Apr 23

IBM Welcomes Japanese Partners to Potentially World-Changing ‘Battery 500′ Project

 

On Friday, IBM announced it has taken on two major Japanese research partners to help with its Battery 500 lithium-air project intended to make internal combustion powered vehicles obsolete in around a decade or so from now.

Begun in 2009, the project has the none-too-bashful goal of developing an electric passenger vehicle battery technology capable of delivering 500 miles on a charge. The round number of “500” represents how far a present-day internal combustion vehicle can go assuming a sizable fuel tank.

The assumption is consumers do not want to sacrifice, and to be sure, IBM says 64 percent say they have range anxiety with today’s 75-125 mile battery electric vehicle performance.

<br />
Battery500 

 

To overcome this, IBM’s researchers have been quoted as saying energy density deemed acceptable by a battery they produce should be 10-13 times above the lithium-ion batteries in a Tesla Roadster.

The new R&D partners are Asahi Kasei and Central Glass.

Of Asahi, IBM says it is “one of Japan’s leading chemical manufacturers and a leading global supplier of separator membrane for lithium-ion batteries.” Of Central Glass, IBM says it is “a leading global electrolyte manufacturer for lithium-ion batteries, will use its chemical expertise in this field to create a new class of electrolytes and high-performance additives specifically designed to improve lithium-air batteries.”

IBM says together, the Japanese scientific talent will expand the project’s scope and explore several chemistries simultaneously to increase chances for success.

At the same time, IBM states this is a “high risk” project that also stands to be high reward. The company speaks of its role in historical terms as a potential facilitator to humankind’s energy reliance away from fossil fuels toward reliable, viable electrical power.

 

Reasons for the goal are not just the normally cited energy security, reduction of carbon footprint, and need for replacements in light of oil having peaked. These reasons are compounded by the not-too-distant future scenario of rapid population growth and where things are going to go if internal combustion power is not replaced.

Studies have globally projected many more humans crammed into mega cities, and sprawling suburbs. And having become accustomed to standards set in the 20th and early 21st centuries, these people will likewise demand personal transportation, some – including IBM – have said. All this points to crisis scenarios if replacement for gasoline and diesel is not found.

Calmly acknowledging these looming possibilities, IBM has said its “lithium-air” battery has shown enough promise to put its company reputation on the line and says it sees its goals as attainable, and a worthwhile endeavor at any rate.

Not to sound too new agey, but the premise is there is energy in the air all around us – OK, with a little help from chemistry that can make use of it, that is …

In short, IBM’s lightweight and energy dense lithium-air battery uses air – specifically oxygen – from the atmosphere as a reagent much like a gasoline engine does (see videos also).

 

IBM says it hopes li-air will be the next evolutionary leap beyond today’s lithium-ion chemistries which it says are inadequate for widespread EV acceptance.

Back to the Tesla Roadster example, IBM noted its battery pack has energy density of about 150 watt-hours per kilogram. IBM’s researchers have said they are shooting for 1,500-2,000 watt-hours per kilogram, at which point the world can say sayonara to grungy fuel burners without need for a wistful looking back.

We reported on this project in January, and today’s announcement is just more potentially positive news for what IBM says is still in the early stages of research, and it is not over-hyping this work.

After IBM proves an already promised prototype – hoped for in a couple years or so – it says the goal is to enter an “engineering phase” to develop commercial-grade batteries that would be ready for manufacturing into electric vehicles.


 

Following are questions we sent via e-mail, and (brief) answers received from IBM Communications Spokesperson Ari Entin:

Q: I read the press release, but on a scale of 1-10, what is the actual value these new partners bring to the project to seeing a 500 mile range battery?

A: We’ve made a number of important scientific discoveries and demonstrated the science behind our battery technology works. These partners bring critical expertise necessary to scale up to a larger lab prototype.

Q: I’ve read IBM has made good progress so far, can you update me on a hoped-for/projected timeline to production ready status?

A: We’re looking to have a significant lab prototype around the end of 2013 but want to be very clear that we won’t see these being sold in a showroom this decade. The soonest one would see these on city streets would be between 2020 – 2030.

Q: What would be the next step if IBM had a production-ready battery? – after all, it is not a car manufacturer.

A: We’re still in the science phase, not engineering, but you’re right in that IBM is not a battery manufacturing company, nor will it become one. When the time is right, we’ll seek out, develop and license this technology with partners.

 

I want to believe

So, what do we make of this? You can joke about rumored Eestor super capacitors, tell us you’ll believe it when you see it, if you wish. We get that.

We’ll merely note this is not a fly by night operation, we already are living in a world of amazing technology brought about by science, and IBM’s collaboration is international between leading U.S., Swiss, and other scientists. In the States, the effort includes research by national labs with such names as Argonne, Lawrence Livermore, Pacific Northwest, and Oak Ridge.

The flip side to all this is one can deduce IBM essentially thinks a car like the Nissan Leaf has energy density of maybe only one-tenth of what is needed for a full-on paradigm shift away from fossil fuels.

On the other hand again, we hear from plenty of happy EVers today who say the Leaf’s range is acceptable, but even executives at companies like Ford have lately been acting like their own Focus EV is a hit-or-miss proposition.

Given many brilliant and capable minds are working on IBM’s 8 to 18-year project portrayed as urgently needed if human civilization is to continue expanding with acceptable quality of life, we are eager to see where this goes. But like you, we’ll just have to wait and see.

You can learn more about Battery 500 by watching the videos, and can read further on IBM’s Web site.

This entry was posted on Monday, April 23rd, 2012 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: 48


  1. 1
    Jim Fallston Md.

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (7:34 am)

    This looks very promising especially the fact that IBM is involved and that they could be available in 10-15 years.


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    Jiim I

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (7:49 am)

    This is basic research engineering and IBM is good at that.

    Even if they only get half of what they are projecting, think of how it would help the EV industry.

    Personally, if my Volt could get 80 EV miles without any concerns about weather, or terrain, or HVAC use, the only time I would use any gasoline would be on an extended trip.

    And if they can get the cost down, it then helps get these cars into the price range considered acceptable by the “masses”!

    I see no real downside here.

    Go for it IBM!!!

    C-5277


  3. 3
    MWS1047

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (7:51 am)

    500 miles = 100kw-hr of useable battery. A full-on paradigm shift in fast charging will be needed as well, unless you go for the Better Place model.


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    Koz

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (7:57 am)

    Cost is more of an issue than specific energy is. Hopefully the two will go hand in hand so that cost will also be 1/10th of today’s Li cells. Once you get beyond the first real world 60 miles of range, the value drops off precipitously except for unique uses (trucking, taxis, long range commutes, traveling salespeople, etc). I think this makes a homogenous 500 mile electrically charging pack a very hard row to hoe.

    Seems to me if we are talking 100% electricity based solutions then swapping, dual tech (small kwh high power plus large kwh low power), flow batteries, and 250 mile packs with Level3 charging are more likely successes. Of course they will likely be competing with 50-100 mile EREVs with 30kw generators that very seldom require liquid or gas fuel.

    Personally, I don’t ever see a 500 mile battery being a financially advantaged solution except perhaps for those that often travel 350+ miles per day.

    That said, the tech may prove to be very useful for smaller battery pack situations if the cost, life, and other parameters are competitive.


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    Loboc

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (8:15 am)

    I’m from Missouri (literally). I think it’s certainly possible, but, marketing could be the stopper. It’s more likely that NG fuel cells with a much smaller battery will carry the day sooner.

    20 years is a lot of super-computer iterations. Putting 10 Watsons on the problem may get us there.


  6. 6
    Schmeltz

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (8:27 am)

    I’ve been following this Lithium Air story with IBM for awhile and am glad to see an update on it. This all sounds so encouraging. My only issue now is one of impatience I guess. Why 10 years? Not knowing or really understanding the hurdles involved with developing this battery, it still seems like a very, very long time for developement of a technology. None the less, they need to get it exactly right, and if waiting longer is the sacrifice, so be it.

    Cheers to IBM for taking this on!


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    tom w

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (8:34 am)

    I agree w/KOZ charging a 500 mile battery could be problematic and grid impacting if all cars had that. Just because someday maybe they could have 500 mile batteries doesn’t mean thats a good use of resources. Seems like smaller batteries of different sizes makes much more sense.

    Certainly a mix of EREV/EVs would still make sense.

    A volt with a 32kwh battery at a fraction of the cost, size and weight of the current battery and 80+ AER would be great.

    For many a 200 mile EV range (after 10 years) would be great.

    A future where 2 car familes can AFFORD an 80aer EREV and a 200aer EV would mean a healthy American economy with energy independence.

    These are all nice dreams but still it would be nice in under 5 years to see a 40 AER EREV and a 100 AER EV at comparable prices to current ICE vehicles.


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    kdawg

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (8:37 am)

    So at 10x the energy density, to go 500 miles (IBM’s competitive range) you could use the energy of ~5 Nissan Leaf batteries. However it would only weigh 1/2 as much. Since the weight reduction is significant, maybe you would only need 4 Nissan Leaf batteries to get 500 miles. Does this mean the cost would still be 4 times as much? That is the missing information.

    Also, how do you get air flow when you are not moving? A fan? How much air are we talking about and what % would the parasitic losses be?

    I’m kinda tired of hearing, “in just 10 years”, but at least this is coming from IBM so want to believe it more. If WATSON says it’s legit, then I’ll believe it :)


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    Texas

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (8:55 am)

    In the meantime, Better Place already has a perfectly viable solution up and running with customers in Israel. No range anxiety, no need for government subsidies. Government incentives just help to speed up the process as it is all privately funded.

    Potential problems getting those lithium-air batteries out in the next decade:

    1) Have to get that air very clean not to foul up the membranes – good luck
    2) Still have a very expensive system that the customer must pay upfront for
    3) How about list all the energy storage ideas that sounded great but died on the way
    4) You still have to charge the batteries and if you are not home or at work, you have to wait.

    The Better Place model will be offering free cars with a six year plan by then, how are you going to beat that with that expensive energy storage system?

    In summary, the lithium-air drive train has about as much chance as the fuel cell has – slim to none. Maybe for some niche markets.

    Of course, our problems are not just energy, IBM scientists should know this (probably do but need to keep that paycheck coming). Just Google Limits To Growth and learn about the exponential function and why the global economy is but a Ponzi scheme that requires impossible-to-sustain growth.


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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (8:57 am)

    IBM’s focus seems only to be on cars, but who really needs 500miles of range everyday? Why no mention of using these batteries for grid storage systems? There seems to be a big market for this application of batteries.

    Also, with an energy density 10X greater, maybe these can actually be used for Semi-trucks who do need the range. They surely would have the room for a larger battery.


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    Kup

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (8:57 am)

    The promise of the li-air battery is certainly a mixed blessing for us Volt enthusiasts. Once the battery range goes to a certain distance I would personally see very little need for the generator back up. The economics would dictate that you don’t need to carry the gasoline or the generator and once you travel 200, 300, 400 miles from home you would look for a battery swap location like Project Better Place instead of looking for a gas station.

    So yes, li-air can be ICE killers and the Volt does have an ICE. Hence, if li-air is developed the EREV type of vehicle would start selling in very low numbers as pure EVs would start dominating. But, as much as I love my Volt, I really welcome the day when the energy density increases to such a point that EV adoption makes all the sense in the world.

    But I hope that IBM realizes that at even half their goal they would have a huge self-funding mechanism for their research efforts. The market for a 250 mile range battery that is reasonably priced would be huge.


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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (9:00 am)

    Betting on a Metal-Air Battery Breakthrough -http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/23877/ IBM et al may not be the only horse in this race.

    Batteries have improved by about 8% for the last 20 years. IBM would like to see this applied in 10 to 20 years. If batteries continue to improve at the 8% pace for the next 10 to 20 years (Bloomberg claims battery prices decreased by 14% last year) just doing the math may suggest that by the time this technology is applied…it will be just one more incremental improvement in a long line of improvements.


  13. 13
    Tom

     

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (9:05 am)

    A good time to buy IBM stock ?
    Tom


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    Tom

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (9:13 am)

    Then give us solar cells that are 80 or 90 percent efficient over the 16% ones available now.
    Tom


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    kdawg

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (9:23 am)

    jeffhre: Betting on a Metal-Air Battery Breakthrough -http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/23877/ IBM et al may not be the only horse in this race.

    These guys are working on Li-air too.
    http://www.cleantechinstitute.org/AboutUs/index.html

    RESEARCH FOCUS:

    Clean Tech Institute Research and Consulting Group is focusing on 2 fast growing sectors of the clean energy industry: Solar Photovoltaic and Electric Vehicle Battery Technology. The research projects are being conducted with collaboration with our partners at NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

    Our research team lead by our director Lloyd L. Tran is currently developing Lithium Air Technology that can potentially provides 10 times more energy density than the lithium ion battery technologies. The newly developed Lithium Air Technology will be used to power an AMPTRAN electric car that will go for 400-500 miles between charges. The Lithium Air Battery technology developed by Lloyd Tran is based on proprietary Nanocomposite Technologies.

    Clean Tech Institute has licensed its proprietary advanced battery technology to Lithium Air Industries.

    The results of the Lithium Air Nanocomposite Technology has been submitted under a $5 million grant application in the 2011 Vehicle Technologies Program Wide Funding by the US Department of Energy.


  16. 16
    Loboc

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (9:59 am)

    kdawg: These guys are working on Li-air too.
    http://www.cleantechinstitute.org/AboutUs/index.html

    I wouldn’t bet on this one. Their domain expires in July and their website (at least the news page) hasn’t been updated in two years.

    This website looks like it was put together by a website builder tool or a student. Not very professional looking.


  17. 17
    Kup

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (9:59 am)

    Tom: Then give us solar cells that are 80 or 90 percent efficient over the 16% ones available now.Tom

    While that is certainly desirable there are some limits to the laws of physics that we are coming up against in regards to PV. While efficiency is a key component, I would much rather see the $$/watt and the cost of installation come down at faster and faster rates. Of course, efficiency can help reduce the $$/watt (potentially) and can definitely reduce the install costs (due to less panels being needed) but to make those great leaps in efficiency has certainly been cost prohibitive when taking it from lab proven rates to actual mass manufacturing rates.

    At least that is my understanding of the PV landscape.


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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (10:05 am)

    It’s a good thing IBM has deep pockets. Looks like the battery & solar funding is disappearing.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/clean-energy-subsidies-are-vanishing-what-should-replace-them/2012/04/18/gIQApCUYQT_blog.html

    Clean tech has enjoyed quite the party these past few years. Solar, wind, plug-in vehicles — they’ve all benefited from billions of dollars in subsidies from Congress, through various energy and stimulus bills. As a result, many industries, like solar, have taken lengthy strides.

    But that party’s about to shut down. As an extensive new report (pdf) out Wednesday details, clean-energy subsidies are disappearing fast, as the stimulus winds down and various laws and tax credits expire.


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    lousloot

     

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (10:14 am)

    How do you recharge one of these? It’s gonna put oxygen back into the air? You had better vent the garage.
    You need an air pump to move the air (both charge/discharge)

    Sounds like an interesting problem.

    Yea Kdawg, why only cars? Whatabout Trains?


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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (10:16 am)

    Loboc: I wouldn’t bet on this one. Their domain expires in July and their website (at least the news page) hasn’t been updated in two years.
    This website looks like it was put together by a website builder tool or a student. Not very professional looking.

    I’m always amazed how so many companies/organizations start with a somewhat decent website, then never update it. I still think work is going on from what I’ve read, but they should put some fresh content on their site. I’m guessing they are a small time player compared to an IBM, but even the little guys make breakthroughs sometimes.

    Looks like they were uploading videos last summer.
    http://youtu.be/AFVRR7TLzm0


  21. 21
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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (10:44 am)

    We could have a story like this every day. Ground breaking technology that is only 10, 15 or 20 years out. But then this wouldn’t be GM-Volt.com. While I find this story interesting it is not why I come here. But then I am not the one who is tasked with having to come up with a Volt specific story each day! :) That said I don’t mind an occasional off Volt topic now and then, just wouldn’t want it to become the norm.

    Enough of the constructive criticism. Seems like an appropriate opportunity to also tell you Jeff that I think you do a great job with this site and it is one of a very small list that I visit daily. Thanks Jeff for the work!


  22. 22
    flmark

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (10:48 am)

    When I decided to buy the second Volt several weeks back, I did so after looking, as best as I could, to see what was coming in the next few years that would supercede the Volt, ie (5+ passenger vehicles, greater range, superior generator backup, a plug in that could actually tow something). I concluded that these improvements were too far down the line to NOT go with the second Volt. Here is ANOTHER indicator (that we won’t see this in production until later than 2020) that, while improvements may be coming, it is hard to justify keeping that current gas burner around in hopes that Voltec technology will yield anything but (possible) price reductions to the current offerings. I would like to have seen the public jump on board and give GM incentive to expand its product line, but that, ITSELF, appears to be at least a couple more years into the future.

    Yeah, I want my Volt replacements, ten years from now (perhaps) to have cool 500 mile range, but as the old saying goes, “I won’t hold my breath.” The other saying that seems to apply is “A bird in the hand…” If you have a gasser that can tow and can hold lotsa bodies, and is paid for, keep it around for ‘as needed’. If you are a two commuter family with <3 kids, the only thing IMHO to wait for is to see if that Obama proposal about $10K rebate at the dealer (vs $7500 tax credit) comes to pass. Otherwise, a second Volt prevents fighting over the first!


  23. 23
    DonC

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (10:49 am)

    I think it’s highly probable that IBM or someone else will succeed with the Lithium-air or some other metal-air battery. But as mentioned this isn’t going to show up in cars anytime soon.

    For cost, the big cost advantage is that air batteries literally use air at the anode. Since air is completely free, costs are reduced because you don’t need any anode material. However you do have to manufacture the anode and the costs of the cathode, electrolytes, and separator won’t change. So it will not be a 90% cost reduction. Note however that if batteries continue to fall in cost by 8% a year, in 15 years you’re looking at batteries that cost roughly 1/4 what they do today, which means that even a 50% price cut won’t have the dollar impact it would have today. Also note that if the price of oil continues to go up while the price of batteries goes down the relative payback time for an EV will drop anyway. Assuming 8% improvements for solar and batteries and an 8% demand increase for oil, you have battery prices going down by 75%, gasoline prices going up by 300%, and electricity prices going down by 20%. The case for electric vehicles is simply very compelling.

    On performance, note that lithium-air batteries get heavier as they become depleted. This is just a natural result of adding oxygen to the cathode. So while a lithium-air battery will have energy density of 2000 wh/kg when fully charged it will have far less than this when discharged. Lots of design issues here.

    Finally note that Envia claims it has a battery today that stores 400 wh/kg. I suspect that’s mostly hype, but anything remotely in that ballpark will be more than sufficient for EREVs. That would get you a hundred pound battery pack that would deliver 50 miles of EV range and cost about $150/kWh. The truth is that the improvements of going from 50 miles of EV range to 500 miles of EV range is marginal, and it involves a lot of infrastructure changes which probably won’t occur anytime soon.


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    DonC

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (10:54 am)

    ronr64: That said I don’t mind an occasional off Volt topic now and then, just wouldn’t want it to become the norm.

    Lighten up Ron! LOL I think this is on point for future Volt development. Just not in the very near future.

    I’d actually love to have some off-topic stories about the ELR but GM isn’t talking. (Hint to Jeff: I’d also like a story about what the projection is for the life of the battery and what that means exactly — reduced range or just not sufficient to power the car).


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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (11:14 am)

    Kup: Once the battery range goes to a certain distance I would personally see very little need for the generator back up

    Depends on the cost. If this 500 mile battery cost $20.000, but a 50 mile battery cost $2,000, the Volt would benefit greatly.

    Also there is the huge issue of resources, if you can make 10 50 miles batteries instead of one 500 mile battery using the same resources, thats another argument for the Volt.

    And i also think the biggest issue is you want 90% of the charging done overnight with excess capacity. This model actually reduces electric costs over time, but large amounts of daytime charging will raise electric rates and require new capacity to be brought online.


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    BLIND GUY

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (11:48 am)

    I would prefer a BEV with 150+ mile range or a BEV w/ a small range extender to go 200 miles. I want an affordable, practical vehicle w/ fewer possible maintenance problems. If I lived in a city like Boston; with their great mass transit system; we might not even have car payments. There are many people who would be satisfied w/ a 100 real world mile BEV as a primary vehicle; 400 – 500 mile range is over-kill IMO. At some point; more and more vehicles are not the answer, but become the problem. Future city planning needs more consideration JMO.


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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (12:32 pm)

    Notice the continued emphasis on “range anxiety”. People contemplating EVs have “range anxiety”. Those actually driving EVs seldom experience the phenomenon. Even with a 25mile range conversion, you just don’t try to go further than you can. Range anxiety is pretty much an outsider’s myth. Of course the Volt solves it for everyone.


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    Noel Park

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (12:39 pm)

    MWS1047:
    500 miles = 100kw-hr of useable battery. A full-on paradigm shift in fast charging will be needed as well, unless you go for the Better Place model.

    #3

    Ain’t it the truth? +1

    500 miles range still isn’t going to be workable for road trips if you have to stop at the end and charge for 24 hours before you go the next 500.


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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (12:43 pm)

    Texas: The Better Place model will be offering free cars with a six year plan by then

    #9

    I’m from Missouri too.


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    CaptJAckSparrow

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (12:45 pm)

    10-15 years to me is a pipedream!

    But that’s just me.

    /going to starbux now with my bottle of Kahlua……..


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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (1:09 pm)

    DonC: Lighten up Ron! LOL I think this is on point for future Volt development. Just not in the very near future.

    #24

    I agree. +1


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    Noel Park

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (1:12 pm)

    BLIND GUY: If I lived in a city like Boston; with their great mass transit system; we might not even have car payments.

    #26

    I agree with you too. +1

    We spent this weekend in San Francisco. There couldn’t be a more marked contrast from LA. What a transit system!


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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (1:14 pm)

    CaptJAckSparrow: 10-15 years to me is a pipedream!

    #30

    Well I figure that’s about how long my Volt’s gonna ( gotta, LOL) last, so maybe I’ll take another look then. +1


  34. 34
    Jeff Cobb

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (1:29 pm)

    ronr64: We could have a story like this every day. Ground breaking technology that is only 10, 15 or 20 years out. But then this wouldn’t be GM-Volt.com. While I find this story interesting it is not why I come here. But then I am not the one who is tasked with having to come up with a Volt specific story each day! :) That said I don’t mind an occasional off Volt topic now and then, just wouldn’t want it to become the norm.

    Enough of the constructive criticism. Seems like an appropriate opportunity to also tell you Jeff that I think you do a great job with this site and it is one of a very small list that I visit daily. Thanks Jeff for the work!

    Thanks Ron,

    GM-Volt has a long history of not only writing about the Volt. Granted, the site was created to cheer the Volt on, Volt news does get priority, but we do what we can, and weigh what is most newsworthy, given practical constraints.

    If you click on the top link in this story, you’ll note Lyle wrote on this same Battery 500 project when it was launched in October 2009

    http://gm-volt.com/2009/10/04/ibm-launches-500-mile-range-battery-development-project/

    One hundred fifty commenters back then, and they saw the topic as fitting the Web site’s mission.

    Regards,

    Jeff


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    CaptJAckSparrow

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (1:33 pm)

    @Jeff #34….

    Yeah, there were only a few times I didn’t like your article.

    It was when you had a Green Ferrari. That was Blasphemy!

    Other than that, Nuttun but love for ya hommie!!!!

    /and Lyle too.
    //& maybe statik fatic, bobatic……


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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (2:01 pm)

    CaptJAckSparrow:
    @Jeff #34….

    Yeah, there were only a few times I didn’t like your article.

    It was when you had a Green Ferrari. That was Blasphemy!

    Other than that, Nuttun but love for ya hommie!!!!

    /and Lyle too.
    //& maybe statik fatic, bobatic……

    Likewise, and good to see you posting! …

    But you say you didn’t like an electric green Ferrari? LOL

    I guess you think they ought to be red or something, huh?

    Would you pay $980k for a Croatian EV with 1,088 hp/2,800 lb-ft torque if they painted it red like this one? –

    http://www.hybridcars.com/news/rimac-now-accepting-deposits-1-million-electric-car-45026.html

    (me neither)


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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (4:10 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: Would you pay $980k for a Croatian EV with 1,088 hp/2,800 lb-ft torque if they painted it red like this one? –
    http://www.hybridcars.com/news/rimac-now-accepting-deposits-1-million-electric-car-45026.html

    What will Top Gear do to create a situation in which a car that can go from 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds sucks?


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    Jackson

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (4:47 pm)

    50 miles or 500, the real issue for over-the-road travel is time to recharge. You will never be able to recharge an EV in the time it takes to fill a gas tank. Period. Even with 500+ amp charging current, you will have waste heat issues if the charging process itself is not perfectly efficient. Inside a hot something-air battery releasing oxygen, this could lead to tragedy.

    I don’t believe in the Better Place model, for anything other than a completely homogenous fleet (taxis, etc); a one-size-fits-all battery cannot adapt well for vehicles of multiple sizes and designs, IMO.

    The swapping itself will probably not be as easy in the real world as shown in the few demos which have been staged. For one thing, how many replacement cycles could the swap stations take without extensive maintenance? What about shocks, dings and scratches over the lifetime of a pack? What about getting an older pack back in exchange for your shiny new one? In practice, it could easily become as problematic as changing an engine every 500 miles.

    The best solution is the multiple-fuel approach the Volt takes; and this will continue to be true for decades to come. Having said that, I would still like to have a lot more electric range …


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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (5:11 pm)

    kdawg: [ ... ] with an energy density 10X greater, maybe these can actually be used for Semi-trucks who do need the range. They surely would have the room for a larger battery.

    lousloot: Yea Kdawg, why only cars? Whatabout Trains?

    A semi or train carrying loads of varying size would need varying amounts of electricity; and the time-to-recharge issue noted above still applies.

    However, I do have a suggestion:

    What if packs were built into the trailers (or rail cars), as well as the pulling vehicles? Trailers and other cargo-carriers sit for long periods of time being loaded and unloaded; surely long enough for recharging at less-than-apocalyptic rates. In the case of the train, the energy supply would increase automatically with the number of cars.

    This approach likely wouldn’t help with the longest runs, but regional distribution ought to benefit from a system like this (could the trains recharge while running off an overhead catenary? That would make a coast-to-coast run feasible with a minimum of electrified track).


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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (7:54 pm)

    Jackson: You will never be able to recharge an EV in the time it takes to fill a gas tank. Period.

    People didn’t know it at the time, but I’m sure if they did, they would have said the same thing, when gas tanks were filled from 5 gallon cans, in the early years of gas powered automobiles.


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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (8:12 pm)

    ronr64:

    Enough of the constructive criticism.Seems like an appropriate opportunity to also tell you Jeff that I think you do a great job with this site and it is one of a very small list that I visit daily.Thanks Jeff for the work!

    I second the motion.

    I like off topic stories if they are related to energy consumption/production. IMO energy is the most important subject that we have today next to how we make this country’s budget get real.


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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (9:03 pm)

    Jackson:
    The best solution is the multiple-fuel approach the Volt takes; and this will continue to be true for decades to come.Having said that, I would still like to have a lot more electric range …

    Who wouldn’t like to have more electric range? What are you willing to pay and trade off to get it? Until the $/kwh comes way down, the average person will only be willing to pay for what they will regularly use.


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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (9:14 pm)

    Eco_Turbo: People didn’t know it at the time, but I’m sure if they did, they would have said the same thing, when gas tanks were filled from 5 gallon cans, in the early years of gas powered automobiles.

    There’s a matter of basic physics to accommodate before solving the EV rapid charging problem. All they needed to solve the five-gallon-can problem was a pump; whose basic principles had already been established for centuries.

    Perhaps a flow battery would solve the problem of rapid EV ‘charging,’ the same way the gasoline-fill problem was solved: with a pump. Liquid reactants come in, spent reactants come out to be re-separated (using grid power) onsite, or trucked to a plant where the separation might be done more efficiently. Short of this, I can’t see any way to really duplicate the “gas station paradigm.” And BTW, why should we remain chained to this concept? It’s funny: nobody ever seems to ask if that paradigm can be improved upon. Must be short-sightedness.


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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (9:23 pm)

    It’s Flubber until there’s a Part Number.


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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (9:36 pm)

    Jackson:
    I don’t believe in the Better Place model, for anything other than a completely homogenous fleet (taxis, etc); a one-size-fits-all battery cannot adapt well for vehicles of multiple sizes and designs, IMO.

    The swapping itself will probably not be as easy in the real world as shown in the few demos which have been staged.For one thing, how many replacement cycles could the swap stations take without extensive maintenance? What about shocks, dings and scratches over the lifetime of a pack?What about getting an older pack back in exchange for your shiny new one?In practice, it could easily become as problematic as changing an engine every 500 miles.

    You’re certainly not the only one that doesn’t think highly of the Better Place model but I have yet to see objections with cogent concerns other than the viability of the business. Even on these grounds the understanding and knowledge are less than complete. Your objections any different.

    -How many cycles for swap stations?
    Huh? How many shifts can a transmission take? How many hours can the Volt motor run? They are designed for a duty cycle just as a Better Place swap station is like designed for or at least the working components are designed for. It’s well known mechanical components not rocket science.

    -What about shocks, dings and scratches over the lifetime of a pack?
    Huh? What about them? It’s unlikely to be exposed to more shocks from swapping than riding with vehicle. It’s like paying for cell service and the phones come with it only they are never seen and the call may be going over a different one each time. Who cares if it’s dinged or scratched?

    -What about getting an older pack back in exchange for your shiny new one?
    Huh? There is no “your” pack. It is a usage service fee, you don’t buy or own a pack. This is what can make the car very affordable.

    There are some legitimate concerns with the model such as how many stations will it take to become a practical solution? Can they make money at it to be able to stay in business so consumers can feel comfortable enough that the service will be around in the future? As a consumer, you will be a bit of a captive audience. What price control will there be?


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    N Riley

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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (10:09 pm)

    IBM is a serious company and they don’t spend this kind of money unless they know the end game. I have used IBM main-frame like systems for years and they are top notch. I believe they will do what they say. They have more patents each year than any other company. Let’s hope they succeed.


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    Apr 23rd, 2012 (10:12 pm)

    Tom:
    A good time to buy IBM stock ?
    Tom

    It is always a good time to buy IBM stock!


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    Bob G

     

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    Apr 25th, 2012 (4:23 pm)

    Jackson: You will never be able to recharge an EV in the time it takes to fill a gas tank. Period.

    It looks like “never” is almost here. MIT already has a prototype battery that charges in minutes instead of hours (i.e., “… the total power delivery rate was 10 times that of lithium-ion batteries …” source: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2010/batteries-nanotubes-0621.html)

    Getting that energy from a recharging station to the EV battery requires no new technology – just some on-site energy storage or a big feeder connection to the grid.