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Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by TEG, Mar 31, 2008.
Zenn gearing up for EEStor-powered car | Cleantech.com
Although EEstor isn't talking, ZENN's Clifford is quiet the chatterbox about it. If what he says is true, we're on the edge of something that will revolutionize energy storage (which, of course, is what EEstor would have us believe).
Putting my skepticism aside for a minute, I suppose I could understand EEstor's silence. If I had something like that, I would be quiet about it too. I'd want to make sure it was fully production ready, protected by patents, and the claims are documented and verifiable before I said a word. Seriously quiet.
But the "rechargeable in less than 5 minutes" thing sort of blows their credibility. Sure, if you live at a nuclear power plant and don't have to worry about pesky household wiring.
I don't think that claiming the ability to recharge in 5 min blows their credibility. That is a property of capacitors and it's my undersanding that the Eestor unit IS a capacitor. Now coming up with a practical method/resource to charge it that fast is a different story.
I listened to the Zenn meeting yesterday where all of these announcements were made, and something was said that to does lessen Eestor's credibility in my eyes. In the question and answer session at the end of the meeting, someone asked the Zenn board if they had ever tested the Eestor unit. The reply was, "...No, we have not."
You can listen to the meeting by signing up here:
Eww, an hour of dry Powerpoint slides. I'll do that for work, but not for fun.
I guess I should qualify my credibility comment. If I heard "five minute recharge" from EEstore, that would be one thing. But the article attributed it to Ian Clifford of ZENN. There's a difference between a capacitor manufacture making the claim and a car manufacturer making the claim. The biggest difference being the audience. It implies to me that either EEstore is misleading ZENN, or ZENN is being misleading, or the media decided to drop the pesky details.
All in all, however, we're both skeptical - as I think everyone is.
Well, perhaps. The only problem is they aren't really doing that...they're feigning it. We see a news story every couple of months hyping this incredible (and imminent) breakthrough. They've been saying exactly the same thing for years and years now. Apparently they don't show anything at all to the press but one patent (for the powder from which the caps are someday allegedly to be made) and occasional press releases, and somehow they've managed to get the newsmen to believe this makes them "stealthy" instead of "frauds." How they manage to get so much media attention while convincing everyone they don't want it is beyond me.
Anyway, I'd love to be proven wrong. But I think we are just seeing ZENN get taken for a ride. See here for the last car company they screwed, about 2 years ago.
A couple of things keep me interested in EESTOR. One, they're not publicly traded (like ZAP), which means they can't just issue stop to the gullible and unsuspecting. VCs are a little more careful where they put their money. Second, Lockheed Martin somehow has an interest in these guys, which means there is some substance here. But the second they go public and haven't proven jack to a an independent third party, I'm with you.
I am skeptical of Eestor as well, but I believe that most of Eestor's media attention comes because of announcements that were made by Zenn Cars, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Lockheed-Martin, not necessarily by Eestor itself.
Also, Feel Good Cars, the company you said was the last car company that Eestor screwed, and ZennCars are the same company.
As an aside, something I thought was interesting: From Zenn's last public meeting I gathered that Zenn Cars invested in Eestor before Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
The '5 minute recharge' stretches credibility not because the capacitor itself couldn't take the recharge (heck, Tesla's highly parallel battery unit could probably take a 10 minute charge without stressing the batteries too much), but because there's no good way of actually getting that amount of current to the battery. Unless you live next to a substation and hire a former weight trainer as a garage attendant to handle the cables.
Instead of swapping batteries, I think it would be better if some Project Better Place alternative came up with a cabling / location standard for a very high current connection that electric car companies could implement to - one that required a minimal amount of weight in the car. Then I might believe the 5 minute charge time .
In a recent interview Shai commented on the size of a cable required for a 5 minute recharge. His viewpoint was that it was impractical. He also said no one would want a car that caused your hair to stand on end when you got near it, or one where you had to stand way back while it was charging.
TEG, yeah I did a bit more reading on the Zenn/EEstor thing and finally saw that Feel Good was Zenn. Doh.
And I'm certainly sensitive to the fact that EEstor has convinced some serious investors that its technology has potential :tongue: But on the other hand I would say that both VCs and defense companies are willing to take a lot of risky bets to find that one breakthrough technology. The cost of this investment is probably pretty small to Kleiner, whereas the profits if it actually worked would be tremendous. It's what poker players call "table odds."
Then there's the trouble with validating the physics. Nobody seems to want to do it. The fellow Lockheed allowed to be interviewed on the deal knew nothing of the tech and/or wasn't briefed, and more or less admitted that EEstor had shown them nothing. He also refused to say whether Lockheed was actually paying EEstor anything. I get similar feelings from Zenn and the press. And so far, every single knowledgeable person (in this context I'm accepting anyone who knows what "perovskite" means) I've ever read a comment from on this subject thinks that it can't work. Not a single one of them stepped up and said "well, sure, if they are making that the way they say, it should work and have those characteristics."
Then there's the fact that if this stuff was really real, GM would have bought them up. Perhaps to sell to Chevron, but that's a different story...
Fact? No, that would be speculation.
As for quick charging an EESTOR, I don't think it's as big a deal as many make it out to be. The wires on the machine used to fastcharge the Altairnano in 10 minutes weren't too bad. Besides that, in a service station environment, it would be possible to have an attendant plug in your car for you. While that is happening the attendant could clean your windshield.
I think that car in is the same car as described in this article:
"A Micro-Vett Fiat Doblò, a regular size 5-seat station wagon, powered by a custom 18kWh Altairnano lithium-ion NanoSafe battery pack, traveled 300 kilometers (186 miles) in one day in an urban delivery circuit. The custom battery pack was fully recharged in less than ten minutes a total of three times using AeroViroments’ high voltage, 125kW rated, rapid charging system. "
Nanobattery Fiat driven 300km in one day
18kWh gives a range of around 90 miles, so the charge is around 10minutes/90miles. We already know this was possible a long time ago with the hawaii rapid charging network: Hyundai Santa Fe EV | Green Car .com
This source mentions a 10-20 minute charge for 80 or 120 miles.
I don't think the problem is so much the wires than the power input from the power company. I think people are worried that our current electricity infrastructure can't handle too many rapid charging systems (notice the 125kW rated charging system in the altairnano; Tesla's 30amp, 220V system will only result in 6.6kW). Put I don't think it will be that bad of a problem if the stations have some kind of ESS (similar to how they store gasoline) so that the impact on our electric infrastructure wouldn't be too bad esp. during peak hours.
But notice that ZENN's claims are much more extreme: 250miles of range with a LESS than 5 minute charge. Some quick math: Current ZENN gets 30 miles (optimistic) with around 5kWh (found it after a LONG dig). 250 would take at LEAST 42kWh (this doesn't include charging inefficiencies and if you look at Tesla they got only 220 with a 53kWh pack). 42kWh * 60min/h * 1/5min = greater than 504kW system. Thats 4 times as much as the altairnano system. Maybe the ESUs can handle it, but then the wires and charging system might not.
Just a quick check on my math: 125kW altairnano system: 125kW * 1hr/60min * 10min = 20.8kWh: Not far off from the 18kWh rating of the altairnano pack.
I definitely think that a fast-charge station will need a large EESU to dish out the power from. I think if could do double duty as a load leveler it could help with revenue and grid stability.
I think the question should be, with the proper equipment, "at what rate could the Altairnano be charged?". Or A123s or what have you.
From my perspective, the 5-min recharge time is less important than range and energy storage. Assuming EEStor's claims are correct, an equivalent EEStor unit the size of a TM ESS would have triple the range?
I agree with everyone that that rapid-charge stations will need some kind of bulk on-site storage to avoid overloading the grid.
The challenge here is three things:
1. Capacity--the local storage must have enough capacity to meet the day's demand.
2. Cost of #1--High-capacity energy storage systems are really expensive.
3. Profitability--given the high cost of implementation, they'll have to charge more than the typical rate for electricity. Combined with the fact that it's more convenient for most people to charge overnight at home, business would be very slow.
Quick-charge has a lot in common with hydrogen, actually. Expensive vehicles, expensive fuel, expensive infrastructure, and unavailability...
I completely agree with Kardax as very quick charge is not really necissary. It's the same with laptop weight, as you take off the pounds you end up making harder and harder sacrifices on usability, speed and features which only to a certain degree can be compensated with increased price. At a certain point there is no need to make it lighter as it's "light enough" and any further lightness will cost too much.
The same with quick charge, any solution that can feed about 72A at about 500V should give you a serious boost compared to a home charger and not require much in infrastructure investment. Anything more than that and the cost of installation (and use with extra boost from storage units/flywheels/super gizmo) is not worth the small number of customers. That means you need an Range extender on gas or make dinnerlike breaks every 4-6 hours...
Just look at PBP, they want normal 230V slow chargers everywhere, and then build like 10 fast chargers or so to cover entire Israel.
So maybe first models come out with two chargeing options.
Overnight charge at the base price
And a home quick charge set up for a substantial increase in price.
It has a battery station that charges during off peak hours and can fill your car in 5 minutes.
Like the Tesla, It would be expensive at first but just proving it can be done will show people that EVs are the future and that in time the price will come down.
If Eestor does pan out, wouldn't that solve the cost and capacity of an energy storage unit for a charge station(just buy a bunch of eestor units for each charge station)?
You people forgot Project Better Place?
Looks like they've solved the quick battery replacement problem and are building battery swap stations in Israel and Danmark at least.
I wasn't keen on this approach but some big money is being thrown into this solution so it might just work. No expensive on-site quickcharging equipment, just a simple robot and battery warehouse. At 500cycles per battery lifetime and some 20.000$ per battery pack that means at least 40$ per battery swap. Hmmm that might just work where the gasoline is really expensive, like Israel or Europe.
I hadn't. I have been thinking a lot about them lately. By the way, check this link:
Renault, Nissan Weigh Lithium-Ion Battery For Electric Car Projects - WSJ.com