The EV battery discussion thread (bogus breakthroughs)

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This thread is about batteries, not the virtue of EV's or other EV related tech. Today's EV's are expensive, have limited range and relatively slow charging, and this is due to the battery. I've been reading about batteries for years now, and despite the frequent news reports of "battery breakthroughs" I'm more than skeptical, I'm 100% convinced the breakthrough won't happen anytime soon. The first discussion point is battery cost. The 60KWH battery in the Chevy Bolt costs GM $10,800 (or more) and it "lists" at a staggering $15,734.29. This is not unusual or abnormal in the EV battery world. It's spot-on normal. Meaning that a 180Kwh battery, necessary for an F150 sized pickup to go 300 miles at 70mph, will cost a staggering $32,000 or exactly as much as a new base model F150. A battery with double the energy would be half the size and presumably cost half as much. However, the mass produced battery price curve is leveling out. https://electrek.co/2017/06/12/gm-bolt-ev-battery-pack-price-cost/ The second point is the constant battery breakthrough reports. While the reports seem to have a bit more truth to them today, as they always state "more development required" there is an entire segment of the population that believes the fantastical reports, without an understanding that these reports exist mostly to generate funding. One very active company has invested $125 MILLION (correction, er, an additional $170 million on top of the $125M) directly into research over the last 10 years. The result: a 20% increase in battery capacity over the next 10 years. Even more interestingly, they discovered the very same things that are currently in the Tesla 2170 Cells already in use. NOTE: the higher 40% claim remains technically elusive. As you can only move so many ions. (6 graphite atoms per lithium ion) Even the investors are being told the improvements are at best, a decade away. https://www.autonews.com/automakers-suppliers/theres-nothing-better-lithium-ion-battery-coming-soon https://www.greentechmedia.com/arti...in-sila-nanos-silicon-anode-battery-tech The third point is charging speed. By nature, battery charge rates taper down as the battery nears full. Some fast charging stations can force fill a battery to nearly full, knowingly shortening it's life. This may be occasionally acceptable, but don't be fooled, charging stations are ever more powerful, and ever more damaging to batteries. Here is where we are: Ever larger batteries will get us more capability and range. But the dream of a fast charging, long life, ultra high range, inexpensive EV will remain elusive for quite some time.
 
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Originally Posted by Cujet
Today's EV's are expensive, have limited range and relatively slow charging, and this is due to the battery. I've been reading about batteries for years now, and despite the frequent news reports of "battery breakthroughs" I'm more than skeptical, I'm 100% convinced the breakthrough won't happen anytime soon. there is an entire segment of the population that believes the fantastical reports, without an understanding that these reports exist mostly to generate funding. Here is where we are: Ever larger batteries will get us more capability and range. But the dream of a fast charging, long life, ultra high range, inexpensive EV will remain elusive for quite some time.
I picked out the highlights of what you said that I think are some of the most important, and that I 100% agree with.
 

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Despite the challenges of battery science and manufacturing, automakers and venture capital firms invested more than $1.3 billion in energy storage technologies last year. The result is an expectation of a 20% improvement, more than 4 years out. And possibly as far as 10 years out. Here is something not so obvious: in 2012 Tesla revealed the Model S, with an available 85KWH battery and about 275 miles range in mixed driving. Improvements to the design resulted in the P100, with up to 370 miles range. HOWEVER, the difference is in the number of battery cells. The 85 has 7104 cells, and the 100 has 8,256 cells. What appears to be technology marching on is in fact, simply more cells. Other changes matter far less than this.
 
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Originally Posted by Cujet
Here is where we are: Ever larger batteries will get us more capability and range. But the dream of a fast charging, long life, ultra high range, inexpensive EV will remain elusive for quite some time.
So, until we come up with a super-duper huge capacity, small-size capacitor with low internal resistance, or some way to wirelessly charge and/or power vehicles while on the roadways, EVs will never truly be able to even really start to replace the ICE in a way that's meaningful for anybody outside of urban settings. I'm all for urban, ultra-populated areas to move public transit more toward EV buses/trains; if you've visited NYC or Chicago or LA "proper", you know a personal vehicle is sometimes more of a hindrance when it comes to parking, etc. The problem is the same as charging for EVs- the infrastructure and incentives to use public transportation are not fully developed enough to really make a push in these cities to raise alternate routes of transport. Outside of major cities, EVs don't make much sense.
 
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Very interesting and well stated points. This seems to be the case, with a possible exception to the expensive statement. The base Tesla Model 3 can start every day with over 200 miles of range. How often do you need more? Depending on your charging choices (home, work, public) you never need to "go to the gas station". This is a time and $$ saver. For those with solar, it is even better. Factor in gas and maintaince costs. Add in the ability to use commuter lanes. Depending on your overall situation, an EV might make economic sense. But they are clearly not for everyone from an economic standpoint. All EV owners I know have more than 1 car. And buying right now will include an early adopter cost. But I totally agree the idea of a "much better" battery range and/or reduced charging time is vapor ware, or someone would have done it. These cars are different.
 
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This is the reason that a hybrid works so well. The battery can be quite small since it's not normally the prime mover and that battery can always be kept within a fairly narrow range of charge so that it can enjoy a long life. Depending upon the relative prices of fuel and electricity, the hybrid might also be a more economical vehicle to operate in daily use and may also offer a smaller carbon footprint as compared to an EV, which after all does need main power to charge it and that power has to come from primarily thermal plants. Battery technology has marched on and the batteries now used are far better than those of the recent past, if also more prone to catch fire for no good reason, as Boeing learned to their consternation. I think we'll see incremental improvements in battery performance that will add up to a significant gain over time. The battery killer app is probably not yet on the horizon but will appear at some point. Meanwhile, EVs remain mainly city cars that are also suitable for short weekend trips.
 
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The GM EV1 charged at 6.6kw and Teslas and the Porsche Taycan now charge at 200+ kw, but there's been no "breakthroughs"? It also looks like the Bolt drive unit is less that half the price of a Cruze engine/trans and gas tank. That should be subtracted from the battery cost.
 
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That's the thing. Maybe someone will come up with a battery breakthrough any year now but it's going to be a Eureka Moment of discovery, not something that can be planned beyond a small %. It may not happen for 30+ years or it may never happen, that no matter the chemistry it is just too expensive to build or the materials in too short a supply. The only workable solution is to embed power rails in limited access highways, and where possible put solar panels along the highways. This would allow a much smaller battery to be used for *most* drivers, ease the grid infrastructure problem in *most* cases, and then leave us needing to build a lot more power plants because solar on public land adjacent to highways, alone isn't enough.
 
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Ya never know... The young Tesla created a remarkable machine powered by another natural energy source: June bugs (or, as Europeans call them, May bugs). He glued sixteen of the live insects to the blades of a small windmill-like structure, and they set the rotor spinning vigorously in their vain attempt to fly away.
 
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Battery technology, cost, output, longevity, and recharge time are nowhere near where they need to be right now, in order to support a nationwide changeover to all electric vehicles. Which is where all of these "green politicians" want it to go. And go FAST. It may be impossible to accomplish in ANY time frame. But it certainly is in the minuscule amount they are all currently pushing for. What the government doesn't understand is you cannot legislate technology. About all any government can do, is to offer financial incentives, (not financial hand outs like they have to companies like Tesla and Solyndra), such as large tax breaks, on property, income, sales, and earned interest on investments, (lower corporate tax rate), to make the development of these things more appealing for the major corporations to undertake from a business standpoint. But that's a big Catch 22. Because the same political part of our government who are pushing for all of these things, happens to be the same government who simply LOVES to tax everything back to the stone age. So instead their "solution" to this whole thing is to simply mandate it. And do so quickly. Because they want us to believe if we don't, we'll all be dead in 10 years, and our costal cities will become coral reefs. That won't work. Certainly not when you have gaff a minute, ex bartenders doing the pushing. I'm NOT trying to make this political. But rather simply point out what all of this is up against. The government doesn't have to show a profit. Private corporations do, or else they'll disappear. And right now what percentage of the current electric fleet that is available to today's consumer, is actually showing a profit that is comparable to the same sized gasoline vehicles, for the companies who are currently selling them? My guess is slim to none of them. That's hardly an incentive for these companies to keep pressing forward, unless they are provided some type of major financial incentive to do so. And remember, Tesla with all of it's government financial handouts, and who sells more electric vehicles than anyone, has yet to show any kind of profit. In fact just the opposite. If they never received the handouts to begin with, they wouldn't even exist today. That all has to change before we see any kind of major breakthrough in electric vehicle technology. And right now it's very doubtful that type of change is on the horizon anytime soon.
 

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Lone Ranger, your post was reasonable. We need a minimum of 4x the current battery energy density to make the electric revolution anywhere near viable. There it is, the magic number: 1000 watt hours per Kg. Is a minimum. Anything less is not really economically viable and is impractical for high drain applications. Towing is a great example. Where 1% of battery capacity per minute is the discharge rate. Leading to a one hour range with enough cushion to make a charging station.
 
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Originally Posted by Cujet
Lone Ranger, your post was reasonable. We need a minimum of 4x the current battery energy density to make the electric revolution anywhere near viable. There it is, the magic number: 1000 watt hours per Kg. Is a minimum. Anything less is not really economically viable and is impractical for high drain applications. Towing is a great example. Where 1% of battery capacity per minute is the discharge rate. Leading to a one hour range with enough cushion to make a charging station.
Keep in mind that towing and heavy equipment is not a target market of BEV (Battery EV). Hybrid yes.
 
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Originally Posted by E365
The GM EV1 charged at 6.6kw and Teslas and the Porsche Taycan now charge at 200+ kw, but there's been no "breakthroughs"? It also looks like the Bolt drive unit is less that half the price of a Cruze engine/trans and gas tank. That should be subtracted from the battery cost.
The charging times are not proof of any breakthrough. It simply a proof of better programming and control of individual cells as they charge, discharge. Batteries with small capacities don't need it, but once they get larger, temperature control is critical. Even new smartphones with fast charging capabilities have it. Cramming more voltage and current into batteries us not innovation. It's simple mathematics. Regarding pricing, the battery is the tank. So while the electric motors are fairly cheap when compared to IC engines, their tanks are super expensive, they always weight the same full or empty and their capacity decreases with charging cycles. And at the end of their lives, instead of having some plastic, metal and rubber, you have all sorts if complex components that will have to be dealt with somehow. Batteries are very hard to recycle, same goes for solar panels. But this is a problem to be solved by future tech, we don't need to worry about this now when pushing the green agenda.
 

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Originally Posted by BMWTurboDzl
Keep in mind that towing and heavy equipment is not a target market of BEV (Battery EV). Hybrid yes.
I disagree. Ford, Tesla, Rivian, and others are all working on trucks. Trucks that will be asked to do real work.
 
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Originally Posted by billt460
And remember, Tesla with all of it's government financial handouts, and who sells more electric vehicles than anyone, has yet to show any kind of profit. In fact just the opposite.
Sounds like Amazon Prime, Amazon makes lots of money off its servers and infrastructure but looses off everything else, Prime has never made a profit. Only difference here is that the government subsidy is hidden with Amazon selling capacity to the government and with Tesla its out in the open. As toward EVs my first car I bought was an EV, long before there were subsidies. If they didn't get the crap taxed out of them they are perfectly usable as a 2nd car for city trips. In fact all of my daily driver activities were 40 year old EV powered for a long time. I think people who believe an EV needs to drive 1000 miles in a charge are dillusional and miss the point. Do you want to drive a moped 1000 miles? They aren't for that and if you don't continuously drive long distances one of the cars in your shed could be an EV but given the registration taxes on them are about the same cost as gas for an economy car why own one?
 
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Originally Posted by Cujet
Originally Posted by BMWTurboDzl
Keep in mind that towing and heavy equipment is not a target market of BEV (Battery EV). Hybrid yes.
I disagree. Ford, Tesla, Rivian, and others are all working on trucks. Trucks that will be asked to do real work.
I guarantee that any "EV" truck sold with a towing package will have some sort of ICE attached to it. They can't overcome physics (i.e. gravity, coefficient of friction) with batteries alone.
 
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IMO, Tesla and GM are doing incredible things with Li-Ion COTS cells but the Chinese saw a different chemistry was better for HD applications. BYD is using LiFePO4 chemistry for its BEV buses and trucks - I've heard Beijing or some major city in China is aggressively electrying their bus fleet with BYDs. I'm guessing for the duty cycle, lithium ferric phosphate batteries are safer and provide more longevity than Li-Ion. Toyota is the last major standout - they want solid-state batteries for their cars. SSBs are much more durable, safer but also very expensive. Although the current Prius does offer Li-Ion batteries, they aren't a fan of Li-Ions for safety and reliablity concerns. Toyota's last major BEV attempt was the electric RAV4 - the latest one was simply the 3rd gen body shell on top of of a Tesla drivetrain. The 1st one was used to test out prismatic NiMH modules that made its way into the Prius.
 
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