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Plug-in Hybrids



  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,704
    Article in today's WSJ about how the electrical utilities are getting nervous about the power demands of plug-ins. They may face (depending on who wins in Nov.) taxes on carbon emissions, and they want credit for reducing gas use. Also, day-time plugging-in will strain the grid.
  • tpetpe Member Posts: 2,342
    Also, day-time plugging-in will strain the grid

    Daytime use of electricity for any purpose strains the grid. The fact that PHEVs will be a newcomer to the demand picture should in no way impact the legitimacy of their access to grid electricity. If it turns out that there isn't enough electricity to meet demand I'd rather see the more discretionary uses of electricity be cut back on. The person who has replaced some of his oil consumption with electricity is doing something positive. The housewife sitting home watching Oprah on her big screen TV is not.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Member Posts: 509
    I am not so worried about this. It is going to take a long time for phev's to get to the point of denting. we should be upgrading the grid right now though...instead of flushing tons of money....but I digress.

    some fantastic advances going on. I read about a way they may be able to store solar energy without batteries at generation plants for a short period of time.
  • gwmortgwmort Member Posts: 22
    I am very excited about this technology.

    I have been in my prius for 5.5 years and 98,000 miles, but intend to stay in it until I can buy a car with a plug (crossing fingers for a Volt in 2010).
  • joer3joer3 Member Posts: 1
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    Have to disagree. What killed the EV-1 was that it wasn't ready for prime time and the ZEV mandate.

    You can't wave a magic wand and say, "X- percent of vehicles will have zero emmisions by this date" and expect the technology to just appear. It would be just as silly to say that the manufacturers need to produce a certain percentage of their cars that can run on hydrogen by 2015.

    Geez, everybody needs to put down the "everything is a conspiracy" book once in a while ;)
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    While I agree with you completely. I think the REAL problem is the State & Federal government that is at fault in all these technology boondoggles. Now it is the new CAFE standards. Not to mention taking the food off our plates to make ethanol.

    I say let the market control what happens. If GM cannot sell big SUVs because of the price of gas, let them build a hybrid or EV to compete with the other automakers. The EV-1 mess was a direct result of a CA ZEV mandate that was Stupid to start with. Now CA wants to control CO2. We have some of the worst politicians in Sacramento to be found on the face of the earth. Controlled by a few elitist in Hollywood.
  • nedzelnedzel Member Posts: 787
    Sorry, but that movie is full of errors and distortions (if not flat-out lies). The EV-1 died because it had no market. In a time of cheap gas, no wanted to lease a very expensive car that could only go about 100 miles without being plugged in for hours and only had 2 seats.

    Gas is very expensive now. Something similar to the EV-1 might sell in relatively small quantities now. Something like the Volt has a much larger market and GM is planning to build it in quantity (more than 100,000 units).
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Tell you what. My company leased an EV-1. I drove it several times and took it home overnight at least one weekend. We absolutely LOVED it. One staffer who lived 32 miles away used it for his daily commute.

    We would have bought it in a SECOND, even for $25K if need be. The local electric company (SRP) tweaked one of their EV-1s and got it 0-60 in less than 4 seconds.

    There were plenty of available buyers for the EV-1 based on the number of cars built.

    No one told GM they had to sell 200,000 of them a year. Just selling and supporting the ones they built would have been sufficient.

    Killing the program and crushing the cars was a cheapskate move, and GM should be shamed for that FOREVER.
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,704
    "Sorry, but that movie is full of errors and distortions "

    My favorite distortion was that the EV-1s were crushed out of some evil intent. GM couldn't afford to have a handful of unsupported vehicles in the hands of who knows who, and who might sue for many stupid reasons.
  • peraltaperalta Member Posts: 94
    Does the word waiver sounds familiar to you?

    These EV fanatics would have jumped at he chance to sign it as long as they can have their hands on these electric cars.
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,704
    Sure, GM could have jumped through legal hoops for a handful of cars, but why? EV-1 was a dead end, they had no reason to keep putting time/effort into it.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    We would have bought it in a SECOND, even for $25K if need be.

    I am sure they would have. That is less than the battery cost. Those cars were in the $70k to build range. Just as you pointed out the owners would have wanted GM to warranty them. When CA dropped the ZEV mandate they killed any incentive to sell EVs. Pure and simple it was government that was to blame. It was just business for GM. They got money from the PNGV program and used it to build the EV-1. At least NiMH batteries were perfected as a result of our tax payer money being wasted.

    I felt GM should have handed them over to the government and they could have been used or given to universities etc. GM could have said here they are, as is, where is.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Just about anything but collect and crush them would have been fine with me.

    As far as the PNGV program, it was FAR from a waste of money. As you pointed out, hybrid batteries were one result. The other result was forcing Honda and Toyota to take battery power seriously, which in effect created the hybrid situation.

    So the stepping stones to future alternative-energy vehicles will look something like this:

    Gasoline/Electric Hybrids
    PHEVs ?
    Fuel Cell?

    Regardless, the end result will be wonderful.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Looks like 'Yota wants to beat the Volt to market. GM execs ought to be sweating now:

    Toyota: "We'll have a PHEV by 2010 in the USA"

    Awesome if they can do it !!!
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,704
    Good idea - list the stepping stones.
    Gasoline/Electric Hybrids
    PHEVs ?
    Fuel Cell?

    -High-efficieny ICE (lose the excess weight and power, max emissions controls)
    -Current hybrids, light cars only (max Camry sized, larger don't make $$ sense)
    -Turbo diesels for larger vehicles if a drop in relative fuel cost
    -PHEVs once batteries available
    -100% electric city cars using those batteries

    Right now, I don't see:
    -Fuel cells (no reasonable hydrogen source, better to use the electricity charging batteries)
    -Turbo diesel hybrids ($$ don't make sense)
    -NG vehicles (too much $$ for filling equipment, no major advantage over gasoline).
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    GM execs ought to be sweating now:

    I don't think so. Toyota does not plan to sell their Plug-in Hybrid to you or I.

    Toyota Motor plans to produce lithium ion batteries next year for a plug-in hybrid vehicle available in 2010.

    The company on Wednesday said that the plug-in hybrid will be "geared toward fleet customers in Japan, (the) United States, and Europe."

    Could mean a few things.
    1. They know they cannot make them price competitive with NiMH for the individual.
    2. They do not want to warranty the batteries for 10 years.
    3. They are not convinced they will not burn your house down while they are charging in the garage.

    For me, I will not live to be old enough to feel comfortable with any Lithium Ion hybrid in my garage.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Oh, Gary, Silly Gary...........Your Excessive PARANOIA is showing again !!!!

    Neither Toyota nor GM nor Mitsu not Honda nor any other car maker is going to sell a lithium battery system which will catch fire in your garage.

    They just won't. It will be safety tested a thousand different directions before it's on the road.

    And the fact that 'Yota says "fleet customers FIRST" only means they are going to a little additional "real world testing" before launching it to the masses.

    You think for one second the driving public is going to tolerate seeing a 100 miles per gallon Prius driving down the road and not clamor to have one themselves? It would be a MARKETING DISASTER/NIGHTMARE for 'Yota to make those available and then not sell to the public.

    'Yota ain't that stupid mi amigo.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    You think for one second the driving public is going to tolerate seeing a 100 miles per gallon Prius driving down the road and not clamor to have one themselves?

    Did you read point number two? If the cost of the battery has not diminished considerably, you may want a plug-in Prius, but cannot justify $50k that it costs. Just like GM is talking about LEASING the battery in the Volt. Toyota probably will have the same cost issues to deal with.

    It will be interesting and I am sure Toyota announcing the PHEV is to try and sway the buyers away from the Volt in favor of their own vehicle. It is just marketing vapor ware until you see the car on the dealers lot.

    Finding a battery company that will warranty a Li-Ion for 10 years will be a challenge also. The technology does not have a good longevity record. Another reason for leasing the batteries.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    'Yota did not run and hide when they had to put a 10-yr warranty on the NiMH batteries - what makes you think they will try to avoid that on the lithium batteries?

    And the battery is not going to cost $50K Gary my gosh !! The company that does plug-in Prius conversions charges $10K for their smallest one, and you know they have a good solid profit margin in there. And that's batteries which they buy AT MOST in quantities probably of 10 at a time.

    Didn't you see all the recent news about 'Yota's new hybrid battery factories? They are going to use economy of scale to reduce those prices to reasonable amounts. They are going to build a huge number of batteries every year.

    Don't be such a cynic mi amigo - life is too short..........
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    "At least NiMH batteries were perfected as a result of our tax payer money being wasted. "

    I thought the EV-1 used lead acid batteries?
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    First gen EV-1 was Lead Acid. Second gen was NiMH.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    'Yota did not run and hide when they had to put a 10-yr warranty on the NiMH batteries - what makes you think they will try to avoid that on the lithium batteries?

    You need to do some more research on Lithium Ion batteries. Longevity is their Achilles heel. Not to mention catching on fire. I have not had a Li-Ion battery in a laptop last more than a 1.5 years. The same exact AA cells that are in the Tesla. They expect 6000 plus AA cells to keep on ticking for How long? Supposedly GM has a supplier that has overcome some of the runaway heat problems. Have not heard on longevity or shelf life. I would assume Toyota and Panasonic are addressing those issues.

    Cheapest actual conversion I find for the individual is $21,600. That will give you a low speed range of 15 miles battery only. You will get 100 MPG up to 30 miles on a full overnight charge. After 30 miles it drops back to normal Prius mileage. No one I can find will convert a Prius to Li-Ion PHEV for $10,000. They claim the batteries are that much or more. All the conversions I could find are limited to ONE YEAR warranty. Lots a money for so LITTLE gain.


    I am a cynic. I have seen too many WA claims with no results. You have talked about a 100 MPG Prius for 3 years. I have yet to see one being sold anywhere. That is a Prius with an EPA rating of 100 MPG combined. I'm waiting patiently. Just as I was waiting for a small diesel PU. They are both NA to the US market.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    I know all about Li-Ion batteries in SMALL DEVICES having a fire problem.

    That problem will be SOLVED in the PHEVs and EVs which use the technology !! GM and 'Yota will not put out a product that is likely to self-combust and KILL people or burn houses down !!!

    And you are still talking about prices. Did you not read my last post? 'Yota is going to have a battery FACTORY making ALL of them they need - the price will be driven WAY WAY down from the onesey-twosey prices that converters charge now !!!

    I personally have not talked about a 100 MPG Prius for three years. I know the existing Prius can do that. - not EPA, but on the road it has been shown multiple times to do that.

    What are those same techniques going to get on a PHEV Prius with an EPA rating of 70+ MPG? Probably over 200 MPG.

    That brings up a thought - is the EPA going to have to modify their test AGAIN to account for the extra mileage a PHEV will get like the Volt?

    I mean, they can't just run a "city" test on a short run, because the car will stay in electric mode the whole time. What will that show on the test? A Million Miles Per Gallon? Something creative will have to be done to that part of the test to account for the all-electric portion, right?
  • gwmortgwmort Member Posts: 22
    Its probably importnt to also note that a lot of different battery companies are bringing a lot of different battery chemistries to market, they are not the same Lithium Ion that is in your laptop.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Tax dollars at work for a good cause !!!

    One has to wonder if this news is too little too late already but, Ford, General Motors and General Electric will split $30 million to develop and demonstrate Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles research projects over the next three years.

    The Department of Energy said today the projects will hasten the development of vehicles capable of traveling up to 40 miles without recharging, which includes most daily roundtrip commutes and satisfies 70% of the average daily travel in the US. The projects will also address critical barriers to achieving DOE’s goal of making such cars cost-competitive by 2014 and ready for commercialization by 2016. Of course by then gas could cost so much people will be happy to push their cars.

    The DOE did say this week that the average price for regular gasoline in the United States should peak at $4.15 per gallon in August and to average $3.78 per gallon for the year. Diesel fuel prices are projected to remain near the June 2 price of $4.71 per gallon over the next few months, with an average price of $4.32 per gallon for the year.

    The DOE says PHEVs are hybrid vehicles that can be driven in electric-only or hybrid modes and recharged from a standard electric outlet. They offer increased energy efficiency and decreased petroleum consumption by using electricity as the primary fuel for urban driving. This is the first round of selections under DOE’s PHEV Technology Acceleration and Deployment Activity plan. A second round of applications is due July 18, 2008.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    link title

    Ford continues testing and development of its Escape plug-in hybrids -- this month the automaker will let more of its 20 PHEV fleet loose on the grounds of Southern California Edison. The first Ford Escape PHEV was delivered to SCE last December.

    The Escape PHEVs, which use lithium-ion batteries from Johnson Controls-Saft, will be tested first at Southern California Edison and eventually be transferred to other utilities in the New York/New Jersey area to determine the regional differences in vehicle performance, efficiency, and usage. Specifically, the 20 Escapes will be analyzed on four levels: battery technology, vehicle systems, customer usage, and grid infrastructure.

    Before similar Ford PHEVs make their way to the market, Ford, along with Johnson Controls, SCE, and Electric Power Research Institute, is researching other possible uses for advanced batteries. This 20-vehicle fleet represents another baby step toward the development of a PHEV that's sellable to consumers and profitable for Ford.
  • nedzelnedzel Member Posts: 787
    You could not have bought it for $25,000. The EV1 cost more than $80,000 per copy for GM to build.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    The whole program was subsidized. GM could have sold them to the lease holders for any amount they wanted to sell it for. We would have leased it for 10 years at $500 a month. Many owners would have also paid whatever was asked.

    My point was and is that destroying the cars and taking them off the road was a huge blunder, and nothing will ever make me change my mind about that.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Link Here

    Have we reached a tipping point with gas at $1.35 a litre, and rising? Are consumers so fed up that they're finally adjusting their behaviour?

    In the past, we complained but did nothing, preferring instead to condemn those evil oil companies and demand that the government keep gas prices artificially low.

    This time it's different. The long-term trend toward high prices is clear. And the planned closure of a General Motors truck and SUV plant in Oshawa is a strong sign that the days of gas guzzlers are numbered.

    Last week, I had the opportunity of test driving a vehicle that, in a variety of driving scenarios, uses considerably less gasoline than conventional cars. When booting around the city, it almost uses no gas at all. Instead, it relies mostly on electricity from the grid. Just plug into a wall socket overnight and you're ready to go in the morning.

    Interested? You should be – it could be the kind of car sitting in your driveway 10 years, even five years, from now.

    It's called a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, or PHEV. The one I drove for six days was a 2004 Toyota Prius that had been retrofitted with a lithium-ion battery pack and a charging outlet on the back bumper.

    Unlike a regular Prius, which has a smaller nickel-metal hydride battery that's recharged by the engine and by capturing braking energy, this Prius uses electricity from the grid to displace gasoline use.

    Concord-based Hymotion did the retrofit, using batteries from Boston-area company A123 Systems, which is now Hymotion's parent company. It's the same battery technology being considered by General Motors for its Volt electric car, which is scheduled for commercial release in 2010, and a plug-in hybrid version of its Saturn Vue SUV.

    For drives within the city, each trip ranging from 10 to 20 kilometres, I generally got fuel economy better than two litres per 100 kilometres. Sometimes it went much higher, and only once – during a long highway trip – was mileage more typical of a standard Prius.

    Over the six days, I used 22.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity to keep the battery charged. Using Bullfrog Power, it cost me $3.83 for the power – with electricity, delivery, special charges and taxes all combined. With Bullfrog, when the car was in electric mode, it was truly emission-free.
  • engin2engin2 Member Posts: 8
    Can anyone tel me when will the car pool lane sticker program for the Hybrid cars expire in California?
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    Better place to ask this would be the Hybrids and HOV Lanes discussion.
  • nedzelnedzel Member Posts: 787
    "The whole program was subsidized."

    Sorry, but the fact is that GM lost $1 billion dollars on the EV1 program.
  • larsblarsb Member 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 Member Posts: 31,450
    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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 31,450
    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 Member 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 Member Posts: 31,450
    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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 4,098
    "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 Member 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 Member 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, CalCars.org 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],” CalCars.org 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 Member Posts: 31,450
    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 CalCars.org 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 Member Posts: 31,450
    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 Member 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 Member Posts: 31,450
    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 Member Posts: 4,098
    "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?
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