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Captain Hybrid

Lead-Acid Could Challenge Lithium-Ion in Hybrids

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Elizabeth M
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Lithium ion on the way out?
Elizabeth M   4/18/2013 9:33:51 AM
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Interesting story, Chuck. I think it's a bit early to count out lithium ion, especially with some new research in different chemistries. But with all the negative publicity and the current limitations of the technology, there is certainly room for another battery chemistry to take its place.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Lithium ion on the way out?
Rob Spiegel   4/18/2013 11:09:22 AM
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Alternatives to the internal combustion engine. A dressed up older battery technology may help break through the difficulties. Or perhaps something else. So far it looks like lithium-ion will see some challenges.

theboz808
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Re: Lithium ion on the way out?
theboz808   4/19/2013 10:27:28 AM
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I'd like to see an unbiased analysis of the real, long term environmental impact of electric and/or electric hybrid vehicles verses internal combustion engines.  These are touted as being green, but when the full impact of all these batteries is included, my suspicion is they will pale in comparison to a efficient IC engine.  Europe, New Zealand, and Australia have been using clean burning 3-cylinder diesel engines that get 60 MPG for years.  Meanwhile excessive government regulations and the green propaganda has clouded the US from a real technical assessment of the problem and the best solutions. 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Lithium ion on the way out?
Rob Spiegel   4/22/2013 12:56:52 PM
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Good point, theboz808. Incentives for alternative-fuel engines or electric power could cloud the development of a clean-burning internal combustion engine. The automakers are working at it anyway. There are some very efficient IC engines coming out of Ford.

Charles Murray
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Re: Lithium ion on the way out?
Charles Murray   4/22/2013 6:30:17 PM
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If it continued on the way it's been, Rob, I think EV battery funding would cloud the development of IC engines. Lately, though, I'm hearing more automakers talking about internal combustion engines when it comes to meeting to 2025 CAFE mandate. See the link below:

http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1366&doc_id=258495

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Lithium ion on the way out?
Rob Spiegel   4/24/2013 11:26:07 AM
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The article from this link makes a ton of sense, Chuck. The hybrid car delivers the features needed by average car owners -- practicality, affordability. EVs are far from that. I find it at bit odd that automakers are investing so heavily in EV development.

Charles Murray
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Re: Lithium ion on the way out?
Charles Murray   5/14/2013 7:39:32 PM
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I agree, Rob. The idea is sensible. I think pure EVs will find a niche, but it won't be at the low end of the market. And it won't be a big niche. Consumer Reports said last week that the Tesla Model S might be the best car they've EVER seen, but it cost $90,000. 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Lithium ion on the way out?
Rob Spiegel   5/15/2013 3:51:00 PM
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Yes, the Tesla Model S also received the Motor Trend 2013 Car of the Year. Obviously, affordability is not one of the criterions for the award. However, the car is getting a positive reception.

tekochip
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New Improvements
tekochip   4/18/2013 9:39:54 AM
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If they could do something to improve the old technology that would be fantastic. Lead-acid is forgiving and easily remanufactured, but it's also heavy and has a poor life-cycle under constant use. It's great for starting cars, though.


TJ McDermott
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Weight
TJ McDermott   4/18/2013 4:02:13 PM
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Weight wasn't mentioned at all.  That characteristic weighs against lead/acid (forgive the pun), especially for smaller vehicles.

AnandY
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Re: Weight
AnandY   4/19/2013 2:17:08 AM
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Lead-acid batteries have lowest energy-to-weight and energy-to-volume designs, making them very big and heavy for the total amount of power that they can put out. But they do have a very high surge-to-weight ratio, which means that they have the capacity to deliver a big jolt of electricity all at once. This feature makes lead-acid battries perfect for applications that need a big, sudden surge of power, such as car starters.

tekochip
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Re: Weight
tekochip   4/19/2013 9:45:41 AM
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Weight is a major issue. I have an electric mower that I modified so I could run from a battery pack and charge it with solar panels. Yes, a green lawn mower. It cost more than I will ever save in fuel, and the original 17AH SLA cells only last about three years. I repacked the mower with a 10AH NiMh that produces the same run time at about 1/3 the weight, a huge savings.
 
I only have one season in the NiMh pack, so I can't comment on life, but there is one downside. It's very easy to monitor the State Of Charge (SOC) for SLA cells, but impossible with NiMh. Since I charge with solar panels I have no way of knowing how much energy is going into the cells, so I had to add a Coulomb counter to monitor the charge. There are plenty of charge monitors on the market used for model aircraft and the like, but they have quiescent currents in the tens of mA range, not suitable when a cloudy day only yields that much from the panels, so I had to build my own monitor that idles in the uA range. Like I said, I'm never going to recoup the cost from fuel savings, but it's been a good learning experience.
 
So, from what I've learned, SLA is heavy, has a poor service life for a constant draw in the 1/2C range, but is very easy to monitor the SOC. The current NiMh technology is fairly light and handles a 1C draw very well, but you can't monitor the SOC very well.


William K.
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Re: Weight, and lawnmowers.
William K.   4/19/2013 10:04:47 AM
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I also use electric mowers, but I coose the plug in variety, so that I never need to recharge them or replace those short-lived battery packs. Now I am on mower #4, because they do wear out eventually, usually a motor failure. My friends with the batter mowers can usually get one mowing per charge, unless the grass is a little bit higher, in which case they can't mow the whole lawn at one time. 

tekochip
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Re: Weight, and lawnmowers.
tekochip   4/19/2013 11:18:38 AM
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Hey William, what goes bad in the motor, is it the brushes, or the bearings?

William K.
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Re: Weight, and lawnmowers.
William K.   4/20/2013 3:45:04 PM
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Tecochip, the most common failure in Chrysler starter motors is the rear sleeve bearing. In some other brands the brushes fail first, or else dirt gets in and the coomutator wears down rapidly. The other starter-related failure is broken teeth, either on the starter or the mating ring gear. Chrysler has had a quality problem with their starter motor bearings for many years. It may be fixed by now, my data is a few years old. Of course, new motors seldom fail, except for when the sleeve bearing does not get any lubrication at assembly.

On brush type servomotors the brushes are prone to wear out, the second common failure seems to be winding burning due to overheating. On brushless servomotors it is more likely to be the hall pickups or the bearings. 

On industrial induction motorsit seems to be bearings or insulation punch-through, both failures more common on motors driven by inverter type drives. Otherwise it seems to be overheating failures caused by assorted types of dirt.

Greg Swartz
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Re: Weight, and lawnmowers.
Greg Swartz   4/19/2013 12:28:59 PM
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Usually, the gage of the extension chord is the deciding factor for consumer induction motors.  If that 1,500 W motor is fed with 12 ga or smaller, that motor is on a road to certain failure.  Same with circular saws and other tools.  I have an electric mower that is 6 years old and going strong.  The first 50 ft of chord is romex at 10 ga, followed by a more flexible 10 ga extension chord.  Otherwise the motor is starved and the additional heat affects all of its components.

Jerry dycus
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Re: Weight
Jerry dycus   4/19/2013 9:49:36 AM
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   Multiple problems from this PR.  First I've driven lead power EV's for 15 yrs and they work very well thank you.

But the $ values in the piece have little to do with reality.  If any OEM is paying more than $250/kwhr for Lithium cells they are fools. Retail is $400/kwhr with many reliable choices now.  It's almost low enough to get me to switch and will when this set of batteries wear out.

Yet that is what the lead he says would cost.  In fact OEM lead costs are well under $70/kwhr as I get them for that.

While lead is heavy and the rule of thumb is you need  100 lbs of battery/ 100 lbs of vehicle for an honest 100 mile range.

The way to make this work is make the vehicle lightweight, low aero, rolling, etc drag. This in as strong as a steel one would weigh 500-600lbs for a nice, safe 2 seater.  So for 100 mile range you'd need just 600lbs of battery which equals 12 golf cart batteries. 

As lead is by law 100% recycleable you just pay to have it reformed after the first set, $700 OEM which would be needed every 4-7 yrs or so at 50% of that.

But vehicles like that would only cost $8-10k and never rust away needing few parts and big auto can't have that!!

I should also note that all this is 1960's tech!!

But as lithium is lightweight and the 22lbs/kwhr are mostly common 1- $4/lb and only .5 of not expensive, $8/lb lithium.  Iron, copper, alum, plastic, carbonate are most of the rest so within 5 yrs lithium will be as cheap as lead, winning the race.

 

Contrarian
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Lowest Common Denominator
Contrarian   4/19/2013 11:23:43 AM
For some reason, possibly a good one that escapes me, is the idea that a ridiculously expensive, heavy, large and complex EV is what everyone would want.  While I don't think the other extreme that Jerry Dycus suggests is something the masses would want either, what about a low tech, proven technology, *affordable* BEV that would appeal to more consumers?  It wouldn't be an "ICE killer" or likely less expensive to operate than ICE, but you'd attract that segment of the market that would like to own an EV as a second vehicle or for casual use (like a motorcycle).  Not every one can justify $100K or even $50K for a daily driver or fun vehicle but something in the $15-$20K range seems a lot more plausible.  Ford, GM and others have used lead acid in their various EV offerings and it does work.  Cheap and simple seems to have fallen out of favor these days.

Charles Murray
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Re: Lowest Common Denominator
Charles Murray   4/19/2013 7:24:09 PM
I agree with you, Contrarian, when you say "cheap and simple seems to have fallen out of favor these days." When I ask (and I've asked many times) why automakers can't make cheap, simple electric cars with lead-acid batteries, I'm always told two things: 1. Too little range; 2. The batteries take up too much space. Seems like there should be a market niche, however, for an electrically-powered "second" car that sells for a price that's significantly lower than the Nissan Leaf, which is already getting quite low. Lead-acid seemingly should be able to make that possible.  

Jerry dycus
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Re: Lowest Common Denominator
Jerry dycus   4/19/2013 9:30:53 PM
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  Hi  Charles and All,

 

           That is what they tell you but the real reason is for every little car is another bigger, more costly one they can't sell. Recently they are finally seeing the light but are not going to change fast.

  Next  light practical EV's cost little,  For instance my Streamliners is little more than a golf cart's worth of materials, just designed far better.  No real reason after the novelty is worn off my $40k Streamliners can't be made for $10k.

Also most don't know it most golf carts have a 60-100 mile range with street tires in the street.

And these they can't make much off of.  So they won't build low tech EV's but as I say, give us onerweight, overpriced and overteched EV's to prevent them from becoming popular. 

It's also why they lie about battery cost.

  Do they ever mention tax payers paid the full cost of putting big auto's EV's into production with grants?  Billions!!   Fact is they have almost no money in these and almost all pure profit.  So please excuse me if I don't feel sorry for them but pi33ed instead.

 

  If they would build a decent EV then I wouldn't have to. But they won't so I will.

Jack.L
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Re: Weight
Jack.L   4/19/2013 2:46:54 PM
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Integrated Lithium Cells (LifePO4 or similar long life cells) qualified for automotive usage, manufactured under high quality, guaranteed,etc. are certainly not $250/KWH. Sure you can find LiFeP04 under $400/KWH for a small battery pack, but not manufactured to the quality required for cars.  This is also not a full battery system which for Lithium currently adds a good amount of cost due to system management.

Your figure for $70/KWH for Lead-Acid is also not viable. Perhaps for a flooded technology, but certainly not for AGM (or similar) which is the only lead-acid technology that would be viable for a consumer automotive implementation. Of course we can't use the bottom 20% of that lead-acid (or maybe even the bottom 50% if we want it to last a reasonable time) and we even need to be careful about the top 10% as we start to lose round trip efficiency.

LEAD is 100% recyclable, but you don't as a consumer recover much of the cost as the reforming costs are still high.

It really comes down to $/KWH delivered and even today, lithium is cheaper than lead acid because of the fair higher cycle life at suitable depths of charge.

Your weight estimates are suspect as well. I can't foresee a 1200lb car that is 600lbs of batteries being safe. I can't see using reasonable methods a vehicle like that that would stand up to crast tests and provide expected comforts. At least not in the developed world.

The bigger issue is most people are not willing to buy a car with a 100 mile range, period. A small group will and are, but they are just that, a small group.

 

I expect this lead acid technology is related to the carbon grid batteries that others are exploring right now, Axion Power comes to mind, but even companies like Exide are using carbon additives to negate sulfation issue.  Axion has about the same energy density as standard lead-acid, but 10x (or more) life and no sulfation partial charge issues.

Jerry dycus
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Re: Weight
Jerry dycus   4/19/2013 3:22:25 PM
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  Your  post isn't based on facts but your opinion. Vs mine based on what I actually can buy.  There are multiple 100-200amphr Lithium cells available for EV use at $400kwhr and now with great QC.   And used in production EV's. Deal with it and stop listening to big auto's price propaganda on batteries, EV's.

Please with your great expertise tell me why lithium batteries cost so much? Enquiring minds want to know?

 

Again your opinion on light vehicle safety is faulty. I own such a vehicle that weighs that when done and 2x's as a strong as steel version. And I can produce them at lower cost than in steel. F-1 has validated the tech I use similar to that by Ferrari, Mc Laren and the other wolds most expensive sportscars, just not with overhyped CF. 

You can make sealed flooded batteries at no more than regular ones. Please tell me the cost difference reason?  Enquiring minds want to know?

You have no idea of how to run a lead battery, not charging it up to 103% will cause it to die.  In fact no battery should be run as you said as just wasteful.

Facts are you nor no one knows how many cycles lithiums in EV service will last, No?

Axion is an overpriced  scam offering nothing lithium won't at less cost, weight. You sure know how to pick losers.

I can go on but please try to actually know what you are talking about if you are going to post or ask.  We don't need more misinformation like you post.

Maybe you should have taken a hint that as driving, building and designing EV's for 15 yrs and composites for 45 yrs I might know a tad more than you.

 

 

Jack.L
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Re: Weight
Jack.L   4/19/2013 4:25:45 PM
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Actually I have designed battery chargers and I am well well aware of battery technology. My prices are NOT based on automotive manufacturers trying to scam me, but real world price as researched by numerous analysts and technology experts.

I too can buy "tolerable" quality  1KWH Lithium battery packs for $400, but having worked in automotive, I know the quality controls in place for those pacts both at the design, manufacturing, and test stages are not up to the standards of what the automotive industry will support. To that end, $250/KWH does not exist for an automotive battery in todays market using Lithium tech. I don't think it is $700 either .... likey closer to $400-500.

That is just one battery or pack too. When we look at a 10-20KWH pack with the requisite management, i.e. charge management, cooling, etc. we start going up in price quickly. Oh, not to mention increased overhead when those companies have to start behaving as professional companies in the automotive world.

I am not talking DIY EV here, but real world production EV.

Why are lithium batteries expensive? Some of it is material cost, but not so much the lithium which is a relatively small cost currently. Most of it is born out in a more complex manufacturing process than lead-acid and as above, cell and system level management and complexity. Some of it is certainly due to not having the same economies of scale. Some of the low cost is due to low wages in China, something that we cannot count on forever, so in terms of forward pricing models, you have to look at relative wage growth in China in your cost curves.

In terms of not using the top -10% of a lead acid battery, that was purely tongue in cheek. I am well aware that you need to supply as much as 110% of the delivered energy to ensure that no sulfation occurs. 103% may work on a new battery, but not one that is getting on in life and then again it also depends on whether flooded, AGM, GEL, etc.  Depend on the tech you want to use, you may even want to check into some of the NREL studies on advanced charge algorithms to reduce sulfation. Of course with that lead-acid battery, always have to make sure you charge it fully on a regular basis. The inherent accelerated loss of capacity at >35C really limits its effectiveness as well.

How many deep cycle flooded sealed batteries are you aware of? I am not sure I can name any. Deep cycle batteries tend to be either flooded or AGM/Gel valve regulated. To achieve reliable deep cycle performance with a flooded battery you are going to have gas production/water loss hence not sealed so that you can top them up. If you went with a sealed construction you would greatly reduce cycle life.

In terms of Axion, why is it a scam?  Do I think they have a long term future? Not really, as I think advances in lithium batteries will eventually take them out. At some point the energy density issues of lithium will be solved as most of the issue stems from such a low percentage of the lithium being active. That said, the Axion batteries do have advantages over CURRENT lithium tech ... great cold weather performance, better inherent safety (no management system), inherent cell levelling (great for swapping bad cells too), charge acceptance (can be done in lithium, but then lose energy density). I don't see this as a viable EV battery due to the low energy density, but then again my comment was in respect to the article and the use of similar technology in start/stop applications where its simplicity can make financial sense. They have not solved the high temp capacity loss issues though which concerns me. However, I NEVER said I picked them as a winner, merely referenced them on tech related to the article. I likely know a lot more about their tech than you do as well. It has its pluses an minuses and as engineers, we need to be objective, not emotional.

With your knowledge in composites, how expesive will this vehicle be? You do not need to convince me it will be stronger than steel. I am a firm believer in the technology. But, given the billions out there to invest in commercially viable electric cars ... and not just by the current automotive suppliers, why is no one building it?  Creating a commercial car ... meeting all required standards, is not a cake walk. I still don't see your 600lb shell (including wheels, body, AC, entertainment, crash zones, air bags, side impact protection, brakes, etc.) is going to support 600lbs of batteries, 500lbs of people, 100lbs of luggage, and meet safety/crash requirements without truly exotic (read expensive) construction.  Are you telling me you have such a 600lbs empty car today?  .... that is what you are implying.

Telling me my post is not based on facts but opinions and then promoting your your own opinions is not constructive. The fact you buy commercal grade packs for 400/KWH DOES NOT mean that automotive grade packs are $250. That is just supposition and guess what, today it is wrong. I am sorry that every analyst on the planet disagrees with you, but they do. You saying it is so does not make it so. I am sure we will get there, but we are not today and I don't expect we will be in 2014 either (and many many people who know infinitely more about the technology and business than either of us agree with me).

Similarly, there is no commercial 600lb (empty) two seater car that supports 600lbs of batteries and passes safety and is commercially viable in the automotive industry. If you can do it, then I wish you success (in all honesty) and better that you hob nob with billion dollar investors than post here.

I am sorry that you feel you are beyond question w.r.t. to this subject, but your post is at odds with many experts in the field and to that end, I do not think questioning your post is unreasonable. To your point, we don't need any more misinformation on the topic.

Jerry dycus
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Re: Weight
Jerry dycus   4/19/2013 5:30:52 PM
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  You certainly didn't post like a battery charger designer with so many errors.

 

   You need to see the latest crop of batteries out there which are far better than even a yr ago. Quality is way up because no one would buy them.

 

For example google EV Motorcycles for Bramo, Zero, etc all running these $400/kwkr lithiums hard in races and even beating gas MC's at times.  Am I haven't even been though 50% of my choices yet.  The EV TT racing has stepped up everyones gains.

 

For instance did you know the fastest production bike, the Lightning,  is electric at 218mph   IIRC?

And why would they be my choices?   Because I'm in the process of going into production of the ones mentioned starting with a 2wh EV Streamiliner.  Not very DIY is that?

I'm an inventor, designer and pick the best, most cost effective from anywhere and I see little difference between the cells in the Volt, Leaf or Tesla and the ones I buy.  Just saying they are better defies auto industry history.

As for price I can beat steel easily because mine only has 10 manhrs in the body/chassis, doors, etc composite parts.  It'll cost me under $1k for all that.  Can you build as well as fast as complete as light or as cheap in steel?   Deal with it.

As for safety I use racecar tech and mawny other methods including some that are patentable.

Again your opinion is misinformed by a large amount because you listen to vested interests and believe them.  That just isn't wise as your post shows.

So have fun and I'll be in production soon and you can tell your friends 'I told him he couldn't do that' like all the experts that are not.

 

Jack.L
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Re: Weight
Jack.L   4/19/2013 6:03:02 PM
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Again running a single battery "hard" is not the same as making millions safely, with near 0 defects, 10 year + life in all environmental conditions, etc. .. And actually making specs. I am sorry that point is lost in our discussions. 10 hours and 1000 dollars ... With millions in tooling? How do you define production? If you are going into production I assume you have passed crash tests or are you trying to classify as a motorcycle? 2kwh? Perhaps you would like to share full details of what you are actually going into production with? You provided no details in your post but have implied that you are building a true two seater CAR. Fyi, the only vested interest I have is my own as battery tech is important to me. I am sorry you feel the need to insult me to make a point.

Jerry dycus
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Re: Weight
Jerry dycus   4/19/2013 6:28:37 PM
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Good luck Jack.

 

Keep saying I can't and I'll keep doing it and see who wins.  It's people like you I was talking about as why corporations rarely do anything good. 

Jack.L
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Re: Weight
Jack.L   4/19/2013 4:55:36 PM
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Jerry, I, like anyone else on the web can see the numerous posts you have made on many many forums w.r.t. electric vehicles. It is a topic I have followed for many years and know it is just a matter of time before I own one as my primary vehicle.

I have no doubt you have extensive knowledge in DIY electric cars and building "one-off" electric vehicles.

However, there is a big difference between what you are doing and building a commercial, average consumer ready vehicle that passes all requisite safety standards and meets required automotive quality levels. Even after billions in development, there were still concerns w.r.t. fire with the Volt (any personal feelings on its design/viability aside). The suppliers supplying $400/KWH lithium batteries out of China would never pass first world quality standards. Even in their home country they would be unlikely to supply those same cells into tier-1 automotive suppliers either foreign or Chinese domestic.

Similarly, the chassis constructions of yours I have seen on the web are not what the average consumer would accept as a vehicle.

I have no doubt it is a viable transportation vehicle for you, but you are not the average consumer. 

Jerry dycus
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Re: Weight
Jerry dycus   4/19/2013 6:14:52 PM
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  Hi Jack, good questions.  The other guy could learn from you.

 

   Let's just get to yes I understand production as I've produced composite boats/yachts for 40 yrs. And you won't find a harder industry to survive in.

 

  And before I had health problems I was on course to put my all composite 2 seat EV sportwagon into production.  I'm doing an EV Streamliner for production first as less costly to get started.

And don't worry they will be first rate. Most of what you see on the web I built for under $1k for fun and cheap transport, many in wood/epoxy!!, plus trying out new things before doing the real work of a production one. 

And my FreedomEV has great quality from production tooling as you'll see next yr.  But I don't have the $100k to put it into production.

Safety isn't a problem as equaling and likely beating a regular car isn't hard. What is expensive is the legal and paperwork.  But as mine are subcars they legally are MC's and have almost no standards so I can just deal with making them safe.

By the time I get done with them, second generation in about 3 yrs, my goal is near crash proofing though I can't tell you how for now for patent reasons but very based in science.

So yes do I help, encouage DIY and build my own, a big YES!!!  And I'm proud of it.  But to try to use that against me is poor form.   

To be honest craftsmen like myself make the best things in the world and make the most real innovations as not weighed down by big corporate who's goal is justifying their paycheck no matter what.

You do understand more countries than China sell their batteries don't you?   I'm planning on using US cells but fine ones can be had from Japan, Korea, etc too at $400/kwhr.

And you do know Tesla uses the $200/kwhr OEM cells assembled into modules? I'd like to buy their modules to make my pack.

And there are some nice modules/bricks of many sizes like 43vdc and 100amphrs with built in BMS that are likely how I'll go with 2-3 of.  But so many different choices now and by the time I get though them all more will likely be available.  

As far as viable transport I'll have to set the price really high, $40k or so, just to be able   handle the demand.  My only competetion is the E Tracer at around $90k and I can do the same in 50% of the weight because I'm really good at composites. You can see why I picked it as very nice profits. 

Air conditioning and unlimited  range etender at 80mph optional.  Again not very DIY.

 

 

 

Elizabeth M
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Re: Weight
Elizabeth M   4/22/2013 10:59:23 AM
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I didn't think of the weight, so these are all interesting comments to read. I guess those designing the new and improved batteries and car manufacturers will have to work around this somehow in their new designs.

William K.
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Start-Stop cars and battery packs.
William K.   4/19/2013 10:11:21 AM
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Probably the present level of development will be adequate for the stop-start driving mode, except for those vehicles with the air conditioning system running constantly. That mode is simply not compatible with stop-start driving. so while the best use of staop-start will both reduce pollution and improve mileage a lot, I can't predict that it will be accepted by a large portion of the driving population. Of course, it may be possible to produce a car that has a much lower cooling requirement so that the ten horsepower air conditioning system would not be needed. That is probably the single huge engineering obstacle that we have in store between current and future autos.

DavidR
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New lead acid technologies
DavidR   4/19/2013 2:16:39 PM
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There was a Caterpillar spin off, Firefly Energy, that unfortunately went belly up before reaching commercial production. They had a unique carbon foam/nano particle lead acid plate technology that reduced weight for a given capacity by 70% and addressed the most common failure modes of traditional lead acid tech too: grid corrosion and sulfation. 

Maybe someone will pick up that idea. It could be competitive with Li for power density.

DavidR
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Re: New lead acid technologies
DavidR   5/2/2013 9:39:40 AM
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Looks like FireFly Energy is still in business under new ownership and producing their  first gen battery. 

Carbon foam lead acid technology.

http://www.fireflyenergy.com/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1

Charles Murray
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Re: New lead acid technologies
Charles Murray   3/13/2014 10:23:21 PM
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Thanks for the lead on Firefly Energy, DavidR. It took me a long time to see your comment, but better late than never. I'll take a look at it.

oldtimer8080
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Gold
Been there, done that OVER TEN YEARS AGO!
oldtimer8080   4/19/2013 3:01:02 PM
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Check out the BOLDER TMF website for the answer to BOEINGS and EV solutions that are over 10 YEARS OLD!!

 It's  too bad the lack of demand and the new CEO and owners cashed out.

Our cells internal resistance could be measured in MILLIOHMS, no heating or fire hazard during a 350 AMP discharge rate ( tested on aircraft and my XJ12 ) for the SecureStart producton on the TMF website.

Our packs powered the first Chrysler ESX and Bill Dube's KILLACYCLE; his motorbike sat in the lobby when not breaking EV speed records.

A solution that has been waiting. USE IT, PEOPLE!

 

Art Blackwell

 

Test and Verification Lab

Bolder Technologies

Golden, CO

http://www.boldertmf.com

Jack.L
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Silver
Re: Been there, done that OVER TEN YEARS AGO!
Jack.L   4/19/2013 5:01:25 PM
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Hey forgot about you guys!

 

Do you have standard cells for OEM usage? I have an application for which they may be interesting.

oldtimer8080
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Gold
Re: Been there, done that OVER TEN YEARS AGO!
oldtimer8080   4/19/2013 5:34:00 PM
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We originally had single sub-C cells and 12V ( six cell packs ) that could be held in your hand.  The original "  StartStick " history is here:

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/bolder-technologies-corporation-reports-third-quarter-results-77280672.html

Today's info and contact information:

 

http://www.boldertmf.com/product_3.htm

 

Intro and sales pitch:

 

www.boldertmf.com

 

I note that the current passing capability has been downgraded, probably due to smaller wire braid interconnects ( our originals were twice as large )

Single cells do not have that problem, the button interconnects handled 350A discharge rates quite well ( no heat issues ).

Our packs got banned from ROAR ( RC car ) racing. Our custom made packs produced more power, lasted longer and charged much more quickly without the overheat problem ( Boeing's problem ).

 

Jerry dycus
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Gold
Re: Been there, done that OVER TEN YEARS AGO!
Jerry dycus   4/19/2013 6:25:40 PM
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 Great little batteries and fun to blow up!!  I'd love some in the 50-100aqmphr size. To bad they went belly up.

 

oldtimer8080
User Rank
Gold
Re: Been there, done that OVER TEN YEARS AGO!
oldtimer8080   4/19/2013 11:23:57 PM
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They are still in business as a GP subsidy. Still offering cells and packs, but prefer to OEM and outsource sub-C cells.

 Not one cell fire in my lab. You NEVER wore jewelry because a finger could get amputated and cauterized at the same time. The cell never heated, but a finger ring would!

All the ROAR contestants did the fast recharge trick using an ice pack; no such problem with our product.

Bill Dube never had a real mismatch problem using Bolder packs in the Killacycle. Neither did the Chrysler ESX we powered.

 Bolder had a true BATACITOR; that is the situation with those 1-10 KILOWATT sound systems that use TMF cells on the website I postecd earlier.

 A series hybrid ( like locomotives used all over the country ) is a perfect setup. Any charging source will do.

The military version we were working on would allow powered railguns and similar high energy weapons systems.

 

 

William K.
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Platinum
Re: Been there, done that OVER TEN YEARS AGO!
William K.   4/20/2013 4:11:26 PM
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O.T., I think that I recall reading about those lead-based "D" size cells, and I even had a flashlight that used them. It only lasted about 15 years and lots of cycles and now it won't charge any more. And I am not aware of any current seller of those cells. 

We did have an application that used 100 amps from the rectangular 7.2 AH gell cell. IT would run four "helicopter floodlights" and two film cameras in a crash vehicle. IT had to run the cameras long enough to spin up to speed, and the four lights, for 30 to 40 seconds, which the crash was typically 35 seconds after the turn-on.

Battery life was not great, but it was cost effective.

oldtimer8080
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Gold
Re: Been there, done that OVER TEN YEARS AGO!
oldtimer8080   4/20/2013 7:00:23 PM
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Bolder  never made a D size version. We had a " superwind " version prototype for a military application designed to be belt worn. It was roughly twice the diameter of a 12 GA shotgun shell and designed for high current pulse military devices ( think about a man portable railgun or high energy output laser from DARPA ).

Both the cells had screw thread ternimals and we later experimented with spot welded braids ( you could even  use the cell to create the spot welds; just charge it up, put the cell and braid in a fixture and pull a lever. Instant weld! ) and found a braid connection was cheaper and more reliable.

William K.
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Platinum
Re: Been there, done that OVER TEN YEARS AGO!
William K.   4/20/2013 10:09:02 PM
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OK on Bolder not having made the "D" cells, but somebody made them quite a while back, probably much more than ten years back. I know that presently Optima makes the larger batteries, the 12 volt ones, which offer impressive performance but are not electrically interchangable with the flooded cell battery devices, even though they fit mechanically. I think that the cells I saw may have been available back in the 1970's as a matter of fact.

I can't imagine a 1-man portable railgun, but certainly a small EBW detonator pack. That technology is something that I first read about before then, probably in the sixties, although my recollection of dates is fuzzy.

fstarkey
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Bronze
RE: Safety
fstarkey   4/19/2013 10:26:39 PM
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The use of :"And its safety performance is well known and widely accepted." is rather disingenious here. Yes, the safety of a typical lead-acid 12v car battery is well know, ususally assumed to be pretty benign. (Athough I was lucky as a 12 year old, changing the battery in the old Case tractor. When I slipped with the wrench and the battery exploded, I wasn't doused with acid. My face was merely bruised by plastic & wax schrapnel. I found the wrench 20 foot away, driven halfway through the oak barn wall - rather than through me...)

We also know that lead-acid built into long series strings for high-power traction pack exhibits extreme cell-to-cell imbalance, thermal runaway during charging, and fires rivaling anything seen in li-ion. (Although perhaps without some of the chlorine byproducts featured by some li electrolyte chemistries.)

So yes, the "safety performance" is well known. A "12 volt" lithium battery typically requires only 3 cells, and is a pretty manageable critter. We need a little apples-and-apples compairison here.

What the Lithium "car battery" lacks is usually current capability. Lead-acid can do quite well here. Advanced designs such as Benny Jay's Horizon battery can manage in excess of 2500 amps working discharge. What we also learn from advanced lead-acid battery design is that the advanced batteries are very finicky creatures to maintain. They acheive their optimum promise only with highly specific charge regimes and at specific (elevated) charge temperatures.

Hmm... Starting to sound a lot like today's lithium-ion product.

Don't get me wrong. Start-stop is a great thing. The industry will probably work it out pretty well with lead-acid batteries.

Extrapolating this to the traction pack applications... Don't bet on it.

Jerry dycus
User Rank
Gold
RE: Safety
Jerry dycus   4/20/2013 9:46:31 AM
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  Yet lead seems to be doing fine in these series packs you speak of.   As long as matched , made in the same batch, not murdered by bad charging, run dead and left that way, they have long and useful lives even many cells long.

 

Then to say lithium is the cure is rather rich as all the electronics needed just to keep Li alive kinda disproves your points.  It will in the long run but not yet.

A 12vdc nom lithium battery has 4 cells, not 3.  3 cells loaded would be around 10vdc, not good enough.

 

Not sure what you mean by lithiums don't have the current capability as many do as it has the current that was designed in, just like lead batteries. Some for high power, some not so much. A123 as an example.

I do agree a good 36vdc nom lead pack, called 42vdc for some reason, with large cell interconnects which is what gives high power in both chemistries can easily do start/stop including runing the A/C if designed right.

Though you need to run them at under 80% charged during this cycling for lead, they really like being used and charge them to 110% at least 1/wk.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Lead acid Versus Lithium, what about Edison.
William K.   4/22/2013 4:32:30 PM
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I just re-read an article about the battery that Thomas Edison invented and adapted for use in submarines over a hundred years ago. That is the nickel-iron alkaline battery. I have not done any research on it, but the claimed benefits for submarine applications certainly make it out to be a much better choice for that application. So I am wondering if the power density is that much less than the lead-acid chemistry, or is it a more expensive chemistry that never made it to be a commercial success? Or is there some other reason that I am not aware of? 

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Lead acid Versus Lithium, what about Edison.
Charles Murray   4/22/2013 6:22:16 PM
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I wish I could give you a definitive answer to your question, William K, but I can't. I can say, however, that for the past 25-30 years, nickel-iron and lead-acid were pretty equal in terms of specific energy, with both being around 30-50 Wh/kg, depending on the year you looked at them. I started writing articles about electric cars in the late 1980s, and Chrysler was sold on the idea of nickel-iron at that time, but they later backed off. Here's a link to a New York Times article on Edison's battery from November, 1911:

http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1366&doc_id=235241

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Lead acid Versus Lithium, what about Edison.
William K.   4/22/2013 8:51:17 PM
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The article that I read was a description of Edisons development of the battery package for use in our submarines, which I guess he sold the idea to our navy, although I think that they stuck with lead-acid for a while.

Your link lead to another interesting blog,which included comments about the compressed air powered car, and questions about why that has not been developed more. I can explain exactly why, which is that those very high air pressures are very dangerous and no company with any sense at all would put a system with 20,000PSI air, or even just 5000PSI air anyplace where regular people could get at it. And it would certainly take that kind of pressures to store enough energy to drive a car very far. Tata may be able to sell that product in India, but in the USA the tort lawyers would devour them in just a few minutes.

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