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Old 04-03-2016, 01:39 PM   #161
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Plug in hybrids probably make more sense for most people.

However, it adds complexity as you have both EV and ICE components to deal with in the car.

One of the nice things about EVs is that you remove a lot of legacy mechanical components. There are fewer parts to build and maintain.

Plus if the best of the plugin hybrids is a Chevy, it isn't exactly inspirational or aspirational. You have to deal with the lack of reliability and cheap materials of a Chevy ICE.

Now the German luxury marques have a lot of plugin hybrids in the pipeline but $50-60k minimum for an electric range under 20 miles? Do people buy luxury cars only for commuter duties?
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Old 04-03-2016, 02:59 PM   #162
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Plug in hybrids probably make more sense for most people.

However, it adds complexity as you have both EV and ICE components to deal with in the car.

One of the nice things about EVs is that you remove a lot of legacy mechanical components. There are fewer parts to build and maintain. ...
Absolutely. That is one of the reasons that when I was much younger, I fully expected, and looked forward to an EV in my not-to-distant future.

But decades past that point, EVs still have the range and cost issues, and aren't even 'green'.

And in the meantime, we went from changing points & plugs, setting timing, adjusting idle and choke and rich/lean on a regular basis, to ICEs that are almost maintenance free, and emit thousandths of the pollution they used to. An almost unbelievable amount of progress.

So while the complexity is still there in an ICE/hybrid, it really isn't really an issue for most people. And if micro-turbines can make it, you are down to one moving part, oil-less (air-foil) bearings - almost zero maintenance and very simple concept.

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... Plus if the best of the plugin hybrids is a Chevy, it isn't exactly inspirational or aspirational. You have to deal with the lack of reliability and cheap materials of a Chevy ICE.

Now the German luxury marques have a lot of plugin hybrids in the pipeline but $50-60k minimum for an electric range under 20 miles? Do people buy luxury cars only for commuter duties?
I don't know, has the Chevy Volt engine/drivetrain been unreliable? But yes, "Chevy" isn't an awe inspiring brand. But there are more coming. I just read about the Prius Prime, due out the end of this year - much along the lines of what we were talking about, a ~ 20 mile electric range hybrid.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota...ry_and_range_2

8.8 kWh battery, so about 1/10th the Tesla S, and 1/10th the range. But this level of hybrid helps when it is gas-only as well. So you can cover most of your short trips on plug-in power (cheap per mile), and then get very good mpg on the ICE when battery runs out, as you get the regen braking, and have a smaller ICE since you still have the battery/motor for a little acceleration boost. 600 mile range on an 11.3 US Gallon tank! So over 50 mpg in gas/hybrid mode.

And you can probably actually buy one at the end of this year.

I just think future EVs are going to have a tough time competing with that, outside of niche applications.

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Old 04-03-2016, 03:30 PM   #163
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I just think future EVs are going to have a tough time competing with that, outside of niche applications.
Tesla has a good plan on the high end, but there is a low end that I'm surprised no one is pursuing.

In Florida (and other places) there are lot of locations where people use "golf carts" as local, run around town transportation. I know these aren't "cars" and lack much of the safety and comforts of a real car (i.e. doors), but it seems like someone would be evolving them up to "real electric car".

Maybe someone is working on this and I just haven't heard about it?
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Old 04-03-2016, 04:49 PM   #164
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For anyone interested in the technology side of this, I'll expand a bit on the battery "peak current" (or peak power) portion of my previous post.

As I said, the batteries in an EV or series EV need to be able to provide enough instantaneous peak power to provide an acceptable level of acceleration. This is separate from the total energy the battery can provide over the long run. The total energy is what is needed to give you range in miles.

In electronics, power is watts, measured at any instant - like "that toaster is drawing 1000 watts of power while it is on".

Energy is watt-hours (usually described in kilowatt-hours), power measured over time - like "that 1000 watt toaster has been on one hour, it has used one kWh of energy").
I mentioned that other factors have driven the improvements in batteries, and this is mostly our portable electronics - laptops, tablets, cell phones, GPS, music players, etc. But for those devices, we are interested in the total energy - we want them to run for a long time between charges. And when we have a big enough battery to run a long time, it provides plenty of peak power for our devices. A GPS or laptop doesn't draw the kinds of (relative) peak power that accelerating a car requires.

What that means is, battery improvements haven't so much been focused on peak power delivery, because that hasn't been the limiting factor. But it is the limiting factor for a series hybrid (the ICE takes over to provide the total energy required).

The first Tesla models are an example of this - with enough batteries to provide the energy for a 200 mile range, those batteries also have enough instantaneous power to accelerate like crazy. But if we use 1/20th the batteries to provide a 10 mile range for a series hybrid, we run into those instantaneous power limits, and we go from 'bat-outa-hell' acceleration to 1/20th of that, and that is unacceptable for normal driving. I don't know if it's linear, but a 0-60 mph time of 4 seconds stretched to 1 minute 20 seconds (20x) just won't cut it.

So perhaps, batteries can be greatly improved in their instantaneous power delivery factor, such that series hybrids are more and more practical?

-ERD50
The current lithium battery is there already!

I looked up the specs of the P85D, the most powerful version of the Tesla that boasts the "ludicrous" acceleration with nearly 700HP from a 85kWh battery pack. The power demand is around 550kW or half a megawatt!

The current drawn is 6.5C (6.5X the current that would deplete the battery in 1 hour). But how is that compared to the battery specs?

A search on the Web shows that the common 18650 cell that the Tesla pack is built up with can even do 15C for short periods! Lithium batteries have low internal resistance and are head-and-shoulders above other types of batteries. Amazing!

The problem in practical applications is managing the heat in a pack, plus the equalization of the cells inside the pack. And the P85D has a 2nd motor to give it that power.

My question is still: how long do they last? I have replaced the lithium batteries of my laptops often. If I have to do that with an EV, that will mess up my WR.
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Old 04-03-2016, 06:03 PM   #165
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The current lithium battery is there already!

I looked up the specs of the P85D, the most powerful version of the Tesla that boasts the "ludicrous" acceleration with nearly 700HP from a 85kWh battery pack. The power demand is around 550kW or half a megawatt!

The current drawn is 6.5C (6.5X the current that would deplete the battery in 1 hour). But how is that compared to the battery specs? .....

My question is still: how long do they last? I have replaced the lithium batteries of my laptops often. If I have to do that with an EV, that will mess up my WR.
Interesting - I hadn't run those numbers, but I had thought about them a little.

But I'm guessing that your last question is the issue. A Tesla driver is going to punch it only occasionally, but a low cost, modest performance car with just enough batteries to get by, will be pushing them to the limit fairly often. And that degrades the overall lifetime.

But that's just a rough cut, a more detailed analysis would be very interesting. And I'm not a chemist, so I'm not sure what really limits the peak current ratings on lithiums. Obviously, heat is one, as you mentioned, but I think there is some chemical degradation that occurs, and maybe something could be optimized there for a series hybrid?


Ohhhh, and a little more reading I was doing shows that these battery sizes aren't all purely technical decisions. Our non-technical-degree-holding members of Congress have passed laws that make a tie-in between battery capacity and the tax credit, so EV/hybrid manufacturers size their batteries with consideration to the laws of Congress, rather than the laws of physics!

edit - quick add off the top of my head - I started playing with micro-quad RC coptors (fit in your hand, cost ~ $16), and they use little 100mAh lithiums (roughly the size of little finger tip to first joint), and some are rated around 15C, some even more I think, if you spend a little more. But no one is expecting these to last 10 years!

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Old 04-03-2016, 07:36 PM   #166
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Yes, lithium batteries are one of the things that enable the quad rotor. They allow a huge current drawn despite their minuscule size, in exchange for a proportionally shorter operating time. Other batteries just cannot do that; their capacity drops off rapidly with higher power demand.

Anyway, on the life of the lithium battery, an often-quoted number is a life of 2000 cycles. If an EV has a range of 200 miles, that translates to 400,000 miles. Surely, that would be plenty good.

Manufacturers claim the 2000-cycle number based on lab testing, where they drain the batteries to near depletion then recharge them. In normal applications, the batteries are not stressed as hard, so perhaps they should last even longer. But is it so?

Look at a laptop, or a smartphone for example. If you run them to depletion, then recharge them once per day, that 2000-cycle life works out to 5-1/2 years. But, but, but replacement batteries for them appear on the market for sale long before that date. So, is that 2000-cycle number as imaginary as the decade-long life claimed for CFLs and LEDs?
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Old 04-03-2016, 08:25 PM   #167
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...
Anyway, on the life of the lithium battery, an often-quoted number is a life of 2000 cycles. If an EV has a range of 200 miles, that translates to 400,000 miles. Surely, that would be plenty good.

Manufacturers claim the 2000-cycle number based on lab testing, where they drain the batteries to near depletion then recharge them. In normal applications, the batteries are not stressed as hard, so perhaps they should last even longer. But is it so?

Look at a laptop, or a smartphone for example. If you run them to depletion, then recharge them once per day, that 2000-cycle life works out to 5-1/2 years. But, but, but replacement batteries for them appear on the market for sale long before that date. So, is that 2000-cycle number as imaginary as the decade-long life claimed for CFLs and LEDs?
From what I recall, the car makers limit the charge levels in the batteries for hybrids and EVs. Something roughly like charging to only 80%, and discharging to 40% of their normal specs? In effect, only using ~ 40% of the actual capacity, to extend the life. So a Tesla 85 kWh pack is 'really' ~ 212 kWh? That is part of what makes them expensive (plus they need to be small, light, crash-worthy, and survive and work in extreme environments, not just room temp).

Laptop batteries, I think, are pushed to the extremes, so they don't always last as long. But replacements are fairly cheap, and easy to swap, so a minor inconvenience.

But if the 2000 cycle number you mention is a full charge/dis-charge cycle, then it does seem the laptop batteries should last that long. I seem to remember a number closer to 300 cycles (of full charge-discharge, a half charge would only count as half), but my memory is not so good, and that may have be an outdated number. Maybe I will search it later.

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Old 04-03-2016, 09:22 PM   #168
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No, I believe the Tesla battery is really 85kWh, not derated down to 85kWh.

The NiMH batteries in earlier hybrid cars and also the old lithium ion batteries lasted longer with shallower charge/discharge cycles. But what I have read about the latest LiFePO4 (lithium iron phosphate) batteries say that they can stand up to near 100% depth of discharge, and supposedly still have 80% or more of original capacity after 2000 cycles. In addition to that robustness, they also can be punctured and will not explode in flames, and are safe for use in aircraft.

As LiFePO4 batteries have been around for 5 years now, I assume that they are being used in modern electronics, but who knows?
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Old 04-03-2016, 09:35 PM   #169
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Inside a Tesla battery pack are the industry-standard 18650 cells that look like this (slightly larger than a common AA alkaline). One version of the pack has 6,800 cells, for a cost of $45K. That makes each cell cost around $6.6. This is about the right price for a loose Panasonic cell one can buy on the open market.

eBay shows a bunch of no-name 18650 cells for $1. Given the propensity of aftermarket cells to burst in flames, I was tempted to get a few to play with, but decided against it.

See photo linked from the Web:

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Old 04-04-2016, 02:01 PM   #170
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Manufacturers claim the 2000-cycle number based on lab testing, where they drain the batteries to near depletion then recharge them. In normal applications, the batteries are not stressed as hard, so perhaps they should last even longer. But is it so?

Look at a laptop, or a smartphone for example. If you run them to depletion, then recharge them once per day, that 2000-cycle life works out to 5-1/2 years. But, but, but replacement batteries for them appear on the market for sale long before that date. So, is that 2000-cycle number as imaginary as the decade-long life claimed for CFLs and LEDs?
Anecdote isn't data, but still. Just replaced my laptop, after three four and a half years of heavy duty use. Battery capacity was at 55%. Figure that's at least 2000 cycles.

Cellphone is only two years old, battery is less than half. It's always on and recharges two to three times a day now. So also 2000+ cycles I guess.

The thing with phones is that heavy use drains the battery really quickly, so you end up charging it more than once a day.
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Old 04-04-2016, 02:05 PM   #171
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From what I recall, the car makers limit the charge levels in the batteries for hybrids and EVs. Something roughly like charging to only 80%, and discharging to 40% of their normal specs? In effect, only using ~ 40% of the actual capacity, to extend the life. So a Tesla 85 kWh pack is 'really' ~ 212 kWh?
My brother owns a Tesla S. Standard charging is 80% to prolong battery life, but you can ask the car to charge up to 100%. It's what you prefer.

Likewise, advice is to keep it charged above 20% but nothing stopping you to ride it until empty.
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Old 04-04-2016, 02:52 PM   #172
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I just thought of another thing: the difference in configuration between a laptop pack and a larger pack. It makes a difference in the effect of random infant mortality that can have a cell not lasting as long as the average life of the production lot.

Lithium batteries have a nominal voltage of 3.2V or higher, so small electronics can run off a single cell. Laptop packs are usually multiple cells in series, typically 5 or 6. So, if one cell of a laptop pack goes bad, you toss the entire pack.

On the other hand, larger packs for EVs are of more complex series/parallel connections. One version of the Tesla pack has 74 cells wired in parallel, then 6 of these groups are wired in series in a module. Then, 6 modules are put in series again in a complete pack, for a total of 74 x 6 x 16 = 7104 cells.

Because a bad cell is in parallel with 73 others, one bad cell only impacts 1/74 = 1.4% of capacity, not ruining the entire pack as with the laptop.
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Old 04-06-2016, 10:36 AM   #173
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... But what I have read about the latest LiFePO4 (lithium iron phosphate) batteries say that they can stand up to near 100% depth of discharge, and supposedly still have 80% or more of original capacity after 2000 cycles. ...
Cycles life of 2000 wasn't ringing any bells for me, I was thinking ~ 300~500 cycles, and this spec sheet for an 18650 confirms that, with degradation to about 72% of 'typical starting capacity' (eyeballing 2200/2900):

http://industrial.panasonic.com/cdbs...CI4000CE17.pdf

But, that is at .7C charging rate. Wiki mentioned home chargers are 10kW or 20kW for the 60kWh Tesla battery, so that's 1/6 (.167 C) or 1/3 (.33 C) rates, so longer life assumed, but no charts on that.

And a one hour supercharge would be 1C, but assumed you don't do that very often, and I think they encourage a 50% or 80% charge when you use them?

I also see that Telsa warranties the 60kWh pack for 125,000 miles, so using a rough 200 mile range, that is 650 cycles, so maybe reasonable if 500 cycle rating is at the higher .7C. And of course, warranty doesn't imply it will fail/degrade in that time, just that they cover you if it does, and one would assume they have some safety margin built in.

So just a very rough cut, but from this I'd guess they really don't de-rate the cells much, if at all, that the cells can handle this charging for the 'life' of the car. But you might need to accept some range reduction of 20-30% when you get up to 150,000 miles or so?

I'd also assume that battery cycle performance will improve as they tweak battery chemistry, so not so bad. Much bigger deal if you only have 80 mile range to begin with.

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Old 04-06-2016, 01:51 PM   #174
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Here's a short discussion of a new type of lithium storage battery that promised a big increase in energy storage if it works out. And, it keeps its ability to hold a full charge through many more cycles than today's lithium batteries. Again, if it works out.

https://www.grc.com/sn/sn-552.htm

The discussion of the new battery takes place about 80% down the transcript.


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So not yet on the market, but nothing to leak. It is solid. Because it's solid they're able to get 20 times the lithium-ion content in the same space as a fluid because this matrix actually holds them and allows them to move through the crystal matrix. So I just wanted to bring it up as another interesting little bit of energy storage tech. Maybe this will be the one.
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Old 04-06-2016, 04:04 PM   #175
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But you might need to accept some range reduction of 20-30% when you get up to 150,000 miles or so?
Information seems to conflicting and scarce, I like this site:
How to Prolong Lithium-based Batteries - Battery University

Depth of discharge seems to play a huge role. At 100% discharge depth you get less than 500 cycles before capacity is <70%. At 50% it's a factor three higher (!).

Same thing with temperature, higher temps degrade the pack quickly. Apparently that's why the Tesla S has liquid cooling running around the pack.
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Old 04-06-2016, 04:29 PM   #176
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Here's a short discussion of a new type of lithium storage battery that promised a big increase in energy storage if it works out. And, it keeps its ability to hold a full charge through many more cycles than today's lithium batteries. Again, if it works out.

https://www.grc.com/sn/sn-552.htm

The discussion of the new battery takes place about 80% down the transcript.
I followed a few other links as well, and it looks very interesting.

Of course, I've been reading about these big improvements for decades, and rather than big steps, batteries seem to keep progressing at a fairly steady pace. Maybe this will come to fruition, I hope so, it sounds very promising.

But I still say that battery improvement just make a hybrid look better and better. No range or infrastructure issues, cost/space premium goes down, and no waiting for the excess 'green grid energy' before we see environmental positives.

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Old 04-06-2016, 04:40 PM   #177
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All the technical stuff is interesting, but I'm wondering about the manufacturing.

Can Tesla ramp up to these numbers without quality issues? I've seen some of the attitude in silicon valley lately, and quality is not a priority.

I'm not accusing Tesla of problems, I'm just going to watch as this experiment unfolds. Hyundai was set back about 2 decades due to ramping up too fast. I'm assuming that Tesla got a lot of Nummi's brightest (not just the factory), so perhaps there is a good base of knowledge there.

We will soon find out.
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:30 PM   #178
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From Jim Barksdale (on predictions of any sort):

Quote:
Nobody that I know can predict the next two pings of the pinball. People who think they can predict the future are as common as ears of corn in a farmer’s field. Yes, they are right some times because: Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once and a while.
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:50 PM   #179
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Cycles life of 2000 wasn't ringing any bells for me, I was thinking ~ 300~500 cycles, and this spec sheet for an 18650 confirms that, with degradation to about 72% of 'typical starting capacity' (eyeballing 2200/2900):

http://industrial.panasonic.com/cdbs...CI4000CE17.pdf

But, that is at .7C charging rate. Wiki mentioned home chargers are 10kW or 20kW for the 60kWh Tesla battery, so that's 1/6 (.167 C) or 1/3 (.33 C) rates, so longer life assumed, but no charts on that.

And a one hour supercharge would be 1C, but assumed you don't do that very often, and I think they encourage a 50% or 80% charge when you use them?

I also see that Telsa warranties the 60kWh pack for 125,000 miles, so using a rough 200 mile range, that is 650 cycles, so maybe reasonable if 500 cycle rating is at the higher .7C. And of course, warranty doesn't imply it will fail/degrade in that time, just that they cover you if it does, and one would assume they have some safety margin built in.

So just a very rough cut, but from this I'd guess they really don't de-rate the cells much, if at all, that the cells can handle this charging for the 'life' of the car. But you might need to accept some range reduction of 20-30% when you get up to 150,000 miles or so?

I'd also assume that battery cycle performance will improve as they tweak battery chemistry, so not so bad. Much bigger deal if you only have 80 mile range to begin with.

-ERD50
Yes. Perhaps that explains the low resale value of the Nissan Leaf, which would make an excellent runabout 2nd car for a retiree couple to run errands. Many of our trips are under 20 miles, and in fact I have made countless trips to Home Depot in the last few months as I have been working on my home and the RV. That's an only 8-mile RT. However, can I fit a 10' long pipe in a Leaf?
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:54 PM   #180
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Regarding LiFePO4 battery life, here's a typical curve on the Web. This particular manufacturer claims the battery is discharged at 1C in the tests (depleted in 1hr), which represents very heavy usage.

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