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How an argument led to the creation of a safer 'hoverboard'


German electronics firm Hama had been looking at self-balancing skateboards, better known as Hoverboards or Swagways, for about half a year. It wanted to get into the market and so bought every single device currently available to see how they worked. As the company's Thomas Bobinger described it, these low-cost devices "didn't fit with Hama's brand," probably because of how unsafe they were. The firm promptly washed its hands of the idea and moved on to other projects, until fate decided to intervene. It was a few months later, at the Hamburg toy fair, when Bobinger and colleagues heard a massive argument a few booths over.

Tesla may have paid $3 to buy patents for making cleaner EV batteries


When Tesla held its Battery Day presentation last September, the company detailed various manufacturing changes that could halve the cost of making EV batteries over the next couple of years. As one example, Drew Baglino, Tesla's senior vice-president of powertrain and energy engineering, said the company could reduce cathode production costs by more than 75 percent by reusing the water needed to make the component. Months later, we now have a better idea of how Tesla may have obtained the technology for those production techniques. Public records found by TechCrunch show a small Canadian startup called Spingpower International sold several patent applications to Tesla. The automaker purchased those a little over two weeks before Battery Day.

The Race To Crack Battery Recycling--Before It's Too Late


Every day, millions of lithium-ion batteries roll off the line at Tesla's Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada. These cells, produced on site by Panasonic, are destined to be bundled together by the thousands in the battery packs of new Teslas. But not all the batteries are cut out for a life on the road. This is the home of Redwood Materials, a small company founded in 2017 with an ambition to become the anti-Gigafactory, a place where batteries are cooked down into raw materials that will serve as the grist for new cells. Redwood is part of a wave of new startups racing to solve a problem that doesn't really exist yet: How to recycle the mountains of batteries from electric vehicles that are past their prime.

Why We Still Don't Have Better Batteries

MIT Technology Review

Last month Ellen Williams, the director of ARPA-E, the U.S. Department of Energy's advanced research program for alternative energy, made headlines when she told the Guardian newspaper that "We have reached some holy grails in batteries." Despite very promising results from the 75-odd energy-storage research projects that ARPA-E funds, however, the grail of compact, low-cost energy storage remains elusive. A number of startups are closer to producing devices that are economical, safe, compact, and energy-dense enough to store energy at a cost of less than 100 a kilowatt-hour. Energy storage at that price would have a galvanic effect, overcoming the problem of powering a 24/7 grid with renewable energy that's available only when the wind blows or the sun shines, and making electric vehicles lighter and less expensive. But those batteries are not being commercialized at anywhere near the pace needed to hasten the shift from fossil fuels to renewables.

Startup shows off electric car batteries that charge in 5 minutes


Start a conversation about electric cars, and it'll likely take less than five minutes until someone asks about charging times. Yes, the charging times for electric vehicles are still far from ideal -- typically, it will take more than an hour to fully charge an electric car at a commercial -- but this might improve soon, thanks to Israeli startup StoreDot. StoreDot is working on batteries for electric vehicles of all kinds, including e-scooters and cars, that charge in just five minutes. On Tuesday, the company announced it now offers engineering samples of its five-minute charge batteries. The sample cells, produced by China's EVE Energy, are different from traditional batteries as they have metalloid nano-particles instead of graphite in the cell's anode.