Is This The Tesla Killer?

We all know the story behind Fisker, it was one of the world’s first plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in 2008, and even had a legal spat between Tesla, but shortly after in 2012 the company crashed and burned in bankruptcy. Last year, Henrik Fisker decided to relaunch his brand. He thought that one failure wasn’t enough—-just like Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets. During Fisker’s relaunch, he made a shocking comment that caught the attention of Musk and it was on the claims of a new breakthrough in battery technology using graphene-based hybrid material that would revolutionize battery storage and make Musk’s batteries appear obsolete.

Thirteen months passed, and Musk wrote off Fisker’s claims, as Musk decided to focus on other things like his Boring company. That might of been Musk’s fatal flaw, because Fisker just came out and dropped a bombshell on the electric vehicle (EV) industry: ‘New Fisker Batteries 2.5x Density, 500 Miles Per Charge & Charging in 1 Minute’..

Musk will shortly developed uncontrollable convulsions with the understanding his Gigafactory producing thin-film lithium batteries could be obsolete.

Autoblog reports the new breakthrough, calling it a solid-state battery revolution: 

It seems that we’re on the cusp of a solid-state battery revolution. The latest company to announce progress in developing the new type of battery is Fisker. It has filed patents for solid-state batteries and it expects the batteries to be produced on a mass scale around 2023.

In the game of electric vehicles it’s all about batteries. Musk’s technology would be considered legacy when compared to solid-state. Here is why: 

  • Greater energy density
  • Rapid charging times

Fisker claims the batteries underdevelopment have a density of 2.5x when compared to the standard EV batteries. This should give the range of a Fisker vehicle well over a 500-mile and recharging capabilities in as little as a minute.

Here’s what Dr. Fabio Albano, VP of battery systems at Fisker Inc. claims:

This breakthrough marks the beginning of a new era in solid-state materials and manufacturing technologies.


We are addressing all of the hurdles that solid-state batteries have encountered on the path to commercialization, such as performance in cold temperatures; the use of low cost and scalable manufacturing methods; and the ability to form bulk solid-state electrodes with significant thickness and high active material loadings. We are excited to build on this foundation and move the needle in energy storage.  

Here’s a representation of the 3-dimensional electrodes:

Easily Explained: The Solid State Battery Revolution

The current standards for Tesla Model S depending on the type of charge ranges from 10 minutes to 1:15 for a max distance up to 300 miles.

Fisker on the other hand, claims their battery will enable ranges of more than 500 miles and a charge as low as one minute. Fisker’s technology would increase distance by over 66% and drastically reduce charging time, along with no explosions something that Teslsa has a long history of.


Roberto Baldwin of Engadget asks one question: Can Tesla avoid becoming the BlackBerry of electric cars? 

The simple answer is no.

As we have highlighted the short thesis for Tesla in yesterday’s post titled: Jim Chanos Adds To Tesla Short, Sees Musk Stepping Down… We had to make one adjustment and add line 8, which now includes the understanding of Fisker’s solid-state battery technology and how it could disrupt the entire EV party.

1. Negative Cash Flows

“If you can’t make money selling a $100,000 car to rich people, how are you going to make money selling a $45,000 car to normal people?” Rocker told The Times. He was referring to the upcoming mass-market Model 3. “I’m saying they’re going to lose money on every Model 3 they build and sell,” Spiegel said. Based on Tesla’s Q4 2016 earnings report, he figured the combined average selling price for non-leased Model S and X is about $104,000 and the combined average cost of building them about $82,000.

2. Competition from the Big Guys

Electric vehicles are still only a tiny fraction of total new vehicle sales in the US. Tesla sold about half of them. In March, according to Autodata, Tesla sold 4,050 vehicles in the US, similar to Porsche. All automakers combined sold 1.56 million new vehicles. This gave Tesla a market share of 0.26%. “Tesla faces a formidable set of competitors, and they’re coming in with guns blazing,” Wahlman told The Times. “Once the market is flooded with electric vehicles from manufacturers who can cross-subsidize them with profits from their conventional cars, somewhere around 2020 or 2021, Tesla will be driven into bankruptcy,” Spiegel said.

3. Tesla’s vanishing tax credits

The federal tax credit of $7,500 that EV buyers currently get is limited to 200,000 vehicles for each automaker. Once that automaker hits that point, tax credits are reduced and then phased out. Of all automakers, Tesla is closest to the 200,000 mark. Under its current production goals, the tax credits for its cars could start declining in 2018. This would give competitors, whose customers still get the full tax credit, a major advantage. About 370,000 folks put down a refundable $1,000 deposit on Tesla’s Model 3, perhaps figuring they’d get the $7,500 tax credit. But as it stands, many won’t. Rocker thinks that this is going to be an issue. The refundable deposit “commits them to nothing,” he said. Those that don’t get the tax credit may just ask for their money back and buy an EV that is still eligible for the credit.

4. The Question of patent protection

Tesla has made its patents available to all comers, thus lowering its patent protections against competitors. Also, the key part of an EV, the battery, is produced by suppliers; they, and not Tesla, own the intellectual property. This is true for all automakers. But Tesla might still be closely guarding crucial trade secrets that are not patented.

5. Musk’s distractions from his day job

Musk has a lot of irons in the fire: Tesla, SpaceX (with which he wants to build a colony on Mars or something), solar-panel installer SolarCity which Tesla bailed out last year; projects ranging from artificial intelligence to tunnel digging; venture capital activities…. “He’s all over the map, from tunneling to flights to Mars to solar roof tiles,” Rocker said. These announcements have the effect of boosting Tesla’s stock: “It’s ‘Let’s get the acolytes excited. Implant in the brain! Let’s buy Tesla stock!’”

6. Execution risk

“Investing is all about possibility and probability,” Yusko said. “Is it possible that Tesla will produce 500,000 cars in the next two or three years? Yes. Is it probable? No.” Tesla has missed many deadlines and goals, and quality problems cropped up in early production models. As Tesla is trying to make the transition to a mass-market automaker, execution risk will grow since mass-market customers are less forgiving.

7. Investor fatigue

Having lost money in every one of its 10 years of existence, Tesla asks investors regularly for more money to fill the new holes. In March, it got $1.2 billion. In May last year, it got $1.5 billion. Tesla will need many more billions to scale up production and to digest the losses. Tesla has been ingenious in this department. But when will investors get tired of it? “We’re awfully close to the point where people wake up and realize these guys are seriously diluting our equity” with new stock and convertible bond issues, Yusko said. According to The Times, Yusko “is looking for the moment when the true believers begin to lose faith.”


8. Emerging solid-state battery technology 

Musk has invested a lot into his Gigafactory and technology producing lithium-ion batteries. The EV game is all about the best battery technology and a new threat has emerged using solid-state technology. If Tesla does not adopt to these new battery trends consumers would likely gravitate to EVs who posses such technology, because of the longer distance and shorter charge time.


DeadFred cossack55 Thu, 11/16/2017 - 08:37 Permalink

Lithium batteries are pretty reliable (other than an occasional explosion) and their cost is coming down. If the new batteries can match this then Elon's plan is DOA. But I'm not seeing info on those aspects in this post. An efficient battery that costs 5X and lasts two years will never take over the market. Can the graphene batteries meet those specs?

In reply to by cossack55

JimmyJones TBT or not TBT Thu, 11/16/2017 - 10:13 Permalink

If you want to learn all there is to know about this battery tech, how it works, how to make it yourself and how it applies into other applications.  Watch Dr. Robert Murray Smith's videos.  This is his youtube page.  The tech is ready to be manufactured and released out to the world.  Their is just one catch.  You no longer need lithium.  He has pretty much open sourced all his research.  The revolution is at hand.  This tech is cheap, doesn't die, and truly allow people to be grid independent.  The revolution is here.  Coating current electordes in lead acid batties with graphene or just plain old carbon will increase their cycles (life) by about 15,000 times.  That is a very easy process. 

In reply to by TBT or not TBT

ufos8mycow newdoobie Thu, 11/16/2017 - 11:13 Permalink

You people need to stop thinking these cars are being made to charge at home. You may get some charging done in your garage but do you really think they are going to allow the entire gas/oil distribution infrastructure to disappear? Gas stations will become electric stations with high capacity chargers that will take the same time as it takes to fill your tank with gas (1 minute). You're focused on a single grain of sand while you're on your knees in a desert.

In reply to by newdoobie

ThanksChump IH8OBAMA Thu, 11/16/2017 - 14:17 Permalink

Charging a 1,000AH battery in one minute is a serious problem. Assuming no loss in heat, the charger must deliver 60,000 amps of current at whatever voltage those guys are, for one minute. Good luck charging in one minute (or < 5 hours) from a standard 100 amp home electrical service. That's $30 per charge at the prime rate $0.24/KWH, but it's a huge intermittent drain on the grid so the utilities will have to raise the prices for this stuff. I want to see the "Start Charging" switch be turned on by Neckbeard McManbun. Through binoculars and Lexan shielding.

In reply to by IH8OBAMA

IH8OBAMA ThanksChump Thu, 11/16/2017 - 14:45 Permalink

Charging stations and home charging stations will need a battery or capacitor storage system to buffer the effect on the grid of charging the auto battery.  Also, the actual/practical charging rate will be much slower.  They are probably talking about the ability of the battery cell rather than a practical charging solution. 

In reply to by ThanksChump

TheDude1224 Manthong Thu, 11/16/2017 - 09:52 Permalink

I don't understand why Fisker's crazy claims are more credible than Tesla's claims? Can't we say, at this point, that both say crazy, and outlandishly stupid things, and it means nothing until it is put into production? ZH conveniently left out that this technology wouldn't be ready until "2023", according to another article, and that a lot can change in 5 years. Also, these guys projecting 5 years usually means more like 20 years. This is just stupid hype that means nothing.

In reply to by Manthong

bluez Manthong Thu, 11/16/2017 - 10:29 Permalink

/~~~~~~~~~~ bluez => Mongoose Apr 12, 2017 11:41 PM… Battery Inventor Introduces New Technology for Fast-Charging, Noncombustible Batteries:…{Quote}The researchers demonstrated that their new battery cells have at least three times as much energy density as today’s lithium-ion batteries. A battery cell’s energy density gives an electric vehicle its driving range, so a higher energy density means that a car can drive more miles between charges. The UT Austin battery formulation also allows for a greater number of charging and discharging cycles, which equates to longer-lasting batteries, as well as a faster rate of recharge (minutes rather than hours).[....]Today’s lithium-ion batteries use liquid electrolytes to transport the lithium ions between the anode (the negative side of the battery) and the cathode (the positive side of the battery). If a battery cell is charged too quickly, it can cause dendrites or “metal whiskers” to form and cross through the liquid electrolytes, causing a short circuit that can lead to explosions and fires. Instead of liquid electrolytes, the researchers rely on glass electrolytes that enable the use of an alkali-metal anode without the formation of dendrites.{End quote}\~~~~~~~~~~That's what I like about ZH! Up-to-the-minute reporting! /s Mine was Apr 12, 2017, and this new ZH one is Nov 16, 2017.I read EVERYTHING, from the nutritional (in)significance of chicken egg color, epigenetics, mathematical logic to -- yes -- electrochemistry.  I said "If a battery cell is charged too quickly, it can cause dendrites or “metal whiskers” to form and cross through the liquid electrolytes, causing a short circuit that can lead to explosions and fires. Instead of liquid electrolytes, the researchers rely on glass electrolytes that enable the use of an alkali-metal anode without the formation of dendrites." It seems fairly obvious the batteries don't need to charge in 10 seconds. The point is that with a solid barrier electrolyte, the flaming whiskers can never form on a fast (or any) charge. Plus everywhere-available (liquid) sodium metal can replace lithium. So no more resource wars for lithium.(But don't listen to me; the heads-up I provided above only got two up-arrows.)

In reply to by Manthong

Lugnut Buckaroo Banzai Thu, 11/16/2017 - 14:25 Permalink

Exactly. This 'article' smells more like a Fisker PR puff piece designed to get early angel investors on board his second trip down the gang plank. Even if the tech talked about works as advertised (which until independt labs replicaet his claims, it doesnt) , going from a lab proof of concept to commercialized mass production by 2023 is a fairy tale dream.  As it is, he might as well be saying he solved cold fusion, miniturized it, and is building a car around it.

In reply to by Buckaroo Banzai

armageddon addahere Buckaroo Banzai Fri, 11/17/2017 - 12:23 Permalink

The big breakthroughs in battery technology started when cell phones created a demand for better batteries regardless of cost. Since cell phones and similar devices created demand, new batteries have been developed AND the cost has eventually come down through mass production.Those Robert Murry Smith videos are astonishing. He is talking about replacing lead, lithium etc with carbon ink printed on cheap paper to make batteries better, longer lasting and more ecologically friendly than anything we have now at a fraction of the cost.

In reply to by Buckaroo Banzai

BarkingCat Laowei Gweilo Thu, 11/16/2017 - 10:18 Permalink

Obviously from the embedded video this is not Fisker's technology but rather something being developed at a university in Texas.Changes are that the researchers or tge university  (whoever holds the patent) will simply license the technology to any company willing to pay the fees. What is stopping Musk (Tesla) from licensing it and producing their cars with the new battery.This article is stupid. ........and needs an editor too as it contains idiotic languistic errors.

In reply to by Laowei Gweilo

bluez BarkingCat Thu, 11/16/2017 - 10:47 Permalink

"Changes are that the researchers or tge university  (whoever holds the patent) will simply license the technology to any company willing to pay the fees. What is stopping Musk (Tesla) from licensing it and producing their cars with the new battery."This article is stupid. ........and needs an editor too as it contains idiotic languistic errors." -- aboveThe thing is, Musk has IIRC already invested $billions in a gigantic liquid electrolyte battery factory somewhere out west. Probably will require $billions more to produce the new solid electrolyte batteries. Maybe you will lend it to him?It's sad but "idiotic languistic errors" are all over the internet and printed journals these days.

In reply to by BarkingCat

hound dog vigilante skbull44 Thu, 11/16/2017 - 13:26 Permalink

 Yep.  Battery tech hasn't benn changed/improved much at all in 100+ years, despte every major gov't, military & space program on the planet spending billions to 'revolutionize' them...Add Musk/Tesla to the pile of failures... and I'll believe Fisker's claims when I see them. EV's are STILL just glorified golf carts.  

In reply to by skbull44