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Plug-in Hybrids

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Comments

  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    Interesting. I expected your primary reason to be cost. For a PHEV I don't think discharge rate will be a major concern unless it's ridiculous. The new Li-ion chemistries seem to be able to operate at much lower temperatures. That still remains to be proven in the real world. Unfortunately their price is exorbitant.

    I've heard that Firefly makes a much improved Pb acid battery. I'm not sure how much lead it uses since it is supposed to be significantly lighter.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I was addressing the fear that in a blackout you would not be able to charge your EV, leaving you with a disabled vehicle. A small standby generator is a good thing to protect your home and could double to charge your EV. Being able to divorce myself from the electric company would be a good thing also. I don't think the cost is where it needs to be for a mass exodus from the utility. Your point on loss of energy in cold temperatures is legitimate. I do not see the EV as a cold weather vehicle. At least not in the near future. It would be best utilized in congested warmer climates.
  • toyolla2toyolla2 Member Posts: 158
    OK tpe, the reasons I gave were technical reasons against PHEV technology should cost be no object. And that was the underlying condition that I submitted them on.

    gagrice and I would concur with you that there is no credible financial basis to actually do this at the current prices put forward.

    Thanks for the tip on Firefly Pb-acid technology by the way.

    T2
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    Just to reitereate a point tpe made about Altair batteries.

    From Altair's website:

    Operation in extreme temperature conditions
    If a battery has a SEI barrier, it can’t be charged at temperatures below 32° Fahrenheit. The pores in the barrier close, eliminating access to the active sites. An electrode with our nanomaterials will not form a SEI barrier, allowing it to safely operate down to -30°C. Even at this low temperature nearly 90% of room temperature charge retention is realized from Altairnano’s nano lithium titanium oxide cells at 2C rates. Traditional Li-Ion technology possesses virtually no charging capabilities at this low temperature.

    High operating temperature tests on Altairnano based cells have been conducted at 65°C where we have demonstrated 9C 90% charge retention.


    If these claims are valid, I believe they would only be unpractical in Alaska and places like Helena, Montana.
    It is rapidly coming down to price as the only limiting feature.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Don't you think that even with the better low temperature performance it would not be practical in a plug-in hybrid? Toyota cannot sell a car and tell the owner you have to keep this in a certain temperate zone.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    Toyota cannot sell a car and tell the owner you have to keep this in a certain temperate zone.

    Well they can't tell them but they can inform them. Informing a prospective car buyer that this particular vehicle wouldn't be suitable for Alaska will rarely be a deal killer. The type of areas that these EVs wouldn't work are probably dominated by 4-wheel drives. 4-wheel drives probably don't sell too well in Southern California. A particular vehicle type does not have to satisfy 100% of the market to be viable.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    where do you live, the north pole?

    I think the low temp stated was -26F

    I checked a little with yahoo weather:

    NYC never gets within 20 degrees of that.

    Chicagos record low temp is -24

    Fargo ND low average is a -2 in January. Their records listed do get there...and more..down to a figid -39.

    So what.. less that 5% of the population (guess) ever has to give this a second thought?

    I have never lived in that cold a place. Don't they have heaters for regular batteries? A garage or a small auxilliary heater would seem to do the trick if you really wanted to go out in such weather. But more than likely suv and 4wd pickup will still carry the day for a long time in those places.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    If these claims are valid,

    They are valid. They've been verified by independent sources. The only thing left to be proven is longevity. Not number of cycles but actual calendar life. Then, as you state, the cost needs to come down, a lot.

    I read a report a few days ago about a battery manufacturer in China called Advanced Battery Technology. I'm pretty sure this was a typo but it stated that this company was awarded a contract to provide 3,000 battery packs to be used in 3,000 electric garbage trucks for the 2008 Bejing Olympics. That's not the part I question. What didn't seem right is that the total value of this contract was $10 million. That's only a little over $3k per battery pack.

    Here's the link. I have no idea what marketWIRE is and it could be nothing but a PR firm.

    http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release_html_b1?release_id=221353
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    Just being conservative, tpe.

    I am almost positive that in a few years we will see practical and affordable storage tech.

    I don't know about the china thing. These could be little trucks not much bigger than a golf cart for all we know.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    "...The Volt may never get built.

    Production depends on advances in battery technology that could be years away. The uncertainty led to intense debate within GM over whether it was wise to show the Volt in Detroit. And now that the world is waiting for GM to deliver what could be the biggest environmental breakthrough so far this century, company officials are actively trying to temper expectations.

    The magnitude of GM's challenge was evident recently when it called journalists to explain the technological hurdles facing the Volt project - and reiterate that it can't guarantee the futuristic car will ever hit the road.

    "The pressure is intense," Nick Zielinski, the Volt's chief engineer, said at the event. "


    http://www.denverpost.com/ci_5510138?source=rss
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    DC wants it to work:

    Diesel and PHEV together
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    If anything I think GM has become more definitive about delivering the Volt. When it was introduced in Detroit there was no talk about a date when it would be available. Now GM states it will have a working prototype by the end of the year and a tentative date for production of 2010. It doesn't seem to me that they are trying to temper expectations.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    ""And now that the world is waiting for GM to deliver what could be the biggest environmental breakthrough so far this century, company officials are actively trying to temper expectations.
    The magnitude of GM's challenge was evident recently when it called journalists to explain the technological hurdles facing the Volt project - and reiterate that it can't guarantee the futuristic car will ever be produced""

    This from the article dated 3-24-07. I hope you are right. I hope they are committed to push through any difficulties. It would seem that the prize is so large that it would be in their best interests to do so.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    Thanks, larsb. That is great!
  • fordenvyfordenvy Member Posts: 72
    0 emissions for the commuter, that is if your under nuclear power such as I am. I hope it works, because if somehow the shipment of oil happens to be halted by the middle-east, then our economy will still be able to function, on top of that we can save the world to those that think that, my opinion is that its too late to save the world. I've got a start on being independent of oil, if oil gets halted then I have a flex-fuel Explorer with E-85 a couple of miles away.
  • fordenvyfordenvy Member Posts: 72
    0 emissions for the commuter, that is if your under nuclear power such as I am. I hope it works, because if somehow the shipment of oil happens to be halted by the middle-east, then our economy will still be able to function, on top of that we can save the world to those that think that, my opinion is that its too late to save the world. I've got a start on being independent of oil, if oil gets halted then I have a flex-fuel Explorer with E-85 a couple of miles away.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    How can a school bus manufacturer beat Toyota to the draw with a usable, production plug-in hybrid?

    This kinda irritates me. But at least SOMEONE is doing it !!!
    Buses go green
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    I suspect that if a doomsday oil scenario takes place anytime soon, a bicycle will be a lot more help than an E85 vehicle.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    I don't think that E85 has much of a future in terms of being a viable way to reduce oil consumption. What concerns me is that it might achieve immortality like a lot of other government programs. By that I mean that even though we may all agree its a boondoggle there may be too much money and too many votes involved in abandoning it.
  • fordenvyfordenvy Member Posts: 72
    I definately agree, that E85 is a political stunt. I'm not counting on E85 either but you never know. I like the idea of PHEV's, as being our way out of this mess. I am already in shape to ride my bike I think. I've done about 40 miles in the few weeks its been warm already, the only problem is that one round trip a day for me is 40 miles in a vehicle, I wish things weren't so far apart where you have to have a vehicle. Kinda like the UK where everything is pretty close to each other.
  • roland3roland3 Member Posts: 431
    ... One thing I've been seeing that does not make sense is why are so many clamoring for a reduction in the import tax for ethanol. I an not a lobbyist for the American farmer, I just don't like the idea of transporting this fluid three or more thousand miles. We need a Manhatten Project battery.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    I have no problem letting go of the import tax on ethanol. They can make it cheaper, so be it. I would much rather have my fuel dollars going to the people who gave us the thong,,than to those who gave us the burka.
  • jdkahlerjdkahler Member Posts: 50
    Would be interesting to see what routes the schools plan to use these on, I suspect if we all drove our cars the way school buses are driven it would be easier for Toyota and/or others to come up with a plug in faster. Think a couple of things - stop and go routes for a relatively short use period each day, and pretty much the same use period/distance/route each day - that's the life of any bus. And buses are big enough to hold a lot more batteries than any car. Note that the article mentions all electric and CNG buses - there are some CNG experimentals (most used by gas companies I suspect, that's who runs a couple around here) but no all-electric cars available for purchase in showrooms today.

    The explanation from Toyota engineers on why no plugin cars yet has to do with size/weight/storage of batteries and the way we drive our vehicles compared to the technology they have available today, and I suspect few of us drive our cars the way school buses are used. I also suspect that fleet managers will have to manage their fleet usage to make sure these buses make sense for their districts, and within them which routes make sense vs straight diesel or gasoline power. Not an apples to apples comparison.
  • roland3roland3 Member Posts: 431
    ... Redd, just on a big picture kind of thing: why promote long distance transportation of ethanol, when we can do it at home ??? Actually I think we need battery power for the large percentage of short trips, with solar, off peak, wind and tidal etc. recharging.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    The big picture as I see it is that Brazil cam produce it better even after transport costs. If not we wont import it. Removing a tariff would be more like taking away the unnatural barriers to trade. As it stands, that barrier favors importing oil over ethanol. Now, I believe ethanol is pretty much a joke as it stands...I believe it will only work to any degree if they can start using switch-grass etc. We are currently throwing an inflation monkey wrench into the mix with this govt program. Corn rising in price..causing beef to be more expensive... taking over planting of other crops...causing wheat et al to rise..

    But I agree..we better get our asses in gear with EV and PHEV..and coal gasification and better mileage cars..more diesels and bio diesel production (which I believe makes much more sense...and every other stone we can turn over.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Widespread use of PHEVs would help curb human-generated GW

    The widespread use of plug-in hybrid vehicles -- which could be driven up to 40 miles on electric power alone -- would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States without overloading the nation's power grid, according to a new study.

    The upbeat news for plug-ins, seen by many as the next big step in environmentally friendly automotive technology, came with two caveats. Achieving the maximum air quality improvements would require a significant cut in the pollution produced by electric utilities. It's also dependent on large-scale adoption of plug-in hybrids, which may not be in new-car showrooms for several years.

    Even so, backers of plug-in technology were heartened by the latest findings, which could help defuse the claim that the vehicles simply would transfer the source of air pollution from vehicle tailpipes to power station smokestacks.

    The study "finally gives an environmental stamp of approval" to plug-in hybrids, said Felix Kramer, founder of CalCars.org, an advocacy group in Palo Alto. "It shows that even with today's power grid, plug-in hybrids are a great idea."

    The current generation of hybrid cars and SUVs reduce fuel consumption by switching between a gasoline engine and a battery-powered system that is recharged during braking.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Bottom line. When they get a battery technology that is practical for Plug-in Hybrids, it will also be good for EVs. I will take the simple solution not the complex hybrid solution.

    The Plug-in Hybrid that CalCars is experimenting with are not much better than a golf cart. You have to drive slow to keep the engine from running and using gas.

    The key:

    plug-in hybrids, which may not be in new-car showrooms for several years
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    One part of your statement is not correct:

    "The Plug-in Hybrid that CalCars is experimenting with are not much better than a golf cart."

    Because:

    Does a golf cart have a gas engine which then recharges the batteries like these Prius PHEVs? No.

    Does a golf cart have a max speed of somewhere north of 100 MPH like these Prius PHEVs? No.

    Does a golf cart have a range of 1000 miles like these Prius PHEVs? No.

    The "drive slow" issue to which you refer is just a requirement to go "battery only." There are a lot of people in the country who can and will gladly keep their speed under 40 MPH to use a full-fledged PHEV in their commute.

    If you have to drive for a little while 55 or more, unless your commute takes a freeway ramp directly to your parking spot, there will be times before and after freeway when you drive 40 MPH or below.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    You forgot a golf cart does not have a hatchback either.

    I think PHEV for mainstream buyer is just as far off as an all electric vehicle. Maybe next decade or the one after.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    First off, A123 is the real deal. They are already providing battery packs with their proprietary Li-ion chemistry to Black & Decker/Dewalt for use in their power tools. In addition this is the company that GM has contracted to develop the battery pack for the Chevy Volt.

    They've recently announced plans to offer battery packs that can convert a hybrid into a PHEV in early 2008. This conversion will take less than two hours and cost less than $10k. These battery packs are projected to have a lifespan of 300,000 miles and provide 30-40 miles of all electric range. Given this company's credibility this is very big news.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    No kiddn'?

    Sweet!
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    You crawl before you walk, you walk before you run. That's just the typical and natural progression. While I applaud everything about Tesla's vision I find myself thinking that they are trying to go from cradle to sprint. A recent story on CalCars website indicates that they may be adjusting this philosophy. We're all familiar with the Tesla Roadster. Obviously this car should be compared to other exotics, so no need to be practical. Tesla has longer term plans to produce a "Blue Star" sedan for around $30k. They are now stating that this vehicle may incorporate a small ICE to extend range, i.e. a PHEV serial hybrid. IMO, that's a good move.

    Here's a prediction. Tesla will be bought by Ford within the next 2 years. Don't fret. This will end up being a good thing for EV enthusiasts.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    PHEV: that's a good move for them.
    Last I read the all electric sedan was going to be close to 50k I blieve. If they can do a hybrid for 30k, that is more like it.

    They must have something going on with their battery technology, even if they are just plugging in masses of storebought cells. I just read that they are selling $40m worth of them to Think...formerly owned by Ford and since bankrupted and revived.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_5956932?nclick_check=1

    Toyota is going to test PHEV's and their driver's behavior. Unfortunately the cars are going to only have an all electric range of 7 miles. That is hardly an accurate test, given the worth of plugging in if your car already gets 50mph. I have to believe that they know this and this is just the start. They have been so successful with hybrids, it might be hard for them to admit that they have to scrap and go to a serial plug-in.

    we shall see.

    http://www.todayonline.com/articles/202787.asp
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    correction: should be 50 mpg not mph
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    I don't understand how adding 100 kg (220 lbs) of batteries only gives you 7 miles of all electric range. The Prius already has a battery pack that weighs ~50 kg (110 lbs). So now you have a 330 lb NiMH battery pack. The Toyota RAV4 EV could go 100+ miles with a 900 lb NiMH battery pack. I almost get the sense that Toyota is trying to prove the impracticality of these vehicles while at the same time appearing to pursue this technology.

    I do agree that given all the money they've spent developing their hybrid system they probably aren't all that excited about serial hybrids. And PHEVs would seem to give the edge to this form of hybrid.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    I'm not sure how that pencils out. I have heard that the euro and Japanese versions of the standard Prius have a button that you can go all electric with, but you will only get a couple miles and low speeds at best.

    I think Toyota may get passed in this if they don't get in full do it mode pretty soon.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    Here's an encouraging article regarding PHEV progress.

    phev
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Nice post - thanks for the info.......Nice to get a "real person on the road using the PHEV to commute" story.

    If they start doing Camrys, I'm in line for one of the 20-mile conversions without a doubt !!

    My mom (currently hired as my live-in Nanny these days) mostly uses my TCH now to take my daughter to school and pick her up in the afternoon, and that's about 10 miles roundtrip. I could keep my TCH in "EV mode" all day, every day !!
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    If they start doing Camrys, I'm in line for one of the 20-mile conversions without a doubt !!

    You would void your warranty and spend $5000, to save how much? Until GM or Toyota build the PHEV it is strictly a rich man's toy. Maybe buy one of the many Prius with the battery warranty almost up to convert. Even then you would have as much as a new TCH or Prius invested.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    I don't think a $5,000 conversion represents a rich man's toy. When you're talking about the $98,000 Tesla Roadster I would tend to agree. If this battery pack really does last 300,000 miles than it will definitely have paid for itself. If you don't keep the car that long the battery pack will probably still have significant residual value. However I'm not too sure about the wisdom of voiding a warranty so, as you said, you might not want to do this on a new Prius or Camry.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    The question remains:

    Would it be a "good buy" if Toyota sold a 20-mile-PHEV-range Prius or TCH option? Of course - a no-brainer.

    As a stand-alone conversion that voids the HEV warranty? Not such good a deal on the surface.

    I think I would probably do it for my TCH if available because I could use my Toyota extended warranty for warranty service on the hybrid parts, and get a warranty from A123 Systems for the conversion parts.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    WIth a system as integrated as the HSD, you would probably void any part of the warranty by cutting into the system.

    First if you have gone around the system that automatically starts the ICE when you take off cold to warm the Cat, why would Toyota warranty any part of the hybrid system after the conversion? I really would not blame Toyota for doing that.

    I can hear the service guy now. Sir someone has stolen your traction battery. They did give you a laptop battery in place of it.
  • gfr1gfr1 Member Posts: 55
    I agree. First, as I understand it, the current transmission gearing won't allow the electric motor to drive the Prius at freeway speeds. Other drive ratios will have to be incorporated, which the current electric motor probably wouldn't power. Then, the EPA wouldn't approve a configuration that hasn't warmed and maintained the CAT temp. Also, the engine would have to be maintained in a warm state for when you suddenly floored the throttle to accelerate into traffic. Then, when requesting cabin heat, the coolant has to be warm enough to provide and maintain the requested temp. And, on & on, & on. A certifiable/marketable vehicle would be a whole 'nuther animal. GR
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    I think the problems you bring up regarding engine temperature are overstated. Batteries do generate considerable heat, which is unfortunate because that represents inefficiency. But I do believe a serial hybrid system is more suitable for a PHEV application. The CAT temp issue is a very real problem that these conversion companies like Hymotion are currently working on. It seems to me this was just an oversight on their part and probably not a difficult fix.
  • daysailerdaysailer Member Posts: 720
    "I think the problems you bring up regarding engine temperature are overstated."

    Oh? What of the reduction in life that the ICE will suffer when it is suddenly called to action from a sound, cold sleep? The Prius was not designed to be an EV and its not merely a matter of battery capacity! 67hp is inadequate to drag 3100lb+ around in a sea of vehicles sporting upwards of 100hp/ton.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    Since the most wear and tear occurs from a cold start on ICEs I suspect that this will shorten the engines life, just like it would for any ICE vehicle that's only driven on short trips. However on this vehicle the ICE wouldn't need to last as long because it would only be used for a fraction of the total miles travelled.

    The Prius wasn't designed to be a PHEV. If it were it would have a more powerful electric motor. It simply proves that the technology is possible. In a serial hybrid where all the power to propel the vehicle comes from an electric motor this wouldn't be an issue.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    It sounds like GM would take exception with some of the posters here who feel that battery technology hasn't advanced much in the last 100+ years and viable EVs are nothing but a fantasy.

    GM Batteries

    more GM batteries
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    My understanding is that newer engines do fine without warmup. I don't give it a second thought when I drive, but then I don't live in a normally frigid place, then again portland oregon isn't SoCal either.

    But you make the point...the engine may not even start on most days, therefore you would likely expect it to last far longer regardless.

    The heating thing is a good point. Not sure how that one goes. If turning on the heater automatically flips on the ICe, then that is a drawback. I suppose it could be flipped on to idle only revs.

    BTW I think toyota has an overall warranty of 36k miles and powertrain of something like 60k. Almost makes me want to grab a first gen prius, if this conversion thing works. I bet they go up in value if it does.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I think all the conversions are being done on the Prius II, post 2004 models. You should be able to get one with 100k miles real cheap. I see them on Craigslist under 10 grand.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    can you? I just looked. In my neck of the woods you have to pay more..at least today on CL. I guess I'll probably wait instead of banking on something that is uncertain.
This discussion has been closed.