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Plug-in Hybrids



  • engin2engin2 Posts: 8
    Can anyone tel me when will the car pool lane sticker program for the Hybrid cars expire in California?
  • PFFlyer@EdmundsPFFlyer@Edmunds Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,810
    Better place to ask this would be the Hybrids and HOV Lanes discussion.


    Moderator - Hatchbacks & Hybrid Vehicles

  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    "The whole program was subsidized."

    Sorry, but the fact is that GM lost $1 billion dollars on the EV1 program.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    I did not say "GM did not lose/spend any of their own money" but the point is: They had a huge guvmint bankroll to develop the technology and they could have ended the program in a more beneficial manner than "collect and crush."
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,692
    In all fairness to GM they did put the EV-1 out into the hands of the public. What did Chrysler do with their share of the money spent on the diesel hybrid? Did we ever see any being field tested? I am sure that Ford shared in the PNGV corporate welfare, what did they produce?

    I was sad they crushed the EV-1s myself. I do understand GM not wanting to be responsible after they were shot down by CARB on the ZEV mandate.

    You may see Tesla go by the wayside also after the CA lawmakers pulled most of the incentives to keep going with their EVs.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Looks like A123 systems has a conversion plan, and a good one.

    'Yota Corporate is not happy about it, however !!!

    Get your conversion at a 'Yota dealership !!!

    Four dealerships in the United States are converting the Toyota Prius into a plug-in hybrid using lithium-ion batteries.

    Toyota dealerships in four U.S. metropolitan areas are offering to convert customers' Priuses into plug-in hybrids, using technology from the battery maker A123 Systems.

    The arrangement provides the strongest indication yet that lithium-ion battery technology is ready for mainstream automotive use.

    A123, of suburban Boston, is among the four battery companies General Motors is considering to supply the Chevrolet Volt. GM wants the plug-in hybrid car on the market in 2010.

    Lithium-ion batteries are seen as key to electrification of the automobile. The industry is debating whether the batteries can withstand mass production and daily use by motorists.

    The Tesla Roadster, an all-electric $100,000 car that uses lithium-ion batteries, is on sale. But it is widely viewed as an expensive exotic vehicle for a few enthusiasts.

    About 600,000 Priuses are on U.S. highways. The hybrid car's base sticker price is $22,160, including shipping.

    How many Prius owners will spend $10,000 to convert the cars to plug-in power is unknown. A123 wants Congress to provide a tax credit of $2,500 to $3,000 to Prius owners who make the conversion.

    Leslie Goldman, an attorney who represents A123 in Washington, said more than 1,000 Prius owners are on a waiting list for the conversion.

    The technology "is ready for prime time," said Goldman, who has been driving a converted Prius prototype for about 18 months.

    Felix Kramer, an expert on plug-in hybrids, said he believes the A123 conversion will perform satisfactorily. It uses lithium-phosphate, which does not have the same risk of overheating and exploding as some other lithium chemistries, Kramer said.

    A123 does not want to jeopardize its future business supplying batteries to automakers for new vehicles, added Kramer, founder of the California Cars Initiative.

    Toyota is unhappy about the conversions but said its dealerships are independent businesses that can do what they want.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    For me, I will not live to be old enough to feel comfortable with any Lithium Ion hybrid in my garage.

    Yet you are comfortable with a Li-ion laptop in your house. If your concerned about a fire I'm sure the battery pack in a laptop is big enough to get the job done.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,692
    I don't leave it plugged in over night. I also check all the recalls from Dell. The Li-Ion is a big disappointment in laptop longevity also. There is also a difference between 6 -12 cells and 6000+ cells in a car. The odds on one overheating is much greater with the bigger pack. My laptop does not require an AC unit to keep the batteries cool. What happens when it is like today 100 degrees and the car is out in the sun plugged in to get charged up? I am sure they will give it a good test out in the desert.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    To my knowledge Tesla is the only known EV manufacturer that is stringing together thousands of laptop batteries. I personally don't think it was/is a good idea and believe it is one of several things Tesla would do differently if they could turn back the clock a few years. These other manufacturers are using fewer but larger format cells that implement multiple layers of safeguards. Even my cell phone is smart enough to power down if it is too hot. I know this because I've left it in my car on a hot day. Of all the question marks surrounding Li-ion batteries for vehicles I believe that the engineers have succeeded in making safety a non-issue.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,692
    If as you say they have beat the heat issue with Lithium batteries, that only leaves longevity. That was my worry about buying a NiMH vehicle. Even more so on a car with Li-Ion batteries. If they warranty the batteries for 10 years it would help make the decision for me.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    In my mind the only question surrounding Li-ion is longevity in terms of calendar age. There is probably no 100% definitive way to know how a battery will perform 10 years down the road until they've been in service for 10 years. Longevity in terms of number of cycles that these batteries can be charged/discharged has been established and is superior to NiMH. Another nice thing about Li-ion batteries is their extremely low self discharge rate compared to other battery types. You don't want your battery pack discharging while it's sitting in a parking lot. That would be comparable to having a small leak in a gas tank.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Posts: 509
    looks like you get ~100 mpg for the first 30-40 miles vs the..what..40-50 mpg (guess) for your old prius.

    probably raise the value of your used car by $5k at least, maybe more...(another guess).

    a new replacement prius would cost you well over twice the 10k.

    pretty close to making sense even on a pure economic basis.

    No wonder Toyota doesn't like it one bit.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,719
    "Longevity in terms of number of cycles that these batteries can be charged/discharged has been established and is superior to NiMH."

    Can you supply a URL? I know that for laptop batteries, they are only good for about 500 cycles, and they work best when they are almost, but not completely, discharged before recharging. At least that is my experience with Li-Ion batteries.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Can you supply a URL? I know that for laptop batteries, they are only good for about 500 cycles,

    I'll track down a reference. I know that the A123 Systems batteries being considered by GM have been tested through thousands of charge/discharge cycles.

    This 500 cycle limit might be true for laptop batteries. What people need to realize is that the chemistries being used in Li-ion battery packs designed for vehicle applications is fundamentally different from what's now being used in laptop batteries. Even though I suspect today's laptop batteries last longer than they did a couple years ago.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    I know Gary is going to say, "see SEE SEE but I'm posting it anyway, for informational purposes ONLY.

    Battery not at fault

    Even though neither of these fires apparently were caused by lithium-ion batteries, the news is likely to raise some concern about plug-in hybrids from consumers and automakers, said Mike Omotoso, senior manager of global powertrain research at JD Power and Associates.

    “This shows [companies] need more time for testing the viability of these vehicles before they can be commercialized,” he said. “This is a good example of why some manufacturers, like Honda, have been holding off on making plug-in hybrids. It’s clear it’s not just as simple as connecting a cable to your battery and plugging it into your wall. If that were the case, it would have been done by the major manufacturers already.”

    He emphasized that these fires don’t necessarily mean that plug-in hybrids are unsafe, but said they could raise the perception of a safety issue, which could impact their commercialization.

    “There’s a difference between someone doing an after-market conversion in a garage, versus a manufacturer making a plug-in hybrid from the get-go,” he said. “If there are more of these examples, even if it’s just some guy in a garage, people will think, ‘Maybe plug-in hybrids aren’t the way to go because they are too unsafe.’ ”

    In a newsletter released Wednesday night, indicated similar concerns.

    “For several years, some opinion leaders from automakers, utilities and national labs have expressed their fears that ‘one bad accident’ could set back the progress of [plug-in hybrids],” founder Felix Kramer wrote. “We have agreed that safety must be top priority. … We hope that this and other incidents will lead to far greater emphasis on safety as well as full and rapid disclosure of incidents.”

    He added that the nonprofit is aware that conversions by small companies and individuals never could be as well-designed as those by large carmakers, which is why it has encouraged automakers to bring plug-in hybrids to the market more quickly.

    “The fact that carmakers can build better and safer PHEVs is self-evident, but the demand is so great that individuals and companies continue to bang down the doors of the suppliers of conversions,” he said. “We’re all impatient for the great transition to electrification of transportation to begin. The longer we have to wait, the larger will be the trend toward third-party conversions, for better or for worse.”

    Still, he argued, it’s important to keep the danger in perspective. After all, the cars we already drive every day use a highly explosive fuel that could be set off by a stray spark or catch fire in accidents, he wrote.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,692
    Gary is going to say, "see SEE SEE but I'm posting it anyway, for informational purposes ONLY.

    Just what is the problem? I did not see any explanation only spin about gas being dangerous. Well I agree and would prefer diesel as it is MUCH safer than gas or hybrids.

    Boulder, Colo.-based Hybrids Plus has advised all of its conversion owners to stop driving the vehicles until further information is available. According to the press release, forensic examinations have not been able to conclusively identify the cause of the fire, but established that the battery cells – which, according to plug-in advocacy group came from A123Systems – were not the reason.

    The company said it has begun inspecting and upgrading all of its systems to eliminate potential concerns, and would upgrade all its customers’ systems for free.

    It isn’t the first instance of fires in conversions.

    CalCars last month reported a failure that resulted in a meltdown of the original nickel-metal-hydride battery in the world’s first Prius plug-in hybrid conversion.

    Ok, let me get this straight. I take my $30k Prius and have it modified to a PHEV for an additional $25k plus and it is not to be driven. My advice don't park it or any other hybrid in your garage unless you are trying to get out of your mortgage. From the article a quite a few of these experiments have gone sour.

    If they are upgrading free of charge would that not indicate they know what the problem is?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,692
    It looks like the parallel system used by CalCars though cheaper has some serious problems also.

    Note: I need to eat some of my words about the added-battery conversion system (that piggybacks the original battery with a new pack) being safer than systems like Hybrids Plus' that replace both the OEM battery and BMS. The particular failure mode I experienced is unique to two-battery systems, though a BMS failure could possibly produce similar results, depending on the PHEV battery's failure characteristics.

    The best advice with PHEV is have an automatic fire suppression system installed in you garage. If you can afford to waste $60 on a PHEV another $10k to protect your home is just good insurance. I would give the same advice to someone with a CNG car being filled over night by PHILL.
  • michael2003michael2003 Posts: 144
    If they are upgrading free of charge would that not indicate they know what the problem is?

    I would speculate that they know it's a good business practice to provide any recall as a free service. I'm pretty sure they also know that the problem did not originate in the battery.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,692
    It could very well be the charging device or control unit that overheated the battery causing the fire. I would think that a thermal shutoff would be an essential part of any battery charging device.

    If Chevy uses the same brand of battery used in this fire for their new Volt it will be interesting to see how they plan to prevent fires caused by overcharging.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,719
    "It could very well be the charging device or control unit that overheated the battery causing the fire. I would think that a thermal shutoff would be an essential part of any battery charging device. "

    Two points:

    1. The charger needs to have a sensor that stops charging when the batteries are full. Note this is much easier to implement than a heat sensing system. The $6 aftermarket charger for my cell phone (li-ion) senses the full charge, so it is hard for me to believe that a custom charger for a plug-in car would not also account for a full charge and stop supplying power. To me this means that the batteries overheated while being charged (NOT after being charged), leading to the second point.

    2. Customers are going to complain if their batteries are not fully charged when they ran their charger all night, but it cut off due to heat in the batteries.

    The issue remains the same - do the Li-Ion batteries heat up more than NiMH batteries as they charge, and if so can the problem be fixed?
This discussion has been closed.