ONE Gemini Battery Doubles Tesla Model S Range to 752 Real Miles
Time and again, the number one complaint we hear about EVs (besides non-existent mandates) is driving range. To some, even a Tesla Model S doesn’t have enough range, even though versions of it now top 400 miles on a charge. Even the affordable Chevrolet Bolt gets 259 miles. What mileage would be enough for these naysayers? 500 miles? 600? How about 752 miles without needing a charge?
Our Next Energy—stylized as ONE and based out of Novi, Michigan—has achieved just that using a battery the same size as the Tesla Model S P100’s battery pack. Dubbed “Gemini,” the battery pack employs ONE’s own battery management and controls, and it was installed in an otherwise unmodified the Model S.
According to ONE, its upgraded Tesla Model S tester went on a road trip from its headquarters north up the “Mitten” of Michigan and back, traveling on highways and averaging about a speed of 55 mph. The semi-scientific trip hooked east over through Detroit using I-96 and then followed I-94 west to Ann Arbor before joining with State Route 52 to get back to I-95 and Lansing. Then the team took I-69 to stay on the west side before heading north on State Route 127 and merging with I-75 around Pere Cheney.
They continued north until they crossed over the Mackinac Bridge to get on State Route 2 for a bit before turning around somewhere close to Brevort. This time, they merged back with I-75 and stayed with it, going through Gaylord, close to Bay City, through Saginaw and Flint before arriving back at their Novi headquarters. The entire trip was 752 miles without needing to stop to recharge the Gemini battery and a total discharge rate of C/10, or about a 20 kW rate. (The drivers, of course, needed and took breaks.) According to ONE, the battery hovered at around 32 degrees and required no active cooling for the entire (apparently cold-weather) drive.
The eye-popping driving distance wasn’t enough, however. After arriving back at ONE headquarters, the team put the Gemini-equipped Model S on a charger at a rate of 1C, or about a 200 kW charge rate. For now, that’s all that has been tested and ONE has not tried a higher rate than that. Once at full capacity, the Model S was driven to a third party dyno facility, where it was put through a simulated 20 percent Urban Dynamometer Driving Schedule (UDDS) and Highway Fuel Economy Test (HWFET) drive cycles and 80 percent driving at a constant 55 mph. While observing roughly the same Wh per mile consumption, the dyno test was able to achieve 882 miles of range—only a 17 percent difference over what they saw during their real world drive.
No Exotic Materials
The Gemini isn’t some wild idea battery using unobtainum minerals, nor is it some unusual chemistry. We asked Mujeeb Ijaz, president and CEO of ONE, what the battery was made of. “The production intent Gemini battery will be LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate, also known as LiFePo4) for the traction battery portion,” he said, “and a new cell ONE is designing for the range extender without cobalt, nickel, and graphite.” We also asked about the weight of the cells and how many they were able to fit in the Model S, however, Ijaz stated that the cells were still experimental, but, “We had a total of 203.7 kWh at a system level.”
The standard P100 pack is roughly 103.9 kWh, so they were able to double the capacity without needing a larger space and without much of a weight penalty, either, and that is the goal. “The ONE Gemini battery aims to eliminate range as a barrier to electric vehicle adoption by doubling the available energy on board in the same package space,” said Ijaz. He and ONE feel that the current solution of adding more chargers just isn’t entirely feasible, especially if you need to stop every 150 miles with smaller battery packs.
While the ONE Gemini battery isn’t quite ready for market now, it’s not far off. Ijaz said that ONE will have a production sample ready by 2023 with production of their Gemini battery pack by 2026. An exact cost of the Gemini hasn’t been released yet, either, but ONE expects it to initially cost the same as current nickel-cobalt based lithium batteries. If all of this can be accomplished and put into production, the Gemini solves another portion of the “EV problem” detractors scream about, as well: the mining of cobalt.
We’ll still need lithium, but new recycling techniques have proven to be able to extract that from current batteries with a reduction of wastewater and the energy needed for its extraction, eliminating or, at the very least, reducing the need to mine for new lithium deposits. ONE also said that it is “currently developing a proprietary range-extender cell, which deletes the graphite materials used in conventional anodes and contributing to a significant reduction in cost.” It’s also working on a new cathode material that “can be sourced at less than $0.46/lbs versus conventional batteries at around $10/lbs.” Just more proof that owning an EV won’t be as expensive or even as “environmentally unfriendly” as EV haters like to portray it.
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