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Lead-Acid Could Challenge Lithium-Ion in Hybrids

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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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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.

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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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.

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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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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


Jerry dycus
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Re: Weight
Jerry dycus   4/19/2013 3:22:25 PM

  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.



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Re: Weight
Jack.L   4/19/2013 4:25:45 PM
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.

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Re: Weight
Jack.L   4/19/2013 4:55:36 PM
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. 

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


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

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