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Re: [EVDL] Who is Apollo Energy Systems Inc.?and "LEAD FOAM" plates?

Robert Aronson sponsored the Caltech entry in the 1968 Great Electric Car
Race. His company, Electric Fuel Propulsion, supplied the "Tri-polar"
batteries and the Baker electric motors. EFP also sponsored the first and
second place pure electric cars in the first Clean Air Car Race in 1970.
Robert Aronson helped the careers of many of us who have worked in the EV
field such as Bob Rice, Wally Rippel, myself, and many others.

I designed my first full regen SCR chopper in his shop in 1970. It was
installed in a Gremlin and used a forced field separately excited motor.
Shunt chopper regen down to 3 mph was set up by forcing a field reversal
using 144vdc to control a 30v field. This configuration used a minimum of
contactors and used the field control for field weakening as well as
optional reverse. (The car retained the transmission, so electric reverse
was redundant) I don't remember any commutator problems, but this is one
application where there could have been some. On one demonstration, I
threw a key chain into the middle of the chopper to prove that it could
survive any fault. This was not a good idea.

I will always appreciate the couple of years I worked for Bob. He has
been a sincere promoter of EV's for nearly 50 years that I know of.

George E. Swartz


















> This is Robert Aronson's most recent EV-related enterprise, dating from
> the
> mid-1990s. Aronson has been around since Hector was a pup.
>
> In February of 1971, the cover of Popular Science magazine featured a
> swoopy
> EV coupe which was supposed to deliver a 20 minute recharge, 300 miles of
> range, and 90 mph top speed. It was to be fitted with tri-polar lead
> cobalt
> batteries and a fuel cell range extender. It would be in production by
> June
> of 1971, and would sell for about $10,000, a pretty sizable chunk of
> change
> 40 years ago. (A 1971 Corvette sold for $5,496.)
>
> The Voltair pictured on that 1971 cover, a clay model (not a prototype)
> from
> Aronson's company, then called Electric Auto Corporation, never even came
> close to production.
>
> Nor has the Silver Volt, based on thinly disguised GM gliders. He built
> 14
> of them in 1980. He still has 5 in his garage-warehouse. I'm sure he'd
> be
> glad to sell you one, if you you really want a 30 year old converted Chevy
> Malibu and you cross his palm with silver.
>
> He's sold a handful of conversions - I'd guess perhaps in the dozens.
> Arthur Godfrey bought one. Roland Wiench has one, the Transformer I
> (IIRC),
> from the mid-late 1970s. But to my knowledge no prototype or concept
> that's
> come out of EAC's shop has ever been successfully commercialized, except
> possibly the Mars II (Renault Dauphine conversions) in the late 1960s, and
> those were sold only to electric utilities.
>
> The Mars II had pretty good range. It should have, since it hauled around
> a
> literal ton of lead - and if you've ever seen a Dauphine, you know what a
> load that must have been. He had ever nook and cranny stuffed with
> batteries. Bob Rice described them as elephants on roller skates. The
> last
> one I heard of still in existence was about 25 years ago. It was unusable
> because its unibody seams were literally opening up from the load.
>
> Bob's been touting the alkaline fuel cell since the mid-1990s. Again,
> I've
> not seen anything close to a marketable product. At one time he had on
> his
> website a rather lurid tale of alleged government suppression of that
> device
> and harassment of its inventor.
>
> Bob Aronson has been promising to commericalize his "tri polar lead
> cobalt"
> batteries for over 40 years. Fifteen years ago he was supposedly
> negotiating with a Chinese battery company to produce them, but apparently
> nothing ever came of it.
>
> He's sold a few hand-made prototype batteries - Bob Rice has worked with
> them, and I think Roland Wiench too - but AFAIK he's never actually gotten
> them into production.
>
> "Tri-polar" vaguely suggests bipolar design, which is a valid and
> interesting battery variant, but it's really just wordplay. It means that
> the grids are connected at both the top and bottom of the cells, rather
> than
> only at the top as is usual with batteries. This might modestly improve
> capacity through convective electrolyte circulation as the bottom bus bars
> warm up under high current. I wonder though if this nonstandard layout is
> one reason he's never been able to find a manufacturer.
>
> "Lead cobalt" refers to the cobalt sulfate he added to the batteries. You
> used to be able to buy VX6 cobalt sulfite and cadmium sulfite additive for
> SLI batteries in less discriminating auto parts stores. I think you can
> still get it from J C Whitney, if you'd like to experiment with it.
> Cobalt
> is also used in the electrolyte of NiCd batteries.
>
> "Lead foam" sounds familar; see the patents of Firefly Battery. I trust
> Bob
> has licensed the rights. If not, I hope he has a good attorney and lots
> of
> money in the bank.
>
> His claim of 37 Wh/kg is about what the best lead batteries were capable
> of
> 15 years ago. Garden-variety Trojan and USBMC marine batteries were
> producing 30 Wh/kg in 1999. I strongly doubt that anything close to 100
> Wh/kg is going to happen with lead.
>
> Bob Aronson is one of the old-timers of the EV business, and he deserves
> our
> respect for his perseverence. But aside from that little fleet of grossly
> overweight Renault conversions over 3 decades ago, I've seen more press
> releases than products roll out of his shop. I'd dearly love to see that
> change, and I wish him the best, but I'm not holding my breath nor am I
> writing any checks to him.
>
> David Roden - Akron, Ohio, USA
> EVDL Administrator
>
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