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« Food fight in Dodge City - Josh 350 | Main | The last chance saloons »
Friday
Oct302015

Battery hype

UK readers might recall the episode of Top Gear, when Jeremy Clarkson drove from London to Edinburgh on a single tank of fuel. Today there are claims floating round that electric cars will soon be able to achieve the same feat.

A breakthrough in electrochemistry at Cambridge university could lead the way to rechargeable super-batteries that pack five times more energy into a given space than today’s best batteries, greatly extending the range of electric vehicles and potentially transforming the economics of electricity storage.

This sounds like great stuff, although if you read further, Clare Grey, the researcher whose breakthrough this is, says that there are a lot of caveats:

We haven’t solved all the problems inherent to this chemistry.

...at least another decade of work is likely to be required to turn it into a commercial battery

She also claims that the battery can be recharged 2000 times, which, if it can also take a car the 400 miles from London to Edinburgh on a single charge, would give it a theoretical lifetime range of 800,000 miles.

I'm not sure I'm going to hold my breath here.

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Reader Comments (127)

@ Leo

"working for Clive Sinclair on his pocket television"

Now THERE is a battery connection. Years ago I rented a room in the house of a guy who was Clive's partner in a small publishing company. They produced ZX 81 user manuals at about 15p each, and sold them back to Sinclair Research for silly money per copy. Beardy on the Make, or what. But I digress.

In-house scuttlebutt had it that Clive had been working with Harwell, who had apparently perfected mouldable batteries. "Wow" we all thought, "Clive's worked out how to mould the whole body of his up-coming electric vehicle as one big battery. Genius! The man is untouchable!"

Shortly afterwards the C5 burst through a paper hoop, the world went "WTF?", and the next day the Sunday Times Insight Team blew apart some of Clive's dodgy dealings with Fred Olsen & Timex.

And the rest - SR sold off for a fiver to Alan Sugar in a caff on Liverpool Street station - is history.

I suppose that the moral of that little tale is that battery innovation isn't necessarily all that it's cracked up to be!

Oct 30, 2015 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterJerryM

jamesp 1:22 PM

umm... in my opinion (as an employer 'pon occasion) - not a question I'd ever thought to ask and if somebody tried it on - it'd be fair game for employment termination.

I the la-la land that is "progressive" Sweden the dirigiste tosspots presently controlling the place obviously find legislating to indulge this kind of twerperie useful and the idea that it's hyklerie at best and plain, simple dumhet - makes a soft whistling dopplery noise as it passes overhead.

Oct 30, 2015 at 1:55 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Gulbulgaria's comments on Tesla's typify the climate alarmist position. The Tesla's range of 400 miles is a maximum given certain special conditions, such as constant low speed on a flat surface with zero wind conditions. Try commuting around Huddersfield, or through London, and you would get nothing like the range.
More importantly, the cost of a Tesla is way beyond someone on average income or below, even with subsidies for electric cars. But even with massive taxation on diesel and petrol there are still a lot of cars available within budget. Electric cars are for those who want to be conspicuously green about town at the expense of the less well off, whilst having a proper car for the longer journeys.

Oct 30, 2015 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

Gulbulgaria

Elon Musk's three business entities, cars (Tesla), renewable energy (Solar City) and space (SpaceX) have between them received $4.9bn of US tax payers money in the last decade without paying a cent in corporate taxes.

In that time Tesla have built 55,000 cars (about what General Motors make every two days). Using climate activist logic if one divides $4.9bn by 55,000 one gets $89,000 tax payer subsidy per car.

I admire Elon Musk, to paraphrase our Winston, never in the field of flim flam have so may been fooled by so few for so long...

Oct 30, 2015 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered Commentergras albert

Several years ago, a German battery manufacturer "Kolibri", in conjunction with energy "experts" and electrical resellers built a demonstrator vehicle out of an Audi A2 converted to electric drive using the entire under-floor space for 100kWh of battery storage. The objective was to travel from Munich to Berlin without recharging.

To those familiar with the lighweight Auid A2 variant "3L", will recognize that that should present no problems at all. A calculation comparing the consumption of nett energy from diesel for the journey reveals the equivalent of 60 to 80 kWh being required, depending on a number of variables such as actual vehicle weight; weighed down by the battery. Observers followed the demonstrator vehicle along the Autobahn at speeds no greater than 90 km/h, losing sight of it for a while. s

Battery spruikers suggested that the battery could be recharged in 6 minutes. The presstitutes in attendance were too inadequate to question where 1 megawatt of DC electrical power was going to come from and what sort of vehicle inter-connects would survive the heavy current. The "inventor" of the battery is under a cloud for alleged dipping into the till. And the vehicle was destroyed in a mysterious fire.

Oct 30, 2015 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterBernd Felsche

If you parked all electric cars, end to end, none of them would ever need recharging from fossil fuels.

This would be visible from space, and a constant source of amusement for any passing aliens, bemused by the primitive technology on earth.

Oct 30, 2015 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

the best battery that nature has developed can NEVER be surpassed.

it is called FOSSIL FUEL

You can drag me in a whole regiment of tweed clad cambridge professors to try and convince me of
the opposite, I have a bit of tech background, as well.

Oct 30, 2015 at 3:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterVenusNotWarmerDueToCO2

In 1998 my Mac laptop battery offerred at most two hours running time. Three laptops later , I get ten.
At the power density limit of lithium electrochemistry , 24 is plausible.

Oct 30, 2015 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Of topic, for masochists, BBC Parliament is currently showing a Lords "debate" on Climate Change, so far just Lord Hunt (Labour) preaching the doubt-free IPCC position, plus a few new wrinkles, like Tsunamis getting worse because of sea level rise.

Now Lord Greaves, Lib Dem (remember them?)

Oct 30, 2015 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

LOL
Ever since I worked on the design of electric cars in the early 1980's, has there been a breakthrough battery technology just around the corner. Next year or next decade.
Always has been, always will.

Oct 30, 2015 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

"This would be visible from space" Golf Charlie

Are there that many? Or are we talking a really big telescope?

Russell, average laptop consumption per year is about 29kWh. To compare, a Tesla uses 38 kWh every 100 miles, even te dinky Nissan Leaf uses 29kWh per 100 miles.

Oct 30, 2015 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

I don't recall the London to Edinburgh trip, 400 miles on a tank isn't unusual. Top Gear did a trip from Switzerland to Blackpool once, Clarkson used a 3.0 litre diesel Jag and did the 750 mile trip on a single tank of fuel.

Oct 30, 2015 at 4:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterjaffa

There is a new development in batteries but since it is not based on lithium, but on carbon (Graphene) it is not hitting the news. This of course also derails Elon Musk's plans for his much hyped battery unit. Last week they claimed that a battery for I-Phones is in the roll-out stage and after that it will be for Samsungs and the rest.
The technology is also being ramped up for electric vehicles and other uses.

This battery, a capacitor actually, has 3 times the power to weight ration and charges in 3 minutes

http://www.sunvaultenergy.com/web20/edison-power-company-and-sunvault-energy-to-kickstart-smartphone-battery-case-prototype-using-graphene-energy-storage-device/

The green-con is not really aiming at technological achievements but at controlling energy. He who controls energy rules the world. First they tried communism, now they have hijacked the UN which is taking over as the world's dictator, step by tiny step.

Technology that empowers the individual, that is cheap readily available energy that cannot be controlled by governments and corrupt crony capitalists is their enemy. The want to control us through energy and other means.
But they will fail same as other dictators have failed in the past.

BTW, the new Polish president has derailed the CoP21.

Oct 30, 2015 at 4:33 PM | Unregistered Commenteralbert

I remember reading Arthur C Clarke's 'Profiles of the Future' in the 70's. He was quite optimistic about electric vehicles, but in a later edition he admitted that progress was much slower than he had anticipated. Of course, if they do become popular, domestic power consumption will rise dramatically - an electric car could double a household's consumption - so you have to wonder where that will be coming from...

Oct 30, 2015 at 4:50 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

The trouble with all these wonderful new batteries is that, at the capacity required for electric cars, they become ticking bombs. Lithium batteries, even small ones, can catch fire (they grounded the Boeing Dreamliner I think). In a car this high capacity battery could easily explode. Even in a fire after an accident, water would probably electrocute the occupants.

Petrol remains a known (and efficient) fuel, with understood hazards.

Oct 30, 2015 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterphilip foster

The FT has link to the abstract of the paper: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/350/6260/530. The lead author BTW is not Clare Grey but one Tao Liu.

Oct 30, 2015 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Mott

John Silver,

This battery promised by Sunvault Energy could just be another scam. It's like the fusion energy thing, always described as the energy of the future, and it will always be.

Oct 30, 2015 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlbert

#1 Don't count your chickens before they are hatched.
#2 Be aware there is a difference between real world and fantasy theoretical world.
#3 Context is typical electric cars don't do much more than 100 miles on a single charge. Teslas are an expensive exception.
#4 Don't rely on BS UK media instead go straight to the sources :
- A hyperbolic ScienceJournal article "Liu et al. managed to overcome the remaining challenges:"
- A more cautious Cambridge U briefing
"would enable an electric car with a battery that is a fifth the cost and a fifth the weight of those currently on the market to drive from London to Edinburgh on a single charge.*
"there are several practical challenges that need to be addressed before lithium-air batteries become a viable alternative to gasoline."
"Other issues that still have to be addressed include" : making in work in normal air not just PURE OXYGEN and solving an issue which makes it prone to explode.

* Yes They say London to Edinburgh not just 400 miles so that would be way above 400miles on a flat test track.

@Harry Passfield : BTW demo version "has so far been recharged successfully more than 2,000 times." Telegraph

Oct 30, 2015 at 5:12 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Russell

"the power density limit of lithium electrochemistry"

Has pretty much arrived for Li-ion types. There is room for some improvement with other variants, but 5x seems optimistic. Your 1998 Macbook was supposed to have battery life of 3.5 hrs - how long before it halved?

Oct 30, 2015 at 5:25 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

* OK on London to Edinburgh denial
Note the straw man; a normal car can not only drive to Edinburgh, but also all the way back as well
@Gub you can only deny something which has been PROVED to have happened.
If you strongly believe something extraordinary will happen before it is proved then you have certainty beyond the evidence. (but that is normal for Climate Change cult members)
There is no evidence a production electric car has ALREADY gone from London to Edinburgh on a single charge.
Also you'd expect it to be under normal driving conditions, not under special circumstances like driving at 25mph or towing a battery trailer.

EV production car distance records
- An Unvalidated claim of 423.5 miles by some Norwegians in FLAT Denmark in a Tesla Model S P85D at 25mph
- The longest validated by Guiness Records is 471.5 km (292 miles) on a 4 country run in a in a Tesla Model S on 2 May 2015.
- A Japanese one seater prototype did 1,300Km on a test track in 2013

And to beat Clarkson in a production car they have a long way to go yet :
Series 4, Episode 4 : "Clarkson finds out if he can drive a V8 TDi Audi A8 from London to Edinburgh and BACK on one 20 gallon tank of fuel. destruct-testing Audi's claims of good overall economy in their large, powerful executive car (a round-trip distance of 800 miles, requiring an average of 40 MPG)"
He did it.

Oct 30, 2015 at 5:33 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Telsa & Top Gear had an earlier spat - the consequence of which enriched the UK's legal profession by a 6-figure sum. Presumably paid indirectly by US tax payers.

"Top Gear row: Tesla loses appeal over Jeremy Clarkson review
Appeal court dismisses claim that show damaged car's sales, after manufacturer gets into online spat with New York Times"


As he heaved the £92,000 electric sports car off the Top Gear track, little did Jeremy Clarkson know the incident would be the topic of legal argument for years to come.

But that December 2008 episode of the BBC2 show has been examined repeatedly by some of Britain's most senior media judges in an three-year libel battle brought by the US car maker, Tesla.

The court of appeal signalled the end of the road for Tesla's legal claim on Tuesday, rejecting the company's complaint that its reputation was damaged by Clarkson's typically provocative review of the Tesla Roadster car.

The lengthy legal affair is likely to have proved expensive for Tesla, which hired London libel specialists Carter-Ruck and a top QC to fight its case from 2011. In the past year alone, Tesla has been ordered to pay £100,000 in costs on account to the BBC.
Appeal court judge Lord Justice Moore-Bick said he had watched the whole of the one-hour Top Gear episode "a number of times". In his view, the judge explained, the programme did not libel Tesla.

Tesla complained about a passage of Clarkson's commentary in which he said: "Although Tesla say it will do 200 miles, we worked out that on our track it would run out after just 55 miles and if it does run out, it is not a quick job to charge it up again." Clarkson and others are then shown pushing the Roadster into the Top Gear hangar and recharging it.

Moore-Bick questioned whether Top Gear's influence among petrolheads was as great as Tesla claimed.

The electric car maker claimed that the scene cost it the sale of 200 Roadsters, caused costs of $171,000, damaged investor confidence, and prompted adverse comments on YouTube.

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/mar/05/top-gear-tesla-jeremy-clarkson

Oct 30, 2015 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Russell: "In 1998 my Mac laptop battery offerred at most two hours running time. Three laptops later , I get ten."
You seem to be inferring that battery improvement is responsible for that increase. In fact, it's much more attributable to the computer's reduced power consumption.

According to figure 2 in this article, Li-ion density has increased from 150 W-h/kg in 1998 to about 250 now. A significant advance -- a factor of 1.7 -- but if the run time has increased by a factor of 5 then CPU/display technology has provided a factor of 3.0. Greater than that actually, as your new Mac does more than the old one, I'm sure -- e.g. more pixels in the display.

Oct 30, 2015 at 6:02 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

"the scene cost it the sale of 200 Roadsters, caused costs of $171,000, damaged investor confidence, and prompted adverse comments on YouTube."

But it's not libel if it's true, and it was found not to be libel. If they used Carter-Ruck, they deserved everything they got - I wouldn't expect Elon Musk to read Private Eye, but you'd think their British QC might!

Oct 30, 2015 at 6:10 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Isn't the elephant in the room here the electricity to charge these batteries when fitted to cars? Say, using rough estimates, there are 2 million on the roads in 2030, and a range of 400 miles is required by the market. A Nissan Leaf has a real world range of about 70 miles most and a 65kWh battery. So for a 450 mile range a 450kWh battery is required assume one third of the fleet is charged for 12 hours over night say 700,000 vehicles at 450 kWh for 12 hours which is a continuous 5 TW by my mental arithmetic.

As this is at night roof top Solar PV is not an option unless you have two electric cars or an Elon Musk battery. Even if I've got it wrong by a factor of 100 it's still impractical.

The diesel car at 49 kWh per gallon would use about 8 gallons for the 400 miles which sounds like quite a big car to me, bigger than a Nissan Leaf.

Oct 30, 2015 at 6:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Sandy

The same problem will occur a lot sooner at the recharging stations. It won't be the re-charge time that annoys people, it will be the queue!

Oct 30, 2015 at 6:53 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

A car isnt always used to just drive..

People wait in it, procreate in it, and generally stand idle in traffic jams either hot or cold weather.
thats at least 20% of its purpose.

Now consider cooling or heating, with a thermodynamical process (burning fuel) you have high efficiency on that.
Order of 60% for cooling and 99% for heating

For heating/cooling from a BATTERY, you first have to burn fossil fuels in a plant far away at 50% efficiency, then transport it at 95% efficiency then store it in a battery at 98% efficiency and then heat a resistor with it and lead it to your compartment with a fan at 98% efficency(heating) or drive a fridge with it (60%). You are NEVER going to provide that more efficient and CERTAINLY NOT with windmills (who are LESS efficient than coal plants because they have to convert and store and transport at much higher INefficiencies)

Oct 30, 2015 at 6:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterVenusNotWarmerDueToCO2

Anybody got access to the paper?

I'm wondering if this proof of concept battery is the size of a pinhead and has to be immersed in liquid nitrogen to work its magic.

More funds required (10 years worth?)

Oct 30, 2015 at 7:02 PM | Registered Commentertomo

You guys need to try to pay more attention. This isn't the C20.
Oct 30, 2015 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered Commentergubulgaria
------------
You are right. In the C20 they used to have global warming!

Oct 30, 2015 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Peacock

it doesn't matter how far you can go on one charge. It is irrelevent. The point is that in my diesel car I can travel 1100kms and recharge in 3 mins including paying fro it. When will people realise that battery cars will never replace instant fill fuels.

Oct 30, 2015 at 8:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Haven't we just seen Volkswagen losing billions over pretending ideal lab conditions results are mirrored in real life?

How do these perpetually-subsidised green charlatans get away with doing exactly the same?

Oct 30, 2015 at 9:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

Stewgreen:

BTW demo version "has so far been recharged successfully more than 2,000 times." Telegraph
That depends on what they mean by the term "successfully". My cordless drill can be recharged "successfully" 2,000 times but just lately, it lasts around ten minutes after a "successful" charge.

Kellydown: Well done. I wondered when the VW angle would show up. All these claimed figures are, like AGW projections, never real world.

Oct 30, 2015 at 9:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

@Leo Smith Oct 30, 2015 at 11:35 AM

99.999% of all ideas are utterly impractical at best and totally impossible at worst. The ability to dream of a solution that would be massively popular does not make it possible, as I discovered working for Clive Sinclair on his pocket television (theoretically impossible with the technology if the day, and we told him so, but he understood that what the world wanted was I phones..)

I don't understand your "impossible" reference to the Sinclair Pocket B&W CRT TV. I have one and it worked fine until analogue turned off. Used it often when camping running of car battery adapter, also in guest room when visiting grandparents. The mirror solution for the CRT was a great idea and the clip-on magnifying viewer worked well to increase image size. Eventually upgraded to a Casio LCD colour pocket TV which was OK, but the Sinclair had superior image quality and would often work better with a weak signal.

Oct 30, 2015 at 10:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterPcar

Teslas caught getting charged by diesel generators

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU4z1Jeyq2g

Oct 30, 2015 at 11:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterBLACK PEARL

Don't get me started on car batteries. The original one on my Subaru finally expired last January after ten years of dutiful service. Got a new one from a local franchise of a well-known car servicing company (you can't get thicker, than a Kw**-F** fitter), that one lasted two months. Took it back and it turned out that three of the six cells were dead. The replacement died two weeks ago (one cell down). WTF is going on that we can no longer produce reliable lead-acid batteries. How long do you think these lithium batteries are going to last?

Oct 30, 2015 at 11:55 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Salopian, 12volt batteries are not my area of expertise, but I do have practical experience from sailing yachts. The best batteries for starting a diesel yacht engine and/or a car are lead acid. Average life is about 6 years. If one cell 'dies', it will kill the rest as the alternator cooks them.

I do not know about Quack Fat batteries, but Halfrauds generally offer consistent value for money, though other makes may be better for specific needs.

Yachts, like caravans etc, have a requirement for banks of batteries to supply electricity when there is no charge from the engine or mains. Expensive options for these batteries are as numerous as you like, but for most people, lead acid offers the best value.

To destroy a brand new 12 volt battery is easy. If you discharge it until your car won't start (less than about 11 volts) you can jump or push start the car, and the battery will recharge. Do that a dozen times or so, and the battery won't hold much of a charge. People who regularly park their car inbetween appointments and work in the car using laptops etc powered by 12 volts, are contributing to the revenue of the 12 volt battery trade.

Oct 31, 2015 at 12:45 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Oh what rubbish: anyone properly dressed for the Edinburgh outdoors doesn't need heating in the car.

Anyone properly dressed for the Edinburgh outdoors doesn't need heating in their house either.

But even in ancient times people felt that heating living spaces was better than trooping around in heaving* great coats all the time.

[*heavy? BH]

Oct 31, 2015 at 3:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterMooloo

James P

Current battery electrochemistry ( thionyl chloride , intercalatred Li in carbon ) falls an order of magnitude short of , for example , the energy density per kg of demonstrated silicon hosted metallic lithium microwell arrray batteries that use oxygen rathe than halogen couples. Dynamic anode lithium batteries deliverin more extreme power densities have been around for deacdes as well, but are still too pricey ( and scarily pyrotechnic when they fail) for most civilian apps.

My tiny 1996-1998 Mac only lasted the canonical 3.5 hours if you turned the screen way down and worked in the dark- in a daytime airplane 2 hours was about it.

The point is however well taken Besides cooler running chips, new OLED screens add to the efficiency.

Oct 31, 2015 at 3:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Wow Russel said something sensible ...Maybe some one else is posting under his Identity today.

@Harry Passfield..no they seem to claim their new battery has overcome the charge deterioration problem The Cambridge U briefing I mentioned above as good, does seem to differentiate between
old : "Li-ion batteries are light, but their capacity deteriorates with age "
Their new : "lithium-oxygen battery which has very high energy density, is more than 90% efficient, and, to date, can be recharged more than 2000 times"

Oct 31, 2015 at 6:09 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Average life is about 6 years. If one cell 'dies', it will kill the rest as the alternator cooks them.

Oct 31, 2015 at 12:45 AM | golf charlie

I very recently bought a new 4x4 so was looking at all those available. I looked closely at the Mitsubishi Outlander Hybrid (PHEV). The conversation with the sales concessionaire was interesting. How long do the batteries last ? guaranteed 5 yrs. How much to replace them ? 7000€ or one for 700€.

My question: Have you any idea what happens in a battery pack if you replace one battery ? NO

Don't try it I said.

Claimed consumption diesel 1.9ltrs / 100km
Claimed distance on one charge: between 20 and 50 kms.

Oct 31, 2015 at 9:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

"Claimed consumption diesel 1.9ltrs / 100km"

And the real consumption..? And they accuse VW of exaggerating!

Oct 31, 2015 at 11:10 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Bishop, read before remove.
The point with my comment to albert was the repetition, except it was about supercapacitors, not batteries.

"albert,

LOL
Ever since I worked on the design of electric cars in the early 1980's, has there been a breakthrough supercapacitor technology just around the corner. Next year or next decade.
Always has been, always will."

Oct 31, 2015 at 1:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

Hmm this is a lithium battery using a metallic lithium anode with an oxygen containing cathode.

Lets pay a little attention to the properties of metallic lithium as outlined in the materials data safety sheet

Hazards Identification

*Danger! Flammable solid. *

Corrosive. Causes eye and skin burns. Water-reactive.
Reacts violently and/or explosively with water, steam or moisture.
May ignite or explode on contact with moist air.
May cause severe respiratory tract irritation with possible burns.
May cause severe digestive tract irritation with possible burns.
May cause central nervous system effects. May cause lung damage. Light sensitive.
May cause kidney damage. May cause pulmonary edema.
Target Organs: Kidneys, central nervous system.

Nothing to worry about there right !

Now lets look at how fire fighters need to handle it

Wear a self-contained breathing apparatus in pressure-demand, MSHA/NIOSH (approved or equivalent), and full protective gear.

Reacts violently with water giving off flammable gas which may explode.
Combustion generates toxic fumes.
During a fire, irritating and highly toxic gases may be generated by thermal decomposition or combustion.
Dust can be an explosion hazard when exposed to heat or flame.
Flammable solid. May burn rapidly with flare burning effect.
May re-ignite after fire is extinguished. May re-ignite after fire is extinguished.

Other than that whats to worry about.

Oct 31, 2015 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith Willshaw

Russell

Thank you for the considered reply - much appreciated.

As KW notes above, your "scarily pyrotechnic" scenario looks like a future sticking point. The fire services are already bracing themselves for traffic accidents involving electric vehicles - bits of smashed Lithium across the carriageway are going to be a problem, even now.

I like the idea of electric power, but the Greens' perpetual hyping of 'their' solutions and refusal to consider any other POV only serves to undermine their cause.

Oct 31, 2015 at 3:17 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

KW

"May re-ignite after fire is extinguished. May re-ignite after fire is extinguished."

Well put.. :-)

Oct 31, 2015 at 4:14 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

stew

"more than 90% efficient"

At an ideal state of charge, charge/discharge current and temperature, perhaps, but then so can a lead-acid battery. The losses in fast-charging a Lithium battery are considerable, manifesting themselves as heat or, in extremis, an explosion. Lead-acid batteries are much more forgiving!

Oct 31, 2015 at 4:25 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

The benefits of battery power for golf carts, seem to be well established.

How many golf clubs recharge their golf cart batteries using 'freely' available, but unreliable solar/wind?

Should golfers only be allowed to play golf at night, so their carts can recharge during daylight?

Or could a golf cart be covered in solar panels, so that it is permenantly on charge, whether static or on the move?

Perhaps if Tesla concentrated on golf carts, Captains of industry and American Presidents could make their own assessment of how viable the technology is, before squandering a few billion more on toy cars.

In the UK, the electric milk float has all but disappeared. Supermarkets are all doing home delivery services now, many on routes in towns where speeds above 30mph are not permitted. What is so wrong with batteries that supermarket delivery vans, cannot deliver the battery power message? Presumably supermarkets can do sums better than Green economists think private motorists can.

Oct 31, 2015 at 5:03 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

As far as Lithium safety is concerned - given that the touted chemistry has energy density purportedly up there with fossil fuel - containment looks futile - so... ejection ??

I think it's useful to review the Lithium Cobalt tale from Boeing.... (well Al Jazeera actually)

"Traumatic" Lithium battery reactions are non amenable to being stopped / extinguished - I have seen 4 x D cell Lithium thionyl chloride batteries inside 2mm wall s/steel tube reacting away - and getting to probably 800C (cherry red) - considering what's required in a car ....

Given that provoking a chemistry like this can have interesting consequences - the battery charger makers need to up their game massively - most mass produced chargers are just rubbish on almost every level...

Oct 31, 2015 at 8:26 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Li-Po containment is a work in progress....

Oct 31, 2015 at 8:46 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Dyson has money to burn.

http://qz.com/525623/vacuum-cleaner-maker-dyson-is-buying-experimental-battery-startup-sakti3/

Oct 31, 2015 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob

In August, Sakti3 CEO Ann Marie Sastry attracted attention when she introduced her technology (video) to US president Barack Obama at “White House Demo Day” (pictured above). Since starting Sakti3, Sastry has been ultra-secretive about her work, but also skilled at maintaining a flow of funding while numerous rivals went bankrupt.

Would it be too much to assume she's getting taxpayer funds for this?

Oct 31, 2015 at 10:26 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

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