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Discussion Starter #1
With the many different battery threads going on right now, I can't help but reflect on how many posts I have seen in the past where people try to say that batteries are not the problem with EVs. I also see many posts where people try to claim that EVs require less maintenance than an ICE. While the maintenance certainly can and fundamentally should be less due to the much simpler nature of an EV drivetrain, it often isn't true and in many casess the problems point directly back to the batteries.

Until the battery problem gets solved or the petroleum crisis becomes one that people truly can not ignore, EVs will not be able to change the status quo. EVs will remain a niche that a few people will care passionately about and the rest of the world will ignore.

If the economics of batteries and the technology behind them improve enough for cars to be made that are equivilant or better in price, performance, and convenience, then we have a fighting chance, but we are not even close yet.

Take a look at John and his current Optima problems in his Sparrow. This is not the first set of Optimas that John has had for that thing and John is no newbie to batteries. I've watched him buy Lithiums for it, part of the Thundersky debacle, and NiCads which burned up in his fire. He has designed and produced his own battery monitors and shown that he is a person that is willing to do things right by designing and having special parts fabricated. Yet, years into this and after lots of effort and education on his part, he still can't get a break when it comes to batteries.

Everyone knows that newbies will murder a pack of batteries, but I am often amazed to see people that have been at this a long time and know what they are doing still having issues with batteries. I don't believe it is the people. I put the blame on the batteries, and until there are batteries which meet the above criteria it's hard for me to see EVs going far beyond the dedicated hobbiest like those of us that frequent this list.

damon
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Discussion Starter #3
> With the many different battery threads going on right now, I can't help but
> reflect on how many posts I have seen in the past where people try to say
> that batteries are not the problem with EVs. I also see many posts where
> people try to claim that EVs require less maintenance than an ICE. While
> the maintenance certainly can and fundamentally should be less due to the
> much simpler nature of an EV drivetrain, it often isn't true and in many
> casess the problems point directly back to the batteries.

Definitely. Batteries are a big problem right now.

> Until the battery problem gets solved or the petroleum crisis becomes one
> that people truly can not ignore, EVs will not be able to change the status
> quo. EVs will remain a niche that a few people will care passionately about
> and the rest of the world will ignore.
>
> If the economics of batteries and the technology behind them improve enough
> for cars to be made that are equivilant or better in price, performance, and
> convenience, then we have a fighting chance, but we are not even close yet.

The economics won't improve without economics of scale. That means starting
small and working up, increasing volumes over time. Look at Tesla's business
plan; I think they've got a good idea (except that they're using traditional
Li-Ion instead of LiFePO4).

EVs made by people like us will never become popular in the mainstream.
However, a mass-produced car with an integrated BMS that does more than our
current models could work. Imagine having a "Check Battery" light, sort of
like the "Check Engine" light on current ICEs; then the consumer wouldn't have
to worry about it, they'd just let the repair shop take care of it.

I'd say that EVs are currently a matter of economics. If some Lithium-based
battery were affordable, corporations could design affordable cars that get
better performance/economy than current ICEs, at affordable prices. All we
need is for battery prices to drop. They need to drop a lot, though, which
is why it'll be a while before EVs go mainstream.

> Take a look at John and his current Optima problems in his Sparrow. This
> is not the first set of Optimas that John has had for that thing and John
> is no newbie to batteries. I've watched him buy Lithiums for it, part of
> the Thundersky debacle, and NiCads which burned up in his fire. He has
> designed and produced his own battery monitors and shown that he is a person
> that is willing to do things right by designing and having special parts
> fabricated. Yet, years into this and after lots of effort and education on
> his part, he still can't get a break when it comes to batteries.
>
> Everyone knows that newbies will murder a pack of batteries, but I am often
> amazed to see people that have been at this a long time and know what they
> are doing still having issues with batteries. I don't believe it is the
> people. I put the blame on the batteries, and until there are batteries
> which meet the above criteria it's hard for me to see EVs going far beyond
> the dedicated hobbiest like those of us that frequent this list.

I think a battery system that's designed by a skilled engineering team has the
potential to be much more complete than one designed by a single engineer on
his spare time. Also, in commercial car design, battery systems will go through
a lot of testing, pointing out problems you don't notice when throwing
something together on your own.

In short, I think the problem is just money, not the innate technology. Better
battery technology could reduce the need for service and electronics and help
the economics, but it's not necessary, only very helpful.

-Morgan

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Discussion Starter #4
AMEN Damon....
Rich in Virginia

----- Original Message -----
From: "damon henry" <[email protected]>
To: "EV List" <[email protected]>
Sent: Thursday, September 06, 2007 1:14 PM
Subject: [EVDL] The 10000 pound gorrilla... batteries


>
> With the many different battery threads going on right now, I can't help
> but reflect on how many posts I have seen in the past where people try to
> say that batteries are not the problem with EVs. I also see many posts
> where people try to claim that EVs require less maintenance than an ICE.
> While the maintenance certainly can and fundamentally should be less due
> to the much simpler nature of an EV drivetrain, it often isn't true and in
> many casess the problems point directly back to the batteries.
>
> Until the battery problem gets solved or the petroleum crisis becomes one
> that people truly can not ignore, EVs will not be able to change the
> status quo. EVs will remain a niche that a few people will care
> passionately about and the rest of the world will ignore.
>
> If the economics of batteries and the technology behind them improve
> enough for cars to be made that are equivilant or better in price,
> performance, and convenience, then we have a fighting chance, but we are
> not even close yet.
>
> Take a look at John and his current Optima problems in his Sparrow. This
> is not the first set of Optimas that John has had for that thing and John
> is no newbie to batteries. I've watched him buy Lithiums for it, part of
> the Thundersky debacle, and NiCads which burned up in his fire. He has
> designed and produced his own battery monitors and shown that he is a
> person that is willing to do things right by designing and having special
> parts fabricated. Yet, years into this and after lots of effort and
> education on his part, he still can't get a break when it comes to
> batteries.
>
> Everyone knows that newbies will murder a pack of batteries, but I am
> often amazed to see people that have been at this a long time and know
> what they are doing still having issues with batteries. I don't believe
> it is the people. I put the blame on the batteries, and until there are
> batteries which meet the above criteria it's hard for me to see EVs going
> far beyond the dedicated hobbiest like those of us that frequent this
> list.
>
> damon
> _________________________________________________________________
> Explore the seven wonders of the world
> http://search.msn.com/results.aspx?q=7+wonders+world&mkt=en-US&form=QBRE
>
> _______________________________________________
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> http://lists.sjsu.edu/mailman/listinfo/ev
>
>
> --
> No virus found in this incoming message.
> Checked by AVG Free Edition.
> Version: 7.5.485 / Virus Database: 269.13.7/992 - Release Date: 9/6/2007
> 8:36 AM
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Discussion Starter #5
Batteries are the biggest obstacle to progress of electric vehicles. That
was also true 100 years ago
and I expect it to be true 100 years n the future. I'm not discouraged. but
regularly impresed and
encouraged by what people can do with electric vehicles in spite of the
problems and limitations
imposed by batteries
----- Original Message -----
From: "damon henry" <[email protected]>
To: "EV List" <[email protected]>
Sent: Thursday, September 06, 2007 10:14 AM
Subject: [EVDL] The 10000 pound gorrilla... batteries


>
> With the many different battery threads going on right now, I can't help
> but reflect on how many posts I have seen in the past where people try to
> say that batteries are not the problem with EVs. I also see many posts
> where people try to claim that EVs require less maintenance than an ICE.
> While the maintenance certainly can and fundamentally should be less due
> to the much simpler nature of an EV drivetrain, it often isn't true and in
> many casess the problems point directly back to the batteries.
>
> Until the battery problem gets solved or the petroleum crisis becomes one
> that people truly can not ignore, EVs will not be able to change the
> status quo. EVs will remain a niche that a few people will care
> passionately about and the rest of the world will ignore.
>
> If the economics of batteries and the technology behind them improve
> enough for cars to be made that are equivilant or better in price,
> performance, and convenience, then we have a fighting chance, but we are
> not even close yet.
>
> Take a look at John and his current Optima problems in his Sparrow. This
> is not the first set of Optimas that John has had for that thing and John
> is no newbie to batteries. I've watched him buy Lithiums for it, part of
> the Thundersky debacle, and NiCads which burned up in his fire. He has
> designed and produced his own battery monitors and shown that he is a
> person that is willing to do things right by designing and having special
> parts fabricated. Yet, years into this and after lots of effort and
> education on his part, he still can't get a break when it comes to
> batteries.
>
> Everyone knows that newbies will murder a pack of batteries, but I am
> often amazed to see people that have been at this a long time and know
> what they are doing still having issues with batteries. I don't believe
> it is the people. I put the blame on the batteries, and until there are
> batteries which meet the above criteria it's hard for me to see EVs going
> far beyond the dedicated hobbiest like those of us that frequent this
> list.
>
> damon


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Discussion Starter #6
Tom Shay Said
"Batteries are the biggest obstacle to progress of electric vehicles.
That was also true 100 years ago
and I expect it to be true 100 years n the future. I'm not discouraged.
but regularly impresed and
encouraged by what people can do with electric vehicles in spite of the
problems and limitations
imposed by batteries"

And I am forced to disagree unless he is saying that lead acid is
synonomous with batteries. [or he is talking about physical size :) ]

The biggest obstacle is public perception and government and industry
perception.

We probably have 100 electric vehicles at work. golf carts club carts,
and forklifts sporting hawkers. Totally acceptale. But everyone gets a
charge out of me driveing to work every day in my 300VZX.

The rav4, and the EV1 proved viability even with nimh. The reason that
died was the nimh was tied up in exclusive contracts, as we are in
danger of A123 cells becomeing. We are lucky that other countries don't
have this problem and should force the auto makers and our governments
hands.

The fallacy that everything must be done or it is of no use is also a
killer. If just 30% of the cars in daily use were electric, it would
help the economy like you wouldn't believe. Not going to get political
here, it is just a numbers game. We have the excess capacity at night to
charge them, That is enough to end dependence on foriegn oil, The smog
levels in valley cities would drop dramatically and more petroleum would
be available for other transportation needs keeping it's cost and the
cost of plastics down.

I say we need to look at it as using the right tool for the right job.

Ev for personal commuting and errand running
Gasoline for long trips and loads of people or hydrogen fool cell
backed BEV.
Diesel for Product transportation and motor homes
Natural gas for mass transit


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Discussion Starter #7
Hi Morgan and All,
Sorry to disagree with you but batteries
are not the problem, decent low drag, weight gliders are.
With a built as EV glider you need a
smaller battery pack and get much more range, acceleration
per $. And this is with reg t105's!! And easy to get 100
mile range!
For instance the GM Volt could be built
right now with lead batts with a 40 mile range before
needing the gas motor.
A good place to start is an aero Kitcar,
Karman Ghia, Bug, ect for a decent EV glider. EV's cost by
weight so keep it, the drag low and you can have a good
transport solution that will beat ICE's in cost, ect.
Jerry Dycus

----- Original Message Follows -----
From: "Morgan LaMoore" <[email protected]>
To: "Electric Vehicle Discussion List" <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: [EVDL] The 10000 pound gorrilla... batteries
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2007 12:43:08 -0500

>> With the many different battery threads going on right
>> now, I can't help but reflect on how many posts I have
>> seen in the past where people try to say that batteries
>> are not the problem with EVs. I also see many posts
>where people try to claim that EVs require less maintenance
>> than an ICE. While the maintenance certainly can and
>> fundamentally should be less due to the much simpler
>> nature of an EV drivetrain, it often isn't true and in
>many casess the problems point directly back to the
>batteries.
>
>Definitely. Batteries are a big problem right now.
>
>> Until the battery problem gets solved or the petroleum
>> crisis becomes one that people truly can not ignore, EVs
>> will not be able to change the status quo. EVs will
>remain a niche that a few people will care passionately
>> about and the rest of the world will ignore.
>>
>> If the economics of batteries and the technology behind
>> them improve enough for cars to be made that are
>> equivilant or better in price, performance, and
>convenience, then we have a fighting chance, but we are not
>even close yet.
>
>The economics won't improve without economics of scale.
>That means starting small and working up, increasing
>volumes over time. Look at Tesla's business plan; I think
>they've got a good idea (except that they're using
>traditional Li-Ion instead of LiFePO4).
>
>EVs made by people like us will never become popular in the
>mainstream. However, a mass-produced car with an integrated
>BMS that does more than our current models could work.
>Imagine having a "Check Battery" light, sort of like the
>"Check Engine" light on current ICEs; then the consumer
>wouldn't have to worry about it, they'd just let the repair
>shop take care of it.
>
>I'd say that EVs are currently a matter of economics. If
>some Lithium-based battery were affordable, corporations
>could design affordable cars that get better
>performance/economy than current ICEs, at affordable
>prices. All we need is for battery prices to drop. They
>need to drop a lot, though, which is why it'll be a while
>before EVs go mainstream.
>
>> Take a look at John and his current Optima problems in
>> his Sparrow. This is not the first set of Optimas that
>> John has had for that thing and John is no newbie to
>> batteries. I've watched him buy Lithiums for it, part of
>the Thundersky debacle, and NiCads which burned up in his
>> fire. He has designed and produced his own battery
>> monitors and shown that he is a person that is willing to
>> do things right by designing and having special parts
>fabricated. Yet, years into this and after lots of effort
>> and education on his part, he still can't get a break
>>when it comes to batteries.
>> Everyone knows that newbies will murder a pack of
>> batteries, but I am often amazed to see people that have
>> been at this a long time and know what they are doing
>still having issues with batteries. I don't believe it is
>> the people. I put the blame on the batteries, and until
>> there are batteries which meet the above criteria it's
>> hard for me to see EVs going far beyond the dedicated
>hobbiest like those of us that frequent this list.
>
>I think a battery system that's designed by a skilled
>engineering team has the potential to be much more complete
>than one designed by a single engineer on his spare time.
>Also, in commercial car design, battery systems will go
>through a lot of testing, pointing out problems you don't
>notice when throwing something together on your own.
>
>In short, I think the problem is just money, not the innate
>technology. Better battery technology could reduce the need
>for service and electronics and help the economics, but
>it's not necessary, only very helpful.
>
>-Morgan
>
>_______________________________________________
>For subscription options, see
>http://lists.sjsu.edu/mailman/listinfo/ev

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Discussion Starter #8
jerryd wrote:
> Sorry to disagree with you but batteries
> are not the problem, decent low drag, weight gliders are.
> With a built as EV glider you need a
> smaller battery pack and get much more range, acceleration
> per $. And this is with reg t105's!! And easy to get 100
> mile range!

Can you point me to some examples of kit-based EVs (in the EV album or
elsewhere) that have demonstrated decent performance, are appointed with
trim and safety features like a production automobile, seat 4 people and
have 100-mile range at highway speed, on lead-acid? I can't remember
ever seeing one. And as I will argue, it would be the utter minimum of
acceptability for the mainstream, as people can already buy these
qualities with much better range, in a $3000 used Honda Civic.

I agree we could improve the prospects for a lead-powered EV "a little"
by starting with a super-light aerodynamic kit car. But at what cost
(safety, durability, build quality, etc)? How long has it been since
you've picked up an automotive magazine and read the reviews, all the
little niggling details (cheap plastics, car door doesn't sound right
when it closes, etc) that determine a car's sales fate in the US market?


> For instance the GM Volt could be built
> right now with lead batts with a 40 mile range before
> needing the gas motor.

And if it had no gasoline engine (setting the PHEV topic to the side for
this discussion), no one but us EV zealots would even think of buying
it.

I have a bit of a first-hand connection to this topic, as I've recently
started a small business here with a friend, to do conversions. At the
moment we're not really ready for prime time and we have a very minimal
website put up with just some basic information and a contact form. Even
though we're not really advertising it very much, we've gotten quite a
lot of requests for more information. More than we were expecting,
really, and from pretty far and wide.

At the moment, we don't have much on the website to set people's
expectations about what lead-powered conversions are capable of ... that
they're not general purpose vehicles, they're "commuter cars". I agree
that this is unwise and we're currently collaborating on some verbiage
to post to explain the situation, but in the meantime it's actually been
a good opportunity to see what people want, without being "coached" into
giving a request that's "reasonable to us."

Most of the requests we get demand at least 100 to 150 miles of range.
At 70mph, with A/C (we're in Central Texas, this is a must for most
people). The range requirement is typically the first thing mentioned.
"I need a [whatever car type] that can go 150 miles on the freeway,
seats four and has good A/C". And, folks genuinely think they're being
conservative and open-minded, since their gas car can do 300 miles
between trips to the gas station, and they can fill up in 2 minutes!

When I then have to tell them that a typical conversion gets about 40
miles on lead-acid, and that to do 150 they'll need lithium (at an
enormous price increase, easily doubling the price of the project), we
lose most people's interest pretty quickly. Despite mentioning the usual
tips like "charging at work" and "using it for commutes and errands".
People come to us excited to have found a way to do the right thing, and
then all the wind gets kicked out of their sails. "40 miles? That's
just not enough."

There isn't *one* problem. There are several. People are unwilling to
change their lifestyles or reduce their convenience for an important
cause. People are generally unwilling to consider trying new things.
Part of what makes us a community is that we're a little different from
most people -- we are willing to mold our lifestyles around our
vehicles' requirements, because we believe in it as a cause, or just
because we think EVs are fun and worth the trouble. But the biggest
problem is most certainly, and always has been, the battery technology
that forces us to impose this set of compromises.

People don't want a 10% improvement over what's possible with lead acid.
They want a 300-400% improvement. People don't want to have to replace
their expensive battery pack every few years -- they don't currently
have to disconnect and replace their fuel tanks, why should they? People
don't want lithium batteries that are a "little" cheaper. It seems most
people won't consider lithium until it costs a third of what it does
now.

Gradually, the battery problems are being resolved, though progress is
slow. But to get people to expect less from their cars, especially here
in the US -- you're not fighting to change a person's mind; you're
fighting to change an entire culture. That can and does happen, but it
takes a lot of pressure, and it makes the pace of battery technology
improvement seem fast in comparison.

In the meantime, I have to accept that our market is a very small one
comprising the very wealthy with money to throw at curious whims, and a
few extraordinarily dedicated people like ourselves. And that I really
need some more explanatory info on our website to filter out those who
have not been, and will not be, indoctrinated that the current state of
BEVs is acceptable.



--
Christopher Robison
[email protected]
http://ohmbre.org <-- 1999 Isuzu Hombre + Z2K + Warp13!

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Discussion Starter #9
damon henry wrote:
> ... Until the battery problem gets solved or the petroleum crisis
> becomes one that people truly can not ignore... EVs will remain a
> niche that a few people will care passionately about and the rest
> of the world will ignore.

A lot of what you say makes sense. It's a rational way to look at the
problem from outside, as a consumer would. But viewed from the inside
(people who are actually building EVs), the situation looks a bit different.

Consider a normal car ICE. Modern car engines run fairly close to their
theoretically best efficiency, are clean, quiet, and often last 100,000
miles or more with no major repairs.

But there isn't any fundamental difference between today's engines and
the ones of 50 years ago. They're built the same way, by the same
companies, with the same materials, etc. But a 50-year-old engine was
less efficient, much dirtier, noisier, and needed a lot more frequent
repairs.

What changed in those 50 years?

It wasn't that engineers learned a lot in those 50 years (though they
did). They knew how to build better, more reliable engines in the 1950's
-- in fact, they were doing so for customers that demanded it, like
large truck engines. But the general public didn't care -- improvements
cost money, and they weren't willing to pay for them. The few companies
that offered more reliable car engines (Mercedes, Rolls Royce, etc.) had
a trivial share of the market.

I think what changed was in the customer's expectations. People no
longer wanted to spend their Saturdays tinkering with their cars. They
didn't want the constant bother of points, plugs, carburetors, fuel
pumps, water pumps, starters, belts, hoses, grease fittings, watering
batteries, etc. They wanted cars that "just ran" dependably, for years
and years, with minimal maintenance (and that all done by somebody
else). Environmental concerns from a small but vocal minority led to
pollution controls and higher safety requirements. Carmaker that "got
the message" (like the early VW, and later Toyota and Honda) did great.
Those that didn't (like GM and Ford) were seen as unreliable and old
fashioned, and lost business. Eventually they have had to change, too,
or they would have lost the automobile market entirely.

So... today's cars have the same old dirty noisy unreliable ICE in their
heart. But it is surrounded with high-tech computers to make it behave.
Manufacturers spend an extraordinary amount on quality control, and
meticulously tweak every tiny little detail to make that ICE run as well
as possible. About all that's still the same as the "old days" are the
oil changes every 3000 miles, and replacing the battery every few years.

Now isn't that interesting? The car's *battery* hasn't changed
significantly in 50 years! They've changed from hard rubber to
polypropylene for the case. They reduced water usage so you don't have
to add water as often (but then glued the vent caps on so you *can't*
add water even when it needs it).

Engineers have known how to build better batteries for a long time. Many
other markets *do* have far longer-lived batteries (fork lifts, golf
cars, aircraft, UPS systems, etc.) The auto companies could install a
battery good for the life of the car if they wanted to. But so far,
consumers have accepted a new battery every few years as normal. More
importantly, they aren't willing to *pay* more up-front to avoid
constant battery replacements later, even if it costs less in the long run.

I think that the future direction for EV batteries should *not* be to
invent exotic new technologies. These new technologies are intrinsically
going to be expensive and unreliable. They should be developed -- but
for products where cost and life are not important (but size and
capacity are *vital*) -- like cellphones, laptops, portable power tools,
etc.

Instead, perfect and optimize the battery technologies we already have,
so products and consumers don't murder them early from cheapskate
designs and abuse! Protect the battery with the same "cocoon" of quality
control, attention to detail, and computerized management circuitry that
ICEs have been wrapped in to "civilize" them.

Imagine this: Manufacture a golf cart battery on an assembly line with
precision state-of-the-art process control, so quality and consistency
are very high. Build in an automatic watering and venting system, so it
is as clean and maintenance free as any AGM. Install a battery
management system circuit board, that monitors everything that happens
to the battery, and that has a standardized interface to a central
control system, so that charging and discharging limits can be strictly
enforced. Such a battery is going to last even longer than a normal golf
cart battery (which are already long-lived), and when it does fail,
you'll have logged the evidence to know *why* it failed, so you can do
something to correct the problem. Finally, package it to be a "drop in"
replacement, like a big version of a AA cell, so consumers can buy them
from many suppliers and drop them in themselves.

I think this is the only way to produce a battery that is cheap enough
and reliable enough to be mass-marketed to consumers for truly large
numbers of electric vehicles to be practical.
--
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget the perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in -- Leonard Cohen
--
Lee A. Hart, 814 8th Ave N, Sartell MN 56377, leeahart_at_earthlink.net

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Discussion Starter #10
Well said Lee,
But it still takes forever to charge a lead acid battery or any other one on
todays market.
Rich in Virginia
PS In England they have been delivering milk every morning in battery
powered trucks since I was there in the sixties and I don`t know how long
before that....
> damon henry wrote:
>> ... Until the battery problem gets solved or the petroleum crisis
>> becomes one that people truly can not ignore... EVs will remain a
>> niche that a few people will care passionately about and the rest
>> of the world will ignore.
>
> A lot of what you say makes sense. It's a rational way to look at the
> problem from outside, as a consumer would. But viewed from the inside
> (people who are actually building EVs), the situation looks a bit
> different.
>
> Consider a normal car ICE. Modern car engines run fairly close to their
> theoretically best efficiency, are clean, quiet, and often last 100,000
> miles or more with no major repairs.
>
> But there isn't any fundamental difference between today's engines and
> the ones of 50 years ago. They're built the same way, by the same
> companies, with the same materials, etc. But a 50-year-old engine was
> less efficient, much dirtier, noisier, and needed a lot more frequent
> repairs.
>
> What changed in those 50 years?
>
> It wasn't that engineers learned a lot in those 50 years (though they
> did). They knew how to build better, more reliable engines in the 1950's
> -- in fact, they were doing so for customers that demanded it, like
> large truck engines. But the general public didn't care -- improvements
> cost money, and they weren't willing to pay for them. The few companies
> that offered more reliable car engines (Mercedes, Rolls Royce, etc.) had
> a trivial share of the market.
>
> I think what changed was in the customer's expectations. People no
> longer wanted to spend their Saturdays tinkering with their cars. They
> didn't want the constant bother of points, plugs, carburetors, fuel
> pumps, water pumps, starters, belts, hoses, grease fittings, watering
> batteries, etc. They wanted cars that "just ran" dependably, for years
> and years, with minimal maintenance (and that all done by somebody
> else). Environmental concerns from a small but vocal minority led to
> pollution controls and higher safety requirements. Carmaker that "got
> the message" (like the early VW, and later Toyota and Honda) did great.
> Those that didn't (like GM and Ford) were seen as unreliable and old
> fashioned, and lost business. Eventually they have had to change, too,
> or they would have lost the automobile market entirely.
>
> So... today's cars have the same old dirty noisy unreliable ICE in their
> heart. But it is surrounded with high-tech computers to make it behave.
> Manufacturers spend an extraordinary amount on quality control, and
> meticulously tweak every tiny little detail to make that ICE run as well
> as possible. About all that's still the same as the "old days" are the
> oil changes every 3000 miles, and replacing the battery every few years.
>
> Now isn't that interesting? The car's *battery* hasn't changed
> significantly in 50 years! They've changed from hard rubber to
> polypropylene for the case. They reduced water usage so you don't have
> to add water as often (but then glued the vent caps on so you *can't*
> add water even when it needs it).
>
> Engineers have known how to build better batteries for a long time. Many
> other markets *do* have far longer-lived batteries (fork lifts, golf
> cars, aircraft, UPS systems, etc.) The auto companies could install a
> battery good for the life of the car if they wanted to. But so far,
> consumers have accepted a new battery every few years as normal. More
> importantly, they aren't willing to *pay* more up-front to avoid
> constant battery replacements later, even if it costs less in the long
> run.
>
> I think that the future direction for EV batteries should *not* be to
> invent exotic new technologies. These new technologies are intrinsically
> going to be expensive and unreliable. They should be developed -- but
> for products where cost and life are not important (but size and
> capacity are *vital*) -- like cellphones, laptops, portable power tools,
> etc.
>
> Instead, perfect and optimize the battery technologies we already have,
> so products and consumers don't murder them early from cheapskate
> designs and abuse! Protect the battery with the same "cocoon" of quality
> control, attention to detail, and computerized management circuitry that
> ICEs have been wrapped in to "civilize" them.
>
> Imagine this: Manufacture a golf cart battery on an assembly line with
> precision state-of-the-art process control, so quality and consistency
> are very high. Build in an automatic watering and venting system, so it
> is as clean and maintenance free as any AGM. Install a battery
> management system circuit board, that monitors everything that happens
> to the battery, and that has a standardized interface to a central
> control system, so that charging and discharging limits can be strictly
> enforced. Such a battery is going to last even longer than a normal golf
> cart battery (which are already long-lived), and when it does fail,
> you'll have logged the evidence to know *why* it failed, so you can do
> something to correct the problem. Finally, package it to be a "drop in"
> replacement, like a big version of a AA cell, so consumers can buy them
> from many suppliers and drop them in themselves.
>
> I think this is the only way to produce a battery that is cheap enough
> and reliable enough to be mass-marketed to consumers for truly large
> numbers of electric vehicles to be practical.
> --
> Ring the bells that still can ring
> Forget the perfect offering
> There is a crack in everything
> That's how the light gets in -- Leonard Cohen
> --
> Lee A. Hart, 814 8th Ave N, Sartell MN 56377, leeahart_at_earthlink.net
>
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Discussion Starter #11
From: Rich <torich1...>
> Well said Lee, But it still takes forever to charge a lead acid
> battery or any other one on today's market.

No; not at all. You can charge plain old lead-acid batteries to 80% state of charge in well under 1 hour. Some of the higher-tech AGMs can do it in 15 minutes or so. If you just need half a charge to get back home, even 5 minutes is possible if done carefully.

The big time-consumer with lead-acid is to get it from 80% to 100% state of charge -- that's the part that takes hours.

Other battery chemistries have different limitations, but the common ones (nicads, nimh, and lithiums) can be charged at least as fast as they can be discharged.

The real problem with fast charging is that you need a big expensive charger to handle that much power, and a huge AC outlet. For example, if you want to put 50kw into your pack in 1 hour, you need equipment that can deliver over 250 amps at 240vac.

--
"Excellence does not require perfection." -- Henry James
--
Lee A. Hart, 814 8th Ave N, Sartell MN 56377, leeahart-at-earthlink.net

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Discussion Starter #12
damon henry wrote:


> I also see many posts where people try to claim that EVs require less >maintenance than an ICE. While the maintenance certainly can and >fundamentally should be less due to the much simpler nature of an EV drivetrain, >it often isn't true and in many cases the problems point directly back to the >batteries.


I've always had the impression that Waylands Blue Meanie is and has
been extremely reliable and maintenance free. White Zombie would be
and will be once the fireball issue is resolved. I think it's just
presently a result of semi extended high rpm usage at the end of a
full power run. A little more fine tuning and it will be rock solid.
A Bill Dube adjustable timing brush ring in the works or?

A stout diff, good drive shaft, no trans, industrial strength and duty
motor, proven controller, reliable and powerful charger, maintenance
free batteries. Nice setup...

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Discussion Starter #13
Lee Hart wrote:

> you need equipment that can deliver over 250 amps at 240vac.

Mmm, now we're talking. I'm surprised more electrician and power
company employees aren't into this EV hobby more.

There is a buried underground cable that runs the length of the block
in the middle in the easement that feeds power to the houses on both
sides of it. I wonder where the "breaker" is for it? There is a four
foot square transformer that I think feeds the line.

Considering the standard 100 amp, 220 service going to most homes.
That 250 setup is a pretty big step up.

What would it take to get that given the current distribution setup here?

I wonder if "480 VAC still scares" Rudman? What specifically about it
and how and why? I've got 440 V at work and I don't have any problems
with it.

I know a guy who worked at an RV place and was setting up at an RV
show and somehow got "licked"(his words) by something in the 600 V
range.. Maybe 660 it was? Same person also got blown off a cooling
tower by 480(sent to the hospital with black feet if I remember right,
something about hooking up a meter and it was hot or got turned on).

There is a story at work about something being hooked up to the 440
and someone instead of flipping the breaker, unhooked the line with it
charged up and it fireballed from the arc.

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Discussion Starter #14
I agree with 90% of what you say, Lee. I think our minor difference is in
what the engineers *have* learned about today's auto.

The engine shares some of the same components, but is very different in the
way components are combined. Engines aren't 100%, but most would have been
marvels of the 80's, much less the 50's. Some of this is in the computers,
some is in the way they are built, and some in the way they are used.
Today's 7500 mile oil changes and 100K mile tuneups is part in the computer
(fewer sludges, etc) and part in that we drive further distances today. When
average mileage was 8K per year, much of this was in short distances...
while today's 15K mileages burn off much of the condensation and allow the
engine to run 'cleaner' even w/o the computers. Naturally, when working
properly, today's computers, fuel induction, and so forth, makes the engine
run closer to how it should run. (Offsetting this is that today's small cars
are 50% heavier than the cars of the late 60's... and still beat them in
performance.)

I think you are correct in that batts aren't much better in today's cars.
It's still not uncommon to find them sticking spacers under the batts,
because the full sized units are more expensive. Still, it's also not
uncommon to find today's batts performing double the life span of the (much
larger) models of previous days. Part of this, I think, is because (gearing
and computers) allows a car to start easier than in previous days, and part
in that the batteries are managed more efficiently today than they were in
earlier days.

Gone is the days of generators and alternators using their extremely crude
charging schemes. Though today's charging schemes are not great, it still
provides a reasonable charge voltage over the range of needs, so long as
things are even close to "proper".

IMHO, that's what's been missing from most EVs... a proper
charging/discharging scheme. I think that's how Honda could get 100K
warranties from their hybrid batts, for example. (As if you could 100% tell
if the batts were truly faulty, instead of completely dead.) I'm not sure
there is still a totally reliable solution to charging LA batts, not to
count all the dozens of other solutions. (Not to mention equalizing batts,
which is still left to the owner, from what I've seen, to overcharge them
and hope they all come back equally. Oh, and no way to tell, reliably, when
one cell is failing, weak or reversed. If there is, it seems the signs are
missed by 90% of the EV builders/owners.) I'm equally not sure if there is a
controller that cuts off at a "safe" level of discharge.

I'm still wondering (though there are no direct comparisons) if the auto
scheme might not be the better way. The batt is never fully discharged.
Whether by design or accident, few cars will crank a batt dead, as they did
in previous generations. Nor will they heavily charge the batt. Voltage
seems to be optimized, but A into the batt is limited except possibly at
higher RPMs. Obviously this is a different batt type, but for the small load
needs of the auto, it's sufficient. (Discounting, of course, today's need
for steadier voltages and higher draws for some cars.)

I wonder if the EV could learn from this. Sure, we all want to charge our
batts in a minimum of time and get they max range from the rig. But would
our batts do better if not so loaded? The Batt, IMHO, is still the weak
point (combined with charging/discharging, which affects it greatly). The
Batt graphs show you'll get twice the recycles... but only if you discharge
to about half charge. (Same range overall???) I'm wondering is a milder
charge rate would extend batt life. If having the batts cut out before they
could possibly be damaged would help their life.

As you told me, Lee (at least I think it was you) that a person must cook
their first pack before they learn. I'm wondering, at the high cost of
chargers and controllers, why this must be.

...just my thoughts...

BTW, car companies, such as GM, are producing cars better than they did even
20 years ago. Unfortunately, they are crud compared to the competition.
<VBG> They simply sell what the Americans want, 5 years ago. Others produce
what the people might want by the time they can be produced... a 5 year
future prediction. Honda, for example, happened to guess correctly, but if
gas prices hadn't jumped, they'd be the big losers... in the short run.

From: "Lee Hart" <[email protected]>
To: "Electric Vehicle Discussion List" <[email protected]>
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2007 8:40 AM
Subject: Re: [EVDL] The 10000 pound gorrilla... batteries


> But there isn't any fundamental difference between today's engines and
> the ones of 50 years ago.
>
> What changed in those 50 years?
>
> It wasn't that engineers learned a lot in those 50 years (though they
> did). They knew how to build better, more reliable engines in the 1950's
> -- in fact, they were doing so for customers that demanded it, like
> large truck engines. But the general public didn't care -- improvements
> cost money, and they weren't willing to pay for them. The few companies
> that offered more reliable car engines (Mercedes, Rolls Royce, etc.) had
> a trivial share of the market.
>
> I think what changed was in the customer's expectations. People no
> longer wanted to spend their Saturdays tinkering with their cars. They
> didn't want the constant bother of points, plugs, carburetors, fuel
> pumps, water pumps, starters, belts, hoses, grease fittings, watering
> batteries, etc. They wanted cars that "just ran" dependably, for years
> and years, with minimal maintenance (and that all done by somebody
> else). Environmental concerns from a small but vocal minority led to
> pollution controls and higher safety requirements. Carmaker that "got
> the message" (like the early VW, and later Toyota and Honda) did great.
> Those that didn't (like GM and Ford) were seen as unreliable and old
> fashioned, and lost business. Eventually they have had to change, too,
> or they would have lost the automobile market entirely.
>

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Discussion Starter #15
>From what I've been reading, Blue Meanie et al, are very reasonably costed
against other drag machines.

If I understand if correctly (please correct me, Mr Wayland) he early-on
became a batt distributor to keep costs down. Despite his expertise in
building various vehicles, I would doubt any of them have approached the
cost per mile of operating the vehicles with their original ICE
configuration. The exception would probably be in the racing division.
Racing 1/4 mile is not a cost-factor, as opposed to winning... and the burn
outs are extremely dramatic to the crowd. (That and crashes... or the
avoidance there of... are why many race fans come to the track.)

If I'm not incorrect, even his street PU (2500 lbs of batts?) would not have
paid off even $3.50 per gallon gas prices. I may be wrong, but I doubt it,
especially given street prices for batts, not including conversion factors.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ryan Stotts" <[email protected]>
To: "Electric Vehicle Discussion List" <[email protected]>
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2007 9:34 PM
Subject: Re: [EVDL] The 10000 pound gorrilla... batteries


> damon henry wrote:
>
>
> > I also see many posts where people try to claim that EVs require less
>maintenance than an ICE. While the maintenance certainly can and
>fundamentally should be less due to the much simpler nature of an EV
drivetrain, >it often isn't true and in many cases the problems point
directly back to the >batteries.
>
>
> I've always had the impression that Waylands Blue Meanie is and has
> been extremely reliable and maintenance free. White Zombie would be
> and will be once the fireball issue is resolved. I think it's just
> presently a result of semi extended high rpm usage at the end of a
> full power run. A little more fine tuning and it will be rock solid.
> A Bill Dube adjustable timing brush ring in the works or?
>
> A stout diff, good drive shaft, no trans, industrial strength and duty
> motor, proven controller, reliable and powerful charger, maintenance
> free batteries. Nice setup

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Discussion Starter #16
----- Original Message ----
From: Lee Hart <[email protected]>

<What changed in those 50 years?> etc.

Well said Lee: I think that CAFE and other environmental laws also forced manufacturers to do a better job of engineering materials and process controls. You have to do a better job when you're liable for extended periods of time and/or mileage. I hate it when politicians rant about "losing jobs in Detroit" due to regulation, when in reality regulation is what forced them to develop better materials, processes and utilize components such as electronic ignition and fuel injection; everything that led to the modern automobile and their continued existence as manufacturers. (personal rant off)

<Imagine this: Manufacture a golf cart battery on an assembly line with
precision state-of-the-art process control, so quality and consistency
are very high.>

Are there any standards-writing organizations involved in such development? This might be an important first-step.






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Discussion Starter #17
> Most of the requests we get demand at least 100 to 150 miles of range.
> At 70mph, with A/C (we're in Central Texas, this is a must for most
> people). The range requirement is typically the first thing mentioned.
> "I need a [whatever car type] that can go 150 miles on the freeway,
> seats four and has good A/C". And, folks genuinely think they're being
> conservative and open-minded, since their gas car can do 300 miles
> between trips to the gas station, and they can fill up in 2 minutes!

This is that beat in philosophy that if once a year I do 150 miles, the car i drive 30 miles a day must be capable at the drop of a hat. Just like the 3 min fill up time.

I'll say it again. The right tool for the right job. I don't advocate converstion EV's for all or as a primary vehicle.

If a person commutes 50 miles each way every day, current battery costs are to high. Lead acid is not generally good for this.
Buy a hybrid or wait 2-3 years for Whitestar or foreign car companies to trounce American car companies, again.

There is this primary public attitude that you see but in reality the public actually has a more reasonable one. This was proven in the 70's.

Detroit in the 70's said we wanted big cars. All the advertising and newsprint gave the impression that that was the public attitude. The japenese were smart enough to provide us with fuel efficient cars seemingly before we new we wanted/needed them(it takes 3-5 years to come out with a new model)

<soapbox> broken Amaerica
(I know about the arguments of government subsidizes, and low labor costs, but our government just subsidizes the wrong groups. Since the same big businesses have more say in congress that the people, damn lobbiest)
</soapbox>

But if I can do what I do with a conversion, just imagine what a manufacturer can do!

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Discussion Starter #18
Here here Lee! You really do understand those guys


I need to state one thing.
LiFePo4 should be equal or cheaper than lead at equal volumes.

When I read the original papers out of MIT when this battery was
developed, I remember them talking about the creation of a lithium ion
based chemistry with costs approaching that of lead acid in
production. Environmental, and raw material costs are supposedly lower.
But I don't know if recycling was factored in.

I just wanted to point out that the prices being related to capacity is
not because capacity automatically costs more. Think of the liFePo4 cell
as a "Starved lithium" cell. Cobolt is what made the lithium ion cell so
darned expensive(and flamable) in the past.

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Discussion Starter #19
Lee Hart:
>> Imagine this: Manufacture a golf cart battery on an assembly line
>> with precision state-of-the-art process control, so quality and
>> consistency are very high.

Frank John wrote:
> Are there any standards-writing organizations involved in such
> development? This might be an important first-step.

Not really. BCI (Battery Council International) sets testing standards,
but doesn't say how good any particular battery has to be. For instance,
nothing says that a standard GC1 golf cart battery has to supply (say)
75 amps for 100 minutes.

So most battery development is a race to the bottom -- manufacturers are
competing to see how CHEAP they can make them.

--
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget the perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in -- Leonard Cohen
--
Lee A. Hart, 814 8th Ave N, Sartell MN 56377, leeahart_at_earthlink.net

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Discussion Starter #20
Christopher Robison wrote:
> Can you point me to some examples of kit-based EVs (in the EV album
> or elsewhere) that have demonstrated decent performance, are
> appointed with trim and safety features like a production automobile,
> seat 4 people and have 100-mile range at highway speed, on lead-acid?

You're right, Christopher; I don't know of any either. But that's why
we're building the Sunrise as a kit car. Our goal is to provide exactly
what you asked for; a 4-passenger, lightweight, safe efficient
automobile built to be an EV from the ground up!

--
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget the perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in -- Leonard Cohen
--
Lee A. Hart, 814 8th Ave N, Sartell MN 56377, leeahart_at_earthlink.net

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