Altairnano to GM: "We Have Your Battery"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
altairnano to gm we have your battery

After Altairnano's Eliminator dragster eliminated the world's record quarter mile sprint for an electric vehicle (EV), I called the company to ask them what it's like to own the "shit off a shovel" EV mindspace. During my podcast (below) with Bob Geobel, the company's Sales and Marketing Veep claimed his company's high density lithium-titanate battery is ready for hybrid passenger car prime time. "It's the low heat and low resistance of the battery that allows power to come out of that battery much quicker than standard battery technology. It can be charged quickly without thermal damage or overheating" And that means faster recharge times (four to five minutes using a 250 volt charger), more on-demand power and only a nine degree increase in the battery's temperature. So why haven't carmakers jumped on the zero emissions NanoSafe bandwagon? "While they're all looking at it, they've got it programmed in possibly in three to five years." That "possibly" doesn't include any contracts. If you're thinking why not Tesla, it seems the Silicon Valley start-up had their packaging requirements locked-in, and couldn't change gears. So to speak.

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4 of 12 comments
  • Jthorner Jthorner on Jan 05, 2008

    If the tradeoff Altairnano is making is lower energy density in return for super-low internal resistance I think they are making the wrong choice for the high volume EV car market. Energy density is a more important factor than is recharge time or peak discharge rates. Being able to dump so much power so fast actually causes some extra safety concerns.

  • Drivin98 Drivin98 on Jan 05, 2008

    Here is how Berube powers his Altairnano battery.

  • Buvmuf Buvmuf on Jul 17, 2008

    I think charge time is more important that energy density. Cars that take 2-6 hours to charge are not viable for long trips, no matter what their range. Most people will not be willing to give up the freedom of driving as far as they want in a day. If electric charging stations that could charge in 5-10 minutes became more prevalent, a range of 150 miles would be sufficient. I agree that power densities don't matter.

  • Trim Trim on Oct 01, 2008

    The reality is, everything matters...power density, energy density and high rate low impedance. What will ultimately be the most important factors are cost, quality and durability. At $2 kWh, Altair is no where near a realistic solution... no matter how fast they can charge their pack. If they were able to show a path to high volume production at $0.1 - $0.2/kWh, the OEMs would beat down their door.