Battery Switch Technology


Monday, January 4, 2010

Introduction to the Problem

I would like to say that after watching the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car”; I was so mad I could light my fireplace with the palm of my hand. But there are a few things that I feel I need to set straight. First, the Electric car is not dead…..just wounded. The “Volt” by Chevrolet is still being made, just not set to be sold to the common “Joe” until 2011. The $4000 tax credit the documentary stated is actually $7,500.

“Electric vehicle” advocates, like me, often feel powerless against huge oil companies, monstrous auto manufacturers, and the federal government. Taking on big industry and/or the government can seem to be a daunting task. But when it comes to EV technology, the US Department of Energy, “Big Oil” and “Big Automotive” have been openly colluding under the auspices of the "Freedom car". As part of their grand scheme, they want to convert much of the transportation industry to hydrogen. Hydrogen funding outstrips all other funding for “Freedom car” to date. But thanks to author and electrical engineer Nerves Cefo, there is something we can do to get EV's back into the mainstream of auto manufacturing. We must demand that the government release the patents on the large capacity NiMH batteries that powered Saturn's EV-1 and Toyota's RAV4-EV, both 100% electric cars. The Toyota’s are still on the road because unlike the EV-1s, they were not destroyed. But Chevron Oil Company still holds the patent on their batteries so no one else can manufacture them. Personally, if someone said I could buy an EV that got 100 miles or more and did not have an internal combustion engine, no transmission, virtually no maintenance, no emissions, no gas and had a battery that lasted the life of the vehicle, I would go buy one tomorrow…..regardless of the price!

The large capacity NiMH batteries used in the Toyota RAV4-EVs and the Saturn EV-1s have the best track record of any electric car battery. They are fully recyclable, road tested and have the longest life cycle. Many of the RAV4-EVs are still on the road today getting 100 miles + per charge. Unfortunately, while they released some of the patents on NiMH batteries for smaller batteries (some used in the Toyota Prius's), the patents for the large capacity NiMH batteries are still held by Chevron, Oil Company.

President Obama is making good on his promise to spearhead the EV revolution. During a visit to Southern California Edison’s Pomona EV test facility, he launched a $2.4 billion competitive grant program for US battery makers.

It’s all part of the Obama administration’s plan to get one million plus in hybrids on the road by 2015.

Obama at a Town Hall Meeting in Los Angeles, California - March 19, 2009. Photos: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Here’s a quote from the LA Times article By Maeve Reston:

Obama unveils $2.4-billion grant program to aid electric cars

“Even as our economy has been transformed by new forms of technology, our electric grid looks largely the same as it did half a century ago,” Obama said. “So we have a choice to make. We can remain one of the world’s leading importers of foreign oil, or we can make the investments that would allow us to become the world’s leading exporter of renewable energy.” The president renewed his commitment to doubling the country’s supply of renewable energy over the next few years — including spending $11 billion upgrading the nation’s power grid to ease the delivery of renewable energy across the country, and $15 million to help develop green technologies such as solar and wind power, and new coal technologies. As a receptive audience of engineers and workers cheered his plans, Obama pledged to put a million plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road by 2015, and highlighted his offer of up to $7,500 in tax credits for Americans who purchase electric vehicles. The new $2.4-billion grant program, which would be part of his recovery program, would ask companies to compete for federal money to increase the manufacturing of batteries and parts used in the electric cars.

Later that evening, Obama answered questions during a Town Hall Meeting that took place at Miguel Contreras Learning Center, in Los Angeles, California, where he warned us about the energy dinosaurs that would be opposing the new plan:

“…if we are going to make a serious investment in clean energy, well, that requires that we phase out dirty energy. And that requires that we stop subsidizing certain things and instead subsidize other things. Somebody is not going to be happy about that because they’ve been getting the subsidies, so they will start running ads on television saying this is a terrible energy plan.”

(Published by Paul Scott on June 23, 2009)

There are three Auto companies that are still in the E.V. business besides the Chevy “Volt”. Three EV pioneers, Tesla, Nissan and Ford, are receiving loans from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program. Totaling $8 billion, the funds will be used to manufacture efficient vehicles and electric drive components.

In Tesla’s case, they’ll receive a total of $465 million to set up their factory in Southern California for the production of their hot Model S. This car has generated a lot of interest given its superb styling, performance and efficiency. The price point of $57K makes it affordable for a large segment of the population. Part of the money will be used to set up a production line for their battery packs and electric drive trains to be sold to other manufacturers such as their new partner, Daimler.

Nissan will receive $1.6 billion to build EV and battery factories in Tennessee. Having experienced the drive train for their new EV, I am very pleased that this will enable them to ramp up quickly to 150,000 EVs annually. This car will appeal to a larger segment of the population given its price of around $30K.

Ford is the big surprise for me. They’re getting the lion’s share of the money at $5.9 billion. They’ll use it to increase the efficiency of several of their cars and trucks. I assume some will go toward building their new EV with the help of Canadian parts supplier, Magna.

This announcement assures that large numbers of electric vehicles will be available to U.S. customers starting late next year and growing rapidly soon after. Additionally, tens of thousands of jobs will be created.

There will more announcements to come. I’m betting that Bright Automotive in Indiana will be on the next list of recipients.

No comments: