Capacity, weight and price of the battery are the big challenges facing the electric car. Researchers at Sumitomo have developed a porous, sponge-like metal called “Aluminum-Celmet.” It promises to triple the capacity of lithium-ion batteries. (Read More…)
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When DBM Energy, an unknown German “mailbox company,” announced it would attempt a world record for the longest single-charge EV trip, the reaction from observers and industry insiders was nearly universally dismissive. Even when the drive was completed, and DBM’s electrified Audi A2 completed a 600km (373 miles) journey under observation, the skepticism lingered. Then, when the record-setting A2 burnt in a fire, the mystery deepened. Did the enigmatic battery start the blaze (as, a DBM battery apparently already has in a forklift), or, as DBM suggests, did a jealous German OEM try to kill their miracle battery breakthrough with a convenient arson? That puzzle hasn’t been hashed out, but according to AutoBild, Germany’s Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing) as well as the Ministry of Industry have tested the DBM battery for
extreme climate and air pressure changes, electrical short circuits, overloading or incorrect polarity and to mechanical influences such as vibration, shock and impact
The result? It’s safe! DBM has also made a 454km (282 miles) journey this month in a battery with less capacity than the world record-setting pack. More testing will be done, but it seems that DBM is on to something with its “miracle battery,” and the German automakers may yet be forced to abandon their long-held preference for hydrogen fuel cells.
Thinking about getting an EV? Better move to a balmier state.
“It turns out batteries are like people. They love room temperature,” Bill Wallace, director of Global Battery Systems at GM said at an energy forum at the University of Chicago. He had come under fire, ammunition courtesy of Consumer Reports which said its tests showed the battery’s range of the Chevy Volt would last only 23 to 28 miles in cold weather. (Read More…)
Unimpressed by BYD’s aborting of the pure plug-in EV, Nissan is betting the farm on us plugging in instead of gassing up. A few days ago, Nissan officially introduced the Leaf, the world’s first mass-produced EV in the standard passenger class, seating five. It won’t totally replace the internal combustion engine, at least not at the plant where it is made. (Read More…)
Did you know that the Volt’s most important and priciest ingredient comes from Korea? The Volt battery is made by LG Chem, the battery arm of the Korean company formerly known as Lucky Goldstar. Noises coming from Korea indicate that GM might be building more Volts than thought. How do the Koreans know that? GM ordered more batteries. (Read More…)
Editor’s Note: On Monday, TTAC’s Martin Schwoerer wrote about a planned record-breaking non-stop run of 600 KMs, from Munich to Berlin, with a car that was equipped with a “revolutionary” electric battery system. Something smells funny, he said, and vowed to donate 100 Euros in case the drive was completed. Well, it was. So, how does it feel to have pie on your face?
How about Vegetarians Against the klan? Or maybe the Tugg Speedman Foundation? No, there are probably better organisations to give my money to. Guess I’ll ask the Best & Brightest… (Read More…)
Volvo, now in the hands of China’s Geely, may revolutionize the way electric and hybrid cars are built. Currently, you have to shove a big honking battery into an electric car, and a simple honking battery into a hybrid. This adds weight, and obesity is a killer when in come to mileage. Volvo, working with the Imperial College in London has a wild idea: Why not dispense with the big honking battery and use the whole auto body to store electricity. Say what? (Read More…)
Recently, Nissan claimed that their Leaf will have a battery production cost of $375/kWh. A what? Anyway, this was:
- Surprising as battery costs for an electric cars were forecast to be between $400 – $700/kWh.
- Meaningless, as long as people thing in lease rate /month and MPG (and conveniently forget it.
But Tesla’s founding father didn’t like that at all. (Read More…)
What about battery production? It’s one of the most popular criticisms of the green halo surrounding battery-electric vehicles, and one that’s widely circulated in anti-EV circles. Battery production, it is argued, requires the mining, transportation and processing of minerals which puts EVs at an environmental disadvantage compared to ICE vehicles. Needless to say, quantifying the impacts of ICE and electric drivetrain production is extremely difficult, due to the complexity and global supply chains required to produce both (not to mention the inherent difficulty of quantifying environmental impacts). But a study by the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology [via Green Car Congress] took on just that question, and indicates that
the impact of a Li-ion battery used in BEVs for transport service is relatively small. In contrast, it is the operation phase that remains the dominant contributor to the environmental burden caused by transport service as long as the electricity for the BEV is not produced by renewable hydropower.
Range anxiety. The performance angst and penis envy of the new millennium. So you want to be nice to the planet. You no longer want to desecrate dead dinosaurs. You want to plug in and tune out.
But you also want visit grandpa and grandma who live 150 miles away, and you don’t want to overstay your welcome with an orange cord dangling out of the window. What to do? It’s so simple, that we wonder why nobody has thought of it: (Read More…)
Which part of the car of the future can cost more than half of the car, but has a lifespan a little better than a set of brake disks? The battery. No wonder that battery making is what suppliers focus on. If EVs catch on, you want to be in the battery business. Toshiba and Mitsubishi Motors have ganged-up to produce batteries together, says The Nikkei [sub]. (Read More…)
After one year of ownership we would expect EV residual values to be above the segment average expressed in terms of pound values. But, if the battery is owned rather than leased, and lacks the appropriate extended warranty, the value of the typical EV will then fall dramatically until the vehicle is five years old, at which point the car will have a trade value little more than 10 per cent of the list price
So says Andy Carroll, managing director of the British car-buying bible, Glass’s Guide. He tells BusinessCar that Nissan and other firms launching EVs in Britain should take out the battery cost and lease it to customers with minimum monthly performance clauses. This, he says, would dispel concerns, drive sales, and transform the resale picture. It’s also what Project Better Place is doing, albeit in a complete regional package with battery-swap stations and charging infrastructure.
When people get married, they normally follow it up with a honeymoon and (at least traditionally) the consummation of said marriage. So, when Daimler and Renault-Nissan got hitched, how do you think they’d celebrate their first year of marriage? Build a car a together? Announce a joint venture factory? Start sharing dealerships? No. They had an argument. Just like your old polyamorous married couple. (Read More…)
While we at TTAC continue to cover the serious, the silly and the sublime from the world of cars in this holiday season, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. We have a grip of new blog and editorial series in development right now, the first of which we’re debuting today: The Project Better Place Birthwatch. This series will be a collaboration between a new contributor here, Tal Bronfer, who will be monitoring and reporting on Better Place’s Israeli rollout, and Martin Schwoerer who will be covering Denmark’s collaboration with the EV dream company. True to TTAC’s mission, we’ve asked Messrs Bronfer and Schwoerer to dig deep into Better Place’s heady swirl of public funding, private companies, and new technology to critically explore the reality of Better Place’s reimagination of the automotive relationship. Because coverage of all things EV tends to be enthusiast- or hobbyist-oriented (read: strictly for the fanboys), the idea for this series is to look beyond Better Place’s green-tinted pitch and learn more about the true viability, costs, benefits and complications of the nascent EV infrastructure business. To ensure that we don’t miss any of the important questions, please take a moment to read Tal’s introduction to the fundamentals of Project Better Place, and let us know what questions you would like answered and what elements you would like to see explored as we take on this sprawling story.
After a two year neck-and-neck race between battery makers LG Chem and A123, GM awarded its Volt contract to Lucky Goldstar – make that LG Chem, or rather their subsidiary Compact Power: Now the Lucky Guys are waiting for the thing to hit the road in large quantities. A123 was widely regarded as the far better technology, the Koreans most likely were cheaper – we’ll most likely never know.
Now, A123 cut a possibly much bigger and more lucrative deal. A123 is forming a joint venture with China’s top carmaker SAIC to build and sell battery systems for electric vehicles in the world’s largest auto market, and possibly beyond.