Tesla extends battery research with Jeff Dahn


Tesla has extended its battery research partnership with Canada’s Dalhousie University, which has been in place since 2016, until at least 2026. Jeff Dahn will now be supported by Chongyin Yang and the former Bosch researcher Michael Metzger.

The research partnership with Tesla remains exclusive, according to the university. The Californian electric car manufacturer is thus more than a simple third-party funder for the university. The first agreement was concluded in June 2015; officially, the agreement, which began in 2016, was set to run until 2021. Now it has been extended until “at least 2026”.

Numerous developments and patent applications have emerged from this research partnership, for example in the field of cell chemistry for liquid electrolytes or cells with a service life of 10,000 cycles, which is supposed to correspond to traction current for over two million miles (or 3.2 million kilometres).

However, the partnership extension is only mentioned at the end of the announcement. Dalhousie University devoted the bulk of the announcement to two new research chairs who have joined the partnership with Tesla. “Two outstanding scientists” have been named Dalhousie University’s newest research chairs.

The Tesla Canada Research Chair has been filled by Chongyin Yang. According to the university, Yang has been working on materials and devices for energy conversion and storage for 12 years and moves to Canada from the University of Maryland. Yang’s research group will focus on developing high-performance materials for advanced lithium-ion batteries, including sustainable electrode materials that do not contain transition metals. As the university points out, this will be a “critical component of the partnership between Dalhousie and Tesla.”

“Dr Jeff Dahn is one of the pioneers on lithium-ion battery research. Tesla is a Tier 1 company and using really innovative technology to make the high-performance electric car more widely available,” Yang says. “It’s an honour for me to take part in this partnership with them at Dal, and I hope that, together, we can keep making more influential contributions to the whole industry.”

Metzger moves from Bosch to Canada

The Herzberg-Dahn Chair, which was also newly created, was filled by the German Michael Metzger. Already during his diploma studies at the TU Munich, Metzger developed innovative methods “in close cooperation with BASF and BMW” to investigate the service life and ageing of lithium-ion batteries. Metzger worked for Bosch before moving to Dalhousie University.

Metzger’s research group will focus on developing novel methods to study the performance and lifetime of advanced lithium-ion batteries, lithium metal batteries and desalination batteries. The aim, he said, is to create a fundamental understanding that will contribute to the development of new electrode materials and electrolytes for stationary and electric vehicle batteries.

“Becoming a part of the excellent work that is happening here at Dalhousie is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Metzger is quoted as saying. “Not only are our batteries ‘high energy’, but it’s also the style of work we have here at the university.”

Both Metzger and Yang will work closely with Jeff Dahn, who will remain active. “Both are outstanding scientists and charismatic leaders. Our goal is to continue to help Tesla develop better-advanced batteries for its products,” Dahn said. “Dr Yang and Dr Metzger bring new ideas, new methods, and new expertise as well as a full commitment to electric transportation and renewable energy to the partnership.”

Tesla is also excited to “be extending and expanding our work with Dalhousie and Jeff Dahn with the addition of Chongyin and Michael,” according to the release. “We look forward to their important contributions in battery technology to help achieve our mission,” reads a quote from Tesla, but not personally attributed to any representative of the company.

With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany.


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