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Lead-Acid Batteries Seek New Role in Hybrids, Plug-Ins

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Charles Murray
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Re: Actual Chevy Volt Cost
Charles Murray   9/11/2012 6:51:49 PM
RalphyBoy, you've raised a great question that I should have asked. I'll get an answer for you.

Ralphy Boy
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Re: Actual Chevy Volt Cost
Ralphy Boy   9/11/2012 6:27:15 PM
I'm not sure about the math on this one... A bit of 'could you double check that math' is going on...

"Dhar says he could replace the 16-kWh lithium-ion battery in the Chevy Volt with a 3.5-kWh lead-acid battery and a 9-kWh lithium-ion pack. Doing so, he believes EPS could cut the battery pack cost of a Chevy Volt from approximately $12,800 to under $6,000."

So... 16kwh Li = $12,800 ($800/kwh-Li)

but... 9kwh Li + 3.5kwh Lead = $6,000? ($555/kwh-Li assuming $1000 for the lead/integration)

Am I missing something?

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Re: Volt battery pack cost?
Contrarian   9/11/2012 1:47:29 PM
phillman5: That number is assuming all the cost are recovered in the first year, not spread out over production life.

What is the typical development amortization period for a production car?  Seems you'd need an apples-apples comparision for a fair appraisal.

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Re: Volt battery pack cost?
phillman5   9/11/2012 12:29:23 PM
The loss of $49K per Volt was poor analysis.  That number is assuming all the cost are recovered in the first year, not spread out over production life.

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Actual Chevy Volt Cost
Jim_E   9/11/2012 12:18:45 PM
I'm not a big fan of the Volt, but I have to stick up for GM on this one.  The article stating the per-unit lost on the Volt is incorrect.

Here's an article which better explains that way that the cost is actually calculated:



It appears that GM isn't doing too badly on the Volt after all, as long as they end up selling enough of them....


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Been There, Done That
oldtimer8080   9/11/2012 12:13:11 PM
Bolder Technologies was offshored due to fact that the executives wanted to cash out their options. 



We had a viable technology worked out, we even had a military contract for energy cells and we had already powered the series hybrid Intrepid ESX:


We also powered the first Killacycle. When not breaking records, Bill let us display it in the Bolder Technology lobby.


We see a series hybrid that works every time  you watch a locomotive.

The " start stick " for aircraft and the SecureStart for automobiles used the TMF energy cells.

Just imagine what could have been a product that was built in the US and used by the military for light and powerful belt packs.



Jerry dycus
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Re: Tackling the real problem
Jerry dycus   9/11/2012 11:03:35 AM

 Naperlou,, That's just what I've been saying for yrs.  Start with reliable tech and then do what you are paid for, design a car around it that makes it work as a system.


Lead is a great battery, very cost effective when designed right.  I'm about to go pick up some construction supplies in my lead powered Harley size EV trike pulling it's 14' trailer.

Fact is a 500lb composite 2 seat commuter/town car EV with 500lbs of quality lead deep cycle batteries can go 80mph and 100 mile range, though not at the same time, and be built for under $12k with a nice profit.  But as these are not profitable, no rust, few parts to go bad, after the sale big auto and especially big oil hates them.

That said strings of 30 12vdc lead batteries in the article needs a BMS to keep them alive so if a li hybrid battery system now you need 2 complete battery BMS, etc plus cordinating electronics, it's better to replace the li battery with a small ICE like the Toyota X-1 though with lead, to give unlimited range.

Better is fewer cells, lower voltage like 100-120vdc of lead. Since a lightweight, very aero EV needs little power to go a mile one needs a much smaller battery pack to get decent range. My earlier EV sportwagon got 10 miles/kwhr or better. My Trike gets 20miles/kwhr shows what can be done.

 Using forklift EV drive tech gives excellent performance at a reasonable cost.

EV's are selling. the Volt is not an EV but a hybrid, if they were not overweight, overteched, overpriced, they would sell.

As for battery life, lead with a good BMS will last 5-7 yrs then only needs to be rebuilt as almost 100% of them are recycled into new batteries.  So one could just pay a reforming charge as no new materials are needed and have a new pack.

It's amazing how so many throw up such misinformation about how EV's can't work or limited when there are simple solutions.

So keep paying at the pump as it rises to $10'gal in 5 yrs. It only costs me a couple $/month for my transport fuel and I don't support oil dictators or terrorists it pays for. 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Volt battery pack cost?
Rob Spiegel   9/11/2012 10:01:51 AM
Good points, Contrarian. The drop off in sales of EVs, and the reluctance of hybrid owners to buy a second hybrid shows this market is presently very limited. It seems to me these vehicles are mostly for those who are interested in preserving the environment and have a few extra bucks to overspend on a second car. The price of gas isn't going to go high enough to justify the investment in an expensive gas saver. Hybrids and EVs will likely remain a small specialty market until technical breakthroughs change the present scenario.

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Practicality Wins
Droid   9/11/2012 9:44:48 AM
This was a great article.  It is exactly the type of thinking thats needed to draw hybrids away from the fringes and make them a reality for a broader range of vehicles.  It's refreshing to see that someone has finally decided to drop the costly idealism associated with so many of these alternative technologies and is moving forward with technology that makes more sense economically.

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Re: Volt battery pack cost?
Contrarian   9/11/2012 9:42:38 AM
Lead acid batteries have been around more than a century and even in high volume applications like SLI they still haven't been supplanted by alternative chemistries.  These high performance batteries just don't scale and in the case of Lithium vs oil, all you're doing is trading the source of natural resources from one non-US friendly country to another.

Most people don't need 0-60mph in 4 seconds and 300 miles on a single charge, especially if the vehicle ends up costing more than their home.  Build an EV or hybrid that competes with ICE in terms of cost per mile and TCO and you'll have a winner, irrespective of the source of electrons.  Most people don't care if their cars run on gasoline, electric or the squeezings from baby seals - they just want a car that gets them from A to B in the most affordable way.  EV's or any other alternative fuel will not succeed unless it's artificially mandated through law or solves an economic problem. 

Ford is probably on the right track with their multi-drivetrain Focus.  Remains to be seen if they can get the price point where it needs to be.

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