Charged ions of lithium metal do the heavy lifting in today's batteries. When your Tesla is tethered to the Supercharger, these ions migrate through the electrolyte, across the separator, and plate out on the anode. Then floor the accelerator, they head in the other direction, forming chemical bonds with the cathode material. In today's EV batteries, these cathode materials (typically nickel/manganese/cobalt-oxide molecules) can only host 0.5 to 0.7 lithium ions each, whereas a single sulfur atom can host two lithium ions. Eurekagravimetric densities jump from between 150 and 260 Wh/kg to 500 or more. Suddenly you'll get triple the range or lighten the battery weight by a third.
The many buzzkills that have so far kept lithium-sulfur chemistry off the road include the extremely low electrical conductivity of sulfur, physical expansion of the cathode as sulfur atoms become Li, S molecules, and the dreaded “polysulfide shuttle” effect. Engineered materials solved the first by attaching sulfur atoms to more conductive carbon structures like nanotubes. The expansion problem is shared with today's solid-state battery technologies and seems surmountable. The third has proven way thornier. See, sometimes when these Red Rover lithium ions head back over to the anode, they bring sulfur atoms with them, depleting the cathode. This causes lithium-sulfur batteries to die after maybe 100 charging cycles.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
2022 Pininfarina Battista
It's quicker than whatever supercar you drive.
2022 Subaru WRX
Big shoes to fill.
Tip of the Spear
Our inaugural pvoty evaluation ran the market's sharpest cars through the gauntlet in search of the best of the best
Superformance MKIII-E Electric Cobra Prototype
The future of hot rodding is here, and it's still gnarly.
2004 Porsche 911 GT2
It sure seemed crazier back in its day.
Day in the Life 2037
We asked scientists, auto executives, and forecasters what they thought a typical day in the life of a middleclass American would look like 15 years from now. How will they get around and go about their day? How much of what we read about today could soon be reality? Created out of those discussions, this essay explores what the not so distant future—automotive and otherwise—could be ...
The Big Picture
Has the ultimate driving machine run out of road?
The inevitable future, as foretold by Nostratechnologūs.
The Holy Driver - When Virtual Meets Reality
A talented young gamer eventually learns that the driving simulation he’s playing has become all too real, with life-and-death consequences
MOTORTREND PERFORMANCE VEHICLE OF THE YEAR 2022
THE FUTURE OF TECH
From self-driving cars to space travel, we answer your questions about where technology is heading
The Big Twitter Takeover
Elon Musk's latest high-profile move has shaken more than just the tech community
Carbon Capture Comes Of Age
Delays in cutting emissions have opened opportunities for technologies promising to undo climate damage
Bottom-Fishing Can Be Scary
In a rough year for stocks, it’s tempting to try to grab bargains now. Just be careful
GRIND HARD AND PUT AWAY WET
A TEAM OF YOUTUBERS TAKES AN OFF-ROAD-MODIFIED SALVAGED TESLA DOWN THE MOJAVE ROAD.
40K 2019 Tesla Model 3
Long-term test. After tracking every charge, service, problem, complaint, dent, and dog hair, car and driver presents the 40,000-mile evaluation. Beyond the noise
What Elon Wants...
The world's richest man spent $44 billion on Twitter but says he doesn't "care about the economics at all"
WHAT'S NEXT NOW THAT TWITTER AGREED TO MUSK BID?
Twitter’s acceptance of Elon Musk’s roughly $44 billion takeover bid brings the billionaire Tesla CEO one step closer to owning the social media platform.
TESLA 1Q EARNINGS 7 TIMES MORE THAN YEAR AGO ON STRONG SALES
Tesla reported that its first-quarter net earnings were over seven times greater than a year ago, powered by strong sales despite global supply chain kinks and pandemic-related production cuts in China.
MUSK LAWYER: GAG ORDER WOULD TRAMPLE ON FREE SPEECH RIGHTS
Elon Musk’s lawyer says a federal judge would trample on the Tesla CEO’s free speech rights if he ordered Musk to stop talking about 2018 tweets saying he had the funding to make Tesla a private company.