Inside Plug-in Car Tech's Race to Production

Discussion in 'BEV or Battery Electric Vehicle' started by xcel, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Big automakers and promising startups say EV’s are coming as soon as next year, but there's a lot of work to be done before Li-Ion batteries are ready for PHEV’s.

    [xfloat=left][/xfloat]Chuck Tannert - Popular Mechanics - Feb. 6, 2008

    Toyota’s PHEV-6 using (2) current NiMH packs – A single Li-Ion pack of half the weight will provide the same capability and more. -- Ed.

    Flashy concepts and expensive, limited edition sports cars have made the plug-in car market an attractive one. Now major car companies from Detroit to Japan are outsourcing for chemistry and spending big bucks in-house to put low-cost, high-power packs of lithium-ion in larger production fleets by 2010 or 2011.

    The future of American motoring will be—at least in part—battery-powered. Now, from unveilings at last month’s Detroit auto show to updates from plug-in startups and entries for the Automotive X Prize, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the lithium-ion pack is what will get us there. Almost every top-tier carmaker has announced plans to use the technology, but they haven’t exactly said when we might see roadworthy li-ion-powered vehicles. The consensus is that they’ll probably start to appear in the 2010 to 2012 time frame—though no one’s promising anything.

    Even though lithium-ion already runs everything from laptops to screwdrivers, the reality remains that only a handful of smaller companies actually make these electric cars for production (or soon will). And whether it’s AC Propulsion (a converted Scion xB), Aptera (a sleek three-wheeler), HST (a plug-in Shelby Cobra), Hybrid Technologies (an all-electric Mini Cooper) or even Tesla (a high-performance sports car), none of these startups put out large quantities, and the vehicles they do make are pricey. It all comes down to that battery.

    So what’s up with the final push before li-ion is finally ready for prime time? We checked in with the lab rats from Detroit to Silicon Valley to find out when emissions-free driving will switch from dream to dealership.

    Issue No. 1: Battery Chemistry

    Sounds simple, right? Pick a chemical makeup and run with it. Not so fast. “There are as many, if not more, recipes for these batteries as there are companies that supply them,” says Denise Gray, director of hybrid energy storage systems for General Motors (click here for our full interview). “Automakers need to experiment to find which works best for them. That takes time. We need them to perform as a function of driving style, location and climate. They need to deliver both power and range when needed, every time it’s needed.” … [rm][/rm]
  2. antrey

    antrey Well-Known Member

    I was hoping we'd have a plug in version of the Prius with an extra Nimh pack in about 1 year but this article makes it seem as though we won't get a production plug in Prius until the Li-ion pack is ready?!:(
  3. mparrish

    mparrish Rosie the Riveter Redux

    I always weigh all available information.

    (1) Toyota's delivery of a small number of these PHEV-6s to Irvine & Berkeley for testing, and Wayne's reports from the auto show (

    100 pounds

    (2) An article by a guy named "Chuck"

    15 ounces ;)

    It's never to early to coin a new phrase. To effectively stretch my PHEV-6 over the course of my 11 mile commute, I'll need to "surge & glide".

    S&G? Anybody? Bueller?

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