intend to push out 500,000 units a year by the year 2020.
Then Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla and SpaceX) decided to supercharge their initial statement in a conference call saying that they are ready to deliver 100,000 cars by the end of 2017 and will reach the 500,000 mark in 2018. According to Reuters, the company's shares jumped up by 5 percent when the announcement was made.
Musk said: "The key thing we need to achieve in the future is to also be the leader in manufacturing. It's the thing we obviously have to solve if we are going to scale and scale profitably." Critics have said that the company will not make the new goal they have set but are interested to see if it's possible. Musk notoriously said if they want to make half a million vehicles this year they would have to deplete the world's lithium-ion sources.
Elsewhere, Toyota is looking into its own alternative to lithium-ion and potentially throwing their weight behind magnesium. The engineer initially working on hydrogen storage at Toyota's Research Institute of North America (TRINA) says that her findings could be applied to a magnesium battery. The company says magnesium batteries could lead to longer lasting electric cars that travel further and go at a faster speed. The company also said that magnesium batteries could replace the batteries in the smartphones of today.
Toyota published its finding in a paper titled 'An Efficient Halogen-Free Electrolyte for Use in Rechargeable Magnesium Batteries '. The company
is playing it safe for now and saying that it could be an eventual solution because it has not yet perfected the use of a magnesium solution for powering vehicles. The issue they are having - that they detail in the abstract of their research paper - is the fact that the electrolytes in magnesium batteries are "corrosive toward metallic battery components." It doesn't do great around metals. However, Toyota is hellbent on continuing their research to potentially redefine the power source of electric vehicles in the not so distant future. The company - in a statement - said: "While it's easy to get caught up in the potential of a dramatically improved battery, it could take 20 years of research and development before magnesium batteries reach the consumer market."
The chemical engineer who made the discovery at Toyota, Rana Mohtadi, told media: "We were able to take a material that was only used in hydrogen storage and we made it practical and very competitive for magnesium battery chemistry. It was exciting."