Mar 16

Battery powered vehicles: where can technology go from here?

 

Of all the factors needed for electric vehicles to come into full acceptance, many agree improvements in battery technology are up there, at or near the top.

While early adopters are willing to accept range limits, first-generation pricing and recharging times of several hours or longer, many would-be consumers are waiting for more.

Will they get it? What is reasonable to expect?

To hear from someone with much more than average knowledge, we spoke yesterday with Haresh Kamath, a senior project manager for the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

As an independent, non-profit R&D organization, the U.S.-based EPRI says its members include 90 percent of America’s electricity producers, and in all, participation comes from 40 countries.


To allow the car to travel much farther than present-day EVs, Chevrolet built the Volt with a range-extending gasoline generator. What would it be like in the not-too-distant future if GM were able to build an all-electric Volt that that needed no engine to go just as far?

Kamath, who is actively involved in battery research, was kind enough to answer our questions, and to do so took time away from his attendance at the ongoing 28th International Battery Seminar & Exhibit in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

His perspective may be one to consider next time you read a blurb selling the sizzle from a tech company dangling the possibility of several-times multiplied energy density in the next few years.

“I would be careful about putting a time line on that figure,” Kamath said while offering a more conservative estimate, “What we do know is in probably in the next 10 years or so we will probably get at least a two times increase in energy density.”

Among the most significant sectors pushing for improved batteries, he said, are consumer electronics, transportation, and power stations with energy storage needs.

“Transportation gets a very high priority,” Kamath said, “The projections are that the transportation market will eclipse the consumer electric market by 2020; many people believe this is the case.”

Presently, lithium-ion (li-ion) batteries – as found in the Volt and all other modern EVs – have shuffled out to be the technology of choice.

How much more can li-ion batteries be improved, and will they remain the battery of choice?

“In the short term lithium-ion looks like it is going to be the winner,” Kamath said.


How would it be to have much faster charging batteries? Cutting costs, and increasing range are higher priorities, but ways to expand all parameters are being worked on.

To further clarify, he said li-ion derivatives are numerous, and the technology should be thought of more as a “family” of batteries than a “type.”

There are at least 6-8 competitive variations of the li-ion battery, if not more, he said.

At present, there is an ongoing shake-out ramping up to an unprecedented scale.

Manufacturers in all sectors are working on ways to improve them.

Scientists are vying to be the one to put their name on the next great technological leap forward.

At the same time, efficiencies are expected to grow over the next 4-5 years, Kamath said, through a combination of scale, production learning curves, trial and error with designs, and improvements in technology.

This should help drive down cost, improve profitability, or both.

Kamath said some of the most critical factors battery manufacturers are contending with – more or less in order – are: 1) cost, 2) life, 3) range, and, 4) recharging time.

Naturally, the people working on solutions will take their gains anywhere they can, but these are the top priorities.

While attempting to streamline li-ion formulations, every manufacturer is working to improve its proprietary discoveries.

Other chemistries with longer-term development possibilities mentioned were lithium sulfur and lithium air, as well as, zinc air and silicon anode technology.

But again, no new battery technology is ready for prime time, and no one has shown they can accurately predict when one will be ready, or who would be first to make it so.


Presently, EV buyers are called “early adapters.” The goal is to just get them to be called everyday car buyers. Improved batteries are a key part of this vision.

One could guess that it might be a well-known company like LG Chem, or A123 Systems, or it could just as likely be a smaller firm.

If a smaller start-up did invent The Next Big Thing, Kamath said, it would probably seek to license it to several buyers.

“If there were technologies substantially better than the rest,” Kamath said, “they will spread around quite a bit faster than you might expect.”

The industry’s state of competitiveness, and need to keep up with increasing demand is that compelling, he said.

While refusing to name potential companies that might come out ahead in the tech race, Kamath only said it is open to anyone’s speculation, and he would hedge his guesses.

“I would not put all my money in one or two technologies,” he said, but rather the smart players are placing “multiple bets,” and even in-house, companies are running competing projects.

Regarding the transportation sector, in the near term, it has been said that insulated and actively climate-controlled EV batteries could be streamlined as a way to cut costs.

As many are already aware, batteries work best at moderate temperatures.

To this, Kamath added that some chemistries may eventually prove better in varying temperatures, or under different load demands.

In time, he said, some chemistries may be optimized for warmer climates, and others chosen for where conditions are colder.


Although EPRI is funded by utility companies, expenditures from government sources are seen as necessary to help spur development of next-generation technology.

Similarly, some chemistries will be shown to work better for high-performance applications, such as in a sports car, while others will work better for a truck.

The whole development process is a series of multiple trade-offs, he said, and now is a time of rapid learning.

Engineering decisions will in time refine end results, he said, and these will not necessarily be perceived by the customer who only wants to know whether the design works as intended or not.

Since autos potentially must endure all climates, we would take from this that unless a climate-tolerant chemistry could ever be developed, their batteries should remain actively climate controlled, as is the case with the Volt and Ford’s pending all-electric Focus.

Present chemistries are adversely affected by extreme cold and heat, and this naturally will affect ability to accept a charge, available range, and expected life.

At the same time, climate-controlled batteries magnify development and engineering costs, and to an extent, add weight and complexity.

While for now consumer electronics exceed the demands of the transportation sector, they also are seen as a first place to try new battery technologies.

Kamath made sure to say safety concerns are real for electronics, but they are not as severe as they are for vehicles meant to carry people.

Perhaps you have heard of “thermal runaway” cases where laptop batteries caught fire? This is a scenario the transportation industry cannot afford to ever let happen.

But once proven safe and better in smaller, less expensive, shorter-lived products, Kamath said improved batteries may find their way from electronics to cars and trucks – maybe, we will add, one you could drive some day in the not-too-distant future.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 108


  1. 1
    nasaman

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (6:15 am)

    I’m pleased to see a lead topic that stems from an interview of leading battery researcher Haresh Kamath. We should all carefully consider Kamath’s comment, ““I would be careful about putting a time line on that figure (increases in battery energy density),” Klamath said while offering a more conservative estimate, “What we do know is in probably in the next 10 years or so we will probably get at least a two times increase in energy density.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (6:25 am)

    ….(continuing my post #1): As a specialist myself in high-energy, low mass, long-life batteries for 15-20 year space missions, I fully concur.

    And it’s important to recognize that the truly pioneering breakthrough of the Volt design is its dual-power source architecture, not its battery technology. Why? Because a small gasoline or ethanol powered generator is 1) less expensive now than a battery with equivalent range, and 2) it provides a drive train having ‘dissimilar redundancy’, a vitally-important feature that greatly reduces the Volt’s likelihood of ever being stranded (which was a sub-topic of yesterday’s lead topic involving ‘range anxiety’.) Yesterday we addressed range limitations of EVs. My view is that a Volt driver should NEVER be stranded if he/she is at all prudent enough to keep some gas in the tank.


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    Rashiid Amul

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (7:42 am)

    From the article
    Kamath said some of the most critical factors battery manufacturers are contending with – more or less in order – are: 1) cost, 2) life, 3) range, and, 4) recharging time.

    Try as I might, I can’t put an order to this. To me, they are all number 1 in importance.
    I would imagine each consumer has a different idea of what is important to them.


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    Rashiid Amul

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (7:44 am)

    I find it interesting that Haresh Kamath didn’t mention the
    highly respected, soon to be released, EEStor product. :) :)


  5. 5
    JDan

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (8:25 am)

    Rashiid Amul: I find it interesting that Haresh Kamath didn’t mention thehighly respected, soon to be released, EEStor product.

    I suspect that someone WILL bring a totally different technology to bear given the financial gains that would be available. I (as many here) would be somewhat surprised (and possibly relieved) if EEStor ACTUALLY came out with a viable product. ;) It will be very interesting to follow in coming years, and this site is certainly a great place to follow it. :)


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    Schmeltz

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (8:29 am)

    Rashiid Amul: didn’t mention the
    highly respected, soon to be released, EEStor

    Ahhh, Rashiid said the “EE” word. Shame on you! :)


  7. 7
    nasaman

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (8:32 am)

    ATTN Jeff Cobb: A great many excellent, highly-regarded blogs on a wide range of topics allow unlimited editing/revisions; I see no compelling reason to put ANY time limit on editing at gm-volt.com. And I see several very good reasons to make this change while your IT people are looking into the editing problems we’ve had recently:

    1) Unlimited editing time takes the pressure off contributors, giving them time to write clear, readable comments as well as to check grammar, spelling and avoid mistakes or omissions.

    2) It also allows time to post references, make corrections & fully develop a thought WITHIN the original post (instead of “dribbled in” randomly somewhere perhaps 5 or more posts afterward, which makes it harder to relate to the original comment).

    3) The gm-volt.com Forum allows extended-time (unlimited?) revisions, so this change would be consistent with that. (I just tested a Forum post I made here 3 days ago by changing the word “several” to “numerous” in my comment — it works perfectly.)

    /If others here agree, you can say so by giving this post a “+”


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    Schmeltz

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (8:36 am)

    Hey Jeff, excellent interview btw! The take home for me was the comment that they KNOW within 10 years we can have a doubling of energy density. That in and of itself is a remarkable achievement. Also, it is great to read that battery researchers are continuing intensive studies of the next big thing in battery advancements. Overall, it seemed like a very positive outlook.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (8:40 am)

    …a Volt driver should NEVER be stranded if he/she is at all prudent enough to keep some gas in the tank.

    Nasaman, I definitely agree with you. Every time I think about more range, I think to myself, “But even then, what if I run out of juice?”

    The ubiquity of gas stations, plus the speed of fill-up, makes gasoline convenient. No wonder we are addicted!

    Perhaps someday charge stations will be equally ubiquitous and charge-speed will be like a cup of coffee. Then pure EV makes sense, even for travelers.

    Right now, pure EV makes sense for dedicated commuters, the Prius (or something like it) makes sense for travelers… and the Volt makes sense for the rest of us!!

    Chris (slapshot28)


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    Shawn Marshall

     

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (8:45 am)

    Twice the range at half the cost would really give EVs a commercial boost. Mr. Kamath ia appropriately cautious. Solar cell development has not made them available for mass installation to this point. Improved batteries would also make solar cells more useful.
    Let us hope for the best. Frankly, I thought if lead-acid batteries could get you 80 miles, EVs must have a place in our world.
    AND… if the batteries do succeed – we probably won’t need electric utilities for residential loads.


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    Dan Petit

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (8:47 am)

    In all ways, the strongest benchmark for overall feasibility are costs: Feasibility to buy, feasibility to power, feasibility to use, feasibility to maintain, feasibility to repair, feasibility to resell, and as a result of all these, feasibility to buy the next one.

    I really think only GM is currently on the right track with all these considerations.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (9:02 am)

    nasaman: I see no compelling reason to put ANY time limit on editing at gm-volt.com.

    I would have one argument against this, Nasaman.
    Most of us quote a comment. With unlimited time to modify a comment, the original post can be changed and the quote won’t necessarily make much sense anymore. Maybe raise it to 10 minutes, but unlimited is a bad idea, IMO.


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    Jeff Cobb

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (9:08 am)

    nasaman:
    ATTN Jeff Cobb: A great many excellent, highly-regarded blogs on a wide range of topics allow unlimited editing/revisions; I see no compelling reason to put ANY time limit on editing at gm-volt.com. And I see several very good reasons to make this change while your IT people are looking into the editing problems we’ve had recently:

    1) Unlimited editing time takes the pressure off contributors, giving them time to write clear, readable comments as well as to check grammar, spelling and avoid mistakes or omissions.

    2) It also allows time to post references, make corrections & fully develop a thought WITHIN the original post (instead of “dribbled in” randomly somewhere perhaps 5 or more posts afterward, which makes it harder to relate to the original comment).

    3) The gm-volt.com Forum allows extended-time (unlimited?) revisions, so this change would be consistent with that. (I just tested a Forum post I made here 3 days ago by changing the word “several” to “numerous” in my comment — it works perfectly.)

    /If others here agree, you can say so by giving this post a “+”

    Makes total sense to me nasaman, and all. I’ll forward this and see what can be done.


  14. 14
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    Mar 16th, 2011 (9:17 am)

    Rashiid Amul: nasaman: I see no compelling reason to put ANY time limit on editing at gm-volt.com.

    I would have one argument against this, Nasaman.
    Most of us quote a comment. With unlimited time to modify a comment, the original post can be changed and the quote won’t necessarily make much sense anymore. Maybe raise it to 10 minutes, but unlimited is a bad idea, IMO.

    Sorry Rashiid, I have to disagree. Quoting is easy & often done in our Forum as well as at many other sites. Also, when a comment here disappears because it’s from a troll or very unpopular and gets 10 or more minuses, a quoted post doesn’t make too much sense either. However, this scenario happens so infrequently as to be of little consequence, whereas the time limit on editing is truly troublesome.

    /But if the IT people can’t make the time unlimited for some reason, I agree that extending the current 6+ minutes as much as possible (30 minutes?) would be very helpful


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (9:24 am)

    As two of the four pictures depict, infrastructure of public pay-to-charge parking spots will be the catalyst to wide spread acceptance of BEVs and EREVs. Sadly EREVs are mistakenly assumed to be tethered to an outlet as BEVs are.

    Volt#671
    NPNS!

    600 Miles
    186 Lifetime MPG


  16. 16
    Jeff Cobb

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (9:41 am)

    Nelson:
    As two of the four pictures depict, infrastructure of public pay-to-charge parking spots will be the catalyst to wide spread acceptance of BEVs and EREVs.Sadly EREVs are mistakenly assumed to be tethered to an outlet as BEVs are.

    Volt#671
    NPNS!

    600 Miles
    186 Lifetime MPG

    Mistaken assumptions or inadequate understanding are pervasive problems. That is why I wrote the story on the Synovate survey a couple days ago.

    As I look toward the end goal, it prompts me to pick topics to be aware of if the EV future is ever to come to full fruition.

    I try to write in a way that someone who never knew about the Volt or PHEVs, BEVs etc. could still follow. Feel free to spread the links. Those who see the issues and have greater understanding have more influence than ever to get the message out.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (9:43 am)

    I wonder if EEStor was at Ft. Lauderdale. :)

    Jeff – I don’t know if you care to put in the effort, but if you could actually contact EEstor, and scoop any kind of real data story, that would be amazing. My guess is they would give you the same vague answers they give everyone, but you never know.


  18. 18
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    Mar 16th, 2011 (9:51 am)

    kdawg,

    I’ll do what I can, but today is going to be a short shift, as it were. Tomorrow morning I fly to San Jose to cover the Zero electric motorcycle launch for a sister pub. Will have someone else write here Friday-Tuesday or so.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (9:53 am)

    “I would be careful about putting a time line on that figure,” Klamath said while offering a more conservative estimate, “What we do know is in probably in the next 10 years or so we will probably get at least a two times increase in energy density.”

    This estimate does seem conservative compared to LG’s estimate of something like doubling energy density and cutting costs in half every 5 years.


  20. 20
    kdawg

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (9:59 am)

    Here’s estimates from the DOE

    “Between 2009 and 2013, the Department of Energy expects battery costs to drop by half. By the end of 2013, a comparable 100 mile range battery is expected to cost only $16,000. By the end of 2015, Recovery Act investments should help lower the cost of some electric car batteries by nearly 70 percent to $10,000. The same cost improvement applies to plug-in hybrids – cars that can travel roughly 40 miles on electricity before their gasoline engine kicks in. The cost of a 40-mile range battery is falling from more than $13,000 in 2009, to roughly $6,700 in 2013, to $4,000 in 2015.”

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/files/documents/Battery-and-Electric-Vehicle-Report-FINAL.pdf


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (10:01 am)

    Jeff Cobb: I’ll do what I can, but today is going to be a short shift, as it were. Tomorrow morning I fly to San Jose to cover the Zero electric motorcycle launch for a sister pub. Will have someone else write here Friday-Tuesday or so.

    I almost bought one of those, but after contacting Zero, I determined it wouldn’t work well as a commuter. Where to you post those articles? It would be nice to know if they’ve improved on the design.


  22. 22
    Scott R.

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (10:02 am)

    I’m not sure battery technology needs to improve ten fold for electric cars to really take off. A 2 to 3 time improvement is all that would be really necessary. I can see e-rev tech in almost every car on the road today if they could just make batteries cheaper and maybe a little smaller. If they could make em cheap enough then we really wouldn’t even have to ask them to last 8 years.

    People are always gonna want a bigger car if they have the choice. So I see e-revs being with us for at least 25 years. Then people will only use gas or ethanol for long road trips in their e-rev suv’s


  23. 23
    Jeff Cobb

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (10:06 am)

    kdawg:
    “I would be careful about putting a time line on that figure,” Klamath said while offering a more conservative estimate, “What we do know is in probably in the next 10 years or so we will probably get at least a two times increase in energy density.”

    This estimate does seem conservative compared to LG’s estimate of something like doubling energy density and cutting costs in half every 5 years.

    Even if this is true, unknown is if LG could take something from proof of concept to all the deals, negotiation, etc. involved in putting something into production in a manufactured automobile.

    Double-edged sword to consider – While tech is always developing, sooner or later manufacturers must commit to a design, “freeze” it, and start producing it. They need to pay the bills, recoup their investment.

    Relegating their products obsolete in too short a cycle is counter to some of their interests, even if they could.

    This is why competition and more players are especially desirable at this juncture. A broader gene pool will yield a stronger species in time.


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    Jeff Cobb

     

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (10:09 am)

    kdawg: I almost bought one of those, but after contacting Zero, I determined it wouldn’t work well as a commuter.Where to you post those articles?It would be nice to know if they’ve improved on the design.

    Motorcycle.com. They’ve improved, but Brammo promises more it appears, at least for the street – assuming their announced models make it to production. Quantya is another one to look at for the dirt.


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    CorvetteGuy

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (10:09 am)

    I predict that by the year 2020 there will be an All-Electric-All-Wheel-Drive Corvette Stingray!

    250+ Miles Range
    0-60 in 3.5 Secs
    150 MPH Limited Top Speed

    Boo-YAH!!!


  26. 26
    Jeff Cobb

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (10:10 am)

    nasaman:
    ATTN Jeff Cobb: A great many excellent, highly-regarded blogs on a wide range of topics allow unlimited editing/revisions; I see no compelling reason to put ANY time limit on editing at gm-volt.com. And I see several very good reasons to make this change while your IT people are looking into the editing problems we’ve had recently:

    1) Unlimited editing time takes the pressure off contributors, giving them time to write clear, readable comments as well as to check grammar, spelling and avoid mistakes or omissions.

    2) It also allows time to post references, make corrections & fully develop a thought WITHIN the original post (instead of “dribbled in” randomly somewhere perhaps 5 or more posts afterward, which makes it harder to relate to the original comment).

    3) The gm-volt.com Forum allows extended-time (unlimited?) revisions, so this change would be consistent with that. (I just tested a Forum post I made here 3 days ago by changing the word “several” to “numerous” in my comment — it works perfectly.)

    /If others here agree, you can say so by giving this post a “+”

    Heard back from IT. If I understand his email correctly, he removed the time limit.

    Are you able now to go in and edit at will with no time limit?

    Does everyone agree this is a good idea?

    It appears some do not think so.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (10:21 am)

    Jeff Cobb: Heard back from IT. If I understand his email correctly, he removed the time limit.

    Are you able now to go in and edit at will with no time limit?

    Does everyone agree this is a good idea?

    It appears some do not think so.

    Thanks, Jeff! (I just checked & my post #7 suggesting this change has “gone green” fairly quickly & I’ve seen only one objection so far, so it would seem we’ve got a winner here.)

    /However, when I posted this I still see the old 6+ minute timer counting down, which suggests IT hasn’t actually fixed it yet. But I’ll try again after it times out.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (10:27 am)

    nasaman,

    Sure thing. Let’s see if anyone else says anything, but it is unlimited now. If unforeseen problems arise, we can change it.

    There is something to be said for sooner or later leaving a thread intact. Small tweaks are no problem. But if someone majorly revises it, then the conversation becomes meaningless.

    Anyone else with opinions on unlimited edits, now’s your time to let everyone know …


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (10:29 am)

    Testing comment edits.. test edit 1.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (10:32 am)

    CorvetteGuy:
    I predict that by the year 2020 there will be an All-Electric-All-Wheel-Drive Corvette Stingray!

    250+ Miles Range
    0-60 in 3.5 Secs
    150 MPH Limited Top Speed

    Boo-YAH!!!

    Ah, but what will the charge time be? ;)

    Edit: I now have 30 minutes to change my comment. I figured it was something softcoded.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (10:33 am)

    Jeff Cobb: nasaman,

    Sure thing. Let’s see if anyone else says anything, but it is unlimited now. If unforeseen problems arise, we can change it.

    As we say at NASA if something fails, “No Joy”. Using either the latest Firefox or the latest Internet Explorer, after 7 minutes the “EDIT” command disappears, so it still isn’t working.

    EDIT: The timer just changed to 30 minutes —which is OK by me for the time being or if it’s not practical or possible to eliminate the time limit.


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    crew

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (10:38 am)

    nasaman:
    ATTN Jeff Cobb: A great many excellent, highly-regarded blogs on a wide range of topics allow unlimited editing/revisions; I see no compelling reason to put ANY time limit on editing at gm-volt.com. And I see several very good reasons to make this change while your IT people are looking into the editing problems we’ve had recently:

    1) Unlimited editing time takes the pressure off contributors, giving them time to write clear, readable comments as well as to check grammar, spelling and avoid mistakes or omissions.

    2) It also allows time to post references, make corrections & fully develop a thought WITHIN the original post (instead of “dribbled in” randomly somewhere perhaps 5 or more posts afterward, which makes it harder to relate to the original comment).

    3) The gm-volt.com Forum allows extended-time (unlimited?) revisions, so this change would be consistent with that. (I just tested a Forum post I made here 3 days ago by changing the word “several” to “numerous” in my comment — it works perfectly.)

    /If others here agree, you can say so by giving this post a “+”

    So many times, in life, I’ve wanted to go back and fix things I’ve said and done. Reality is simple in that we just can’t do that. The credibility of this forum is enhanced by the system of posting our comments with a very limited ability to edit them.

    Prepare what you post.
    Support your own statements.
    Hold yourself and others accountable.

    Unlimited editing runs counter to the real world.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (10:40 am)

    Re: edit time limit— I’m happy with a compromise of 30 minutes.

    /If others here agree, you can say so by giving this latest post a “+”


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (10:47 am)

    nasaman: nasa

    The time limit for registered users is now supposed to be unlimited.

    For non-registered users, it’s supposed to be 30 minutes.

    Let me know if you have issues.

    Thanks.


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    Jackson

     

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (10:50 am)

    RE Edit timer:

    30 minutes? Woo hoo! I don’t know what I’ll do with myself (no suggestions, please)!

    I’ve noticed that if I close my browser and then come back, the system won’t recognize me as the author of a comment and allow editing (even if there is time left). For infinite edit time, you would need to use a login system; which is why we can have unlimited edit in the forums.

    EDIT:

    Missed your comment #34, Jeff. Do you mean that if you are logged in at the forums and then come to the top article to post you have infinite editing time, or do you mean something else?

    EDIT TWO (test) …


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    crew

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (10:59 am)

    Jeff Cobb,

    Registered or not. We should all be held accountable for what we say. I’m not for unlimited editing in this section of the website for anyone.
    First, I would like to continue to be able to refer to past comments as they were originally written. There are quite a few members that are extremely knowledgeable, respected and often quoted.

    Second, I would consider a lack of ability to edit comments as sort of a fail safe should somebody manage to hack into our posts.

    Third, I believe that the site monitors should retain the ability to remove posts, contributors and uncivilized behavior. This type of editing, I believe, should be the greatest extent of anyone’s ability to alter our past behavior.

    I feel very strongly on this. We can’t change the past.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (11:08 am)

    Back on topic. In my earlier comment #2, I made the statement that, “… it’s important to recognize that the truly pioneering breakthrough of the Volt design is its dual-power source architecture, not its battery technology. Why? Because a small gasoline or ethanol powered generator is 1) less expensive now than a battery with equivalent range, and 2) it provides a drive train having ‘dissimilar redundancy’, a vitally-important feature that greatly reduces the Volt’s likelihood of ever being stranded (which was a sub-topic of yesterday’s lead topic involving ‘range anxiety’.) Yesterday we addressed range limitations of EVs. My view is that a Volt driver should NEVER be stranded if he’s prudent enough to keep some gas in the tank —(or even if he runs out of gas).

    Most engineers who have designed spacecraft (most of which are NEVER accessible for repairs after their launch) will understand the above statement. Our DonC here has said that he understands it. But I sense that a majority of ordinary people, and perhaps even a majority who post here, don’t quite “get it”. For example, I often read posts saying the Volt’s design is “too complicated” or has “too many parts”, implying that the Volt is more failure prone than a BEV like the Leaf or even a conventional car. Yes, the Volt has more parts than a BEV (and perhaps even more than some conventional cars) HOWEVER, THESE ADDED PARTS AND IT’S REDUNDANT ARCHITECTURE ACTUALLY MAKE THE VOLT MUCH LESS FAILURE PRONE THAN EITHER!!! If this were not the case, most of the 10′s of thousands of spacecraft launched by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Russians, Japanese, Chinese, etc would be NON-redundant like a conventional car, a kitchen appliance or a personal computer! The tremendous advantage of redundancy in the Volt (and in spacecraft) can be conclusively proven both mathematically and from actual operating histories. But that’s beyond the scope of this forum, so please just take my word for it.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (11:15 am)

    The expectation of a higher density, lower cost battery pack is why I plan to lease a 2012 Gen-1 Volt, and then buy a Gen-2 model in 2015. Hopefully, it will be a small CUV or pickup truck version!!

    NPNS

    Have Outlet – Ready For EREV In Ohio!!!

    PS: Has anyone heard from Tag lately?

    Edit: The edit timer shows 30 minutes for me, and that is more than enough time to correct/fix a post, IMHO.

    :-)


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (11:30 am)

    Good article. So far, so good with the new ownership of this site.

    Given where things stand today with battery technology, extended-range capability EV’s have the only chance of catching on in the marketplace. Pure EV’s pure and simply cannot satisfy the expected requirements and demands of the average car owner, and therefore will remain niche vehicles.

    When the day battery technology reaches the point where a Volt will go as far on a battery charge as today’s Volt will go on combined battery/gas engine power, I foresee a continued need for a range extender, but in a much smaller format with the narrow purpose of extending the length of the ‘turtle mode’. This would be necessary insurance as long as recharging time remains long and recharging infrastructure remains sparse.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (11:36 am)

    Rashiid Amul: I find it interesting that Haresh Kamath didn’t mention the
    highly respected, soon to be released, EEStor product. :) :)

    #4

    LOL. A good chuckle always helps to start the day out right. Thanks. +1


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    MichaelH

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (11:41 am)

    Jim I: PS: Has anyone heard from Tag lately?

    I heard from him one week ago. He and his wife are still dealing with friends of the family with terminal health issues.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (11:44 am)

    Only prob I see w/unlimited time for edits is you have those “First!” mentality people that will post something meaningless in the top of the thread, then go back later in the day and fill it in with a bunch of points everyone else has already made below them. I think we got out of the “First!” phase a year or two ago, but we’ll see what happens.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (11:46 am)

    Jeff Cobb: Does everyone agree this is a good idea?

    #26

    I think it’s a GREAT idea. +1

    I was having a terrible typo day yesterday and I was really wishing that I could go back and edit, as we can on the forums. Thanks nasaman for this great suggestion and thanks Jeff for making it so. Sorry for all the typos yesterday guys. I didn’t anoint myself as “The King Of The Typos” for nothing, LOL.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (11:50 am)

    Jim I: PS: Has anyone heard from Tag lately?

    #38

    Good question. +1 Thanks for reminding us.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (11:55 am)

    As with so many issues here, I believe that it all hinges on the price of gas. When gas in the U.S. approaches European prices, people are going to start accepting inconveniences that they wouldn’t have dreamed of accepting in the past.

    When gas hits $6/gal, let alone $8, people will suddenly start to carpool, take public transit, adapt their lifestyles to BEVs, and buy Voltec/EREV cars like crazy.

    JMHO.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (11:59 am)

    I wonder when the government will slow the gasoline flow rate to equal the 30 minute Leaf charge? That’s one solution for Peak Oil and making the electric car equal in fuel up times. Just imagine the profits at the fuel station “quick” stop shops.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (12:02 pm)

    Good article … good info .. thanks.

    One thing that has to be done is to educate the public about electric cars… right now there is a lot of ignorance and nay saying going on which isn’t doing any good.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (12:04 pm)

    I certainly understand Mr. Kamath’s guarded interview. He has access to quite a bit of inside information. A quick look at some press releases from EPRI show just how involved this company is involved in electricity generation, distribution and storage.

    Here are three that I would like to see some follow up on.

    http://my.epri.com/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_228202_317_205_776_43/http%3B/uspalecp604%3B7087/publishedcontent/publish/index_da_9579.html#

    If this study proves to be true to predictions, the Port of Long Beach can convert diesel tractors to plug in hybrids and save 3,000,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year at this location alone!

    http://my.epri.com/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_228202_317_205_776_43/http%3B/uspalecp604%3B7087/publishedcontent/publish/index_da_9579.html#

    Johnson Controls-Saft, with French manufacture of the battery system, is the contractor here. Not LG Chem. Will the C-Max be the first Ford PHEV, not the Escape?

    and third

    http://my.epri.com/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_228202_317_205_776_43/http%3B/uspalecp604%3B7087/publishedcontent/publish/index_da_9579.html#

    Since this collaborative announcement is nearly three years old, to what extent does GM believe that fast charging will or won’t be critical to EV use?

    I think we can also read between the lines for Mr. Kamath’s opinion of capacitor type batteries. If a valid one actually existed for large format use, they would be all over the place.

    I’d love to be a fly on the wall over at EPRI.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (12:07 pm)

    Excellent job, Jeff, of pulling Mr. Kamath out for this interview.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (12:14 pm)

    So, where is the sweet spot? It seems that there are several variables that could determine that sweet spot. The individuals personal need might be the biggest variable. Some other variables are: battery energy density, cost per kwh, life expectancy, available materials, charge time and available charging; especially workplace IMO. Many people like myself would be happy with a BEV with 150+ range to meet most of their daily needs. I would also prefer a vehicle that is simple to operate and diagnose when problems occur. JMO most people don’t want to have to study a manual to figure out how to enjoy their vehicle; especially my wife LOL.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (12:19 pm)

    Jeff Cobb:
    I think a 30 minute edit time on a post is sufficient. Depending on the topic being discussed and the amount of participants involved, in 30 minutes time a conversation can change a great deal. Therefore, if one starts a post, and comes back an hour later or more to finish it, it’s conceivable some days to have 50 posts in that time frame–especially on controversial things. Not that any of this is a big deal, but I think a half hour of edit time is plenty for most.

    Just my 2 cents.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (12:49 pm)

    On the 30 minute edit- this is better than other options.

    I never ‘registered’ until the forums became front page stuff with Lyle’s last iteration. While we get trolls and such, his original format enabled free thought flow from even casual visitors. I don’t know how many times I have bypassed making comments on some article after I found out I had to register. If you are a regular, you post. If you visit, you don’t want to feel like signing up and managing yet another password.

    30 minutes, without logging in for the main topic, should be a winner.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (1:04 pm)

    Jackson: RE Edit timer:

    EDIT:

    Missed your comment #34, Jeff. Do you mean that if you are logged in at the forums and then come to the top article to post you have infinite editing time, or do you mean something else?

    EDIT TWO (test) …

    I mean I am not on a timer. Did they fix the timer on your end? I think they lifted it for registered users so it’s not 30 minutes. Is it unlimited, or still 30?


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (1:14 pm)

    CorvetteGuy:
    I predict that by the year 2020 there will be an All-Electric-All-Wheel-Drive Corvette Stingray!

    250+ Miles Range
    0-60 in 3.5 Secs
    150 MPH Limited Top Speed

    Boo-YAH!!!

    Probably fueled by a 100 KW nuclear-powered thermo-electric generator! Never needs refueling! Infinite MPG!!

    A real Supercar!

    Raymond


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    CaptJackSparrow

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (1:16 pm)

    Where’s my Volt Pickemup Truck!
    Me want Pickup with 20AER!


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (1:19 pm)

    Noel Park: As with so many issues here, I believe that it all hinges on the price of gas. When gas in the U.S. approaches European prices, people are going to start accepting inconveniences that they wouldn’t have dreamed of accepting in the past.

    When gas hits $6/gal, let alone $8, people will suddenly start to carpool, take public transit, adapt their lifestyles to BEVs, and buy Voltec/EREV cars like crazy.

    JMHO.

    Unfortunately, at this point, public transit isn’t an option for most people. It simply doesn’t exist in most of the country. And, where it does exist, it’s being slashed because of budget cuts. So that it can wind up taking double the amount of time as driving. Changing one hour commutes from to two hour.

    And BEVs aren’t exactly available all over the place. And, even if they do become available, at this point, they’re still extremely expensive. Too expensive for the average consumer.

    Increasing population density is another option, but in most of this country, due to zoning laws and building requirements, it’s flat out illegal.

    Basically, we have to pray that peak oil is far enough away that BEVs become cheaper and more widely owned before gas becomes prohibitively expensive.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (1:22 pm)

    BLIND GUY:
    IMO.Many people like myself would be happy with a BEV with 150+ range to meet most of their daily needs.

    =============================

    I could live very easily with a BEV that had a range of 150 miles.

    But is HAS to be a REAL range of 150 miles, not the one that says:

    Range – 150 miles*

    * You may only get 50 miles if it is cold, or there are hills, or you want to go faster than 50 MPH, or you are a big fat slob, or you want to drive like you are at the Daytona 500, etc, etc, etc….

    Because where I live, it gets cold, there are hills, I want to drive faster than 50 MPH, and I am a medium fat slob, that considers himself to be Mario Andretti!!!

    :-)

    Which is why I will get a Volt!!!!


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (1:44 pm)

    flmark: On the 30 minute edit- this is better than other options.

    I never ‘registered’ until the forums became front page stuff with Lyle’s last iteration. While we get trolls and such, his original format enabled free thought flow from even casual visitors. I don’t know how many times I have bypassed making comments on some article after I found out I had to register. If you are a regular, you post. If you visit, you don’t want to feel like signing up and managing yet another password.

    30 minutes, without logging in for the main topic, should be a winner.

    I never would have started posting either if I’d had to register the first time. I rarely comment if registration is required.

    I like idea of the 30 minute comment window. I frequently flinch whenever I reread my comments, so…being able to change my typos and make certain other edits edits would help. A lot. Somehow, as much as I reread my comments before posting, it’s not the same thing.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (1:53 pm)

    In the next 18 to 24 months, IMO batteries validated for automotive use will have about doubled in range from the batteries available when GM first started testing batteries for the Volt. Haresh Kamath is quoted as, “What we do know is in probably in the next 10 years or so we will probably get at least a two times increase in energy density.”. Does Kamath mean 10 years from what is in the Volt now, or from the new batteries being tested and validated at the cutting edge currently, which will be in new EREV’s and EV’s over the the next 12 to 36 months?


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (1:53 pm)

    Rashiid Amul: I find it interesting that Haresh Kamath didn’t mention the
    highly respected, soon to be released, EEStor product. :) :)

    It seems EEStor couldn’t make the dielectric issue “go away” by refusing to acknowledge it, so now they’re trying to overcome the problem by adding a cold fusion reactor. ;)


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (2:10 pm)

    LauraM: Unfortunately, at this point, public transit isn’t an option for most people. It simply doesn’t exist in most of the country. And, where it does exist, it’s being slashed because of budget cuts. So that it can wind up taking double the amount of time as driving. Changing one hour commutes from to two hour.

    LauraM, you just did a great job of describing where I live.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (2:20 pm)

    #57 Jim I I could live very easily with a BEV that had a range of 150 miles.
    But is HAS to be a REAL range of 150 miles, not the one that says:
    Range – 150 miles*
    * You may only get 50 miles if it is cold, or there are hills, or you want to go faster than 50 MPH, or you are a big fat slob, or you want to drive like you are at the Daytona 500, etc, etc, etc….
    Because where I live, it gets cold, there are hills, I want to drive faster than 50 MPH, and I am a medium fat slob, that considers himself to be Mario Andretti!!!Which is why I will get a Volt!

    It is good that you’re taking your individual variables into consideration. This is why I have set my individual need of 150+ as a minimum. I want the ability to have a 75 mile range pretty much guaranteed. We have not made a decision on our next car purchase yet. It will depend on what’s available at that time; budget priorities and even insurance cost.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (2:21 pm)

    On edit timer:

    If the timer is 30 minutes, so be it. Just don’t allow the post to be visible to others until they are done editing it. Make it so you can post immediately by self-killing your timer.

    Personally, I sometimes use an external editor so that I can spell/grammar check before posting. Unless I’m on the iPhone then you just get what I type and y’all can figure out what the heck I meant!

    I see it like sending an email. Once it’s sent it can’t be un-sent. Make sure you really wanted to say what you said in the first place.

    I will miss your edit in most cases. I just run down through the comments one time. If you edit it later, I will never see it.

    One last suggestion about editing after posting. Make it so the edited text is different (red or italic or something) so we know what is original and what is edited.

    In general, I am totally against the ability to edit unless it is done in the first 5 minutes.

    edit: My timer came up as 30 minutes. I am registered. What do you do to get the unlimited timer? Oh never mind. I don’t want to edit anything anyway.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (2:42 pm)

    Raymondjram: Probably fueled by a 100 KW nuclear-powered thermo-electric generator! Never needs refueling! Infinite MPG!!

    A real Supercar!

    ” … and now for our Sky ‘Copter Traffic report:” ™

    (sound of reporter through tinny comm mike compressed, and filtered through electric fan):

    “Well, it looks like another pair of those Corvette GammaRays got involved in a head-on in Wyoming, so you might want to avoid that State: consider Montana as an alternate …”

    ;-)


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (2:49 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: I mean I am not on a timer. Did they fix the timer on your end? I think they lifted it for registered users so it’s not 30 minutes. Is it unlimited, or still 30?

    Still limited to 30. I don’t know how the site would know I’m a registered user if I don’t log in (I tried logging into the forums first, then going “home” and picking this story; didn’t help).

    30 minutes are fine for me, BTW.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (2:51 pm)

    Rashiid Amul: LauraM, you just did a great job of describing where I live.

    Unfortunately, I think I described most of the country. People who say people should just use more public transportation are really out of touch, IMHO. Or have only lived in places like New York, or Chicago, or Philadelphia.

    I actually prefer public transportation. (Reading and driving is really really dangerous, IMHO.) And I do want to reduce my oil consumption. But there’s no way I would be willing to double my commute time, unless I was absolutely forced into it. I would cut back on everything and anything else first.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (2:55 pm)

    “Battery powered vehicles: where can technology go from here?” Perhaps the better question is how far can battery powered vehicles go? Regardless of the tech: As far as their batteries and the public recharging infrastructure can take them (and then only assuming that a recharge can be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time for travelers). Better batteries will come sooner, infrastructure much later (480 volt chargers in Hahira Georgia, or Eastaboga Alabama in 10 years? Don’t think so).

    How far can EREV (Voltec) vehicles go? As far as you want.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (2:57 pm)

    Loboc: In general, I am totally against the ability to edit unless it is done in the first 5 minutes.

    But why? Haven’t you ever posted something and flinched at your bad use of grammar. Or basic spelling typo that totally changed the meaning of your post? Absolutely, the sooner you catch it the better. And, I agree that the best thing to do is to edit beforehand. And I do reread my posts before posting. But somehow, it doesn’t work.

    And often when I spend a lot of time trying to phrase my post in exactly the right way, I just forget the whole thing. Once I’ve posted, I can’t do that.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (3:20 pm)

    nasaman,

    I fully agree that the Volt is the right step towards fully electric powered vehicles.
    Putting in a higher density battery using the same principles will be the next step in my opinion.
    My hopes are on the lithium-air technology which offer ten times the density of the present lithium ion batteries.
    Could be viable in 10 years according to some sources, but perhaps sooner considering the huge benefits it would offer…


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (3:33 pm)

    kdawg:
    I wonder if EEStor was at Ft. Lauderdale.

    Jeff – I don’t know if you care to put in the effort, but if you could actually contact EEstor, and scoop any kind of real data story, that would be amazing.My guess is they would give you the same vague answers they give everyone, but you never know.

    Jeff, Don’t waste your time contacting EESTor unless you are willing to invest in EESCAM. A blogger contacted Dick Weir CEO of EESCAM…Dick stated to him he will only discuss EESCAM if he is interested in investing in EESCAM. It appears EESCAM needs money to complete the production line which DW in 2009 said he was ahead of schedule. Dick believes we are still in 2009 :-) .


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (3:38 pm)

    BLIND GUY: JMO most people don’t want to have to study a manual to figure out how to enjoy their vehicle; especially my wife LOL.

    #50

    You got that right. +1 And especially me as well.

    I am very happy woth how my Volt is performing as a PHEV, but the user interface is not very intuitive or friendly, which detracts from the ownership experience so far. Sorry guys, but it’s true.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (3:43 pm)

    LauraM: Basically, we have to pray that peak oil is far enough away that BEVs become cheaper and more widely owned before gas becomes prohibitively expensive.

    We know it’s good to be clean and sustainable, but we dumb consumers do what’s cheapest. As long as gas is $3, it’s way cheaper than batteries. When gas shoots to $9, THEN we will see some serious mass demand for batteries. The problem of peak oil will drive it’s own solution, via price increases.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (3:58 pm)

    LauraM: Unfortunately, I think I described most of the country. People who say people should just use more public transportation are really out of touch, IMHO. Or have only lived in places like New York, or Chicago, or Philadelphia.

    #66

    Well I think that SoCal is a perfect example of what I’m talking about re. public transit. The “system” here is very inconvenient. You are totally right that that’s why most people drive. It’s just a question of whether more pain is created by the inconvenience or the price of gas. I promise you that, when gas hits $6, there will be a lot more riders on the buses, light rail and Metrolink in SoCal. Out in the country where there’s no such “system”, it’s obviously not an option.

    Likewise the adoption of BEVs, EREVs, and even small high mileage ICE cars. BEVs might be expensive and of limited availability, and not very convenient, but sales and demand, and consequently supply, will certainly escalate along with gas prices and unavailability. Again, it’s a question of which bad option causes the least pain.

    And yes, I am deeply pessimistic that prices will spike before we are ready. Rahm Emanuel got a lot of flack for saying that no good crisis should go to waste. But he wasn’t the first by any means, notably Naomi Klein. Alas, it seems to be the way we “govern” in our great nation.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (4:00 pm)

    APC: We know it’s good to be clean and sustainable, but we dumb consumers do what’s cheapest. As long as gas is $3, it’s way cheaper than batteries. When gas shoots to $9, THEN we will see some serious mass demand for batteries. The problem of peak oil will drive it’s own solution, via price increases.

    #72

    Well you beat me to it, LOL. +1


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (4:01 pm)

    APC: We know it’s good to be clean and sustainable, but we dumb consumers do what’s cheapest. As long as gas is $3, it’s way cheaper than batteries. When gas shoots to $9, THEN we will see some serious mass demand for batteries. The problem of peak oil will drive it’s own solution, via price increases.

    Abrupt changes generally aren’t very pleasant for anyone.

    True, most people will be interested in batteries when gas is $9 a gallon. But industry is unlikely to be able to provide cars to meet the demand quickly enough. And the mass demand doesn’t create battery breakthroughs on its own. It takes time.

    There will be battery shortages. And a lot of people will be stuck with ICEs. And they’ll have to reduce their spending in that and other areas. Which will create unemployment. And then the newly unemployed won’t be able to afford to get to job interviews because they can’t afford gas, let alone a new job. So all those unemployed people won’t provide demand for batteries, thereby reducing the economies of scale, and providing less money for further battery research. If we’re not prepared, it might mean a vicious cycle that will end in a societal breakdown.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (4:08 pm)

    Greenbloggers: Jeff, Don’t waste your time contacting EESTor unless you are willing to invest in EESCAM.

    “Pay no attention to that scam behind the curtain!”

    Jeff: EEStor’s outrageous, often repeated claims (together with a consistent lack of any real evidence), is almost a standing joke here (as you’ve seen). About the only cred the technology has is the involvement of Lockheed Martin; which suggests an outside chance of a military technology being declassified: But we aren’t holding our collective breath waiting for this very unlikely possibility to pan out.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (4:18 pm)

    My sweet spot is 200 miles of EV range. My daily commute is about 50 miles round trip but once a week or so I need to run to the nearby county seats for about 180 miles driven that day.

    Accepting all of the limitations of a BEV for extended traveling. If I could buy one right now that had that range (and wasn’t $109,000) I would buy it.

    If in a few years the Leaf can go 200 miles and cost less than it does now that would be fine by me. Until then I’ll drive the Volt and my wife our Mariner hybrid SUV.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (4:22 pm)

    @ kdawg:

    Do you have a 50 mile one way interstate commute, then? We’ll have to start calling you sprawldawg.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (4:25 pm)

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    Mar 16th, 2011 (4:42 pm)

    Noel Park: Well I think that SoCal is a perfect example of what I’m talking about re. public transit. The “system” here is very inconvenient. You are totally right that that’s why most people drive. It’s just a question of whether more pain is created by the inconvenience or the price of gas. I promise you that, when gas hits $6, there will be a lot more riders on the buses, light rail and Metrolink in SoCal. Out in the country where there’s no such “system”, it’s obviously not an option.

    It’s great that that’s an option in some places. But I suspect that those places are fewer than most people think.

    And adding more than an hour to your commute is more than an inconvenience, IMHO. It’s a major lifestyle change. And, for some people, it’s flat out not doable. And, even when it is a possibility, it tends to make people a lot less productive when they are at work. And moving someplace closer or more convenient is generally not an option financially.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (4:45 pm)

    As batteries get cheaper, both BEVs and EREVs can be increased in range. I’d like to see a real-world EREV AER of 100; mainly because that’s about the max one can normally expect to recharge overnight in a garage. It’s also considered to be enough miles for commuting in larger cities; hence that (initially claimed) range for first generation BEVs.

    With cheaper batteries, the defining difference between the two approaches will become:

    1) Do you recharge at home, and use fuel for long-distance, or

    2) Do you recharge at higher currents than are generally available at home (public charging facilities) to get a complete recharge, and then depend on the battery for all your driving?

    Approach #1 is a straight forward progression driven by costs, but approach #2 requires extensive infrastructure out in the countryside (which isn’t happening in the foreseeable future). BEVs, whatever their range, will continue to be used for shorter-range driving (even after in-town charging stations come into use); perhaps for decades.

    Or, to put it another way, the acceptance of BEVs will be driven by infrastructure more than technology; while acceptance of EREVs will be driven by technology (which lowers costs and increases performance) more than on infrastructure.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (4:57 pm)

    Jackson: “Pay no attention to that scam behind the curtain!”

    Jeff: EEStor’s outrageous, often repeated claims (together with a consistent lack of any real evidence), is almost a standing joke here (as you’ve seen).About the only cred the technology has is the involvement of Lockheed Martin; which suggests an outside chance of a military technology being declassified:But we aren’t holding our collective breath waiting for this very unlikely possibility to pan out.

    lol….
    you guys brought up the eethingy……lol


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (5:07 pm)

    LauraM: And adding more than an hour to your commute is more than an inconvenience, IMHO. It’s a major lifestyle change.

    #80

    You would be amazed at how many people in SoCal have voluntarily done just that, moving to Riverside and San Bernardino counties and commuting 1 1/2 to 2 hours each way to the LA Basin. This was especially common at the height of the recent real estate bubble. And there is almost no public transit along those routes. Many of those folks got shaken out during the subsequent implosion, but a lot of them are still doing it. I hate to think of what will become of them.

    There are a whole lot of BAD choices facing us for sure.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (5:45 pm)

    Wow,
    I have been away from the blog lately (although I still go to the forum a lot to keep up on what’s happening w/ the guys (and gals) that have cars).

    It makes me extremely happy to see that the blog is still alive and well. Jeff seems to be a good writer and interacts w/ the bloggers the way Statik did.

    I wish Herm was still around though. He always had an intelligent comment to make.

    I’ll check out the lead article/blog regularly (again).

    GSB


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (7:22 pm)

    Noel Park: You would be amazed at how many people in SoCal have voluntarily done just that, moving to Riverside and San Bernardino counties and commuting 1 1/2 to 2 hours each way to the LA Basin. This was especially common at the height of the recent real estate bubble. And there is almost no public transit along those routes. Many of those folks got shaken out during the subsequent implosion, but a lot of them are still doing it. I hate to think of what will become of them.

    I think a lot of people sign up for that sort of thing without knowing what they’re getting themselves into. If you have a commute that long, something has got to give. Time at work, or time with your family.

    But, absolutely, a lot of people choose that sort of lifestyle voluntarily because they genuinely prefer it. And, this being America, we don’t make them pay the full costs of it. There’s a whole range of costs that are subsidized. It costs more to provide electricity, water,and sewage. But it gets averaged out, and people in the more central areas have to pay part of the extra costs. And then there’s the gasoline subsidies. And the extra road maintenance subsidies. The home mortgage interest tax deduction. And now we’re paying Internet subsidies. (Apparently, it’s a competitive disadvantage that people who choose to live in rural areas don’t have internet access.) I could go on…

    But a lot of other people are forced into it because they absolutely cannot afford to buy a house near their job. And there aren’t any other decent choices that are closer. And once you buy a house, that’s it. It’s not that easy moving. Especially if you’re losing money on it. That’s even worse than having a gas guzzling SUV when gas hits $5 a gallon since cars are, after all, a lot cheaper than houses.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (7:51 pm)

    George S. Bower: I wish Herm was still around though. He always had an intelligent comment to make.

    Is Herm still at Statiks old site?


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (8:06 pm)

    Noel Park: Well I think that SoCal is a perfect example of what I’m talking about re. public transit. The “system” here is very inconvenient. You are totally right that that’s why most people drive. It’s just a question of whether more pain is created by the inconvenience or the price of gas. I promise you that, when gas hits $6, there will be a lot more riders on the buses, light rail and Metrolink in SoCal. Out in the country where there’s no such “system”, it’s obviously not an option.

    Mertrolink goes to OC, San Juan Capistrano, San Bernardino, Santa Clarita, Antelope Valley, Ventura, Riverside.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (8:10 pm)

    This is a good topic. Great information. And the site looks and works well on as iPad 2. I am glad to see the site alive and well once again. I had my doubts there for a while. Great job, Jeff. Keep up the good work.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (8:10 pm)

    Great article Jeff.
    I also think E-rev just makes sense over huge batteries, GM engineers are a bunch of genius’


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (8:57 pm)

    I like the focus on battery technology. I would like to see more articles on batteries with each article focused on one battery manufacturer/researcher. In depth articles on a single company/type is always more interesting than general wrap up. Some suggestions:
    http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?ch=specialsections&sc=batteries&id=24758&a=f
    http://www.planarenergy.com/
    http://www.ytwhw.com/2011/0304/New-Sumitomo-Electric-Battery-90-Cheaper-Than-Lithium-Ion-Nikkei.html


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (9:15 pm)

    Roy H:

    I like the focus on battery technology. I would like to see more articles on batteries with each article focused on one battery manufacturer/researcher. In depth articles on a single company/type is always more interesting than general wrap up.

    … and don’t forget these guys:

    http://www.ceramatec.com/technology/ceramic-solid-state-ionic-technologies/advanced-energy-storage/solid-electrolyte-batteries.php

    Back when GM was giving us details about the Gen III Volt, they said it was going to have “solid state batteries.” Even if these aren’t them, their sulfur-based battery has great promise in load leveling for utilities and/or homes (freeing up Lithium for vehicle batteries, EPRI).


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (9:41 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: Heard back from IT. If I understand his email correctly, he removed the time limit.

    Are you able now to go in and edit at will with no time limit?

    Does everyone agree this is a good idea?

    It appears some do not think so.

    I for one think it is a good idea to take off the time limit. The issue of quoting is not a killer concern. After a quote is made, it will remain, regardless of the underlining post.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (10:07 pm)

    Aluminum:

    “we increase the cost of the structure, but save more than that cost increase in the reduction in cost for the battery.

    Aluminum intensive vehicles are lighter weight, consume less energy in operation and cost less to deliver to the customer.”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0y9Qdk0-d6o

    Audi-R8-Audi-Space-Frame.jpg

    The Chevy Volt curb weight is 3781 lbs – even 5% weight reduction (189 lbs) will allow for a smaller battery, better acceleration, better extended range mpg, etc.
    If GM wants to crank up the production numbers for the Volt Gen II and III, this seems like a safe improvement to look into (money spent will definitely yield results, something not guaranteed in battery research). I realize Gen I had big time and financial constraints…
    200 pounds lighter, times 1 million Volts – that’s a lot less metal being pushed around by batteries, electric motors and engines, for a decade or more.
    2 million Volts – even better.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (11:08 pm)

    MichaelH: I heard from him one week ago.He and his wife are still dealing with friends of the family with terminal health issues.

    I made contact with Tag again tonight. The story is the same, difficult times with their close friends.


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (11:11 pm)

    Hi Jeff,

    Had my new computer hijacked.

    But got things back working in a really relatively quick time.
    The security program identified who it was!!
    I never thought that internet security could be so incredible!!
    (Otherwise, I’d have commented earlier). (The offending party, who I know, is in not just a little bit of trouble, lol). (No-one here did it of course.) This is really incredible, this new security. I really like it a lot. So many really great things have gone into these new computers and all the new software advancements for them. Microsoft and the security guys have done a magnificent job with this.

    I like the idea of unlimited editing, but subsequent posters ought realize that there might be some occasions that the posts may not align context-wise for the final edited versions written.
    That would be ok.
    ( I will have to keep in mind to not resurrect my infamous run-on sentences. And, to keep the number of sentences low as well.) I think the quality of the scholarship and humor (lol) will increase nicely too.

    Thanks for the new extended edit time Jeff!!


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    Mar 16th, 2011 (11:40 pm)

    MichaelH,

    I hope Tag and his wife are OK.


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    Mar 17th, 2011 (12:19 am)

    Dan Petit,

    Sorry to hear about your computer. But glad you fixed it and figured out who the perpetrator is.

    What is the name of the security system you use. Does it work for Macs?


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    Mar 17th, 2011 (12:31 am)

    WVhybrid: I for one think it is a good idea to take off the time limit.The issue of quoting is not a killer concern.After a quote is made, it will remain, regardless of the underlining post.

    I have seen a few quotes posted before the original was finished being edited. It has taken the original author by surprise quite a few times. Perhaps there will be more quotes made to keep the original post honest.
    My insistence on keeping the original post intact has more to do with journalistic integrity than wanting to have the ability to fix typo’s.

    Posting on this site has been serious business for Lyle and the regulars here. gm-volt.com has become the premier website for anything Volt. Honest, knowledgeable, and responsive opinions have been the hallmark around here. Can you imagine anyone going back to some off the cuff posts and removing the virility to something meaningless? We all have a passion for our vehicles, whether they be BEV’s, EREV’s or ICE’s and are remembered for that passion. Simply having the ability to edit that passion effects much more than our own need to be heard correctly but offends the individuals that have responded to the original thoughts.

    Reducing this part of the website to a simple user regulated forum reduces our passion into something of a cheap and unreliable commodity. How many articles have we read that are published on seemingly knowledgeable sites that are not credited nor validated? Author less journalistic practices that are not responsible nor credible can be found all over the place. Read them if you will, quote them if you want, believe them? Not a chance. I can’t put much trust in a forum that can, in the future, have past opinions be typographically changed. It’s dishonest.

    Leave out the ability to alter posts here, you won’t regret it in the long run (if you plan on one!)


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    Mar 17th, 2011 (9:10 am)

    Jeff:

    Kaspersky.

    But also, I was completely familiar with the file *name* that caused the severe problem.
    While an originally-innocent trusted source file name is the easiest thing to use to imbed the malware as the attempt of cover for the real culprits, the klutzy methods used to change the scan analysis details exonerated the original file name source, and confirmed the only other source of malice I knew of, in conjunction with certain timings, contexts, and continuities.

    (It’s funny how what I learned in the USAF counter-intelligence school in 1973 helped here.)
    (While by far, far, far, counterintelligence logic was the most strenuously difficult thing for me to learn in USAF technical training school, it was my assigned job to learn it, so I did as best I could, but I just barely passed one the required courses because I could only learn in long-term memory. I’d never before experienced such completely-demanding requirements for very compounded in-depth analysis. But that determination was a lesson that worthwhile things can certainly be accomplished, like Voltec.)
    (The invasive pests really need to grow up.)


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    Mar 17th, 2011 (9:29 am)

    Dan Petit:
    MichaelH,
    I hope Tag and his wife are OK.

    Mostly an emotional struggle when good friends reach the end of their physical life.


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    Mar 17th, 2011 (9:44 am)

    MichaelH,

    /..hope to hear from him soon.


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    Mar 17th, 2011 (9:51 am)

    EVO,

    I drive about 30 miles/day (15 each way). This is if I dont go anywhere for lunch. I commute at 70mph. I don’t have anywhere to plug in at work. The people at Zero said my range would be about 20 to 25 miles per charge going on the highway. That’s when I stopped looking into it. If they increase the range, I may be interested again. I would like some buffer range too, not just barely making it.


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    Mar 17th, 2011 (11:18 am)

    kdawg: EVO, I drive about 30 miles/day (15 each way). This is if I dont go anywhere for lunch. I commute at 70mph. I don’t have anywhere to plug in at work. The people at Zero said my range would be about 20 to 25 miles per charge going on the highway. That’s when I stopped looking into it. If they increase the range, I may be interested again. I would like some buffer range too, not just barely making it.

    You could make it work if you really wanted to, as is.

    1. Stay off the interstate.

    The biggest issue is clearly the interstate. You have no alternative route on slower speed roads? The equivalent of a 125 to 150cc (or even 400cc) motorcycle (or scooter) is simply not the best choice for high speed interstate cruising, regardless of the type of drivetrain or power source. Most dirt bikers and scooter riders I know advise you to stay off interstates entirely. Separate from all other considerations, interstate cruising on any light motorcycle is simply not using the vehicle for what it’s the best at, so very much less fun than any other use.

    and/or

    2. Get a model with a removable power pack and bring the pack into work and top it off at work an interior outlet or get a spare power pack and keep one topped off from an interior outlet at work.

    On plugging in at work, surely you have interior outlets there. You do know that Zero has models with removable power packs that you can wheel in/out at work to charge inside with a cheap, small dolly you keep at work, right? You do know that you can get a spare power pack for some of their models, that you can keep inside at work, topped off at an interior outlet so you can swap with your partly drained power pack when you arrive at work, right?

    These things are pretty easy to do and make work if you simply commit to thinking and making it work. I’ve gone 150 miles a day on a pretty frequent basis with mine, with two top offs – easier if you have a removable power pack. But maybe I’m more willing than you are to make it work for me? Keep in mind that any different vehicle choice, gas cars included, come with different behaviors. I also suggest your spring for the modest extra $ for the fast charging and additional J1772 connector options, new this year.

    I agree that more range makes everything easier – the biggest issues there in order are availability, cost and weight, the latter of which hammers on your perfoomance and the increase in range.


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    Mar 17th, 2011 (11:32 am)

    EVO,

    I saw that the new street models this year offer a removeable pack. I was doing my research in July of 2010. Buying another pack makes the cost really increase. I decided to just stick w/my current motorcycle, and save the money for my Volt. When its time for a new motorcycle, I’ll start researching again. Hopefully there are more EV options out there and longer ranges. Jeff was saying Brammo offered more for the money, but I think their top speed didn’t match Zero’s.


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    Mar 17th, 2011 (11:36 am)

    #81 Jackson As batteries get cheaper, both BEVs and EREVs can be increased in range. I’d like to see a real-world EREV AER of 100; mainly because that’s about the max one can normally expect to recharge overnight in a garage. It’s also considered to be enough miles for commuting in larger cities; hence that (initially claimed) range for first generation BEVs.
    With cheaper batteries, the defining difference between the two approaches will become:
    1) Do you recharge at home, and use fuel for long-distance, or
    2) Do you recharge at higher currents than are generally available at home (public charging facilities) to get a complete recharge, and then depend on the battery for all your driving?
    Approach #1 is a straight forward progression driven by costs, but approach #2 requires extensive infrastructure out in the countryside (which isn’t happening in the foreseeable future). BEVs, whatever their range, will continue to be used for shorter-range driving (even after in-town charging stations come into use); perhaps for decades.
    Or, to put it another way, the acceptance of BEVs will be driven by infrastructure more than technology; while acceptance of EREVs will be driven by technology (which lowers costs and increases performance) more than on infrastructure.

    I agree that BEVs will be in-city commuters for years to come. As battery energy density doubles; there should be no reason why “200mi range” isn’t practical charging at home. The Ford Focus EV will be able to charge in 4 hours with its “100mi range”. So a “200mi range” battery should be able to charge in 8 hours; overnight. IMO with a “200mi range” or 100mi range for comfortable, spirited driving should be sufficient for most-all city drivers. For my needs; I could live with a “200mi” BEV as my only vehicle and fly or rent a car or maybe some day take a high speed rail for out of town trips. IMO cars like the PIP will be more competition to the Volt then BEVs.


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    Mar 17th, 2011 (3:25 pm)

    kdawg: EVO, I saw that the new street models this year offer a removeable pack. I was doing my research in July of 2010. Buying another pack makes the cost really increase. I decided to just stick w/my current motorcycle, and save the money for my Volt. When its time for a new motorcycle, I’ll start researching again. Hopefully there are more EV options out there and longer ranges. Jeff was saying Brammo offered more for the money, but I think their top speed didn’t match Zero’s.

    All good points. I think your approach, process and trigger point is quite reasonable. In the meantime, you’re learning a lot on these boards of the many subtleties of drivetrain differences. I expect that once you get your plug in rides you will realize that 90% of what’s important to you isn’t covered on these boards and 90% of what’s on these boards isn’t really important to you in your daily plug in use.

    I’m glad you are discovering that there are tradeoffs between the annually increasing electric product choices, performance one of them. I chose maximum torque feet (pound feet divided by the weight of the vehicles) for any two wheeled vehicle on the market that I could just afford as my criterea for my second ever bike purchase in 2007 and ended up with a Zero. I still get that huge EV grin from the launch from every single stop sign and red light.

    Some final thoughts on the topic:

    You could realize that your interstate actually does have a legal minimum speed at which you could go to extend your range. I know, less fun and more danger.

    There are much more powerful electric bikes already available with greater range if you treat the thing you twist to go moderately, such as a Mavizen, but you already said that around 2k to have the convenience of an extra pack is too rich for your blood.

    On finances, for the price of a Volt, you could buy 4 Zero XUs and 4 spare packs, and keep two of each (bikes and spare packs) at work and at home. That would work for you, too, as you can then simply pop in the freshest pack and or/hop on the most topped off of your multiple bikes at any time. You could make a bundle renting then by the minute to your co-workers, too.

    Anyway, glad to hear that you are on the cusp of going e (Volt, Zero, Brammo, whatever, there are many, many other choices now) with your next purchase. You can still keep your old gas bike for those really long, really straight, really boring interstate high speed coach potato cruises. You won’t be an early adopter, but you’ll still catch the early part of the electric wave going vertical onto the shores of mainstream.


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    Mar 18th, 2011 (1:48 pm)

    Jeff,

    This was my favorite post of yours so far because it is the most important to electrification of vehicles–”It’s all about the batteries” is a stronger way to say it.

    I thought Nissan said or was strongly rumored a year or two ago to have said they expect to have a battery that gives twice the range of the current Leaf battery for the 2nd generation Leaf.

    I would love to see the federal gov increase its funding of battery R&D–go for the big breakthroughs that can really make a significant reduction in our demand for foreign crude oil.

    As an investor, I like the idea of shorting over-enthusiasm of the pace of battery improvement. Actually, of shorting over-enthusiasm of anything. Not sure how to do it–actually shorting the stocks of many of these companies ranges from impossible for the private ones to difficult to dangerous. Maybe buying puts of a li-ion battery companies ETF, if such an ETF exists.


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    Mar 21st, 2011 (2:38 pm)

    From the article
    Kamath said some of the most critical factors battery manufacturers are contending with – more or less in order – are: 1) cost, 2) life, 3) range, and, 4) recharging time.

    #3 Rashiid Amul
    Try as I might, I can’t put an order to this. To me, they are all number 1 in importance.
    I would imagine each consumer has a different idea of what is important to them.

    I agree that all are of high importance although 3) and 4) are more important IMO than 1) and 2). If, for example, I were planning a long trip in a future generation of a Volt and the EV range had improved to be equivalent to the total range of the Volt gen-1 but recharge time had NOT been improved, then recharge time would be a very big issue.