To boost the range of pure electric vehicles (EVs), automakers need more onboard energy. To get more energy, they need bigger battery packs.
That's why manufacturers such as Tesla Motors and BYD Automobile are rolling out vehicles with massive EV battery packs. Tesla's Model S offers a choice of three packs -- 40kWh, 60kWh, and 85kWh. The smaller packs have approximately 5,000 cells in them, while the bigger packs incorporate 8,000 cells, and weigh up to 1,200 pounds. Similarly, BYD's highly anticipated e6 will use a 1,400lb, 71kWh battery.
Not all automakers are building such massive packs. Nissan's Leaf uses a 24kWh model, while the Chevy Volt employs a 16kWh battery, and the Toyota Prius PHV (a plug-in hybrid) incorporates a 5.2-kWh unit. We've collected photos of a wide range of EV battery packs, ranging from production to research devices.
Click on the photo below to scroll through our EV battery slideshow:
The electric DeLorean's battery bay houses the vehicle's electric motor and half of its battery pack. (Source: DeLorean Motor Co.)
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For a close-up look at GM's Chevy Volt, go to the Drive for Innovation site and follow the cross-country journey of EE Life editorial director, Brian Fuller. In the trip sponsored by Avnet Express, Fuller is taking the fire-engine-red Volt to innovation hubs across America, interviewing engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and students as he blogs his way across the country.
I'm always leery of brute force approaches. As the batteries get bigger, more % of the cost of the vehicle, it's a brute force solution. It will die of bloat, overweight if not disinterest as the hybrid, a more sensible approach, takes over. Even the hybrid is overpriced and overweight. You have to look at the cost of ownership, not just the mpg. If you drive 10k miles per year at $3.85/gal and 25 mpg, you pay $1540. The car may cost $10k less than the hybrid equivalent. So you have six years of gas keeping your 25 mpg car. It's a huge premium to pay for the hybrids. Will electrics and hybrids depreciate less? Maybe, but you had to pay up front for an overpriced vehicle to begin with. I see electrics with battery bloat as an exercise in futility. Will history prove me right? IMHO yes.
Seriously this whole battery thing is so far off unless someone has a creditable unforeseen revelation up there auto-technical selves. Nuclear or atomic generators the size of a shoebox and an electric motor and your in business. The Power supply would be moved from vehicle to the next and may be passed on after the owner expires. After all the power supply would last several lifetimes anyway. Totally green. No pollution, no danger not anything. You couldn't make it into a bomb and it wouldn't over heat and it would be regulated. It would just work totally efficient. You could bring the PS into your home and run you home with it to some degree. I mean really this is not so farfetched as the car itself in the 1800s. Just get over it and do it.
the clean energy of electric cars mostly originates from coal fired power plants, when the coal gasoline is economically cheaper than petroleum at about 35 dollard a barrel. The oligopoly of oil and a corrupt government prevent technology from making the most economocally justified decision to use coal refined gasoline to power our cars, bypassing the burning of coal which is indirectly responsible for thousands of deaths annually each year. Electric cars powered by coal fored power plants by far the dirtest source of aoutomotive power---however out of sight is out of mind,,,,,,rest peacefuly in your electric car with the delusion of clean energy, oh yes, one last thing, ask why the EPA, overpowered by the oligopoly of petroleum based gasoline, refuses to allow coal to gasoline refineries at the coal mines mouth, (domestic energy) further reducing the point when coal gas is superior to electric cars. How stupid can you be thinking a car powered by eletricity fdrom extremely toxic sources is clean energy, just because the advertisments advertise it as clean energy---the law of advertising, states that advertising is just an offeer top do business, and an advertisor can actually lie in his adds DUH, but its legal " let the buyer beware" don't fall for the electric car gimmick. or fall for it, and watch football, basket ball, golf, hocky, etc become a talk football player, while the government stuffs slavery down your eonomic system posing as free trade, and globalization which means the slavers get most of the income, and reduces you to a real fool, or not who gives a s--t abput your children and their children, or the nation for tht matter, just keep up on whos who in the talk football world and maybe you could become president, and claim criminals as your children, 17 year olds without an allowance but, permitted burgler toold, the path to an allowace, and if anyone bothers them then make a hoody race card as a new addition to the deck of affirmative action biggotry, ha ha ha
How about the opposite type of application for that 71KWH battery? Put it in an electric dragster and use all of hthose KWHs in 5 seconds.
The interesting thying is that with the best shut-off-and-coast technology it should be easy to double the miles per gallon performance of a vehicle without getting in anybodies way. Two things are needed that we don't presently have on most cars: A sut off and select neutral switch, and a smooth engaging starter motor. Probably driving the alternator like a motor would handle the starter, but the shut off and coast controls will be a bit more of a challenge.
My current van is 2005 Caravan with a 2.4 L 4 cyl. that gets 24 MPG around town. I just got rid of a 1998 Voyager with a 3.0 V-6 that got about 24.5 MPG around town and around 29 on the highway. I seem to remember our 1984 Voyager with a 5 speed stick and 4 cylinder engine getting 30 MPG in town. I have a 3/4 ton Chevy that gets 13 MPG so it's nice to be able to fit a bundle of conduit (10 foot) in the van. I only drive the truck 500 miles per year. I'm not for bells and whistles. I never had a car with working AC until I was 60.
My wife got an Outback that gets 24 MPG in town but it cost $10,000 more than the minivan. I can't drive anything but American out of respect for the boys still on the Arizona. The Suburus don't coast well. When I see a stop sign a half mile down the road, I take my foot off the gas and coast all the way there in the minivan. She can't do that in the Outback without putting it in neutral. That's too much trouble so she keeps her foot on the gas a while longer. Pete O.
What van / engine are you driving that gets 24 mpg ?
There is a hybrid option that might work for you: supposedly GM still makes the Tahoe and Escalade hybrid SUV's. My 2009 Chrysler Aspen was supposedly part of a joint venture with the Chevrolet Tahoe, Cadillac Escalade, and BMW X6. My Aspen has a 5.7 liter Hemi V8. I think the GM's have the 6.0 liter V8.
The problem is that these are more LUV than SUV = luxury utility vehicles, not really intended to be a truck or cargo van.
And as mentioned in other posts = Hybrids tend to be purchased by early adopters, as the hard calculations of ROI usually don't justify the premium price. Part of the premium price of early Prius' was the Nav / DVD / Sound system. My wife's 2010 Prius doesn't have 'all the toys'. which reduced the price to a palatable level.
45 years ago the Mallory Battery Company of Canada produced a highly specialized D size cell, the energy density of which at that time (1967) matched the lithium systems of today. It was a difficult cell to manufacture and was shelved because an alternative system provided a compromise solution for the application for which it was targeted.
An extrapolation of the technology today combining advances in chemistry; greater manufacturing sophistication and other advances made over the intervening years suggests that EV battery packs matching what exists today would be lighter, take up less volume and be about 53% less expensive.
I have a hunch that someone must be doing research on this idea, deux chevaux. As you point out, there are many technical issues to consider, but there are definite advantages to the idea. The biggest of those is the interior space challenge. Batteries that weigh 450-900 pounds inevitably take up too much cabin space because of the high floor. I've gotta think someone's looking into this, although I would imagine it would probably be a very long time before we would see it in concept form.
Hi Charles, I am not aware of anybody doing research on body panels as batteries. I was intrigued about the emerging battery powered cars over a decade ago and as a design engineer and want-to-be 'futurist' I tried to predict how the technology would evolve and design with it. From memory, I first predicted that batteries would become part of a chassis structure where their weight doubles as poor quality structure for efficiency and low centre of gravity. I have now seen this in picture 16. Next other non cosmetic areas like bulkheads would be utilised as batteries. Eventually as battery technology develops they could cosmetically be overmoulded into complicated body shapes. If battery life stays at about seven years then these modular panels can be replaced to a later design of body or battery. If the battery/chassis design remains then you could change your pick-up to a five seater for a growing family. These panels do not need to be batteries, more recent thinking from a few years ago would possibly have them as super capacitors with seperate smart electronic modules to discharge them in a useful way. The panels would be more easily suited to layer lay-ups in a capicator type construction. I consider capicitor technology as not being far away, today, from this application. Batteries or capicitors could possibly be self charging with an invisible solar panel coating. Obviously battery technology needs to progress in the correct path for this application. In an accident we cannot have battery acid that will dissolve occupants or an impacted pedestrian, or heavy metals that will long term poison them. We also cannot have people being shocked or electrocuted. The panels need to be light and structural too. The panels will likely be thicker so lightness is important whereas strength will be easier due to thickness. My wife worked in carbon fibre lay-ups for aircraft. This is a strong method of construction like plywood and is analogous to capacitor lay-ups. Carbon fibre is a potential conductor for the devices and could be possibly grown into a latice shape (in a body panel shape) using nano technology. This would give strength and excellent surface area to a liquid or gel electrolyte. This is a long blog so I will leave it here. Thanks Charles for your interest.
Lithium-ion battery prices will drop rapidly over the next 10 years, setting the stage for plug-in vehicles to reach 5%-10% of total automotive sales by the mid- to late-2020s, according to a new study.
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