When I read the article I was thinking of a household UPS. Having passive backup and conditioned power would be very attractive! However, it would be a short duration backup for an entire home and the cost of the system would still likely be high compared to other backup technologies.
Most people around this area have gas generators for backup. I have priced gas and diesel generators that could fully cover my home (and 1 or 2 others) for multiple days. I am considering buying a small gasoline unit for my current home/farm/recreational needs.
When I build my next home; I will look a little more closely at the home UPS concept. I will likely have a permanent backup generator installed, but who knows? - maybe an electric storage revolution is just around the corner.
I think that although the active material cost is only approx 25% of a complete battery pack, the cost of the entire pack scales with the amount of battery needed. For half the battery, you also only need half the support (BMS) circuits and enclosure/containment/re-inforcement material and so on.
I believe Envia claims that since their material is slightly more expensive (approx 50% higher) but energy density is 3x typical LithiumIon, you would reduce the total pack cost by 50% since there is only 1/3 of the battery amount needed for the same capacity and therefor 1/3 of 150% cost is half the cost for the batteries, what is implied is that the reduced amount of batteries also causes the other 50% of the pack cost to be reduced by half because it scales with the amount of battery.
I used to live in a house in Europe where I installed 3kW PV panels on the roof, then connected them to a 2500W inverter that supplied all power back to the grid. The reason I designed that system this way is because the grid went down only once in the 7 years that I lived there and that outage was announced days earlier in the newspaper. These years I spend a lot of my time in India. I do have backup batteries installed in my house for my phone, internet and computer so that every day when the power goes out (rotating load shedding) my communication is not interrupted.
The way that many people are prepared for outages here in the USA, is by having a camping stove or BBQ. Preferably you might also have a fire place and a few cords of wood, so that when the power goes out, you can keep yourself warm in a cold night and cook a hot meal or coffee. Having an EV around allows you to trade off driving range with power supply to your home, maybe not to generate power for the entire home, but at least for essential services such as communication, keeping Internet up, your phone battery charged, computer running and to run a few efficient LED lights for example. I have wind-up / solar charge radios and flashlights so that I can receive news and check my surroundings at night. With a larger battery bank you may keep more services up such as a TV to get news and entertainment, (efficient) ceiling lights, alarms, garage door opener and so on and maybe even keep your freezer cold enough to avoid spoiling the food. Of course, the larger you go the costlier. Having a camping stove and a small backup battery around is not breaking the bank - many people have already invested in a UPS anyway.
Traditionally battery banks have been Lead-Acid chemistry. Either flooded, gel or (for high power) AGM. These days it looks like the end of lead-acid is coming quickly due to the price drop in LithiumIon chemistries. You can buy cells for around $1 per Ah which is already competitive with better lead-acid formulations for Solar backup and EV usage. That is why there is a big shift and even a small scale industry for conversion of e-bikes and scooters from Lead-acid to LithiumIon. Any means to reduce cost and weight is a very interesting step for a lot of these applications. Maybe not for the typical Fork Lift, because it needs to be heavy anyway, so the huge flooded lead-acid cells are an advantage there, but many other applications will quickly switch to LithiumIon chemistry.
Nice to see you jump in on the comments and doubts about "yet" another battery announcement. I am impressed by the energy density you claim and are proving in independent testing, because that is always the deciding difference between a scam and a working technology. I have ran tests on different technologies and at wildly different charge/discharge rates, which is another deciding factor for the applicability of a technology. For example, early LithiumIon chemistries had too high internal resistance and were almost unusable in vehicles due to the power density requirements. Modern pouch cells have no issue dissing out power levels that allow record-breaking drag runs.
One thing that concerns me and no doubt your material engineers are working on solutions, is that the capacity of the cells appears to reduce much faster than other Lithium-Ion chemistries. For the 45 Ah cell test results, I see that Infant capacity is about 48Ah which quickly drops after a few 100% deep cycles to about 33 Ah and that capacity slowly reduces to about 26Ah in the subsequent 450 cycles to 80% DoD, which is about 4% loss per 100 cycles. If you build a pack that is large enough to drive 300 miles on a charge (about 60kWh usable, 80kWh gross, which would weigh 200kg with the 400Wh/kg claim) then the 450 cycles translate to about 135,000 miles which is the typical 15k mi per year usage and 8 year warranty that a car gets today. Still, the capacity loss does not allow a smaller and lighter pack to be cycled more often and it also does not allow for the typical high usage delivery vehicles. The numbers that I see from other LithiumIon chemistries is that the cycle life has less impact on capacity loss.
What I cannot find is how calendar life affects capacity. For other chemistries there is definite capacity loss with calendar life, although that is also improving with newer formulations.
I see that you are testing the cell at C/3 which means about 15A from a 45Ah cell. This is not sufficient to stand up against most other chemistries, unless you only consider 300-mile EVs where you need the 80kWh pack and the 25kW is a decent power number to maintain freeway speed in a car. However, to know what happens at higher (and lower) discharge it is good to have those measurements to know the impact on capacity from higher power charge and discharge.
Your technology holds great promise, so I am excited to see where you will be able to steer this technology into!
I would love to get my hands on one sample cell and test it for capacity loss, self-discharge and other parameters. I am in Silicon Valley, about 10 miles away from your office.
Active material in a battery is about 1/2 the cost of a full cell. Cell costs are about 1/2 of the cost of a battery pack. So reducing material cost by 50%, reduces the cost in a car by 50%? Must be new math.
Ann, re: large grids: you should check what happened not so long ago, how all smaller generators were killed by introducing legislation that it is *illegal* to supply electricity to *anybody* unless you are a "utility". I fear it is the same greed that removed almost all tram and train lines from our cities (and we are paying through the nose to put *some* back in to reduce congestion somewhat) as well as other local monopolies who (mis-)used law making to kill competition.
In theory, large grids can be efficient and reliable, but with growing larger the vulnerability of grid-wide events also increases. Decentral generation and buffer capacity alleviates that, but utilities have been so adverse from local generation (even net metering is fought tooth and nail) that they essentially only invested where they had to, building large centralized grids. The result is that when it goes wrong, it goes horribly wrong. (Unless you have your own backup solution - which is a brainchild of mine that I hope one day to productize - in fact Envia may become part of that solution depending how they progress with their material devt, but I will write a separate comment about that)
I wonder why you would require an EV to go 1000 miles on a charge.
How many times do you drive 1000 miles without stopping in any year? I have owned and driven an EV for several years and it satisfied the majority of my daily driving, so your comparison with a boat is false, unless you live at the coast of Finland or Greece.
BTW, a common solution for the one-car EV household is to simply select the appropriate car and *rent* it for your vacation and other long distance trips. Renting has the benefit that you do not need to worry about servicing your car before that long trip and how to get all your stuff and passengers comfortable to their destination - you can rent any vehicle that does the job well, INCLUDING renting a smaller and more fuel efficient car such as a Prius or Insight for a long road trip when you do not need the bulk, saving you significantly on gas money.
It is the same reason that you do not commute in a U-Haul truck, because for the occasion that you are moving, you rent one.
To re-iterate: a very long distance capable EV will always have a much higher (battery) cost than a medium distance or a range extended short distance EV. So, to avoid the unnecessary weight (=loss of energy) and capital investment for such an extreme distance EV, it makes much more sense to have a decent range that satisfies at least 95% of your daily driving needs and to find a good solution for the remaining 5%.
For some that will be an agreement with a friend or neighbor to swap cars, for others it will mean keeping the old gas-burner for those trips, for others (especially in inner cities and apartment dwellers) a rental car will be a good solution.
The thing with range is not different from the fact that there are no gas cars that go 1000 miles on a tank, simply because it is not economical.
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