Sorry for such a long post here -- but, I thought others might be interested in how this turned out.
I just took delivery on Tuesday of an order of CALB (Calib Power) 100Ah lithium batteries for my new battery pack. Here is a brief summary of my experience…
November 22-25, 2010 - I sent requests for ordering information to Current EV Tech, Manzanita Micro, Calib Power in China, Calib Power in Californina, and I also started this thread.
I got an immediate reply from Keegan at Calib Power in California, and shortly after that, Calib in China replied and finally Manzanita Micro replied quite promptly. Current EV Tech never replied to me so I sent a followup and they never replied to that either. It's also interesting to note that I got a personal email from another person at Calib Power in China who saw this thread and followed the link to my web page and found my personal contact information.
Manzanita Micro quoted me $135 less a 10% November discount with a lead time of 6-8 weeks.
Calib in China did not quote a price but seemed very willing to accommodate me and asked me to specify groupings with my order.
Keegan at Calib Power in California said there was a shipment due in on December 20, 2010 and he would reserve my order on that shipment. The price of the 100Ah batteries was $126 plus freight.
Although Manzanita Micro had the best price, they did not ask me to specify groupings and the lead time was 6-8 weeks so I decided to buy the batteries from Calib in California. Keegan asked for 50% up front and 50% two days before delivery. I wired 50% to Keegan on December 10, 2010.
As the December 20 delivery date approached, Keegan asked to delay the order by 10 days because of an inventory shortage. I wired the other 50% and on January 26, 2011 the order shipped via UPS Freight.
This past Tuesday a UPS Freight 18-wheeler arrived with a palette containing my new batteries. The batteries arrived in bulk (ungrouped) and each battery came with a copper busbar and a pair of bolts and washers. The cost of each 100 Ah battery with busbar and bolts came to $127.50 plus the total freight was $380.
Here are some random observations about all of this...
Having heard some of the horror stories about people losing their money buying lithium batteries, I was always a little bit uneasy through this transaction -- even more so when the delivery dates kept getting pushed back and emails to Calib sometimes went unanswed.
I found it curious that Current EV Tech has never replied to any of my emails -- I followed the link to their web page on the right side of this forum to get their contact information.
I saved 2% by paying via wire transfer instead of a credit card.
Calib in China asked for my groupings, Calib in California did not. I provided my groupings when I placed my order with Keegan -- but, they were not taken into consideration and the batteries arrived ungrouped.
If you count the weeks that it took for this order to arrive, I may have been just as well off dealing with Manzanita Micro who may or may not have grouped the batteries for me but appeared to have a better price and the 6-8 week lead time was pretty much what I had with Calib in California anyhow.
Since the batteries arrived ungrouped, I contacted Calib in California, Manzanita, and Current EV Tech about purchasing the compression hardware for the grouping and only Calib has replied. Keegan indicated that they would have to ship in from China and wouldn't be stateside until March.
Keegan sent me a picture of the compression clamps and they appear to be threaded rod with 1" wide steel or aluminum U-channel. Has anyone out there seen this hardware up close to confirm the dimensions and the material for these clamps?