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The Great Hybrid Battery Debate

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Comments

  • I agree. The hybrids aren't designed to do "real work". They are designed with tiny, weak engines for the ~80% of Americans who don't move anything heavier than their own body.

    People who do "real work", like farming, should stick to the non-hybrid pickups and suvs, with some real power.

    troy
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,426
    80% of Americans who don't move anything heavier than their own body.

    Exactly, so why buy a vehicle that just looks like it will do what you want, when a car will get better efficiency and haul people just fine? Of course that does not address the issue of having enough battery to haul us to the store and back. Then have the ability to plug the car into AC and beat OPEC out of all the money. Sounds like GM was just a few years ahead of the need and the technology with the EV-1.
  • TROY: "80% of Americans don't move anything heavier than their own body."

    GAGRICE: "Exactly, so why buy a vehicle that just looks like it will do what you want, when a car will get better efficiency and haul people just fine?"

    ==============================================

    Because the Car Marketing Machine has very effectively convinced people that a "car is too small" and "you need a large SUV" to "navigate the urban jungle". You're right. 80% of Americans DON'T need an SUV, hybrid or otherwise. They only think they do.

    They could get along just fine with a 4-door car (as did my parents & grandparents).

    troy
  • yerth10yerth10 Posts: 431
    They could get along just fine with a 4-door car (as did my parents & grandparents).

    That true, infact an even smaller hatchback like Scion xA, xB which has more cargo capacity than a much bigger sedan like Corolla, Civic will be better.

    As gas prices increase, big suv's sales fall. Like the 30% fall in Jan-Feb 2005.
  • yerth10yerth10 Posts: 431
    A look at these webpages

    Prius-I and Insight
    http://www.peve.panasonic.co.jp/catalog/e_maru.html

    Prius-II and Civic Hybrid
    http://www.peve.panasonic.co.jp/catalog/e_kaku.html

    Ford Escape Hybrid
    http://www.sanyo.co.jp/koho/hypertext4-eng/0101news-e/0105-e.html

    indicate that latest batteries are in cuboidal shape which has more volume than the older batteries which are in a cylindrical shape.

    Similarly boxy vehicles like Escape, Highlander and a whole lot of CUV's have more volume (both passenger & cargo) than a comparitive sized sedan.

    Maxlibu-Maxx & Malibu-Sedan is the best example.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,426
    Again naysayers battling back with empty hypothesis's. So far the batteries have been exemplary (near ten yrs problem free).

    And again the naysayers take axception. My understanding is that the batteries in the Prius II are completely re-designed from the Classic. The Prius II is not two years old yet. The ONLY reason that Toyota backed the traction battery with an 8 or 10 year warranty was to get the EPA blessing on the AT-PZEV rating. Secondly exchanging individual cells in a battery is not a plug n play operation. Also if one cell goes bad the rest are not far behind. You forgot the 12 volt battery that costs $300 to replace. It has no long warranty, what's with that?

    The good news is the warranty. The bad news is the resale when the warranty expires. We have already witnessed very low selling prices on Classic Prius with mileage close to 100k miles. Don't plan to get blue book on your Prius when it reaches that magic 100k mile mark. You will take a big hit if you decide to sell.
  • stevewastevewa Posts: 203
    I for one don't intend to sell. We knew going in to the Prius purchase that it would be the kind of car that we'd run until the little wheels come off, because either it'd be totally outmoded due to improvements in the technology, or it'd be a passing fad and nobody would be interested in it. Fortunately it meets our needs and we've had zero problems with it, so I'm not worried at 58K about having to unload it. Of course we did spring for an extended warranty, something I almost never do, but even that does not last forever.

    FWIW I don't expect to see individual battery modules replaced in the field. I do expect that when batteries are sent back to the factory for rebuilding that each module would be tested and sets of modules with like performance characteristics would be built into reconditioned packs.

    Relatively few people have had trouble with the 12v battery. There is a TSB on the battery so if there is a problem during the b2b warranty period they can get it replaced. To my knowledge there has not been a problem with the 12v battery in the current model Prius, only the Classic, and then only in cars that are not driven for a 30 minute stretch every week or so.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Another story which says Toyota's supply problem last year was "battery supply problems" and not "Toyota creating a false shortage" as some on this board have indicated:

    "Last year, Toyota couldn't keep up with the number of orders received, according to Brown. The problem was battery production by Panasonic. The electronics company has since solved the crisis by opening a new plant specifically to make hybrid vehicle batteries."

    http://www.gillettenewsrecord.com/articles/2005/03/27/news/news01.txt
  • "My understanding is that the batteries in the Prius II are completely re-designed from the Classic. The Prius II is not two years old yet."

    .

    And then what? It's still a NiMH battery... same chemistry as the Old Prius... which has been around for 8 years.

    troy
  • yerth10yerth10 Posts: 431
    http://www.cars.com/go/news/Story.jsp;jsessionid=PGRDZA2WL0JJDLAZGKLE2VQ?section=news&subj- ect=recent&story=032905storyaAW&referer=&aff=national

    says

    "improvements to the hybrid system for the SUVs are batteries that are 22 percent more compact and offer 30 percent greater power density than those in the Prius"

    Battery technology is steadily improving and that is what is helping these heavy vehicles get near 30 MPG.
  • yerth10yerth10 Posts: 431
    http://www.evworld.com/view.cfm?section=communique&newsid=8033

    Toshiba develops Li-Ion battery that can be charged upto 80% in 1 minute.

    Expected to come to market in 2006.
  • stevewastevewa Posts: 203
    This would allow for much greater recapture of energy in regenerative braking. Today we're limited by how much current the batteries can accept.
  • john500john500 Posts: 409
    I remember several news articles about the original Prius battery. They alleged that if the original Prius was involved in a disabling crash, a HAZMAT (hazardous materials) crew had to be dispatched to clean up the battery contents. The Prius II is reported to be treated as a typical car (no HAZMAT crew) if it is involved in a crash. If the battery chemistry is the same, are the batteries now rupture-proof?
  • stevewastevewa Posts: 203
    The 1st Generation Prius Emergency Responder Guide says:

    "The NiMH HV battery pack contains sealed batteries that are similar
    to rechargeable batteries used in laptop computers, cell phones, and
    other consumer products. The electrolyte is absorbed in the cell
    plates and will not normally leak out even if the battery is cracked. In
    the unlikely event the electrolyte does leak, it can be easily
    neutralized with a dilute boric acid solution or vinegar."

    No mention of HAZMAT required.

    The Escape emergency response guide says "The battery cells contain a base electrolyte (consisting of potassium hydroxide as the dominant active ingredient) that is absorbed in a special paper. The electrolyte will not leak from the battery under most conditions; however if the battery is crushed, it is possible for a small amount (drops) of electrolyte to leak."

    and

    "3. WHAT DO I DO IF THE HIGH VOLTAGE BATTERY CASE HAS BEEN
    RUPTURED?
    • Just like any other battery - hose the area down with large amounts of water."

    No mention of HAZMAT.
  • "This would allow for much greater recapture of energy in regenerative braking."

    .

    More importantly, charging in 1 minute allows Electric Cars to have ***unlimited range***. You can drive ~250 miles, and then recharge your battery while drinking the 7-11 Coffee.

    troy
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "More importantly, charging in 1 minute allows Electric Cars to have ***unlimited range***. You can drive ~250 miles, and then recharge your battery while drinking the 7-11 Coffee."

    What? The Prius will only go a couple of miles on the main battery without having to charge it... The electric cars only went 80 miles or so...
  • Current electric cars have limited ranges. They only go 250 miles max.

    Then you have to wait 8 hours for recharge.

    That's why Electrics are not practical for long trips to see grandma or the beach. Only a gasoline car can do it.

    .
    BUT if you can recharge the battery in only 1 minute, your electric car now has the same capability as a gasoline car.

    troy
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "BUT if you can recharge the battery in only 1 minute, your electric car now has the same capability as a gasoline car. "

    Close, but no cigar. The electric car has to stop, connect to an electric grid, then start back up. Gasoline cars can keep going until they run out of fuel, which is generally around 400-500 miles. I'll grant you the similarities, though, since 1 minute isn't a bad recharge time. However, I'm wondering if that new technology would charge the entire pack that rapidly.

    What electric car currently goes 250 miles? The EV-1 maxed out at under 100...
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 8,246
    That one minute recharge was talking about a notebook computer type battery. If th concept can be scaled up, it's a promising idea. Will have to wait and see I suppose.

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  • tempusvntempusvn Posts: 119
    I wonder what the current flow would have to be to pump in 500 miles of electric power in one minute.

    If I get bored later I'll find a napkin to scribble on, but my gut tells me that if you tried it you might brown out the grid for a mile around :)
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 8,246
    Big difference in the amount of energy needed to "fill up" a laptop and the battery packs in cars. Probably some safety issue as well!

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  • "Gasoline cars can keep going until they run out of fuel, which is generally around 400-500 miles. I'll grant you the similarities, though, since 1 minute isn't a bad recharge time. However, I'm wondering if that new technology would charge the entire pack that rapidly. "

    .
    Toshiba says 80% in 1 minute, and 80-to-100% in the next minute.

    My non-hybrid gas car only goes 300 miles...350 if I run bone dry (which i don't). A.C. Propulsion's lithium car can go 250 miles.

    By "same capability" I was referring to the fact that you could, using Toshiba's new battery, drive an EV across the country in just 2-3 days... same as a gas car.

    troy
  • stevewastevewa Posts: 203
    The issues I can see cropping up in such an application are:

    1. Heat management. A laptop battery usually has 6 or 8 cells. The Escape Hybrid (for example) has hundreds. If you are dumping that much current in at once, it's going to get very warm in there...

    2. Current required to recharge. In order to safely charge a battery that size, you'd have to charge the cells (or modules of cells) in parallel. It can be done but will require a lot of current. This would raise issue (3)...

    3. Safety concerns. Current crop of production hybrids have the HV battery circuit completely sealed and isolated from the driver. In order to be able to grid charge a vehicle you'd have to have an exposed connector that has direct battery connections. Still, if they think they can pump compressed hydrogen safely (to say nothing of gasoline) this should be surmountable.

    4. Battery lifespan. Laptop owners are more or less willing to put up with replacing their laptop battery every couple of years. I don't think that will fly in the automotive world.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 8,246
    Not that it eventually might not happen, but the difference in scale of recharging a laptop battery vs an automotive battery pack is huge. Still, the concept is an interesting starting point!

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  • "3 . Safety concerns. Current crop of production hybrids have the HV battery circuit completely sealed and isolated from the driver. In order to be able to grid charge a vehicle you'd have to have an exposed connector that has direct battery connections."

    .

    ????? There were no charger safety issues with the Ford Ranger EV, Honda EV, GM EV1, or Toyota Rav4 EV.

    troy
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,426
    There were no charger safety issues with the Ford Ranger EV, Honda EV, GM EV1, or Toyota Rav4 EV.

    They discontinued them all with little explanation. Many of the EV-1 leasees wanted to keep them. GM said NO and they are all in a junk yard. Maybe something they did not want us to know.
  • stevewastevewa Posts: 203
    I was thinking more in terms of emergency responder concerns than driver concerns.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,426
    With any alternative fuel source I would not venture too far from my source. Read where one person had to be towed in their CNG Honda Civic when they ran out of gas. Not something I would want to be bothered by.
  • I don't think plugging in your car is any more dangerous than plugging in your cell-phone or refrigerator. Just insert the prongs into the holes, in the wall. Simple.

    troy
  • stevewastevewa Posts: 203
    I don't think so either. But in a crash there's at least one less layer of protection between the first responder and the high voltages.
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