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Rolls-Royce Tests Electric Car

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Ivan Kirkpatrick
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Platinum
Interesting Points
Ivan Kirkpatrick   8/19/2011 12:24:06 PM
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There are a couple of interesting points and facts in this article.  The 120 mile range is better than most other cars.  The "range anxiety" issue remains though even if the driver does not need it or expect to use it.  

The battery pack is indeed large, heavy and expensive.  5 modules, at 1400 lbs is a big piece of the weight margin for the car.  The cost per KwH is stated as $500 to $1K.  I would like to see this pinned down a bit more.  

The battery chemistry is stated to be Lithium-nickel-cobalt-manganese etc.....  so one would think the advances in lithium chemistry are finding their way into new designs.

Th limitations still appear to center around the battery packs' energy density and cost.  It would seem that a doubling of the energy density and reducing the cost by half or better is going to be necessary to make the design truly useful and get it into the mainstream.  

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Interesting Points
Charles Murray   8/19/2011 12:41:45 PM
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Ivan: Most automakers (Rolls-Royce included) don't want to talk about the price of electric car batteries, so this is a very slippery subject. Often, you'll hear estimates of about $500 to $600/kWh but these are typically given without including the price of the cooling and electronic control system. The National Academy of Engineering estimated that total EV battery cost is more than $1,000/kWh. Toyota said the same in 2010. Tesla and Nissan have said their cost is $500/kWh, but, again, this is believed to be the price for the cells, not the entire system. I talked to Pike Research this morning, and they said they are inclined to believe that EV batteries typically cost $800 - $1,000/kWh. To be fair, I think it's best to give a price for the entire system, since cooling is an absolute requirement for lithium-ion battery chemistries. If you really want to pin it down, I think Pike's number is as good as you'll get.

Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Re: Interesting Points
Beth Stackpole   8/19/2011 1:10:36 PM
I find the point that the battery for the Phantom could cost between $35,000 and $70,000 mind boggling. Just goes to show you what luxury can afford. Any sense of what kind of special considerations Rolls Royce's performance and quiet requirements have in terms of EV development?

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Interesting Points
Charles Murray   8/19/2011 1:16:44 PM
Beth: Rolls-Royce seemed more interested in making sure the battery fit in the existing engine bay, so they wouldn't have to re-design the vehicle. Their use of a 240 Wh/kg battery is key there. With a lower energy density (140 Wh/kg is more typical today), the battery would hav been much bigger and heavier.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Interesting Points
Rob Spiegel   8/19/2011 2:55:21 PM
Wow, a 1,400lb battery. My first car -- a Corvair -- weighed only slightly more than that. I also love the $35,000 to $70,000 cost for a replacement battery that will probably be needed at what, 150,000 miles?

Another question about EVs, Chuck. What happens when they run out of "gas." Are tow trucks companies equipping themselves with charge capabilities? And how long would it take to recharge a dead vehicle?

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Interesting Points
Beth Stackpole   8/20/2011 8:24:01 AM
Remember Rob, money is no object for someone buying a $400K car so what's another $150K for a battery change every couple of years. I'm wondering if the set that can afford a Rolls Royce has any particular interest or slant towards electric vehicles or if this is just a pricey project where Rolls Royce can test the waters with its customer base.

 

 

johngaltrules
User Rank
Bronze
Rolls Royce is a BMW at heart
johngaltrules   8/20/2011 1:46:29 PM
These guys really know how to do it.  They also possess a strict product development work ethic.  If they didn't use

rapid prototyping they would have more issues. Government Motors will never pull it off.

jmiller
User Rank
Platinum
Can't just pull into a gas station either
jmiller   8/21/2011 9:26:17 PM
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I too wonder how long it would take to fill the tank.  This can lead to the paranoia in regards to not having a long enough range.  If I go 360 miles in my car I can stop and get gas and go another 360 miles.  Until I can stop at a service station and swap out batteries for a new one I think the electric car will still have some drawbacks.  If nothing else, the concept of freedom.

Jack Rickard
User Rank
Silver
Re: Interesting Points
Jack Rickard   8/22/2011 7:53:38 AM
The term "lithium battery" covers a multitude of sins.  It is true that lithium metal oxide batteries require thermal management.  Lithium phosphate cells generally do not.  In fact we generally avoid battery managment systems at all.

As to cost, we are running at $313 per kWh NOW in SMALL quantities - putting the 71 kWh pack at about $22,500 NOW.

The newer Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide cells have a greater density.  And probably do require thermal management and are undoubtedly more expensive.

 

That said, the 71kWh pack in the Rolls Royce is not the largest pack in an electric vehicle.  Our 2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT conversion features a 76.38 kWh pack now.

 

Jack Rickard

http://www.EVTV.me

 

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Can't just pull into a gas station either
William K.   8/22/2011 9:34:12 AM
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I would be very reluctant to even consider because of the probability of getting a battery that was not as good as the one exchanged.That is the fundamental flaw in any scheme of battery exchange, except for the case of owning two batteries and keeping one on charge at home, or elsewhere. Am I the only one who has received a worse exchanged item than the one I surrendered for exchange? 

Of course, with an item such as an expensive RR battery pack, perhaps the record keeping and serial number registration would assure that such problems were avoided. 

One other concern would be the simple mechanical concerns about changing out a battery that was that heavy. That would be a job needing something like a serious industrial robot with a quite high capacity, which would in turn add a great deal of extra cost to any "gas station" electing to perform such a service.

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