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Lead-Acid Could Challenge Lithium-Ion in Hybrids

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Been there, done that OVER TEN YEARS AGO!
oldtimer8080   4/19/2013 3:01:02 PM
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


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Re: Weight
Jack.L   4/19/2013 2:46:54 PM
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.

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New lead acid technologies
DavidR   4/19/2013 2:16:39 PM
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.

Greg Swartz
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Re: Weight, and lawnmowers.
Greg Swartz   4/19/2013 12:28:59 PM
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.

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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.

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

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Re: Lithium ion on the way out?
theboz808   4/19/2013 10:27:28 AM
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. 

William K.
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Start-Stop cars and battery packs.
William K.   4/19/2013 10:11:21 AM
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.

William K.
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Re: Weight, and lawnmowers.
William K.   4/19/2013 10:04:47 AM
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. 

Jerry dycus
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Re: Weight
Jerry dycus   4/19/2013 9:49:36 AM

   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.


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