Memo to Tesla Motors, Inc.: Use Our Batteries

One small company just came out of stealth mode and claims Tesla should use its superior batteries.

May 18, 2014 at 5:01PM

While Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) seems to be traveling at a headstrong 100 miles per hour toward building its Gigafactory, a factory with the capacity to build more lithium-ion batteries under one roof than in the entire world's production today, one small start-up in Japan says it has the technology that would put lithium-ion to shame. While Power Japan Plus' claims should be taken with a grain of salt, they're certainly intriguing.

Tesla Model S Frunk Tmf

With the battery built into the floor of the vehicle, and the motor on the rear axel, the front of Tesla's Model S can be used as storage. Photo: The Motley Fool

The claims
"The Ryden dual-carbon battery is the energy storage breakthrough needed to bring green technology like electric vehicles to mass market," Power Japan Plus CEO Dou Kani said in a May 13 press release.

The company detailed the battery in the release.

This unique battery offers energy density comparable to a lithium ion battery, but over a much longer functional lifetime with drastically improved safety and cradle-to-cradle sustainability. The Ryden battery makes use of a completely unique chemistry, with both the anode and the cathode made of carbon. 

The chief designer behind the battery, Dr. Kaname Takeya, helped create the batteries used in the Toyota Prius and the Tesla Model S, asserts the company's website.

If Power Japan Plus' claims are true, the lithium-ion battery could quickly become antiquated. Power Japan Plus says the Ryden dual-carbon battery can be made 100% recyclable, charge 20 times faster than lithium-ion batteries, and offer significant battery life of more than 3,000 charge and discharge cycles. And this technology could support a fully electric vehicle that gets 300 miles of range, the company says.

To Tesla Motors
How marketable is the battery? Power Japan Plus says that it is cost competitive.

[It] slots directly into existing manufacturing processes, requiring no change to existing manufacturing lines. Even more, the battery allows for consolidation of the supply chain, with only one active material -- carbon. Additionally, manufacturing of the Ryden battery is under no threat of supply disruption or price spikes from rare metals, rare earth or heavy metals.

Obviously if Power Japan Plus' assertions are true, this could quickly make Tesla's planned Gigafactory obsolete.

Would Power Japan Plus partner with with Tesla Motors? Absolutely. The company's chief marketing officer, Chris Craney, provided The Motley Fool with these statements:

Power Japan Plus could certainly enter a licensing agreement with Tesla Motors or any other automotive company that is interested in moving beyond lithium ion batteries to a battery chemistry that is safe, sustainable and cost effective.

And on the Gigafactory:

Tesla is building the Gigafactory because lithium ion batteries are so expensive. The only way a mass market electric vehicle powered by a lithium ion battery pack will be feasible is to drive down the cost of the battery by reaching very large economies of scale. The dual carbon battery is cost effective from day one, without even needing to reach large economies of scale, because the only active material is carbon, which is abundant and cheap.

Power Japan Plus would not comment on whether or not it is in talks with Tesla but did say that after coming out of stealth mode on Tuesday it is already taking meetings with multiple parties interested in the technology.

Fluke? Possibly. But Power Japan Plus is putting on quite a show if that's the case. Whatever the outcome, the news is a reminder that investors should expect battery breakthroughs in the coming years. And when breakthroughs in battery technology come, it could serve as an enormous boon for the electric vehicle market.

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Daniel Sparks owns shares of Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool recommends Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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