back to article New solvent might end winter charging blues for EV owners

Researchers have discovered that using "small molecule" solvents could help improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries, speeding up charging and ensuring they work at low temperatures. Lithium-ion batteries tend to rely on electrolytes consisting of one or more lithium salts dissolved in an organic solvent. A team led …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tesla owners complained....

    Not too loudly I hope. If their lord and master Elon The Malevolent Musk finds out he could brick their cars with a simple command from Borg HQ.

    I did own a Model 3 but I escaped the cult and now drive an E-Tron. It is actually a better car to drive but don't tell any Tesla cult members that.

    If you doubt that they are a cult just visit the Teslarti forum.

    1. cyberdemon Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Tesla owners complained....

      Upvoted for the tesla-bashing, downvoted because you are now an Audi E-Tron driver.. I don't see a lot of difference between the two. Both drive like knobheads and think they are somehow saving the planet.

      You are still in the cult. You can still be bricked from a different borg-cube, you still have a vehicle that cannot be used off-grid and uses just as much copper/neodymium/graphite as a Tesla, and you still have the same depreciation issue in your just-as-flammable battery.

      1. Xalran

        Re: Tesla owners complained....

        nowadays, it doesn't matter, especially in Europe, all the new vehicles ( and most of the recent ones ) be it EV or ICE can be bricked from a borg-cube. They all have, hidden deeply in their electronics a nice 4G/5G phone to call home the ( or be called by ) borg-cube.

      2. chriskno

        Re: Tesla owners complained....

        Globally petrol and diesel vehicles are found to catch fire 20 times more often than EVs

        1. Is there anybody out there?

          Re: Tesla owners complained....

          My 2003 petrol S-Type hasn't even caught fire once, let alone 20 times.

          1. MiguelC Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Tesla owners complained....

            Yes, but if it was an electric S-Type, it would have caught fire TWENTY times less!

          2. ICL1900-G3

            S-Type

            Nice car. I had a 4.2 V8, wish I hadn't sold it now.

        2. Securitymoose
          Joke

          Re: Tesla owners complained....

          At least they don't take 2 weeks to put out the fire.

        3. HangingOnAnotherDay

          Re: Tesla owners complained....

          My research resulted in "not enough data" to make a determination on this. So until we have enough data, it is flawed (or misleading, or both) to make such an assertion. What we do know is that we see spontaneous combustion of EVs - that's a problem that I seriously doubt happens with any measurable frequency with ICE vehicles but I have zero data to support that - it is simply an educated opinion. We do know that EVs have caught fire inside garages and all but destroyed entire homes. We know that insurance companies are totaling EVs after a minor accident, undoubtedly (although I don't have any data!) because the battery pack MAY be damaged and MAY combust thus they don't want the risk. So if and when EV batteries are more reliable, less expensive than replacing the entire car (see Hyundai), faster to charge, capable of using their full capacity to service my transportation requirements, and all but void of fire risk, then, and only then, will I consider a full EV or a plug-in Hybrid. Everyone has to decide the risk factors for themselves and more power to you if you want to take that on. But continued high risk means higher insurance premiums that, again, I'm not willing to take on.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Tesla owners complained....

            We have a division that tows cars, and it has to deal with Toasty Teslas on average once a week. Flaming ICEs is in the single digits per year.

            Now, geographics may play a role, but there's more to a Toasty Tesla than just putting it our, and a chunk of that may not be covered by insurance. The fire itself and the damage it causes to its surrounings (think heat-weakening stuctures underneath a building if parked underground) are possibly insured, but it's not certain that a subsequent re-emerging of the flames and the costs of dousing it once again are covered, and we've been told of one case where that costed another couple of grand.

            Add to that that the resale value of an EV is presently, well, cr*p and I wouldn't want one.

      3. Mookster
        Joke

        don't go to France...turd

        don't go to France...turd

        https://translate.google.com/?sl=fr&tl=en&text=%C3%A9tron&op=translate

    2. Emjay111

      Re: Tesla owners complained....

      E-tron you say? Ouch!

      https://www.insurancejournal.com/app/uploads/2024/02/used-electric-vehicles-see-big-price-declines-bloomberg.jpg

  2. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

    A new solvent.

    Is it more or less carcinogenic than the existing solvents? Cause more or less pollution in manufacture and recycling?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A new solvent.

      More or less carcinogenic than petrol or diesel, which fumes waft around every time you fill up.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A new solvent.

      When I read found that a solvent called fluoroacetonitrile

      I immediately thought I wonder how that goes in recycling landfill when it reaches end of life

      1. Chairman of the Bored

        Re: A new solvent.

        Or disposed of in a sanitary sewer? Seriously, I want to know what happens when shit hits the FAN

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: A new solvent.

          If a sewer is sanitary, can you drink from it?

        2. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

          Re: A new solvent.

          Looks nasty stuff , though I don't know the implications of it being part of the electrolyte.

          But, there again, petrol and the additives in it is nasty stuff too.

          It's not cheap either. Sigma Aldrich offers it at £71 per gram.

      2. Dr Dan Holdsworth
        FAIL

        Re: A new solvent.

        You notice that they're not using its alternative name, fluoro-methyl-cyanide?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: A new solvent.

          That's fluoromethyl cyanide, Shirley?

    3. Julz

      Doesn't

      Look too good on first Google...

      https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Fluoroacetonitrile

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Doesn't

        good resource. needs javascript enabled though

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A new solvent.

      From the supplier's safety data sheet:

      "To the best of our knowledge, the chemical, physical, and toxicological properties have not been thoroughly investigated"

      "Carcinogenicity: No data available"

      As a quondam chemist, I wouldn't go near it with a very long barge pole, in a hazmat suit. But maybe I'm just a bit paranoid.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: A new solvent.

        As a quondam chemist, I wouldn't go near it with a very long barge pole, in a hazmat suit. But maybe I'm just a bit paranoid.

        Paranoid? Maybe, but your life insurance should be a lot cheaper.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: A new solvent.

        Paranoid? Not quite, but you're getting there.

        The survival gene is quite strong in this one ...

    5. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: A new solvent.

      flouro-something means it has flourine in it. This by itself is not so much of a problem, unless it re-combines with OTHER things. HF acid is extremely toxic and dangerous, for example, though a flouride buffer solution used by your dentist really isn't [when use properly], nor is the flouride in toothpaste. CFCs used in air conditioning are non-toxic unless you BURN them, and then you can get phosgene gas (from the chlorine) and possibly similar kinds of chemicals from the flourine (I am not sure on this however, just making a point about what burning does in general). And as we all know lithium-based batteries have been known to "halt and catch fire" now and then.

      That being said, my SPECIFIC concern here has to do with a technology MONOPOLY by CCP regarding electric vehicles, and the FLAT OUT UNSCIENTIFIC LIES that are being used to (literally) FORCE people to switch over to them from gasoline and diesel engines. We know that CCP scientists have done their best at industrial and academic espionage on our technology for a LONG time, and they have finally reached a point with EV batter tech where WE must honor THEIR patents (when THEIR lack of patent respect towards US has been BLATANT).

      THAT is my main concern. We do NOT need to enrich the CCP. any further.

    6. JBowler

      Re: A new solvent.

      Here's the MSDS:

      https://www.sigmaaldrich.com/US/en/sds/aldrich/257443?userType=anonymous

      See section 11. In general fluorocarbons are assumed to not be carcinogenic, here's a CA summary:

      https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/DEODC/OHB/HESIS/CDPH%20Document%20Library/freons.pdf

      Look for **Cancer:** (i.e. bolded).

      The combustion products are likely to be a bigger issue given the frequency with which the batteries catch fire regardless of the valid comments about cars catching fire for other reasons (i.e. the fire issue applies to things like eBikes too.)

  3. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Lithium is well know for its flamability. And now we're going to add flourine to it. What could possibly go wrong?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's a high-density energy carrier - of course it's flammable, that's pretty much the definition.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Flame

      I think you pretty well nailed it

      yes, a "halt and catch fire" situation seems even MORE likely how...

      Some years ago I did a lot with LiPo batteries, charging circuits, determining how much battery is left, yotta yotta and one time I accidentally plugged a battery into a test circuit that was inadvertently shorted directly across the battery, In under 2 seconds it swelled like a sausage shaped balloon (from being flat and rectangular) and made a weird hissing noise when it did it. I yanked it out of circuit and got it to a sink in a few seconds and ran water on it, then it immediately collapsed into a wrinkled version of its former flat rectangular self. And this battery was under 300mAH if I recall correctly,.

      So yeah, put multi-KAH batteries into an electric vehicle with this electrolyte, along with Lithium electrodes, and see what happens in a traffic accident,..,

  4. rgjnk
    Flame

    Fluoroacetonitrile

    Flammable, irritant and acutely toxic by contact & ingestion, so lovely stuff even compared to the fun things already in batteries.

    Low flash point & boiling point too so keeping it stably inside batteries at car operating temperatures could be fun.

    The concept is good but hopefully they'll find something slightly more practical for production.

    1. Catkin Silver badge

      Re: Fluoroacetonitrile

      The debate on whether its sibling chloroacetonitrile is carcinogenic is an interesting one. It can certainly do unpleasant things to DNA but it's unclear how this plays out. Unfortunately, because it's a small contaminant in drinking water, most of the studies are of very low concentrations.

    2. Joe Gurman

      Re: Fluoroacetonitrile

      The PubChem list of hazards associated with the stuff is not for the faint of heart:

      H225 (100%): Highly Flammable liquid and vapor [Danger Flammable liquids]

      H301 (100%): Toxic if swallowed [Danger Acute toxicity, oral]

      H311 (100%): Toxic in contact with skin [Danger Acute toxicity, dermal]

      H315 (97.5%): Causes skin irritation [Warning Skin corrosion/irritation]

      H319 (97.5%): Causes serious eye irritation [Warning Serious eye damage/eye irritation]

      H331 (97.5%): Toxic if inhaled [Danger Acute toxicity, inhalation]

      H335 (100%): May cause respiratory irritation [Warning Specific target organ toxicity, single exposure; Respiratory tract irritation]

      1. Denarius Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Fluoroacetonitrile

        perfect ! just like all other save the planet solutions

      2. Neil Barnes Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: Fluoroacetonitrile

        * DIspose of battery responsibly

        * Do not cut into or otherwise damage battery cells

        * Do not short circuit battery or cells

        * Do not eat

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Fluoroacetonitrile

          * do not allow your vehicle to be exposed to a flood nor drive it into a lake

          * do not get into a traffic accident,

          * do not let your vehicle be consumed by a house fire

          * do not shoot your vehicle with any kind of projectile

          * do not accidentally short wires together due to rats chewing on the cables

          etc.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Fluoroacetonitrile

            Or, more succinctly:

            * do not purchase an EV until the technology matures ... unless your wallet enjoys being a guinea pig

          2. StargateSg7

            Re: Fluoroacetonitrile

            " .... * do not shoot your vehicle with any kind of projectile ..."

            SAY WHAAAAAAT????

            This is Amuricuh! We will shoot our vehicles with whatever 9mm, 12 gauge, .308 or 7.62 chambered for whatever AR-15, BMG .50 CAL rifle, shotgun or pistol we so wish, whenever and where we want!

            Americuh! F Yeah !!!!

            I dare ya! No! I double dare you! Say What one more gdam time! Do they speak ENGLISH IN WHAT?

            V

      3. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

        Re: Fluoroacetonitrile

        It's normally going to be sealed up tight. What really matters is what it turns into after it burns. It looks like LiF is very toxic and it puts on a good show while it's being created.

        1. Xalran

          Re: Fluoroacetonitrile

          I wouldn't be surprised if when burning it turns into CFC ( ChloroFluoroCarbon ) beside LiF and HF.

          It would make for an interesting and nasty mix... I really wouldn't want to be remotely near a burning EV with that kind of battery. At least not without an acid resistant, full life support suit.

  5. Steve Aubrey
    Joke

    I know why they didn't discover this earlier

    From the article: "intercalation science".

    This is obviously a reference to INTERCAL (the "Compiler Language With No Pronounceable Acronym"), which is notably slow. So obviously. Please.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: I know why they didn't discover this earlier

      Compiler Language With No Pronounceable Acronym

      CLWNPA? Perfectly pronounceable in Wales, I'd think.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: I know why they didn't discover this earlier

        You're pronouncing the acronym of one particular description of the compiler, not the compiler's actual acronym.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pardon moi?

    The article says "As the popularity of electric vehicles increases..."

    And yet the BBC website, with news about of the same topic of Apple ceasing development of EV cars, states:

    [quote]

    Demand for EVs has slowed in recent month[s] as borrowing costs remain high, which has made the market increasingly competitive as major players try to win over customers.

    In recent months, US motor industry giants Ford and General Motors have postponed plans to expand EV production.

    Last week, electric truck maker Rivian announced it would cut its workforce by 10% and said it did not expect any growth in its production this year.

    In January, Tesla warned that its sales growth would be weaker this year than in 2023.[/end]

    Link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-68420817

    So, I wish SOMEONE in the media could make up their minds whether EV sales are going up or down !!

    1. cyberdemon Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Pardon moi?

      Subsidies are high, but are coming down due to finite resources

      Demand is artificially inflated by current subsidies and green idealism, but is leveling off as the number of mugs^W early-adopters saturates. The rest of us are less idealistic, and more concerned about the cost i.e. the difference between price and future resale value (which is plummeting)

      So demand has to come down, especially when the subsidies and loss-leaders dry up

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pardon moi?

        The rest of us care about the cost and the ease of use/re-fueling.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pardon moi?

          I have an EV and think it's great. But my advice to anyone considering one is: The current EVs and charging infrastructure does not cover every use case of a car.

          1. a_builder

            Re: Pardon moi?

            I have a Tesla X and know the engineering is awful.

            However, Tesla charging infrastructure is really very good.

            But I would carry a long extension cable and a collection of adaptors for commando plugs…..just in case!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Emperor’s new clothes

    Now even more see-thru!

  8. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge
    Coat

    Plunges below zero?

    Does the author mean below -17.78°C or below 0°C?

    (255.372 or 273.15 Kelvin, 459.67° or 491.67°R and true commentartds all know I am referring to -3.7778° and -2°H respectively )

    As this is an international publucation surely the SI unit or, in extremis, K scale is more approriate than just splashing the word zero around with no reference frame other than the implied US states in the sentence?

  9. toomanylogins

    Where is the power coming from

    As usual no mention of where the additional power to fast charge is going to come from on how the grid will cope.

  10. DenTheMan

    Offkilter

    It has more to do with dentrite formation thus longevity.

    Both better cold charging and faster charging will be the obvious offshoots.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interestingly, only Tesla owners seem to be bothered by the charging performance.

    Everyone I know who drives an electric car (no teslas) are more bothered by the drop in range in the winter.

    I still say Teslas are the apple of the electric car world.

  12. aelfheld

    In what world?

    "As the popularity of electric vehicles increases [...]"

    Yeah, that explains why all the electric vehicle manufacturers are pulling back even when that costs them extensive government subsidies.

  13. bernmeister
    Stop

    Toxic etc

    Fluoroacetonitrile is not really good stuff to carry in large volumes. Its not good in small volumes either. They should keep looking for an electrolyte that wont poison the user in the case of small leak.

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