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  • Hybrid vehicles/batteries

    Hi
    I am currently working in Bangkok and will be here for another week, I have been coming here for business over the last 5 years.
    In my travels around the city I have recently noticed a variety of car manufacturers offering hybrid vehicles for sale. A few years ago I did not notice these vehicles apart from the hybrid Toyota Camry.
    So far I have seen Lexus, Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Honda hybrid vehicles. I have not seen this range of hybrid vehicles in Australia. There may be others that I have missed.
    Some of these vehicles use the engine and regenerative braking to charge batteries as in the Toyota models, but the Mitusubishi SUV has the facility to plug in to a 15amp power supply to charge the batteries when the vehicle is stationery as well a 2.0 litre petrol engine that charges the battery and provides power when the batteries are low.
    Is this increase in hybrid vehicles a trend in other cities around the world that people may have noticed? Anyone familiar with the types of batteries that these vehicles are using? I am guessing it is based around Lithium.
    I am considering buying one of these vehicles in 2015, does anyone have the experience of owning one of these hybrid vehicles or of driving one over a lengthy period? What about the cost of replacing these batteries which are apparently guaranteed for 10 years.
    Cheers
    Jon

  • #2
    The plug-in hybrids are relatively new to the US market and their price is somewhat subsidized by incentives and the manufacturers' need to meet increasingly strict overall fleet mileage standards (new environmental laws kicking in.)
    Their range is still too limited for other than urban short trip situations, for the most part, and they take anywhere from 8 to 2 hours for a full recharge depending on how much you are willing to spend for a charger (including maybe upgrading the electrical service to your home.)
    So you now see complete EV options with limited range, plug-in hybrid options with extended range using the IC engine, and the odd one out, the Tesla.

    The Tesla is the only one with a combination of range and performance that meets the needs of a large part of the population. (Except for that pesky price!)
    It can get a battery replacement (not recharge) in under 15 minutes at special Tesla battery exchange stations, and there are also commercial quick charging stations.
    The Tesla uses Lithium chemistry (over 6000 individual cells in modular segments) and has a very sophisticated integral battery management system (BMS).
    The other plug-in cars use everything from NiCd to NiMH to Lithium. (Not sure if any but Tesla are currently using Lithium from the factory, but there are a lot of DIY Lithium conversions.)
    SunnyBoy 3000 US, 18 BP Solar 175B panels.

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    • #3
      Inetdog has something to consider - if you like your existing vehicle, perhaps head over to

      EV Works Pty Ltd (part of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association)

      I discovered them by accident while searching for suitable large prismatic housebank batteries (LiFePo4).

      Comment


      • #4
        There is no one size fits all answer. The manufactures use all the chemistries. One manufacture in Korea called KIA switched from Lithium to Lead Carbon. Problem with all the battery chemistries is none are really suitable for the mass market. It is battery tech holding back the EV market. All other technology we have except batteries.

        What it is going to take is a battery that has:

        Specific Energy greater than 300 wh/Kg. That is what is needed to get the 300 to 500 mile range the public demands. Otherwise you have to have two cars. Electric for short trips, and ICE for long trips.
        5C Charge and Discharge rates. Need the high discharge rate for acceleration which we have now sort of. 5C for the charge rate is needed for a maximum 20 minute recharge for 100% DOD just like pulling into a regular gas station.
        Cycle Life greater than 3000 cycles to 80% rated capacity. So a battery last as long as the vehicle of 10 years or more.
        Dollar to Watt Hour cost less than $0.40/wh to be able to compete with gas engine vehicles. Above that a gas engine vehicle is less expensive to purchase the vehicle and fuel cost of ten years.
        Last and this is a huge challenge, COLD WEATHER CAPACITY. 80% of rated capacity at 0 degrees. No where close to that now.
        MSEE, PE

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Sunking View Post
          There is no one size fits all answer. The manufactures use all the chemistries. One manufacture in Korea called KIA switched from Lithium to Lead Carbon. Problem with all the battery chemistries is none are really suitable for the mass market. It is battery tech holding back the EV market. All other technology we have except batteries.

          What it is going to take is a battery that has:

          Specific Energy greater than 300 wh/Kg. That is what is needed to get the 300 to 500 mile range the public demands. Otherwise you have to have two cars. Electric for short trips, and ICE for long trips.
          5C Charge and Discharge rates. Need the high discharge rate for acceleration which we have now sort of. 5C for the charge rate is needed for a maximum 20 minute recharge for 100% DOD just like pulling into a regular gas station.
          Cycle Life greater than 3000 cycles to 80% rated capacity. So a battery last as long as the vehicle of 10 years or more.
          Dollar to Watt Hour cost less than $0.40/wh to be able to compete with gas engine vehicles. Above that a gas engine vehicle is less expensive to purchase the vehicle and fuel cost of ten years.
          Last and this is a huge challenge, COLD WEATHER CAPACITY. 80% of rated capacity at 0 degrees. No where close to that now.
          When a vehicle come along with 2, 300 mile capability batteries with the above characteristics that can be swapped like propane cylinders, or charged at home, and/or changed over on the fly for $35K drive off, I'll buy one. Realistically, I probably won't live long enough to see it, but you never know.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by J.P.M. View Post
            When a vehicle come along with 2, 300 mile capability batteries with the above characteristics that can be swapped like propane cylinders, or charged at home, and/or changed over on the fly for $35K drive off, I'll buy one. Realistically, I probably won't live long enough to see it, but you never know.
            I do not know how old you are, but I think the battery in question is only 5 to 10 years down the road. Billions of dollars are going into finding such a battery. According to sources both Exxon/Mobile and Chevron already have a prototype in testing working on manufacturing process to get the price down. Have to wait and see who comes to market first. Whoever does it first pretty much owns the world.
            MSEE, PE

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Sunking View Post
              I do not know how old you are, but I think the battery in question is only 5 to 10 years down the road. Billions of dollars are going into finding such a battery. According to sources both Exxon/Mobile and Chevron already have a prototype in testing working on manufacturing process to get the price down. Have to wait and see who comes to market first. Whoever does it first pretty much owns the world.
              5-10 years? What happened to fuel-cell cars? Yeah, any day now. What about the patent stranglehold on NiMH? - although it does run out at the end of this year I think, but that is a HUGE red-flag about how business is done concerning anything alternate. Only small handfuls of alternate energy vehicles actually being sold just to satisfy CARB requirements, but not seriously sold en masse.

              There is a lot of money to be made on investments that will never see mass adoption, in a never ending 5-10 year prediction cycle. Think painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Of course, even if they do come about, many don't think about what to do AFTER the revolution, like practical infrastructure support.

              Shareholders don't like to see disruptions in the current revenue stream, and human nature being what it is, we don't really act until forced to. That is, we use up all the current resources at hand, and stick to the status quo until the bitter end.

              Patent reform has to come first before any new technology can really succeed.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by inetdog View Post
                . (Not sure if any but Tesla are currently using Lithium from the factory, but there are a lot of DIY Lithium conversions.)
                Leaf, Prius PHEV, Focus, RAV-4 and Volt all use lithium.

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                • #9
                  Good point about lithium. I use those myself for a house bank.

                  Question is, are those vehicle batteries manufactured from areas where patent-restrictions are possibly not of the highest priority? If so, then it points out the real weakness of our current system that is holding us back from wide-scale adoption.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PNjunction View Post
                    What about the patent stranglehold on NiMH? - although it does run out at the end of this year I think, but that is a HUGE red-flag about how business is done concerning anything alternate.
                    That's the Ovonics patent - but technology has passed that by. Li-ions are now the primary batteries used for pure EV's, and I expect to see LiFePO4 take over as the battery of choice for PHEV's and HEV's.

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                    • #11
                      LiFePo4 - Ideally yes from a safety standpoint, and many private EV companies use them be they cylindrical or prismatic.

                      But, from first hand experience, there is a LOT of FUD, mudslinging, and outright delay tactics to sway people into other chemistry investments. It is another never-ending cycle of electrolyte, cathode and anode improvements that never get implemented on a large scale trying to "perfect" the technology, and not actually adopting what works well now.

                      In many cases, these can be just pure investment setups for patent-troll litigation down the line.

                      Lifepo4 may not be perfect, but it sure satisfies a lot of the present-day needs. Not all, but most. This class may be revealing:

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxP0Cu00sZs

                      Are the companies that have identified advanced electrolyte additives just holding on to them to fill a patent-portfolio warchest, or do they actually intend to bring them to the world?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PNjunction View Post
                        5-10 years? What happened to fuel-cell cars?
                        You are smarter than that and know exactly why fuel cells are DOA. Hydrogen is not an energy source and at best only 5% efficient from cradle to grave.
                        MSEE, PE

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                        • #13
                          Well, yeah, but I was just trying to point out the fallacy of getting stuck in the 5-10 year from now techno-promise loop.

                          Weren't you supposed to be on a Commodore 64 with a 300-baud dialup somewhere? <running and ducking!!>

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by PNjunction View Post
                            Well, yeah, but I was just trying to point out the fallacy of getting stuck in the 5-10 year from now techno-promise loop.

                            Weren't you supposed to be on a Commodore 64 with a 300-baud dialup somewhere? <running and ducking!!>
                            [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Now who is starting to show their age.[/FONT]

                            The sad part is that I use to have a C64 (TRS-80 before that) and one of those "fast" modems. Where has the time gone.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sunking View Post
                              I do not know how old you are, but I think the battery in question is only 5 to 10 years down the road. Billions of dollars are going into finding such a battery. According to sources both Exxon/Mobile and Chevron already have a prototype in testing working on manufacturing process to get the price down. Have to wait and see who comes to market first. Whoever does it first pretty much owns the world.
                              I'm older than dirt and look/smell worse most of the time, have more time than money & more money than brains, so I'm hoping you are correct on 5-10 yrs.

                              I've often suggested if it's an individual who solves the storage problem, they'll be the next Bill Gates only richer.

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