Keith Johnson, at The Wall Street Journal’s Environmental Capital blog, noted the same discrepancy, coming to the conclusion that “in a nutshell: ‘green-collar jobs’ can run the gamut from park rangers to Prius mechanics to physicists fiddling with nano photovoltaic research.” ]
[HOWEVER, IF WE ARE TO BELIEVE WHAT THE PUNDITS SAY, THEY UNIVERSALLY AGREE THAT: 'GREEN-COLLARED JOBS' "CANNOT BE EASILY OUTSOURCED TO ASIA"].
[Green jobs are especially good “because they cannot be easily outsourced, say, to Asia,” said Van Jones, president of Green for All, an organization based in Oakland, Calif., whose goal is promoting renewable energy and lifting workers out of poverty. “If we are going to weatherize buildings, they have to be weatherized here,” he said. “If you put up solar panels, you can’t ship a building to Asia and have them put the solar panels on and ship it back. These jobs have to be done in the United States.” ]
[SO, IF THE PRIMARY 'GREEN' COMPONENTS OF THE HIGHLY ACCLAIMED HYBRID GAS/ELECTRIC VEHICLES (HEVs) CURRENTLY AVAILABLE IN THE U.S. & THE 100% ELECTRIC VEHICLES (EVs) OF THE FUTURE THAT POLITICIANS ARE PROMISING WILL COME TO THE U.S. WITHIN A FEW YEARS ARE MANUFACTURED OVERSEAS, HOW DO THEY GENERATE 'GREEN-COLLAR AMERICAN JOBS'??]
[ALSO, HOW THEN, CAN PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA CLAIM THAT HE CAN DELIVER '5 MILLION NEW GREEN-COLLAR JOBS' FOR AMERICA?? HE CANNOT! HOW THEN, WILL THERE BE MANY NEW 'GREEN-COLLAR AUTO JOBS' IN THE U.S.?? THERE REALLY WON'T BE UNLESS U.S. MANUFACTURING IS REESTABLISHED! ARE THE DETROIT TRIO WILLING TO INVEST ALL OF THE MONIES THEY EVENTUALLY MAY RECEIVE DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY FROM CONGRESS FOR THIS PURPOSE?? ]
[THAT'S WHY PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA HAS SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED THE NUMBER OF NEW 'GREEN-COLLAR AMERICAN JOBS' PROMISED DURING HIS CAMPAIGN TO 2.5 MILLION NEW AMERICAN JOBS OVERALL, WITHOUT EVEN MENTIONING THE WORD 'GREEN'!!]
[See: Obama Boasts Plans for Millions of New GREEN COLLAR Jobs That Cannot be Outsourced; Can He Deliver? Hillary Says NO!!, ITSSD Journal on Energy Security, at: http://itssdenergysecurity.blogspot.com/2008/09/obama-boasts-plans-for-millions-of-new.html .]
China's first mass-produced hybrid car goes on sale: car maker
Agence France Presse
December 15, 2008
BEIJING (AFP) — China's first mass-produced hybrid electric car hit the market on Monday, its manufacturer said, in a move aimed at driving the nation to the cutting edge of the world's green auto industry.
The car is made by BYD Auto, a Chinese company backed by American Warren Buffett, one of the world's most successful investors who owns 9.9 percent of the firm.
The F3DM is also the world's first mass-produced plug-in hybrid car, meaning owners can charge it from powerpoints at home for the first time, as well as in specialised electric car charging stations, according to BYD.
BYD president Wang Chuanfu was quoted by Chinese media as saying that his firm and China were on their way to being world leaders in the fuel-efficient auto industry.
"Through the F3DM dual-mode electric vehicle, BYD will grab a head-start in the new energy automobile market," he said at the launch in the southern city of Shenzhen, according to Auto 18, an online platform for China's auto industry.
A spokeswoman for the company confirmed the launch took place on Monday, but gave no other details.
BYD, which also specialises in making rechargeable batteries, only started making cars in 2003 when it bought a bankrupt state-owned auto company.
Its hybrid car is planned to first go on the market in 14 Chinese cities, and the firm is initially focusing on striking deals for company fleets rather than individuals, mycar168.com, another auto website, quoted Wang as saying.
The United States, meanwhile, is currently examining the F3DM to see if it meets the necessary standards for its domestic market, a spokesperson for the firm was quoted as saying by pcauto.com.cn, another car-focused web portal.
Exports to the United States could begin from 2010, according to the report.
The Prius hybrid electric car, made by Japan's Toyota, is currently sold in China, but the F3DM is the first locally made hybrid vehicle to hit the market.
Other carmakers in China have also manufactured these types of hybrid cars but never released them for public sale, said Duan Chengwu, a Shanghai-based technical analyst with international market research firm Global Insight.
The F3DM, meanwhile, has beaten Toyota and General Motors in the plug-in area, as the two companies only plan to launch hybrid cars that can be charged from home in 2009 and 2010 respectively, Duan said.
BYD's hybrid car, which can run 100 kilometres (62 miles) on a full battery, will cost just under 150,000 yuan (22,000 dollars).
Duan expressed doubt that the F3DM would initially be successful with Chinese customers because of the high price.
"In the initial stage, I don't think Chinese customers will buy a lot of these cars, but BYD wants to use them to test the waters," he said.
"Ultimately, though, this kind of car has a big potential in the Chinese market, and in the world market, because we all know we need new energy cars to solve the environmental and oil crisis problems."
Duan said Chinese automakers still lagged behind Western companies in conventional car technologies, but were at a similar level when it came to hybrids.
"The Chinese manufacturers have the opportunity to leapfrog the traditional technologies and to gain a leading position in terms of new energy cars," he said.
World's First Mass-Produced Plug-in Hybrid Car on Sale in China
SHENZHEN, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- The first mass-produced plug-in hybrid car in the world, manufactured by Chinese auto maker BYD, went on sale on Monday in the southern city of Shenzhen.
"The F3DM is the world's first hybrid car that is not reliant on specialized electric charging stations. It is the cutting-edge product to the global green auto industry," said president of BYD Wang Chuanfu of the new car.
The car can run up to 100 kilometers on its electric engine and shift to a gasoline engine when it runs low on power. It has beaten hybrid cars by Toyota and General Motors that could run just 25 km before recharging.
The car's battery can be charged in nine hours from a regular electrical outlet or within an hour at BYD's charging stations. The battery can be recharged up to 4,000 times.
The new model's retail price was less than 150,000 yuan (about 21,428 U.S. dollars), about the same as many home-made mid-sized sedans.
It was welcomed by governments and state-owned banks. The city government of Shenzhen and China Construction Bank have pledged to buy some of the cars in support of the project. The provincial government of Guangdong also said it would "help accelerate promoting BYD's hybrid car project".
Analysts said the new car would need more government support to keep its feet in the market because its price was much higher than the company's current F3 mid-sized sedan, on which the new vehicle was based.
Zhang Xin, an auto analyst with Shanghai-based Guotai Junan Securities, said BYD had chosen the right way to gain a leading position in the global market, but it would take some time before consumers accepted the new car.
BYD is a private company based in Shenzhen. It started out as a battery maker and now is the world's No. 1 supplier of Nickel-battery, cellphone used Li-battery and keypad. In 2003, the company bought Tsinchuan Automobile Company Limited to begin its auto business.
U.S. investor Warren E. Buffett has a 9.89 percent stake in the Hong Kong listed company.
Short Supply: American-made Electric Car Batteries
December 7, 2008
The key component for America's automotive rebirth isn't even made here.
The Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car was on display at the 2009 EDTA conference. Production models due out in 2009 will be powered by lithium ion battery cells manufactured in Asia, as are virtually all hybrid car battery packs…
As Big 3 CEO's, the head of the UAW, and various invited economic experts appeared before Congress this week, one key witness was missing, which is ironic, because the success or failure of a revitalized American auto industry pivots around its presence.
That missing witness is an American advanced automotive battery manufacturing industry.
With all the talk on Capitol Hill this week about Big 3's plans to introduce advanced, plug-in electric cars, with the CEO's dramatically arriving to testify in conventional hybrids and advanced prototype plug-in models, little if any attention was paid to the fact that America has next to no advanced automotive lithium ion battery production capacity.
With the exception of a currently shrinking handful of US-based firms, virtually all advanced nickel metal hydride (NiMH) and lithium ion (Li-ion) production is done overseas, mainly in China, Japan and Korea.
Two Japanese companies: Panasonic and Sanyo produce nearly all of the batteries found in today's hybrids, including those manufactured by Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Nissan and Ford. And Panasonic, whose hybrid battery production JV is now largely owned by Toyota.
US-based Cobasys, originally founded as joint-venture between Troy, Michigan-based ECD and General Motors to produce NiMH batteries for the now extinct EV1 electric car, produces nickel-based batteries for the troubled giant's hybrids, but its fate is uncertain.
Between legal spats with Daimler and product quality issues with GM, as well as management problems, the joint venture with Chevron-Texaco remains, at best, a small player in a rapidly shifting market. Two other NiMH plays, Colorado-based NiLar and ElectroEnergy, which also produces lithium-based cells, have run into either technical obstacles or financial ones.
On the lithium ion battery front, the picture is much the same. The literally thousands of finger-sized cells that power the Tesla Roadster come from Asia. The same goes for the battery cells the Chevy Volt, the extended range electric car on which General Motors is pinning its future.
The battery "pack" in the Volt consists of a series of battery modules, each similar to the starter battery on a small car or motorcycle. Inside these modules are individual "cells", each rated at 2-3 volts. These are connected together to make a module, which is connected to all the other modules to make a single 16 kilowatt hour battery pack, giving the car a range of 40 miles on electric power only.
General Motors contracted with two firms to develop the battery pack for the Volt: Michigan-based Compact Power, Inc. (CPI) and Germany's Continental AG (Conti). CPI gets its cells from its parent, LG Chem, the giant Korean conglomerate. Conti partnered with Massachusetts-based A123 Technologies for their cells, but those cells are manufactured in China.
So the lithium battery technology inside the Volt "mule" -- a converted Chevy Cruze -- in which GM CEO Rick Wagner arrived on Capitol Hill for a second round of Congressional hearings, ultimately came from Asian manufacturers, not American ones.
There are just a tiny handful of North American lithium cell manufacturers that are actively engaged in producing cells for automotive applications.
Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls and French-based Saft have created a joint-venture -- JSC -- to produce advanced automotive batteries, but at the moment production is in France with product consigned for use in BMW and Mercedes hybrids in Europe.
ElectroEnergy, which originally hoped to manufacture a bi-polar NiMH battery, decided to acquire an abandoned lithium ion cell plant in Gainesville, Florida. Originally built by Energizer Holdings in the early 1990s, the plant closed without producing a single 18650 cell -- the kind that powers most laptop computers and digital cameras -- for commercial sale when cheaper, better Asian cells began to flood the market. It sat idle for a decade until ElectroEnergy acquired it, hoping to tap into the burgeoning market for lithium batteries. During the recent Electric Drive Transportation Association conference in Washington, D.C., the company president, Michael Reed announced that having run out of operating cash and potential investors, he was within days of going out of business, this despite having some $7 million dollars in orders.
Another US-based, advanced battery manufacturer, Altair Nanotechnologies, produced a small number of its advanced lithium ion batteries -- the cells themselves originally sourced from a Chinese partner -- for Phoenix Motorcars, which was using them for its electric truck conversion project. While initially showing very promising results in terms of fast charge capability and battery longevity, the company's automotive battery venture has yet to emerge from the custom prototype pack stage. Phoenix has had to turn to other potential suppliers.
One of those suppliers is Toronto-based Electrovaya, whose Superpolymertm chemistry was initially developed for laptop computers. Efforts by the State of New York to woo the company into a building a plant in its economically depressed Upstate region have made little headway as Electrovaya increasingly turns it attention to India and Europe. It is collaborating with Indian industrial giant Tata and a Norwegian company to build an all-electric car in Scandinavia. It is also studying building a battery plant in India, the home of its co-founder, Dr. Sankar DasGupta.
The advanced lithium ion batteries in the Segway scooter -- and now the Brammo electric motorcycle -- come from Austin, Texas-based Valence. However, actual cell production is, again, in China.
The one bright spot at the moment in all-American advanced automotive battery manufacturing is EnerDel and its Ener1 battery production unit. The Indianapolis-based manufacturer is developing packs to power the Th!nk City electric car in Norway, which is slated for a US introduction sometime around 2010. According to EnerDel Chairman Charles Gassenheimer, the company is also in discussions with at least two other OEMs.
The firm's Indianapolis facilities produce both lithium ion cells and finished battery packs; and it recently acquired the third largest lithium cell manufacturer in Korea, obviously anticipating growth.
The Chicken and Egg Again
The most frequently voiced concern to EV World among both established and up-and-coming electric vehicle manufacturers and converters is the dearth of available advanced batteries. They just aren't to be had.
A large part of the problem is a lack of production capacity -- wildly fluctuating resource costs don't help either. From the supply of lithium salts in Chile and China, to over-extended assembly lines, the lithium battery industry, which only came into being just over a decade ago, is structured to produce cells and finished batteries for the portable electronics market, not the automotive market. Advanced automotive battery manufacturers are cranking out all the units they have the physical capacity -- and financial wherewithal -- to produce.
In the classic chicken-and-egg conundrum, lithium salt producers and battery manufacturers won't build additional capacity unless they have firm orders they can take to the bank, and even then -- as ElectroEnergy's Michael Reed has learned -- that isn't always a guarantee. Gambling with the future of one's company, be it in Santiago or Indianapolis, given the uncertainty of the auto industry worldwide, militates against any decisions to expand capacity, at least until the present fog of fear starts to dissipate. And no one is hazarding a guess when that might occur.
This has led to suggestions that local, state and federal agencies use their not-insigificant financial resources to place large, hard orders for advanced electric-drive vehicles, helping stimulate demand. U.S. President-electric Obama has pledged, where security allows, to shift The White House fleet of vehicles to plug-ins shortly after taking office next year. The U.S. Army announced it is looking to acquire electric vehicles.
All these are positive steps, but until investors and banks are willing to underwrite the growth of U.S.-based battery production capacity, encouraged by federal policy, the lion's share of plug-in vehicle battery production will remain offshore. While it can be argued that $50 billion in foreign battery imports is better than $500 billion in foreign oil imports, the nurturing of an America advanced battery production infrastructure seems critically important to the economic security of the nation.
Our aim should not be total independence from foreign sources of petroleum. That is neither practical nor necessary in a world of interdependent economies. Instead, the objective should be developing a sufficient degree of resilience against disruptions in imports. Think of resilience as the ability to absorb a significant disruption, bigger than what could be managed by drawing down the strategic oil reserve.
Our resilience can be strengthened by increasing diversity in the sources of our energy. Commercial, industrial, and home users of oil can already use other sources of energy. By contrast, transportation is totally dependent on petroleum. This is the root cause of our vulnerability.
Our goal should be to increase the diversity of energy sources in transportation. The best alternative to oil? Electricity. The means? Convert petroleum-driven miles to electric ones.
Electric miles do not necessarily mean relying on all-electric cars, which would require building an extensive and expensive infrastructure. They can be achieved by so-called plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). (Since many plug-in cars are modified hybrid automobiles, they are sometimes called PHEVs.) PEVs have both a gasoline-fueled engine and an electric motor. They first rely on the electricity stored onboard in a battery. When the battery is depleted, the vehicle continues to run on petroleum. The battery then can be charged when the vehicle is not in service.
The amount of gasoline a PEV consumes is dependent on the number of miles it is driven between the times when it is recharged. Let us explain this by simplifying the picture a bit. If the electric-only range is, say, 40 miles, and the number of miles driven between charges is less than 40, the vehicle uses no gas at all, so it’s not possible to calculate the miles per gallon. If the number of miles driven is greater than the electric range, the gas mileage starts out very high and then declines with the additional miles until the mileage approaches what an ordinary gasoline-powered vehicle would provide. Consequently, the fuel performance of the vehicle is defined by a curve (exhibit). The 40-mile mark was chosen because it is a good range to shoot for. More than 80 percent of the cars on US roads are driven less than that distance daily.
We believe the United States should consider accelerating this movement by creating an industry of after-market retrofitters. What problems—technical and economic—would need to be solved in order to do that? With the help of a team of second-year graduate students in our Bass seminar at the Stanford Business School, we examined this question in the context of a proposed pilot program, whose aim would be to retrofit one million vehicles in three years. We felt that such a project would represent what in game theory is referred to as the “minimum winning game”: a significant step toward a long-term strategic objective.
We estimate the price tag of such a pilot project to be around $10 billion, owing to the present high cost of batteries, which are around $10,000 each. One might expect such costs to drop as volume increases, but because this program is accelerated by design, we have to assume that batteries will remain expensive. Assuming an average gas price of $3 per gallon, the payback period to the owner of a retrofitted vehicle is at least ten years, not a strong economic incentive. But the benefits of this program—testing and validating a key approach to energy resilience—accrue to the well-being of the United States at large. As the general population is the predominant beneficiary, economic assistance flowing from everyone to vehicle owners, in the form of tax incentives, is justified.
There are different approaches to retrofitting vehicles. We favor GM’s Volt design, in which the car is directly driven by an electric motor. The vehicle’s existing gasoline engine is replaced by a smaller one, whose sole purpose is to generate electricity and recharge the battery. To simplify the retrofitting task, we would limit the scope of the program to six to ten Chevrolet, Ford, and Dodge models, selected on the basis of two criteria: low fuel efficiency and large numbers of vehicles on the road. Most of these vehicles would be SUVs, pick-ups, and vans.
Further, we propose targeting fleets of automobiles owned by corporations or government entities. That way, many retrofits could be performed at just a few locations. Fleet owners may also be motivated by a desire to support corporate or governmental green initiatives. However, some number of retrofits should also be performed on vehicles owned by individual consumers, exposing this process to that more demanding market segment.
Given the current difficult economic conditions, auto dealers and garage operators may well be attracted by this potential new source of revenue and be eager to participate, helping the program in its early stages.
The engineering and organizational issues involved in retrofitting on a large scale are far from trivial. The biggest problem, however, is the availability of batteries. The most suitable battery technology, which offers both a sufficient range and enough power to provide the acceleration required by today’s drivers, is the lithium-ion battery system. Current battery-manufacturing capacity is limited, and nearly all of it is dedicated to supplying batteries for the nearly 200 million laptop computers and other handheld electronic devices built each year. Making the batteries required for one million vehicles would mean doubling current manufacturing output.
There is another issue we need to consider. While there are many sources of the batteries’ raw materials—such as lithium and cobalt—battery manufacturing is almost exclusively based in China, Japan, and Korea. The reason can be found in history. When consumer-electronics manufacturing moved from the United States to Japan in the 1970s, battery manufacturing followed. Later, when laptop computers emerged, they and their portable power sources were also made in Asia. To avoid battery manufacturing becoming the next source of dependency, we have to build domestic technical and manufacturing capability. This will require large and patient investments. We can build on the technical expertise of some US universities, as well as national laboratories such as Argonne. In fact, one of the national laboratories could be placed in charge of the program. An appropriate target: by the end of the three years, making domestic sources for about half of the batteries required for this pilot program.
Another important goal is to improve the cost and quality of battery technology. Advances in material technology, experimenting with different chemicals, and the use of nanotechnology may all play a role in this. If the government makes a significant commitment to a program of electric miles, as we propose here, the venture-capital industry would likely respond to this signal. Large US high-tech companies currently on the sidelines may join as well. The overarching aim for all participants should be to develop an equivalent to Moore’s Law1 in battery technology.
The study of corporate transformations yields a valuable lesson. Whenever a business finds itself in the midst of a major upheaval, a critical situation—called a “strategic inflection point”—occurs. Leaders at such times must clearly articulate a strategy that, through transformation, aligns the capabilities of the corporation to the demands of the new environment. Only when such a match is achieved can the corporation seize the unique opportunity inflection points offer.
We are approaching the inevitable decline of oil availability—the mother of all inflection points—which gives the United States the opportunity to move into a more desirable strategic position. Today, we compete with countries whose richer natural resources give them a strategic advantage. If we shift transportation towards electric miles, we gain an opportunity to employ our own resources: newly energized governmental leadership, a tradition of high-volume manufacturing, and a culture of technological innovation. These capabilities and skills have served the United States well in the past, and the drive toward electric miles may help revitalize them. That result is every bit as important as the electric miles themselves.
EV World Forums (12/12/08)
French Gov't Sits on Unfavorable Electric Car Report
According to the Financial Times…the Sarkozy gov't in Paris commissioned a report on 'green vehicles' that it had originally intended to release around the time of the Paris Auto Show, but because of its negative assessment of the near-term prospects for electric cars, it has sat on the report, which is, however, available for DOWNLOAD in French.
Jamie Bevor, with the Energy Saving Trust in the UK kindly provided EV World with the gist of its conclusions:
7.1. La voiture électrique est pénalisée par les performances insuffisantes des batteries
EVs penalised by insufficient battery performance
7.2. Une volonté politique forte est nécessaire pour que le véhicule électrique se développe
Strong political will is necessary for EVs to develop
7.3. Les caractéristiques techniques des batteries disponibles actuellement appellent encore des développements importants
The technical characteristics of currently available batteries still call for significant development
7.4. Le véhicule électrique pur nécessite la création préalable d'une infrastructure pour la recharge des batteries
The EV will require the development of a recharging infrastructure
Politically inconvenient truth about electric cars
By Paul Betts and Song Jung-a
December 11 2008
President Nicolas Sarkozy would dearly like to end France’s rotating presidency of the European Union on a high note by brokering this week a deal on a grand European response to global warming and energy efficiency. The ultimate plan is to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent with member states at the same time drawing their future energy needs from clean renewable sources by the same percentage amount. Under the circumstances, it is no surprise that the automobile industry has found itself at the heart of the climate change debate.
Indeed, Mr Sarkozy’s own government commissioned months ago one of France’s leading energy experts – Jean Syrota, the former French energy industry regulator – to draw up a report to analyse all the options for building cleaner and more efficient mass-market cars by 2030. The 129-page report was completed in September to coincide with the Paris motor show. But the government has continued to sit on it and seems reluctant to ever publish it.
Yet all those who have managed to glimpse at the document agree that it makes interesting reading. It concludes that there is not much future in the much vaunted developed of all electric-powered cars. Instead, it suggests that the traditional combustion engine powered by petrol, diesel, ethanol or new biofuels still offers the most realistic prospect of developing cleaner vehicles. Carbon emissions and fuel consumption could be cut by 30-40 per cent simply by improving the performance and efficiency of traditional engines and limiting the top speed to about 170km/hr. Even that is well above the average top speed restriction in Europe, with the notable exception of Germany. New so-called “stop and start” mechanisms can produce further 10 per cent reductions that can rise to 25-30 per cent in cities. Enhancements in car electronics as well as the development of more energy efficient tyres, such as Michelin’s new “energy saver” technology, are also expected to help reduce consumption and pollution.
Overall, the Syrota report says that adapting and improving conventional engines could enhance their efficiency by an average of 50 per cent. It also argues that new-generation hybrid cars combining conventional engines with electric propulsion could provide an interesting future alternative.
By combining electric batteries with conventional fuel-driven engines, cars could run on clean electricity for short urban trips while switching over to fuel on motorways. This would resolve one of the biggest problems facing all electric cars – the need to install costly battery recharging infrastructures.
The report warns that the overall cost of an all-electric car remains unviable at around double that of a conventional vehicle. Battery technology is still unsatisfactory, severely limiting performance both in terms of range and speed. The electricity supply for these batteries would continue to come from mostly fossil sources.
The misgivings over the future of the electric car may explain why the French government appears to have spiked the report. It probably considers it politically incorrect, especially when some of Mr Sarkozy’s big business chums such as Vincent Bolloré and Serge Dassault are developing either electric cars and lobbying hard. Renault too has struck a deal with Israel to jointly develop a mass-market electric vehicle. To paraphrase Al Gore’s documentary on climate change, Paris may feel it is not the best of times to publicise the inconvenient truth about electric cars...
Best of both worlds from Fisker
By Steve Hughes
Dec 8 2008
STUNNING sports coupe is claiming economy averaging 100mpg when it arrives in Britain next year with a mission to take sales from BMW, Audi, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.
The new Fisker Karma will be a sports-oriented model that aims to offer the best of both worlds with outstanding driving dynamics and a fuel-efficient hybrid power source.
The American newcomer is being shown for the first time in its production-ready form ahead of its debut at the North American motor show in Detroit in January.
It is then expected to be manufactured at the rate of 15,000 a year, with the first deliveries arriving next November with prices from about £60,000.
The petrol-hybrid power system is similar to that used by Lexus to endow the car with silent and ultra-economical travel when using the lithium ion batteries only but with the potential for high-performance progress when the petrol engine kicks in. [IMPORTING THE BATTERIES FROM ASIA!!]
On battery power only the range is said to be about 50 miles, at which point the petrol engine cuts in automatically and recharges the batteries, which can also be charged at home overnight.
Fisker says that for commuters with a daily round-trip of 50 miles or less, the average economy over the course of a year will be in the region of 100mpg.
When used in petrol mode there is acceleration to 60mph in 5.8 seconds and the top speed is 125mph.
Fisker Automotive chief executive Henrik Fisker, says: "I am proud to announce that we are already sold out until mid-2010."
LG Chem, STMicroelectronics to improve hybrid car batteries
PR Newswire (December 11, 2008)
GENEVA, Dec 11, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), one of the world's leading semiconductor suppliers, and LG Chem, the largest Korean chemical company, have unveiled details of a new automotive battery pack that significantly extends the potential of electric and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), reducing both petrol consumption and CO2 emissions. The new battery pack combines LG Chem's lithium ion (Li-ion) battery technology and with a state-of-the-art battery management chip manufactured by ST.
Hybrid electric vehicles, which combine a conventional petrol-fueled Internal Combustion Engine with an electric-motor powered by a rechargeable battery, are becoming an increasingly important part of the automotive market because they can deliver greater fuel efficiency and reduce atmospheric pollution. Typically, today's HEVs use batteries based on Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) technology, which use simpler control circuits but are heavier and operate at lower voltages.
Li-ion batteries are widely used in portable consumer electronic equipment because they offer one of the best energy-to-weight ratios -- more than twice that of NiMH batteries -- with a very low self-discharge while not in use. However, their use in higher power applications has so far been limited because the charge/discharge cycle of Li-ion batteries must be carefully managed to protect the batteries from abuse condition. For this reason, Li-ion batteries must be combined with sophisticated and highly reliable electronic battery-management circuits in high-power applications.
The new Li-ion battery pack from LG Chem manages the charge/discharge cycle by incorporating an advanced battery-management chip, manufactured by ST, which enables safe and long-term reliability of Li-ion battery technology at affordable cost, even in applications as demanding as automotive powertrain systems.
"Accurate and reliable control of the battery charging and discharging cycles makes Li-ion technology applications the established choice for low-power consumer applications as well as a leading contender for future high-power," said Ph.D. MH Kim, the vice president of the Battery Research Institute of LG Chem. "As the world's number one supplier of power-management devices and one of the top suppliers of silicon chips to the automotive industry, ST was the natural choice to develop the silicon side of the battery pack to complement LG Chem's advanced Li-ion battery technology."
ST's battery-management chip is manufactured with the Company's proprietary BCD (Bipolar-CMOS-DMOS) technology, which combines digital logic circuits, precise analog measurement circuits and power-handling transistors in one silicon chip. A Battery Management System with these chips accurately controls the charging and discharging cycles of the battery to ensure safe operation and long battery life. Each chip can handle up to ten Li-ion cells and also includes an interface for communicating with other ST battery-management chips in a system. With this communication capability, as many as 32 battery-management chips can be connected in cascade to manage batteries that deliver up to 1600V to the electric motors.
BCD, often called smart power, is a semiconductor technology that allows ST to manufacture three fundamental components of electronic circuits on a single low-cost chip -- digital logic for high-speed computation, analog circuits for high-precision measurement and control, and power transistors that manage the flow of high electric currents. ST pioneered the technology and has led the market ever since, with its smart-power products used in high volume applications ranging from printers and fax machines to hard disk drives and the devices that manage the movement of windows and mirrors in cars.
"Reducing the consumption of fossil fuels and carbon-dioxide emissions is an integral part of ST's product development strategy," said Marco Monti, General Manager, Power Train and Safety Division, Automotive Product Group, STMicroelectronics. "We are proud that we've been able to adapt our power management and analog expertise with LG Chem to create a new solution that will enable Li-ion batteries to address increasingly higher power applications, from e-bikes to the most demanding public transport vehicles."
The LG Chem/ST solution reduces the cost and weight and increases the reliability of the Li-ion battery pack, enabling Li-ion technology to address new applications from electric scooters and bicycles to heavy trucks.
STMicroelectronics is a global leader in developing and delivering semiconductor solutions across the spectrum of microelectronics applications. An unrivalled combination of silicon and system expertise, manufacturing strength, Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio and strategic partners positions the Company at the forefront of System-on-Chip (SoC) technology and its products play a key role in enabling today's convergence markets. The Company's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, on Euronext Paris and on the Milan Stock Exchange. In 2007, the Company's net revenues were $10 billion. Further information on ST can be found at http://www.st.com/.
URL: http://www.st.com www.prnewswire.com
Copyright (C) 2008 PR Newswire. All rights reserved
[STMicroelectronics is a franco-italian electronics and semiconductor manufacturer headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. While STMicroelectronics corporate headquarters and the headquarters for Europe and emerging markets, are based in Geneva, the holding company, STMicroelectronics N.V. is registered in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Manufacturing facilities… Milan and Catania Italy… Grenoble, France… Rousset, France… Tours, France… Ang Mo Kio, Singapore… Greater Noida and Bangalore, India… See: STMicroelectronics, Wikipedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STMicroelectronics ].
America Must Rebuild Domestic Battery Manufacturing Infrastructure
By John Peterson
December 15, 2008
Last Thursday I briefly touched on several highpoints from a recent report by Merrill Lynch cleantech strategist Steven Milunovich, The Sixth Revolution: The Coming of Cleantech. In my closing, I suggested that if the report’s analysis is accurate and energy storage becomes a key enabling technology for the cleantech revolution, then it won’t be long before governments begin treating battery manufacturing companies as strategic national assets and adopting regulations, industrial policies and tariffs that are designed to favor their home country’s business interests. [SERVING AS DISGUISED TRADE PROTECTIONISM & PRESENTING A NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT??] That observation started the mental snowball rolling downhill and I’ve spent several days pondering the question “Exactly where will all those batteries come from?” My preliminary analysis is more than a little disturbing.
Oil is a basic commodity that is consumer ready after minimal refining. The oil business can be quite profitable for resource owners, producers, refiners, distributors and employees who move petroleum products from the wellhead to the gas pump, but ancillary economic benefits to producing states are modest. Rechargeable batteries, on the other hand, are durable goods that are mainly used as components in other high-value manufactured products. This means that every battery produced creates a host of ancillary economic opportunities for the producing state.
America’s trading partners understand that exporting raw materials and components generates less economic benefit than exporting manufactured products. So while we have historically been at the front of the line when it came to buying oil from less developed countries, we will likely be pushed to the back of the line when it comes to buying batteries in bulk from countries that have or are building an industrial base. Let’s be realistic here, no self-respecting trading partner is going to sell components for products if it thinks it can sell finished products instead. Despite my unwavering support for the free flow of goods in the global market, I am not the least bit comfortable with the idea that America’s future should be subject to economic and industrial policy decisions made by foreign governments.
Most discussions of battery technology speak in terms of “battery packs” without ever describing what a battery pack is. In essence, a battery pack is nothing more than a number of individual cells that are put into a container and then hard-wired to provide the desired power characteristics. In the case of a lead-acid battery, the typical format is six cells in a rigid plastic box. In the case of NiMH and Li-ion batteries, the basic building block is the same cell you have in your mobile phone or camera. So if you want to power a laptop computer you’ll need battery pack with 12 to 16 cells; if you want to power an electric bicycle you’ll need a battery pack with 50 to 100 cells; if you want to power HEV you’ll need a battery pack with about 1,000 cells; and if you want to power an electric car you’ll need a battery pack with about 5,000 cells.
I’ve previously said that battery prices are almost meaningless in the context of a cell phone or laptop computer because battery cost is typically less than 5% of the retail purchase price. I’ve also said that battery prices will be a critical market driver in the case of an HEV that needs a $5,000 to $10,000 battery pack or an electric car that needs a $25,000 to $50,000 battery pack. While I’ve not delved into the intricate economics of a competitive market for batteries, it’s safe to say that a cell phone or laptop manufacturer will generally be less worried about battery prices than an electric bicycle manufacturer; who will generally be less worried about battery prices than an HEV manufacturer; who will generally be less worried about battery prices than an electric car manufacturer. In other words, the more you spend for the batteries that power your product, the more you worry about battery prices.
Readers who’ve been following my articles for any length of time know that I’m unrepentant critic of proposals to use NiMH and Li-ion batteries for the heavy work of powering vehicles and supporting the electric grid. I know that NiMH batteries are currently used in all of the available HEVs and I understand that Li-ion is the presumptive leader in the search for a new EV beauty queen. That knowledge, however, does not change the fact that using NiMH and Li-ion battery packs for transportation and grid support is like using 5,000 hamsters to pull a stagecoach. They may get the job done, but can we really afford to pay the price?
In my opinion, the insurmountable obstacles that will preclude the widespread use of Li-ion battery packs in electric vehicles and grid-support applications include:
· Product costs that are beyond the means of all but the most wealthy members of society;
· Cost benefit equations that only work for the mathematically challenged or emotionally committed;
· Capital intensive manufacturing infrastructure that simply doesn’t exist in the Americas;
· Intense competition for batteries that will be used in devices that have greater price flexibility;
· Reliance on manufacturers that are subject to foreign economic and industrial development policies;
· Reliance on rare and expensive raw materials that are imported from less-developed countries;
· Spotty product safety and performance histories that are improving but far from pristine;
· Product performance profiles that exceed reasonable application requirements several times over;
· Mature technology with little potential for new economies of scale or performance enhancements; and
· Unproven ability to recycle old batteries and use the recovered materials to make new batteries.
One of best parts of being an outspoken contrarian on a site like Seeking Alpha is that you get an extraordinary opportunity to hear why a host of readers believe you’re wrong.
At last count, my 22 articles had drawn something on the order of 430 reader comments, so I like to think I have a pretty fair sense of the prevailing beliefs, prejudices, expectations and misconceptions. It’s interesting but not surprising to note that people who want to promote a particular opinion, philosophy, product or equity are usually responsible for the most egregious misrepresentations. I am not an unbiased observer when it comes to battery technology, but at least I’m honest about where my personal interests might conflict with or impair my objectivity.
Benjamin Disraeli reportedly said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”
In the battery industry, the most common statistical lies are based on the preposterous premise that the highest and best example of lead-acid battery technology can be found under the hood of your family car. It’s a garbage assumption that leads to garbage statistics, but it’s so insidiously reasonable sounding that people blithely accept the statistics without asking the critical question, “So how does your exotic battery chemistry compare with the best lead-acid technology?”
The following is a compendium of the cherished mythologies and incontrovertible realities that I’ve assembled from six months of reader comments.
Cherished Mythology: Lead-acid batteries are rust-belt technology.
Incontrovertible Reality: Lead-acid chemistry was ignored for almost four decades while fortunes were spent on NiMH and Li-ion research and development for portable electronics. Today, lead-acid researchers have access to materials and manufacturing methods that did not exist 40 years ago. When researchers began to evaluate the potential impact of new materials and manufacturing methods on lead-acid chemistry, the result was almost magical. The simple fact is that lead-acid batteries have advanced more in the last five years than NiMH and Li-ion batteries have since they were introduced.
Cherished Mythology: Lead-acid batteries are environmental hazards.
Incontrovertible Reality: With recycling rates approaching 99%, lead-acid batteries are the most highly recycled product on the planet and substantially all of the materials recovered through recycling can be used to make new batteries. Neither NiMH nor Li-ion chemistries can even come close to matching the natural resource efficiency and environmental safety of lead-acid batteries.
Cherished Mythology: Li-ion batteries are one-quarter of the weight of their lead-acid equivalents.
Incontrovertible Reality: The quest for safer Li-ion batteries slashed theoretical energy densities by 50% and significantly reduced the weight advantage. The recent introduction of Firefly Energy’s foam electrode technology has improved the energy density of advanced lead-acid batteries while reducing Li-ion’s weight advantage even further. Li-ion batteries still offer a modest weight advantage, but it’s ridiculous to agonize over weight in the context of a 3,000-pound car or a grid-connected power storage installation.
Cherished Mythology: NiMH and Li-ion batteries have more power than lead-acid batteries.
Incontrovertible Reality: The recent introductions of battery-supercapacitor hybrids like CSIRO’s Ultrabattery and Axion Power’s (AXPW.OB) PbC battery have improved the power profile of advanced lead-acid batteries to a level that’s competitive with NiMH and Li-ion batteries at a fraction of the cost.
Cherished Mythology: NiMH and Li-ion batteries have far longer cycle-lives than lead-acid batteries.
Incontrovertible Reality: The theoretical cycle-life of a battery is a gee-whiz number until it is compared with the needs of a specific product. If an EV will be recharged 350 times per year and the vehicle will have a 10-year useful life, anything over 3,500 cycles is waste. CSIRO’s ultrabattery technology reduces sulfation (the main cause of lead-acid battery failure) and Axion’s PbC technology eliminates the problem entirely. When development and testing of these recent innovations is fully documented, I expect the cycle-life differences between the major battery chemistries to be inconsequential.
Cherished Mythology: NiMH and Li-ion batteries will improve as the technology matures.
Incontrovertible Reality: NiMH and Li-ion batteries are already fully mature technologies. There have been big improvements in the safety of Li-ion batteries over the last 20 years, but those improvements have always come at the cost of reduced energy density. The only performance metric that keeps improving is cycle-life, which is already far too long for most real-world applications.
Cherished Mythology: NiMH and Li-ion batteries will get cheaper as demand increases.
Incontrovertible Reality: Roughly 75% of the cost of any battery is raw materials and NiMH and Li-ion batteries have been mainline industrial products for the last 20 years. Substantially all of the cost savings that can be realized have already been achieved. The only thing increased demand will do at this point is drive a relentless upward spiral in raw materials prices.
Cherished Mythology: Li-ion batteries are a silver bullet solution to energy storage problems.
Incontrovertible Reality: Li-ion batteries may well be the best storage solution for small format energy storage needs including cellular phones, power tools, portable computers, electric bicycles and hybrid scooters. Their cost effectiveness falls off dramatically when the battery pack is bigger than a breadbox. Even if Li-ion batteries could be cost effective in power-hungry applications like EVs and grid support applications, sound economics and rational industrial policies in producer states will invariably favor the production of 5,000 cell phones or 300 to 400 laptop computers over the production of a single EV.
Cherished Mythology: Plug-in electric vehicles provide a cost-effective path to a clean energy future.
Incontrovertible Reality: Plug-in electric vehicles may provide dramatic sound bites for politicians, car companies and environmentalists, but pure electric vehicles cannot be paying propositions until gas prices are far higher than they have ever been. Just this afternoon, I read that President Sarkozy is refusing to release a government-sponsored report that says EVs don’t make sense in France despite the fact that the bulk of French electric power comes from nuclear plants. The cheapest price I’ve seen reported for an EV battery is a $17,500 battery pack from Ener1 (HEV) that will power the Th!nk City, a bare bones commuter car that would likely get 50 mpg with a gasoline engine or 60 to 75 mpg with a diesel. If you depreciate the battery pack over 10 years and include 5% imputed interest on the unamortized balance, you’ll need to realize $22,313 in fuel savings to recover your hard costs. At 15,000 miles a year and 50 mpg for a similar gasoline powered car, you can’t break even on the battery unless gas costs more than $7.44 per gallon.
The Milunovich report is an exceptional work and I can’t disagree with any of his conclusions. I do, however, think he overlooked one critical issue – the rapidly accelerating rate of change. Historically, technical revolutions evolved over decades. During my lifetime, each major round of changes has evolved more rapidly than the last and been more pervasive and far-reaching. I believe the cleantech revolution will evolve far faster than anyone can imagine and while the cleantech revolution may have started in the U.S. and Europe, it has already become an unstoppable global force. We may not be ready for the tsunami of change the cleantech revolution promises, but it’s already here and our only remaining choice is to adapt or be swept away. We need to get up tomorrow morning, go to work with the toolbox we own, solve our problems as best we can and be eager to adapt new tools when they arise.
The pure play public companies that have the potential to make a meaningful difference in America’s energy storage future include Enersys (ENS), Exide Technologies (XIDE), C&D Technologies (CHP) Ultralife (ULBI), Axion Power International (AXPW.OB) and ZBB Energy (ZBB). The companies that have the potential to make a difference in Asia and Europe include Advanced Battery Technology (ABAT), China BAK Batteries (CBAK), Hong Kong Highpower (HPJ), Maxwell Technologies (MXWL) and SAFT Batteries (SGPEF.PK). The rest bear watching but are too immature or overvalued for me to seriously discuss them as potential investments.
Rational industrial policy dictates that our global trading partners will want to sell us finished goods instead of bulk components. Fundamental economics dictates that products like cell phones, laptops, power tools, electric bicycles and hybrid scooters will be more responsive to battery price changes than bulk products for EVs and grid support applications. In combination, these factors lead me to the inescapable conclusion that we cannot afford to use NiMH or Li-ion technology for EVs or grid support, and even if we could the battery producing countries cannot afford to reduce their production of other battery powered products to make room for our profligate demands.
America’s ability to profit from the cleantech revolution looks bleak unless it takes immediate and decisive steps to rebuild its domestic battery manufacturing infrastructure. Dithering, debating and daydreams are no longer options.
Disclosure: Author holds a large long position in Axion Power International, recently bought small long positions in Exide and Enersys and may make additional storage sector investments in the future.
Is San Francisco’s E.V. Grid More Than a Dream?
By Jim Motavalli
New York Times
December 2, 2008, 2:25 pm
Nissan eRogue, an electric-vehicle conversion being used by Better Place.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental lawyer, says if you spend a few minutes with Shai Agassi, founder and chief executive of Better Place, a venture-backed start-up in Palo Alto, Calif., you come away a true believer in his vision of an electric-car future.
Indeed, Mr. Agassi is quite a talker.
“What we’re envisioning here is the perfect blueprint for saving the car industry,” Mr. Agassi said recently, when he and Mr. Kennedy shared a podium with the mayors of San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland. The occasion was to announce Better Place’s latest green-car partnership and its first in the United States.
“It’s a massive infrastructure project, so it will create jobs, all the while reducing oil imports,” Mr. Agassi said. “And if we do it correctly it will dramatically cut global warming emissions.”
The plan is to build recharging stations around the Bay Area starting in 2010, which Mr. Agassi said he hopes will lead to the deployment of 100,000 electric cars by 2012.
Mr. Agassi is developing similar partnerships in Hawaii, Israel, Denmark and Australia and has raised $200 million to realize his dream of integrated charging networks for electric cars.
According to the Better Place vision, charging stations (at homes, office buildings and parking garages) will be combined with battery-swapping locations along popular routes. Drivers running out of juice can make a pit stop, swap out an empty battery with a fully charged one and be back on the road in under three minutes.
The plan for the Bay Area network includes 100 battery-swap stations, Mr. Agassi said. And there could be as many as 250,000 individual charging locations. Participants in the plan would own the cars, but not the lithium-ion batteries. They would buy into mileage plans that would give them access to charging stations and battery swapping.
At least that’s the plan, but the scenario is complicated by several factors, including that mass production of high-performance, affordable battery packs appears to be years away.
Better Place imagines a fully automated station that would carry all manufactured batteries “so that any electric vehicle with a swappable battery, regardless of make or model, can pull in and be serviced.” But a jumble of battery types from various automakers, without industry-wide standardization, could obviously turn such a plan into a nightmare.
And despite Mr. Agassi’s track record in raising money, his United States plan does require a certain leap of faith in the current economy.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the project will depend on raising $1 billion over three years “through equity from pension funds and other institutions.” Mr. Agassi says he needs $200 million to $250 million to begin installing the E.V. infrastructure in San Francisco.
Finally, there’s the question of where all the electric cars will come from.
The Better Place plan depends on the widespread rollout of battery E.V.’s, which are barely available in the market. And the 100,000-electric car target for the Bay Area is very optimistic. Better Place does not have a major automaker partner in the United States, Julie Mullins, a Better Place spokeswoman, said in an e-mail message, but talks are ongoing with most major auto companies.
Renault and Nissan has committed to building electric vehicles for Better Place’s Danish and Israeli ventures, along with E.V. grids in Oregon, Sonoma County, Calif., and Tennessee, where Nissan has its United States headquarters. And talks are continuing about San Francisco, said Mark Perry, director of product planning for Nissan North America. “We have not ruled it out,” he said. “We absolutely need infrastructure deployed for electric automobiles to be successful, and a single operator makes it easier.”
Better Place’s road show includes a Nissan Rogue converted to electric drive, but Better Place says it has no plans to get into the E.V. conversion business.
Despite the uncertainties, Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco, has become a cheerleader for the project. The three participating Bay Area mayors, he said, have agreed to coordinate local permitting, tax incentives and zoning practices to help the plan.
“I’m a guy who’s driving a hybrid, but I don’t feel particularly good about that,” he said. “I believe the big game-changer is electric vehicles and plug-in technology.”
Last spring, Mr. Newsom traveled to Israel, where Better Place is hoping to conduct testing in 2010 and make its plan available to the public in 2011. Some 50 parking lots in central Israel are being fitted with charging spots, Mr. Agassi said. But the infrastructure operation there is still in its early stages.
For its part, San Francisco is fully committed to “the idea that E.V.’s will replace fossil-fuel cars and trucks on the road,” said Nathan Ballard, a spokesman for the mayor. “Ultimately, the vision is to have a charging station at every parking space.”
In France, following on from the Kyoto protocol, the Syrota Report has just revealed that the objectives of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by a factor of 4 by 2050 will only result in a reduction of 2,1 to 2,4 times their current level.
[BELOW IS A ROUGH ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF CHAPTER 7 OF THE REPORT]
Centre d’analyse stratégique (Center of strategic analysis)
Conseil général des mines (General Advice of the Mines)
Mission « Véhicule 2030 »
28 septembre 2008
7. The electric vehicle, which with the advantage of not emitting directly polluting gas, suffers from too many handicaps to be able to claim to substitute massively for the thermal vehicle .............................................64
7.1. The electric car is penalized by the insufficient performances of batteries ....................................................................................................65
7.2. A strong political will is necessary so that the electric vehicle develop .....................................................................................................69
7.3. Features of the currently available batteries still significant developments ...........................................................................................70
7.3.1. Current dominant technologies should leave the place to technologies soon containing lithium ........................................................70
7.3.2. The stakes of the storage of electricity in the batteries lie primarily in autonomy, the time of refill, reliability and the cost .................................. 73
7.3.3. The battery lithium-ion represents the most probable option with a future for the vehicle private individual .................................................................................................76
7.4. The pure electric vehicle requires the preliminary creation of an infrastructure for the refill of the batteries …............................................. 78
…The history of auto industry shows that the electric vehicle of urban use or périurbain is a very old idea in auto industry. The electric vehicle was exceeded by the vehicle been driven by an internal combustion engine at the beginning of the XXe century. For as much, many attempts were carried out during second half of XXe century to introduce electric vehicles. The electric vehicle returns today to the mode, in a context of price of the high raw materials and fight against climate change. Until the end of the XIXe century, electricity was perceived like only driving energy able to compete with the vapor. But the autonomy very limited of the first lead-acid batteries (invented by Gaston Planted in 1839) and with the cadmium-nickel (1892) quickly promoted it electric vehicle with the only row of urban vehicle: with the gasoline long distances, electricity the short ones! (p.64)
What was true more than one century ago is always today: technically the performances limited of the batteries, their weight, their reliability, their longevity and their cost remain, in spite of made progress and to come, of very heavy handicaps. One finds the two primary reasons of the non-viability of the electric vehicle which explains the failure of the retries of the electric car of the years 1980. The electric car is always currently defined on the basis of tested concept: a simple chain of traction, not of gear box, a system of always bulky and especially heavy embarked energy (from 100 to 200 kilogrammes) which can represent up to 20% of the total weight of the vehicle, a cost representing still today half of the total costs (approximately the price of the system of battery is today equivalent to the price of a thermal vehicle of the same category); on the other hand the quasi-total absence of polluting emissions on the level of the local use (provided the devices of heating and air-conditioning do not use fuels like the LPG or the gasoline) remains, beside the silence of operation, the principal advantage of the electric vehicle. Important technological advances, such as that of the “engine-wheel” (regrouping on the level of each wheel of the functions of suspension, of damping, traction and braking) or new technologies of battery with polymeric lithium/, would be likely to improve the assessment of the electric vehicle.
… But two major uncertainties always affect the economic model of the vehicle electric: on the one hand uncertainty on the longevity of the batteries, whose cost can represent half of the total costs of the electric vehicle, on the other hand uncertainty concerning the evolution of the tax on electricity being used for the refill of the batteries.
7.1. The electric car is penalized by the insufficient performances batteries The development of the electric vehicle must surmount several obstacles: · The too limited performance of the batteries of which l' mass energy lies between 30 and approximately 200 Wh/kg, whereas the density of energy of the liquid fuels (gasoline, gas oil) exceeds 10.000 Wh/kg, which represents 50 times more than the best current accumulators. The variation of output enters an electrical motor and a thermal engine (80% - 65% in taking account of the output of the operations of load-discharge of the batteries - against 25%) is insufficient to give to the electric vehicles autonomies comparable with thermal vehicles. · Duration necessary to reload the batteries: on an ordinary socket-outlet (220 V, 15A), it takes indeed approximately 6 hours to reload an electric vehicle. (p.65)
That be explained by very the low power that delivers a standard electrical outlet (approximately 3 kw). As comparison, when one fills the tank with gasoline to a service station, the vehicle receives 50 liters in 5 minutes. The equivalent power of refill is then of 6 MW thermal or 1,5 MW useful if l' one takes account of the thermal efficiency of the engine. There is thus a factor from approximately 500 between the flow of energy of an electrical outlet and the flow of a petrol station. This difference would be reduced by the use of catches of load which deliver 35 kw, that is to say a ratio from 1 to 40 compared to a petrol station. The single one device making it possible to transfer as much from energy an electric vehicle than in the case of a thermal vehicle is the exchange of batteries, operation which is used today for wire data buses (for which the organization of volumes allows an easier handling) and which is in the course of development for the electric cars (in particular within the framework of the Renault project in Israel describes further).
· Uncertainty on the autonomy of the electric vehicles: this uncertainty is not news and is explained by the incomplete character of the standardized tests (cycle NEDC for Europe). Cycle NEDC (“New european driving cycle”) used in Europe, inter alia, to evaluate the levels of emission of the engines, corresponds to a cycle of one 20 minutes duration conduit including/understanding 4 cycles repeated of urban type (ECE-15) and a cycle of control on road (EUDC); it is supposed being representative of the usual use of a car in Europe. Other standardized tests use different cycles of homologation, the such mode “10-15” used in Japan and summarily described Ci below; this cycle, one shorter duration (12 minutes of control), includes/understands only 3 cycles of urban control and is based on a lower mean velocity downtown as on road.
These tests do not take into account the consumption of the accessories (headlights, essuieglaces, de-icing postpones…) and especially heating or the cooling of the cockpit. However the thermal management of the cockpit can very largely reduce the autonomy of an electric vehicle. The calculations carried out by the School of the mines of Paris, the ADEME and the INRETS showed that automobile air-conditioning could absorb between 1 kw (surrounding air with 25°C, temperature of instruction with 20°C) and 3 kw (surrounding air with 40°C, temperature of instruction with 20°C). Moreover, the heating in winter proves to be a large-scale consumer of energy, whose consumption is higher than air-conditioning in the case of very cold countries (case of strongly negative outside temperatures). The heating of an electric vehicle poses a specific problem because, contrary to the thermal vehicle, it does not have a free source of heat (exhaust fumes). Thus, one can note that thermal management can generate overconsumptions such as they will reduce significantly the autonomy of the vehicles. In addition to the thermal regulation of the cockpit, it is necessary to take account of all the other equipment consuming energy, which goes from the windscreen wipers to the heating of rear window, the radio, lighting. These consumers, who are not taken either into account in the traditional tests of homologation, represent on average 0,6 kw and can to reach more than 1 kw (source: Automotive Handbook, Bentley Publishers).
Thus, between the theoretical consumption of an electric vehicle, as measured on a cycle NEDC, and real consumption, one must take account of the potential impact of a whole of equipment which can require an electric output of approximately 2,5 kw in cases of use of air-conditioning and up to 4 kw under extreme conditions. (p.66)
One can analyze the impact of such overconsumptions on one electric vehicle. One takes here, as example, the case of one convey whose tests of autonomy on standardized cycle were carried out. It is about Mitsubishi i-mev, currently in test with Japan and from which marketing will begin in 2009. It acts of a small urban vehicle (in Europe this vehicle would belong to segment known as of “small town” a length included/understood between 2,5 and 3,6 m), of a mass of 1080 kg. Be driven by an engine of 47 kw of power, this vehicle has an autonomy of 160 km in cycle standardized “10-15” (Japanese standard) and is equipped with batteries of 16 kWh. Profile of the cycle of homologation “10 15” are represented opposite; one can note that it corresponds with a way of type the urban/perish-urban. Cycle Japanese homologation “10-15” The mean velocity on this cycle is of 25 km/h. That means that the vehicle i-mev requires an average power of 2,5 kw for its traction. One can thus conclude that of urban real use, the autonomy of an electric vehicle could be reduced by half, if the auxiliaries would require 2,5 kw. These calculations do not take account of possible progress which could be made on the systems of air-conditioning, the such introduction of heat pumps, or of the other improvements that the manufacturers will have to bring to their vehicles to reduce their consumption electric.
· A high cost: today the electric vehicle must support an approximately double cost of that of a conventional thermal vehicle. One of the reasons comes owing to the fact that it electric vehicle requires the introduction of a battery of great capacity (at least ten kWh) whose cost is at least of approximately 500 $/kWh, which does one of them component which counts for almost 10.000 $ in the cost price of a vehicle. By elsewhere, the technological advancements and the economies of scale related to series productions are today difficult to anticipate so much the future size of the market is dubious.
· Need for building the infrastructure necessary to the power supply of the electric vehicles. It is not a technological problem so much (catches of loads…) that a problem of investments: indeed, the electric vehicle is with urban vocation or périurbaine, and at least requires a very broad deployment of catches of refill which makes it possible users to reload their vehicle during the night but also during the day if they wish it. That would thus suppose to equip the bays parking public, the underground car parks, the garages (for those which have a house), but also more generally carparks of company, even carparks of parking places such supermarkets. Such a network of surface thus is essential and the multiplication of the terminals public with chart (subject on which currently EDF works) poses problems of influence on the ground, of safety (electrocution, ill will…) and, more largely, of standardization: a deployment of electric vehicles requires that actors as many as car manufacturers, energeticians, local government agencies define standards for the connector industry, electric meters, because each car must be able to be reloaded indifferently on any catch. One should not underestimate the difficulty of such a process: abundant examples on the wars of standards in the electronics industry (standards for the SVS, digital television, the Internet on mobile phone…) show that these processes are generally long because of the great number of implied actors. (p. 67)
· Impact dominating of the conditions of production of electricity. It is important finally to note that, if the environmental impact of the electric vehicle is very weak on its place of use (the electric vehicle could remove the downtown areas from nitrogen oxides, fine particles, noise of the cars…, the environmental real issue is upstream during the manufacture of electricity. (pp. 67-68)
Prevalence of the production nuclear in France does not have to make only forget, in the majority of the other countries with world, a significant share of electricity comes from thermo plants coal-fired, with the lignite, gas or the fuel. Many calculations make it possible to include/understand in which cases the assessment CO2 of an electric vehicle are better than that of a vehicle thermics. The following table, proposed by EDF, gives some orders of magnitude and watch that, if the total assessment is favorable in France to the electric vehicle compared to a vehicle gasoline/diesel means, it is very right for it on a European scale and it is not it on a worldwide scale any more.
This kind of comparison must however be interpreted with much prudence: · On the one hand, this comparison diesel gasoline/and electricity are not equitable because it does not take account of the differences in performances (top speed, power) between the two types of vehicles: an electric vehicle of which top speed is usually today limited to 110-120 km/h, the same use does not have as a truck with conventional propulsion being able to reach 160-250 km/h. Known as differently, a gasoline car, used like the east an electric car, would undoubtedly see its characteristics of consumption and singularly modified gas emissions. An equitable comparison would probably result in dividing about by two the emissions of the vehicles diesel gasoline/. It results from it that a thermal vehicle of small size, having a low power (thus road performances comparable with those of an electric vehicle) and a very reduced consumption would be favorable from the point of view of the CO2 emissions and could take a market share.
· In addition, these figures are completely theoretical since they do not take into account two important realities: air-conditionings consume much and the downtown areas are bottled. Indeed, the consumption of an electric vehicle is modified when air-conditioning is requested, just as the consumption of a thermal vehicle is sensitive to the level of congestion traffic.
It thus should be admitted that the balance between the two assessments does not have anything obvious (except in France where the electric one has a comparative advantage thanks to its park of hydraulic and nuclear production) and which the interest, on the plan of the total CO2 emissions, of the electric vehicle should do the object of studies much thorough. But, in any event, it appears not very probable that are produced in great quantities of the cars which would be specifically French. (pp. 68)
7.2. A strong political will is necessary so that the vehicle electric develops Today, the new context gives the topicality on the urban electric vehicles: price of the energy matters high, policies to fight against gases with greenhouse effects and local pollution, environmental standards more constraining… Qualities of a use urban of the electric vehicle explain why this option returns today on in front of scene; one can even say that it took the changing of the combustible battery and hydrogen like idea to the mode. Thus, of the technological initiatives, commercial and political are born. Forts of failures passed, the actors intervene with more a greatest caution and try to tackle the question of the infrastructures, conscious that difficulties of storage of electrical energy attach the use of the electric vehicle. The electric vehicle profits right now from an implicit incentive because of the methods of calculating of the CO2 emissions of the whole of the ranges of vehicles marketed by manufacturers: the electric vehicle being entered for zero emission, sound development artificially makes decrease the average figures of emission and its appearance in a catalogue manufacturer will enable him to respect the objectives more easily total waited as regards CO2 emission.
Only a political will strong and constant, on the level so much of the State (taxation, tariff policy of electricity) that local government agencies (financing of the infrastructures, limitations of circulation in the downtown areas, tolls urban), will be likely to cause the validation of a durable economic model so that it convey very electric finds a place in the decades to come. This place will be probably minority (the most optimistic actors speak about 15% of the park car) and limited to the urban use or périurbain, in priority in the zones with strong local environmental constraint and for captive fleets.
The State of Israel provided in 2008 a recent example of strong political initiative in the field of the electric vehicle. This experiment, which one can describe as experimentation with large scales of the electric vehicle is briefly described below.
… The project “Better places” to Israel The creation of an electric vehicle fleet in Israel where circulate a million vehicles and where 90% of the motorists carry out on average less than 70 km per day, should be born from here 2011-2012. The project “Better Place”, whose Renault is one of the principal partners, will be supported by a fiscal policy making gravitational the purchase of the vehicles: the tax with the purchase of 79% will be brought back to 10% until 2014, then to 30% as from 2019 - level of tax for the hybrid vehicles -, except if the market share of the electric vehicles reaches 20% from here 2019. The cars will be adaptations of existing models (Mégane) and would be equipped with battery lithium-ion provided by Nissan and NEC. The vehicles should have an autonomy of a hundred kilometers under local conditions of use, i.e. with a strong use of air-conditioning. The economic model is copied on that of cellular telephony since the profits will rest more on the services than on acquisition of the material. The motorist would buy his car, would rent the battery and would see himself invoicing the services of maintenance and load (the monthly expenses of batteries are estimated at 60 €). From here 2012,500 000 points of load should be installed on the territory like several hundreds of stations of exchange of the batteries. The Israeli market, once stabilized, is estimated at approximately 30.000 vehicles per annum. A similar initiative is envisaged in Denmark. (p.69)
An agreement in principle was concluded in Portugal, in order to study the conditions of feasibility of a massive deployment of electric vehicles in this country. For Israel, the fundamental motivation is above all the energy independence of the country in a particular context that one necessarily does not find in the European countries and which is at the origin of the political commitment and budgetary extremely of the government.
Certain agglomerations plan to even penalize to exclude from the centre town circulation thermal vehicles. The town of London east, for this reason, a pioneer. Only vehicles “clean”, label whose electric vehicle profits, would be authorized to penetrate on network of road infrastructure inside a definite central perimeter. The introduction of an urban toll could then support the market of the electric vehicles.
7.3. Features of the currently available batteries still call significant developments To answer the problem of autonomy, research was directed since always towards packing of energy of the batteries. The die lead, mature technology, have shown its limits. Other electrochemical couples were developed and could to support the diffusion of the electric vehicles. One generally distinguishes three families from accumulators: - accumulators in aqueous medium: acid systems (lead-acid batteries) or alkaline (cadmium-nickel; metal nickel-hydride…), - accumulators in organic medium in liquid phase (lithium-phosphate; lithium-ion: lithium salts dissolved in an organic solvent), - accumulators in polymeric medium (polymeric lithium metal). The batteries known as “hot”, in particular with mark Streaked (Swiss), have very particular characteristics because cathode (aluminium and sodium chloride) and the anode (sodium) must be maintained in the liquid state by heating approximately 300°C), the intermediate ceramics wall being used at the same time of separator and ionic driver.
7.3.1. Current dominant technologies should leave the place soon with technologies containing lithium The state of the art of technologies available or in the course of settling is very contrasted according to the nature of the electrochemical couples.
Lead-acid (Pb) The lead-acid batteries have performances limited by an important modification morphological of the active matters during the cycling which reduces the utilisation ratio of them. They have nevertheless l' d' favours; an industrial production of mass since soon a century. Their cost, definitely lower than that of other technologies, remains the principal attraction for the car manufacturers. The last Citroen C3 equipped d' a alterno-starter still uses a lead-acid battery. L' increase in the output of the active matters having jusqu' to date be a thrust, the possible improvements could come from new internal architectures (pseudo bipolar, bipolar) and new processes of implementation (compression, metal foams).
The lead-acid batteries equip today the near total with the small electric vehicles (lifting trucks, vehicles of golf, wheel chairs…), but are not very effective to provide the energy of power for road vehicles: the lead-acid batteries which currently equip the cars have more one vocation of energy reserve, specialized in storage/destocking of point. (p.70)
Cadmium-nickel (Ni-Cd) Remained a long time of the field of high technologies (aeronautical, telecommunications), batteries Ni-Cd passed to the general public field with l' tools électroportatif. They experienced in France an important development with the electric vehicles of the group PSA (Citroen AX, Sax, Peugeot 106…) then of Renault (Clio…). Considered powerful and reliable, batteries Ni-Cd suffer, according to the d' mode; use, d' a “ratchet effect” reducing the capacity usable. L' effect is however reversible and a suitable cycling makes it possible to find the initial capacity. They are the European regulations on metals heavy which condemned the use of this technology which employs great quantities of cadmium, now prohibited.
Nickel-metal hydride (Nor-MH) The toxic nature of cadmium led to the development of the couple nickel-hydride metal for traction. L' d' use; a metal hydride for the negative electrode involves a overcost but brings also a better capacity. The batteries Nor-MH tolerate less better overloads and high temperatures that batteries Ni-Cd (risk of explosion and fire). They suffer from other weak points like the difficulty in detecting the end of load, the still dubious lifespan and their price. But because of their capacity required a high power and to ensure a big number of cycles, these batteries are largely used for the hybrid applications to strong modes and weak amplitude of cycling. Panasonic developed for Toyota several d' generations; accumulators Nor-MH of power. The second d' generation; prismatic elements which equips the hybrid vehicle Prius II refers in terms of performances and reliability. Guarantee offered by manufacturer on this component is 8 years. The same type of battery equips the Honda hybrid Civic IMA. D' other manufacturers as GP Batteries offer products with performances a little less low but at a definitely lower cost. In France, the SAFT propose, at a cost still high, a range Nor-MH based on the developments of SAFT THE USA.
Lithium-ion Accumulators lithium-ion, equipped d' a negative electrode out of carbon and of a positive electrode containing cobalt oxide, were developed specifically for the automobile applications. In France, in the United States as in Japan, of the electric vehicles equipped such batteries already showed performances jusqu' then ever reached. Contrary to the preceding couples, the batteries with lithium use an electrolyte not aqueous. This constitutes an advantage by eliminating the parasitic reaction from decomposition of l' water. However, the d' formulation; an electrolyte is made delicate by a compromise difficult to realize. In addition to a conductivity raised in the range of the room temperatures, l' electrolyte made up d' a lithium salt in solution in an organic solvent must have a good chemical and thermal stability with respect to the other components of the cell. These uncertainties, not yet raised to date for batteries of big size (risk of heating even of fire), brought Toyota, contrary to its intentions, with to continue to equip its next range Prius III with batteries Nor-MH.
In France, this technology is developed by the SAFT, in Poitiers for the elements of low capacity, in Bordeaux for the elements of traction. Mainly for reasons of cost, these accumulators are aujourd' today still very little widespread. In parallel, one observes in Asia (China and Japan) a rather fast development of this technology carried by the markets of the portable and the light vehicles (two wheels and carriers). The production in great quantity will allow a fall of costs. (p.71)
Lithium-ion Phosphates L' positive electrode d' a battery lithium-ion is replaced here by a metal phosphate, generally of iron phosphate. In addition to the high performances and good behaviour in cycling of the batteries lithium-ion, this technology with l' d' favours; a better intrinsic safety and d' a reduced cost of material. In addition to their great availability, the phosphates have an excellent stability at the time of the excessive electric requests and the rises in temperature (stable jusqu' with 350°C). Because of a weaker elementary tension, l' specific energy of this couple (120 to 140 Wh/kg) is a little lower than that of the lithium-ion containing cobalt. The cyclability is as for it very high (2000 cycles with 80% of the rated capacity). As example, in the United States, the company Valence technology, based in Texas, already this d' type markets; accumulator just like company BYD in China. Tests carried out by the direction of the studies and research d' EDF confirm the announced performances.
Polymeric Lithium-metal - L' d' use; a negative metal lithium electrode made up theoretically allows capacities definitely higher than those obtained with carbon. In addition to l' d' favours; an entirely solid system (weak risk of explosion), its internal constitution, made up thin electrodes superimposed around a solid extruded polymer electrolyte allows to consider advantageous production costs; in addition one awaits packs nearly 5 times lighter than of the corresponding lead-acid batteries, an almost total recyclability in end of life and a lifespan estimated at 10 years. This type of battery requires one however operating temperature close to 80 °C to ensure a sufficient conductivity. L' major disadvantage related to l' metal lithium electrode is l' appearance, during cycling, of dendrites responsible for internal short-circuits. In France, the BatScap company, who belongs to the Bolloré group, develops this technology and acquired in March 2007 them credits of the Canadian company Avestor, which was the first to market modules of strong capacity.
Sodium - Nickel Chloride (Streaked) The basic principle of the family of batteries of the type “chloride sodium-metal” to which belonged the battery Streaked was patented in 1975 by J.Werth. Since, this technology underwent long series of improvements to reach a performance today, in terms of density of energy, twice higher than the batteries cadmium-nickel. The crucial factor for the performances and reliability is the ceramics electrolyte. This technology was specifically developed for the vehicles applications electric, heavy transport and public transport. The internal temperature of operation lies between 270°C and 350°C. The elements are locked up in an isolated box whose external walls have a temperature about 30°C. Main advantages of zebra technology are a density of high energy (120 Wh/kg) and a good output energetics. The power is on the other hand penalized by the reduced conductivity of ceramics electrolyte.
More than 200 Zebra batteries equip in Italy with the electric and hybrid Autodromo buses, of which some are in service since 1998. Irisbus chose the Zebra batteries for the very electric version of its Europolis minibus. In France, wire data buses equipped with Zebra batteries are in circulation in Lyon since the end of 2004. In the field of the utilities and light vehicles, the Zebra batteries equip with the utilities Daimler Chrysler and MicroVett. Think Nordic uses Zebra batteries for its new electric car model.
Taking into account specific energy requested, in order to always more improve autonomy, the couples with lithium or technologies of the type Zebra (Na-NiCl2) should gradually take the top on the alkaline batteries (Ni-Cd, Nor-MH), as engineering problems and economic (lifespan, safety, cost…) are on the way to be solved. (p.72)
Technology Streaked, taking into account its handicap of power and of uncertainties which always weigh on the adequacy of its operating process with private cars (temperature), appears more dedicated however to the heavier vehicles (delivery of freight, public transport…) who can much better accept one configuration of elements in parallel under case (insertion of safety members in the event of outage of part of the battery, conditions of cooling). Moreover no manufacturer announces it like die with a future for the cars “general public”. (pp. 72-73)
7.3.2. The stakes of the storage of electricity in the batteries reside primarily in autonomy, the time of refill, reliability and the cost
The characterization of a battery The electrochemical battery is the body which must answer the needs for storage, continuity and reliability of provisioning of the vehicle of electrical energy. The accumulator restores in electric form the energy produced by electrochemical reactions of oxidation or reduction to the interfaces of two electrodes separated by an electrolyte. Those yield (anode) or absorb (cathode) electrons. The released ions circulate then in the electrolyte.
Four characteristics define the technology of an accumulator: - its density of mass energy (or specific energy): expressed in Wh/kg, it corresponds to the quantity of energy stored per unit of mass; - its density of voluminal energy, in Wh/l: it indicates the quantity of energy stored per unit of volume; - its density of power: expressed in W/kg, it corresponds to the power which can to deliver a unit of mass; - its “cyclability”: expressed of number of cycles, corresponding to a load and a discharge, it characterizes the lifespan of the accumulator, that is to say the number of times where it can restore the same energy level (after each refill).
Comparison of the features of various technologies available or considered The table below summarizes the main features of the batteries used or being studied for the traction of a terrestrial vehicle. The couples metal nickel-hydride (Nor MH) and lithium-ion (Li-ion) have mass energies and energy densities much higher than those of the traditional batteries lead or cadmium-nickel (Ni-Cd). These electrochemical couples are very much used in the portable wandering apparatuses (mobile phones, laptops…). But the passage to the powers and the sizes of batteries required for the automobile motorization poses problems of operation and reliability not yet solved to date. The Zebra type, which offers an interesting energy density, has for the moment considering its development limited to the equipment of bus and heavy road vehicles. (p.73)
…One can compare the assessment of these various technologies to provide an autonomy of 100 km to a car (without use of the equipment other than the engine of traction). Calculations are carried out with a consumption-type of 150 Wh/km (what corresponds to a consumption of 50% higher than that typically carried out on a cycle of homologation by a town vehicle). (p.74)
These figures are very theoretical, because they do not hold account in private individual of the reduction in the capacity of the batteries progressively of the increase in the number of cycles carried out. (pp. 74-75)
These figures are provided as an indication, insofar as are defined neither the type of vehicle (and thus its mass), nor the standard used to measure autonomy (standard of control). This calculation provides nevertheless orders of magnitude; it shows that in one century spite of application in the car, the lead-acid batteries are too heavy to be used in hybrid vehicles or electric. Then, technology cadmium-nickel was the European directive object (2006/66/CE) which prohibited the use for the portable applications of it, because of pollution that it generates.
Necessary minima of a terrestrial electric vehicle One considers an electric vehicle corresponding to the current standard of performances (between 70 and 100 kw of power, between 80 and 110 km/h top speed). Our modes of mobilities impose that an electric vehicle - and thus its battery - offer at least the following characteristics:
an autonomy of about 200 to 300 km, is an important specific energy and a power (about 200 Wh/kg and 400 W/kg) and an energy density of 300 Wh/l to make possible the integration of the accumulator in the vehicle;
a sufficient embarked energy: from 10 to 100 kWh according to the size of the vehicle;
one 10 years lifespan is a high “cyclability” (higher than 600);
a beach of operating temperature adapted to the conditions external of use (- 40°C with more + 50°C);
a fast capacity of refill, at least partially (at least 80% of the rated capacity).
In short, one can estimate the quantity of energy to be stored according to the kilometers to traverse (necessary autonomy) and of the mass by considering a consumption from approximately 135 Wh/tonne/km and a power of 40 kW/tonne. Performance of the battery depends operation on the various bodies of the vehicle. (p.75)
In addition to the constraints of operation stated above (autonomy, time of load, lifespan), they must answer:
- with operational requirements: heating and/or cooling of the battery according to the climate of the country in which the vehicle is used;
- with constraints of manufacturing: recycling and pollution (for example batteries Ni-Cd), high cost of certain components of the battery (nickel…). (pp.75-76)
Currently, the risk would be which are marketing of the batteries which store sufficient quantities of energy, but of which the probability of explosion or fire is too high.
The technological advancements of the battery must answer the unchanged constraints since more than one century. It is thus a question of working for: - an increase in autonomy: increase in specific energy, - an increase in the lifespan of the battery: increase in the number of cycles, - a reduction of the embarked weights and volume: packing of voluminal energy and power, - a reduction of the manufacturing costs.
A roadmap of evolution of the performances, price and autonomies accessible according to technologies from batteries had been carried out by EDF in 2005. One can note on this graph which she predicted a domination of technologies containing lithium, prediction which seems about to be carried out in the intended deadlines at the time; it will be noted on the other hand that the objectives of prices announced by EDF are very generous compared to other estimates.
The comparison with the preceding tables shows all the difficulty of having access to relevant information on the costs; such an uncertainty could not be raised taking into account impossibility of obtaining precise figures near the contacted companies.
7.3.3. The battery lithium-ion represents the most probable option with a future for the particular vehicle. Among the whole of the various technological options for the storage of energy, it is the technology lithium-ion which is the subject of the most important hopes. (p.76)
It would be able, according to the majority of the experts of auto industry, to allow at the same time the development of refillable hybrid vehicles and purely electric vehicles. The table below gives an idea of the number of manufacturers having decided to apply technology Li-ion to market before 2015 of the hybrid vehicles or electric. This table, drawn up starting from information available in June 2008 in the press, does not claim to be exhaustive; it illustrates nevertheless the interest expressed by auto industry for the batteries lithium-ion.
Technology lithium-ion was already marketed masses some for small equipment. It equips the computers or cellphones today but it was never yet deployed masses some by auto industry. During the years 1990 and first half of the years 2000, this technology was the rate/rhythm object of technological advancement (measured by density of the mass and voluminal energy of the batteries) from approximately 5% per annum, and carried out productivity gains (measured by the rate of decrease of the price of these batteries) of approximately 10% per annum. (p.77)
This rapid progression made it possible the batteries with lithium to exceed the batteries Nor-MH with the beginning of the year 2000 and the price of the batteries lithium-ion, which was approximately the double of that of the batteries Nor-Mh at the end of the years 1990, was with the semi-2005 almost égal13. Thus, the technology of the batteries lithium-ion is in the course of adoption by a majority of car manufacturers, at the same time for purely electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles. It is what justifies the investments on behalf of the manufacturers of batteries, to develop at the same time batteries of great capacity (for the electric vehicles and the majority of the types of refillable hybrid vehicles) and of the batteries of great power (for the hybrid vehicles). Several manufacturers of batteries (NEC, Sanyo, GS Yuasa inter alia) announced the mass production (higher than 10.000 units per annum) of batteries to lithium for electric vehicles for the beginning of the year 2010.
7.4. The pure electric vehicle requires the preliminary creation of one infrastructure for the refill of the batteries
The electric vehicle will suffer still a long time from a too reduced autonomy. The panorama of technologies of batteries lets imagine theoretical autonomies up to 200 km, with the most recent developments, but also most expensive. The hybrid vehicle refillable this problem does not have; this is why it appears as a relevant option for the vehicle of the future (one will be able to refer to chapter 8 for more precise details on the hybrid vehicles and hybrids refillable). Nevertheless, the refillable hybrid vehicle supposes to associate with the electric chain of traction a thermal chain of traction (hybrid parallel) or a thermal engine which is used as generator of electricity (hybrid series). These additions reduce the volume of the batteries necessary, but complex the vehicle compared to a very electric solution, because of the addition of various components (thermal engine, fuel tank, exhaust…).
Also, various manufacturers and equipment suppliers work on two tracks which can make possible, in theory at least, the massive adoption of electric vehicles: systems of fast refill of the batteries on the one hand, systems of fast exchange of the batteries on the other hand. Each one of these systems adds a certain complexity to the vehicle, less than that resulting from the addition of a thermal engine, but it does not reduce the volume of the batteries and it involves an heavy investment in infrastructures.
The systems of fast refill rest on the use of a very important electric output to reload the battery: typically about 50 kw, against 3 kw (median value, which vary from one country to another because of different standards) for a system resting on an ordinary electrical outlet. The systems of fast refill impose one second catch to reload the battery of the vehicle, being given the power (> 50 kw) which will have to be transmitted. Thus, for a vehicle equipped with a battery of 20 kWh (what provides theoretically approximately 150 km of autonomy to a compact vehicle), a system of fast load would make it possible to reload the battery in less than one half an hour. (p.78)
It is thus about a system which can equip advantageously certain carparks (shopping malls…) and of the service station, but which will not make it possible to make roll of the electric vehicles at distances comparable with those that can traverse the thermal vehicles: one would indeed not conceive to have to stop 30 minutes every 150-200 km to reload the battery. (pp. 78-79)
Let us note that these fast systems of refill must still be the subject of thorough studies because:
- such powers generate an overheating of the batteries, which supposes to associate with the vehicle a system to cool them;
- these fast refills have an output lower than the refills on traditional catch, which deteriorates the assessment “of the well to the wheel” of the electric vehicles;
- it is necessary to evaluate economic impact of such refills, because to propose these powers of refill will generate a overcost (infrastructure of load, design of the vehicles) and will reduce the lifespan of the batteries, therefore the economic interest of the electric vehicle;
- these systems will be useful only if they are present in great number, which supposes to find actors able to install them in preparation for a deployment of electric vehicles. That will occur only if one standard is defined and adopted by all the car manufacturers, on a relevant scale (for example European); initiatives aiming standardizing these systems and at making emerge agreements between car manufacturers, equipment suppliers, energeticians and distributors of energy are thus necessary to make this option technological credible.
The systems of exchange of batteries rest on the substitution of a battery charged for an empty battery. They are of the interest to be able, in theory, to remove the problem of the duration of the refill. It is indeed possible to conceive stations of exchanges of batteries which make it possible to substitute the batteries of a car in a few minutes by means of robots manipulators (similar to those used in the factories of assembly). Their introduction supposes nevertheless an infrastructure of which the density would be comparable with that of the service station current, made up of stations of exchange having a stock plug of batteries charged. It also supposes a thorough standardization of the batteries, because such systems would lose any interest if each car manufacturer equipped his vehicles with batteries of forms and connections incompatible with those of its competitors. Lastly, it supposes obviously that manufacturers are ready to integrate this constraint in the design of their vehicles and that actors having important capital are ready to invest in the construction of such a network of stations (the cost of a station of exchange of battery could amount to several million euros).
An experimentation on a country scale small (Israel, Denmark) should take place as of the beginning of the year 2010 (one will be able to refer to framed on the project “Better Place” at the beginning of this chapter). It will make it possible to judge relevance of such a system, its acceptability by the motorists, the negative image of car manufacturers, energeticians or other service providers to impose this solution.
8. Thermal/electric hybridization represents a tempting compromise; the refillable hybrid on the network undoubtedly constitutes the solution with a future… (p.79)