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Altairnano "Nano-Safe" Lithium-Ion batteries

Discussion in 'Battery Discussion' started by TEG, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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  2. Michael

    Michael Member

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    I would imagine that if Tesla were to approach Altair about providing batteries for the Whitestar and beyond, it would help to quickly reduce the price by greatly increasing the production volume. I would think that a government grant to help faciliate the building of a production facility would also greatly help in reducing the initial cost of these batteries.

    Of course, I've read that these batteries (the latest iteration) have about half the energy density of the batteries currently being used by Tesla in the Roadster, however there should be much greater space available to put the batteris in the Whitestar and the ability to get the quick charge would significantly increase the likelihood that people would be able to consider the vehicle as a complete replacement for their current ICE vehicle.

    I wonder how the energy density of the current A123 batteries compare to the Altair ones. I've also heard that the A123 batteries should have a quick recharge capability.
     
  3. Kardax

    Kardax Member

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    Some corrections:
    * ZEV credits may allow AltairNano to undercut the Tesla ESS on price... in California only. Everywhere else, the Tesla ESS is the cheapest large-capacity battery in existence.
    * ZAP is not actually using AltairNano yet. People have assumed it based on the ZAP-X's battery description, but it hasn't been announced. I actually doubt that will happen, as AltairNano owns a chunk of Phoenix, and it's not in their interest to help their competition.
    * Now that I mention it, ZAP hasn't actually done any work on the ZAP-X yet; just a feasibility study with Lotus (and I bet Lotus told them that the ZAP-X's specs are impossible to fit in under $100,000, thus leading to ZAP's recent announcement of a less-ambitious project).
    * Quick charge isn't really a useful feature for home users until a quick charge infrastructure is built. Until then, home users will charge at Tesla ESS speeds--so what's the advantage? Commercial fleets, though, could install high-powered chargers at a central depot, and don't need long range.

    I do like NanoSafe, but they need to get that cost down.

    -Ryan / Kardax
     
  4. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    If you look at my original posting, I did say "In California..."

    I think it is a bit more than that actually.
    Altairnano confirms they are talking to Zap! about batteries for the Zap-X
    "Zap! has ordered some batteries and AltairNano is delivering them."
    "Both Zap! and Phoenix spokespersons singled out AltairNano as the battery supplier of choice"
    "Altairnano CEO Alan Gotcher: We have been talking with Zap and Lotus and yes, Zap has, aspirations to use the Altair technology in their vehicle. And we're in discussion around the commercial terms of that agreement. I'm not aware of anyone who has battery technology similar to Altairnano's NanoSafe battery performance."

    The speculation has been that their business model calls for selling the CA ZEV credits to make up the difference between the cost and sales price.

    Yes, I think many are in agreement. The 10 minute recharge feature is basically an impractical "demo feature" at this point.
    Unfortunately the wacky ZEV Credit laws give you a big incentive to offer 10 minute recharge capability.

    Yes, that would sure help kick start a bigger EV market!!
     
  5. Michael

    Michael Member

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    I believe that the bottom line is that either there needs to be sufficient range available (for a full days driving) so that an overnight charge is acceptable, or there needs to be sufficient range to drive several hours while only requiring a short period of time to perform a recharge. Having the quick charge capability will be what's needed to kick start the recharging infrastructure on travel routes.

    Having the quick charge capability will also allow for slower adoption of overnight recharging stations at hotels, etc. The best solution would seem to be the adoption of both along with the ability for much more than just 500 recharge cycles.
     
  6. Kardax

    Kardax Member

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    Thanks TEG, I missed some of those :)

    I need to find out more about ZEV credits one of these days. All I know right now is that there are two classes, that 10 minute recharge is worth 10 times as much as the other one, and that Automakers have to pay fines if they don't have enough credits.

    I'm curious how that'll play out. There are certainly risks.
    Will the automakers just pay the fines rather than deal with the complexity of ZEV trading?
    Will Tesla destroy Zap and Phoenix by selling their credits for next-to-nothing?
    Will the CARB cave to pressure by big auto and cripple ZEV credits?

    -Ryan / Kardax
     
  7. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Those are certainly good questions, Kardax... And Tesla has already stated that they think a business model based on expected value from ZEV credits is risky (and not wise). [Of course they would say that since they don't have 10 minute recharge now, but still I think they are right]

    Another possibility you didn't mention:

    Big car companies could sell their own ZEVs and earn the credits themselves.
    They may be able to push fuel cell prototypes on fleets, or get back into the EV business just enough to satisfy the remaining CARB requirements.
     
  8. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    Tesla won't have that many credits to play with. Each car Tesla sells in California is worth only 1/10th the credits of a car that Phoenix sells (because Tesla's cars can't recharge in 10 minutes). Each car that Tesla sells outside of California earns no credits.

    This is why Tesla are not counting ZEV credits as a big financial element of their business.
     
  9. Kardax

    Kardax Member

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    You're right, I was screwed up in the head when I wrote that. Even if Tesla sells 10 times as many WhiteStars in California as Phoenix sells SUTs, they still have a 50/50 split of the ZEV credit market.

    I think TEG is on to something when he says the big automakers can easily generate their own ZEV credits.

    Bottom line, one or more of these risks are going to come true, so Phoenix and Zap had better take advantage of it while they can :)

    It is a pity, though, that NanoSafe can only exist in California--doesn't do me much good here in Minnesota :(

    -Ryan / Kardax
     
  10. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Also keep in mind that the ZEV credit quagmire only lasts through 2012, so we only have to endure 5 years of this madness, before we see what new obstacle course is constructed.
     
  11. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    To me the big advantage of the NanoSafe is the potentially longer lifetime than other lithiums. If they really can last 20 odd years and thousands of cycles then the initial cost is less problematic. The fast recharge potential is a marketing bonus for now, until there are more high powered EV "filling stations".
     
  12. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    I agree. . . The biggest selling point is their long service life. Thermal safety and stability are also important. So, you shouldn't have to isolate each cell in its own containment structure, and your need for cooling is reduced: air cooling could be practical.

    My understanding is that NanoSafe batteries have considerably less energy density than standard Li-ion cells, but it's much more even across a wide range of temperatures. Again that translates to less temperature control equipment -- less "coddling" required.
     
  13. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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  14. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Not so perfect

    "Altairnano as used by Phoenix Motorcars, Zap, and Lightning.
    ...
    No need for sealed, managed storage systems because they are more inherently stable. "

    Something I've not mentioned in several months but it was more about attitude than technology (more in a later post).

    I saw the Pheonix at an auto show and quized a few of the folks there. The sales guy went on about their superior batteries and that they did not need a cooling system.

    We were looking under the hood and I pointed out the car's radiator. In an elecrtic car? Turns out that their inverter needs cooling.

    I don't know but maybe all that power going in so fast generates some heat.
     
  15. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    But if the currents through the inverters are sufficient to require cooling that must mean a big battery pack, allowing low C rates per cell, reasonable temperatures and minimal coddling.

    The Volt approach seems to be limit everything to 53 kW. Well at least, that seems to be the figure for the generator, which is only allowed to charge the A123 16kWh pack up to 80% capacity maximum (12.8 kWh). A full charge can only be achieved through the more stable domestic socket. Presumably they won't limit the motor to 53 kW, will they?
     
  16. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    I think you could probably engineer things different ways.
    With more expensive parts you could probably build a more efficient inverter that generates less waste heat. Or you could use parts that could stand up to higher temperature. Or you could air cool it (as Tesla does).

    Design decisions have to be made for the batteries, inverter/controller, and the motor itself. The eMotor on my RangerEV is water cooled, yet it makes only 1/3 the HP of the air cooled Roadster motor.

    Someone I know at the Palo Alto EV rally was talking about devices with more or less "thermal mass". Basically you can engineer in passive heat dissipation. If you have enough material to conduct, transport and dissipate heat then you don't necessarily need active cooling systems.
     
  17. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    Here's something I've wondered about. What takes more mass and/or energy, passive cooling designed into the system or liquid cooling? I'd think that liquid cooling would be more efficient than adding surface area and mass for passive cooling since that extra mass has to be moved by the battery pack, but I don't know for sure.
     
  18. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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  19. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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