Electric cars like Teslas could see their range increase by 70% and their prices fall, if a breakthrough battery technology inspired by Lego can be made a reality.
A new way of constructing and packaging batteries, the technology was first revealed in 2016 by a Swedish chemist and entrepreneur known as the 'queen of batteries'. Christina Lampe-Onnerud now holds a portfolio of patents to officially call the technology hers.
"It's a new way to package energy," Lampe-Onnerud told Business Insider Nordic. "We've been able to place the battery cylinders closer together and enclose them in a ceramic capsule with both thermal insulation and fire-proof material. This capsule is placed within an aluminium cylinder to achieve optimal cooling. The solution allows us to get rid of a lot of excess components and store more energy per unit of volume."
During a TED talk in 2012, Lampe-Onnerud said Lego blocks were the inspiration for her revolutionary battery blocks, which are space efficient, universal and compact. The system would use the same size batteries for any purpose, with just the number of blocks changing, such as four for a laptop and 2,000 for a car.
Lampe-Onnerud has developed and patented the technology with Cadenza Innovation, a company she founded in 2012.
The most captivating example she has for how the technology can improve today's batteries is with a Tesla car. "If our battery solution was used in a Tesla it would increase the range by 70%, and cost less," she said.
Now the technology is ready to be manufactured, Cadenza is looking for manufacturers to partner with. Given the Tesla claim from 2016, it is not surprising to learn that Lampe-Onnerud has been in talks with Elon Musk.
"We've had a number of discussions. But right now Tesla is focusing fully on delivery [of its new Model 3 car] so it's not the right time to come with new technology. He's done a fantastic job and we're on the sidelines cheering."
A licensing scheme means Cadenza can offer its battery technology to many parties and Lampe-Onnerud reveals Tesla "is of course one of them".