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Tesla gets a new head of its Advanced Battery Research in Canada, renews contract

Tesla now has a new head with its Advanced Battery Research group in Canada and renewed the contract with the organization, which has been producing a lot of battery technology for the automaker.

Tesla Advanced Battery Research

For the past five years, Tesla has been working with a battery research group in Canada, also known as Jeff Dahn’s research team, that has been helping improve their battery tech.

Dahn is considered a pioneer in Li-ion battery cells. He has been working on the Li-ion batteries pretty much since they were invented. He is credited for helping to increase the life cycle of the cells, which helped their commercialization.

His work now focuses mainly on a potential increase in energy density and durability, while also decreasing the cost.

In 2016, Dahn transitioned his research group, which operates as part of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, from their 20-year research agreement with 3M to a new association with Tesla under the newly formed “NSERC/Tesla Canada Industrial Research.”

The partnership has already been very beneficial for Tesla.

Over the last few years, the group has been filing patents on battery technology for Tesla that could lead to a new battery cell enabling a million miles in a battery pack.

The contract between Tesla and Dahn’s team for their “Advanced Battery Research group” was set to expire in 2021, and changes were bound to happen.

Last year, we reported on Dahn planning the succession of his battery research group.

While we were told that he doesn’t plan to retire anytime soon, they decided to split his role into two jobs, Tesla Canada Research chair and Herzberg-Dahn chair, and to have Dahn mentor the new leaders.

New Tesla Canada Research Chair

Today, Dalhousie University announced that they have extended their contract with Tesla for the Advanced Battery Research group to 2026 and they announced the two new chairs:

  • Dr. Chongyin Yang is the Tesla Canada Research Chair and has been working on materials and devices for energy conversion and storage for 12 years. Prior to coming to Dalhousie University, Dr. Yang was an assistant research scientist in the Department of Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Maryland, where he led research projects on material and device development for high energy aqueous lithium-ion batteries. 

    Dr. Yang’s research group will focus on developing high-performance materials for advanced lithium-ion batteries, which includes sustainable electrode materials that contain no transition metals. It will be a crucial part of Dalhousie-Tesla partnership that seeks lower-cost, longer lifetime, and higher-energy battery technologies as the next-generation energy storage solution for electric vehicles and sustainable green energy.
  • Dr. Michael Metzger is the Herzberg-Dahn Chair and received a diploma from the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the top-ranked university in Germany and the European Union. While completing his graduate studies, Dr. Metzger developed innovative methods to study the lifetime and aging of lithium-ion batteries in close collaboration with BASF and BMW. He has also worked in the Silicon Valley tech industry as a research engineer for Robert Bosch, the largest supplier for the automotive industry. 

    Dr. 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 goal is to create fundamental understanding that will help develop new electrode materials and electrolytes for stationary and electric vehicle batteries.

They confirmed that they will be working with Dahn who commented on the new appointments:

I am so pleased to welcome Chongyin Yang and Michael Metzger to Dalhousie University assistant professors and Chairholders. Both are outstanding scientists and charismatic leaders. Our goal is to continue to help Tesla develop better advanced batteries for its products. 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 also released a statement about today’s announcement:

We are thrilled to be extending and expanding our work with Dalhousie and Jeff Dahn with the addition of Chongyin and Michael. We look forward to their important contributions in battery technology to help achieve our mission.

The changes in the battery research comes as Tesla is making new moves to build its own battery cells.

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