Electronic News & Comment
Boeing's Woes Shouldn't Be an Indictment of Electric Cars

Boeing's batteries overheated and burned (left) onboard a 787 (right), but that shouldn't be an indictment of lithium-ion chemistries.  (Source: NTSB, left; Boeing, right)
Boeing's batteries overheated and burned (left) onboard a 787 (right), but that shouldn't be an indictment of lithium-ion chemistries.
(Source: NTSB, left; Boeing, right)

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Re: Designers without applying knowlege = Danger.
RMenon   2/6/2013 3:49:10 PM
I like the name Fix or Repair Daily.  Years ago, I have also heard the name Found on the Road Dead

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Re: Designers without applying knowlege = Danger.
gwf_fly   2/6/2013 1:23:07 PM
Hey Analog,

Perhaps you ought to change the title of your entry:  "Knowledgable designers without applying wisdom = Danger!"  The assumption here is that a company like Tesla has been able to apply lithium ion technology in their car without a single fire!  The computerized thermal management system developed by their engineers has served well so far, so why not share the wealth with Boeing?  There are billions of lithium ion packs scattered over the face of the earth in as many electronic gizmos.  Do you see a panic to dump them for the older nicad or nickel metal hydride?  Boeing would be WISE to accept the help offered by the Tesla engineers!



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Thank You
ervin0072002   2/6/2013 7:57:13 AM
My favorite post. Every word true and politically correct. If i was a conspiracy theorist i would say that the oil companies have it in for us and are using the media to delay electric car development. Im not a consipracy theorist hence i blame the ignorance of the media. This is my most favorite post ever.

Ozark Sage
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Ozark Sage   2/5/2013 10:05:06 PM
Today I had to purchase some new tires so visited our corporate supplier to confirm my conclusion of a defective front left tire.  A very savy service tech confirmed same.  So I told him to figure (2) for the front since it is a FWD car.  He ordered them for installation the next day.  On my arrival for installation I was informed the two NEW TIRES would HAVE TO BE INSTALLED ON THE REAR wheels.  A HEATED discussion comenced!  The store manager (quickly) arrived on the spot and a rather long, but friendly discussion proceeded with most of the customers listening intently.  The manager gave my company 2 more tires FREE to show their appreciation my corporations past patronage and explained to all listening why tire companies are taking this approach. 1. To save customers.  2. To SAVE LAWSUITS!

He went on to explain a new set of Firestones were put on the front with the worn tires moved to the rear.  The driver departed; a rear tire blew; control was lost; car filpped; burned; driver sued; HUGE damages; end of story!

NOW, one might GUESS what BOEING IS THINKING about and the raz-ma-taz  discussed, makes interesting press, but not a wise management call.  Keeping the beast on the ground until ALL the Qs are answered keeps stockholders AND passangers happy.  


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ChasChas   2/5/2013 9:37:35 PM
In real life, the engineer is not in control. The money people are. The money people make the final assessment - not the engineer - and it is money based. It has nothing to do with safety per se.

They ask questions like how many people may get killed/hurt? and what is our liability? When the product reaches an acceptable risk level - based on money alone - then the product is deemed ready for production.

Sadly, the engineer must take all the blame if something goes wrong.


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Re: Designers without applying knowlege = Danger.
lightvixen   2/5/2013 8:38:39 PM
Maybe the combination of McDonald Douglas and Boelng, with different managerial concepts, and the rush taken in getting the plane in the air, were contributing factors to the problem.

William K.
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Boeing's Woes and electric cars?
William K.   2/5/2013 6:56:53 PM
Has 9it been mentioned as to how much of the engineering on the battery system on the dreamliner was outsourced? It has been published that Boeing has had problems with quite a few of the places where outsourced talent was used. Problems are exactly what I have learned to expect from outsourced engineering work, so that revalation would not be surprising to me. Keeping high energy batteries in a safe condition is a challenge, there is no question about that, and forgetting to include active cooling is one of those simplifying choices that appears to have been wrong. Of course it is also possible that it is stricktly a quality problem, that has not been mentiond at all, one way or the other. The fact stands that a poorly produced version of an excellent design will probably not perform as intended. That goes for battery packs and many other things, and it needs to be remembered.

Analog Bill
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Re: Designers without applying knowlege = Danger.
Analog Bill   2/5/2013 5:47:44 PM
I agree that plug-in, all-electric cars are a terrible idea ... a case of burning more fuel elsewhere ("not in my back yard") than would be necessary with a good hybrid (kinetic energy-conserving) vehicle. But, notwithstanding that, if Boeing wants to do the battery industry a favor, which I think it owes, it should step up to the plate and admit that they screwed up the design. And as to "how can we expect auto makers to use them right?", just look at Tesla (as I understand it, they've even offered to help Boeing).  All I can think is that Boeing used some interns or newbies to design these battery boxes. I'm no expert, but common sense tells me not to crowd things together if each of them is getting hot ... the cumulative effect could be easily predicted. Shame on Boeing!

Charles Murray
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Re: Designers without applying knowlege = Danger.
Charles Murray   2/5/2013 5:08:10 PM
Those who have cited concerns about the use of the word "fire" make good points, which are well-received here. In these articles, however, I've used the word "fire" as it was used by the National Transportation Safety Board, which did the teardown and even used the word "fire" in its press release headline of January 14th: "NTSB Provides Second Investigative Update on Boeing 787 Battery Fire in Boston." Also in the lede of the press release: "The National Transportation Safety Board today released a second update on the January 7 fire aboard a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 at Logan International Airport in Boston." As several commenters have suggested, the word "fire" is often used incorrectly. Here, however, it appears to be appropriate, based on the NTSB's investigation.

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Re: Boeing's Woes
Thinking_J   2/5/2013 4:58:08 PM
Wrong .. or at least misleading / outdated info.

The same day the first battery failed on a Dreamliner... FAA had changed the rules concerning shipping of Li-ion batterys..

They (Li-ion batteries) have been cleared for transport on passenger flights.


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