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Dan
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 11:34 pm    Post subject: GM to take lead from Toyota in plug-in cars?? Reply with quote

From USAToday.com.

GM: Deal could put it in lead in electric car race

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — General Motors (GM) has signed an agreement with a battery maker that could propel it ahead of Toyota Motor (TM) in the race to bring plug-in hybrid and electric cars to market, a top company official said Thursday.

A123 Systems, based in Watertown, Mass., already produces thousands of nanophosphate lithium-ion batteries for use in cordless power tools, and it plans to apply the technology to automobiles.

GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said the deal, coupled with a published report that Toyota would delay launches of lithium-ion battery powered hybrids for up to two years, could give GM the lead in bringing the new clean technology to market.

"I think that our No. 1 competitor has some problems with their technology, and I do think that it very definitely opens a window of opportunity for us to be first to market with a genuine plug-in hybrid," Lutz said at an automotive industry conference in Traverse City where the battery deal was announced.

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with Toyota strategy that it didn't name, reported Thursday that problems with lithium-ion technology forced Toyota to back away from plans to roll out the vehicles between 2008 and 2010. Toyota's current hybrids use nickel-metal-hydride batteries.

A message seeking comment was left Thursday with Toyota.

Lutz said the lithium-ion battery being discussed by GM is different than one that Toyota would use.

Lutz also is hoping to be first to market with a pure electric vehicle that has a piston engine as an emergency backup, similar to the Chevrolet Volt prototype that the company unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.

A123 expects to have the batteries, which would be flat and similar in appearance to those that power cellphones, ready for GM to test in vehicles by October. GM still hopes to have an electric car on the market by 2010.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 4:48 am    Post subject: Re: GM to take lead from Toyota in plug-in cars?? Reply with quote

Hybrids are still slow selling here, let alone completely electric, not that there isn't a market here.

I wonder what the customers want.....

I know renewable resources are important and becoming more so, the question is within two years whether customers really want a significant change in how a motor vehicle works. Surely an electric vehicle brings a certain simplicity to the market for our transportation the existing support structure that is in place for all the aspects of the current crop of vehicles would in one sense be gone. The need for a computer to manage the air/fuel/spark equation disappears....

Provides interesting food for thought what is required to "run" an electric car....

One would think not a lot....tyres/brakes/hubs/safety systems and the "drive system". I wonder what the "drive system" includes.

You have started my mind racing ahead, my desire to understand electronics in motor vehicles may end up being invaluable in the future.

The race is on.....

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 8:17 am    Post subject: Re: GM to take lead from Toyota in plug-in cars?? Reply with quote

Dan wrote:

A123 expects to have the batteries, which would be flat and similar in appearance to those that power cellphones....


Though I imagine that they would be a whole lot bigger!

I have understood that one of the problems with electrical generation in general is that there is much greater demand during the day than at night. Electrical generation can't just be increased or decreased instantly to match demand, and requires a time lag to make the change in production. I have wondered if having a great number of cars plugged in at night would help to even out the draw on electric power by bringing up nighttime consumption.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 8:53 pm    Post subject: Re: GM to take lead from Toyota in plug-in cars?? Reply with quote

From The Milwaukee JournalSentinel online

More info on this up and coming technology.


Johnson Controls batteries on a roll
Chrysler to use them in plug-in vans being road-tested this fall

By THOMAS CONTENT
tcontent@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Aug. 9, 2007
Traverse City, Mich. - Batteries being developed by Johnson Controls Inc. will be equipment in plug-in hybrid Dodge Sprinter vans that will be on the road this fall, the company confirmed Thursday.

The company confirmed a report in Automotive News that Chrysler will test as many as 22 Sprinters in southern California and New York equipped with lithium-ion batteries made by Johnson Controls-Saft Advanced Power Solutions. The plug-ins are expected to have a range of 20 miles before the vehicles must resort to their petroleum-fueled engines for power. Chrysler will experiment with both gasoline and diesel engines in the test vehicles, according to Automotive News.

The announcement was the latest in a flurry of developments regarding hybrid-electric vehicles unveiled at an auto industry conference. Hybrids account for 2% of all new-vehicle sales, but sales are on the rise, and Detroit-based automakers are intent on showing that they are catching up to hybrid leader Toyota Motor Corp.

Earlier Thursday, General Motors Corp. awarded a development agreement to a Massachusetts battery company to help develop the batteries in the all-electric Chevrolet Volt passenger car GM hopes to introduce by late 2010. Johnson Controls and its joint venture partner, France-based Saft Groupe SA, were among the bidders for that award.

"Electrically driven vehicles represent the next great paradigm shift in the automotive industry," GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said Thursday.

Lutz said GM chose A123Systems Inc. because its battery technology, developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, appears to be more stable and safer than others in development.

The Johnson Controls-Saft hybrid battery group was among the bidders for the development agreement awarded Thursday, said Denise Gray, GM director of energy storage systems. But Johnson Controls is a GM partner on a different project, a lithium-ion battery for a sport utility vehicle that would be charged when plugged into an electrical outlet.

Johnson Controls-Saft and another supplier - a partnership of A123Systems and Cobasys LLC - will work to supply a system to GM over the next year that the automaker can begin testing in an SUV, she said. No date has been announced for when GM will introduce the plug-in version that could use a Johnson Controls system, but the first two batteries are expected to be delivered to GM next week to begin testing in vehicles, said Mike Andrew, Johnson Controls hybrid director of government affairs and external communications.

Automakers across the industry are interested in the plug-in hybrid concept, he said.

While only two Johnson Controls-Saft initiatives with automakers have been announced so far, Andrew said, "we are working behind the scenes with several other automakers as well."

Profit potential
Johnson Controls has made development of hybrid batteries a key focus of its growth plans. The unit now has more than 100 employees and is nearly finished with construction of a battery-testing facility behind its Glendale headquarters, Andrew said.

With Thursday's Volt announcement, GM said it's moving ahead of hybrid pioneer Toyota on the next generation of hybrids.

The Japanese automaker, now the world's biggest, expects to sell the vast majority of the hybrids bought by North American consumers this year, said Jim Lentz of Toyota. But Toyota has delayed introduction of a hybrid-electric vehicle using a lithium-ion battery by at least a year, and it won't be on the market before early 2011, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Lutz, GM's outspoken product-development guru, said he's as excited about the Volt all-electric vehicle "as anything I've worked on in my career."

He said he's still committed to having Volts on sale in late 2010 - "though the internal team is a little skeptical" about whether the car will be ready by then.

The announcement means A123Systems and Korean company LG Chem, whose participation was announced earlier, will both work to develop the batteries for the Volt.

Johnson Controls was bidding for the work but doesn't view the selection of A123Systems as a setback, said Andrew, of Johnson Controls. The company is excited that it's a partner with GM on the plug-in SUV at a time when Lutz and GM are signaling lithium-ion batteries as a key solution to help reduce U.S. reliance on imported oil or comply with measures to combat global warming.

GM is planning to roll out 16 hybrid models over the next four years, Lutz said.

Within weeks, dealerships will sell the hybrid version of the full-size sport utility vehicles Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon, he said. The hybrid versions of the SUVs will get 40% better gas mileage in the city, and 25% better mileage overall, than the gasoline versions of the big SUVs.

[b:a970de293f]Dan[/b:a970de293f]
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 9:00 pm    Post subject: Re: GM to take lead from Toyota in plug-in cars?? Reply with quote

On the other hand, this technology is neither new or up and coming. It was quite popular 100 years ago. Did we go wrong in switching?

From The New York Times online

Back to the Future in a 98-Year-Old Electric Car

By DEXTER FORD

Published: August 5, 2007
THE new hybrid Ford Escape taxis scuttling around New York City give their occupants an aura of environmental superiority. But as far as clean electric-powered cars are concerned, these high-mileage hybrids are actually a bit behind the times.


About 100 years behind.

Starting in 1914, the Detroit Taxicab and Transfer Company built and operated a fleet of nearly 100 electric cabs. Customers would often wait for a smoother, cleaner, more tasteful electric cab, even when a gas-powered cab was already on station.

At the turn of the 20th century, quiet, smooth, pollution-free electric cars were a common sight on the streets of major American cities. Women especially favored them over steam- and gasoline-powered cars.

In an era in which gasoline-powered automobiles were noisy, smelly, greasy and problematic to start, electric cars, like Jay Leno’s restored 1909 Baker Electric Coupe, represented a form of women’s liberation. Well-dressed society women could simply drive to lunch, to shop, or to visit friends without fear of soiling their gloves, mussing their hair or setting their highly combustible crinoline dresses on fire.

“These were women’s shopping cars,” said Mr. Leno, who is a serious hands-on collector of autos and motorcycles dating from the 1800s to the present. “There was no gas or oil, no fire, no explosions — you just sort of got in and you went. There were thousands of these in New York, from about 1905 to 1915. There were charging stations all over town, so ladies could recharge their cars while they were in the stores.”

Baker Electrics, Detroit Electrics, Rausch & Langs and other similar electric cars were comparatively reliable and easy to drive. Even the wives of legendary car company owners drove electrics.

Clara Ford, Henry’s wife, drove a 1914 Detroit Electric Brougham until the 1930s, using it to visit friends and make her rounds on the family’s Michigan estate. Helen Joy, wife of Henry Joy, president of the Packard Motor Car Company, drove a 1915 Detroit Electric.

Mr. Leno’s Baker stands — and stands is the correct word — more than 7 feet tall. “It looks like a giant phone booth,” he said. Twelve 6-volt batteries are under the front and rear covers, six under each, to power the car’s 72-volt motor.

This particular Baker was originally equipped with Edison alkaline batteries. Baker customers had the option of these or more common lead-acid batteries.

The Edison batteries were the result of a research program the inventor conducted at the turn of the century to create lighter, more powerful batteries that would extend the range and speed of electric cars, just as inventors are trying to do today.

Instead of the lead plates and sulfuric acid used in batteries from the mid-19th century on, the Edison batteries used iron and nickelic oxide electrodes, and an alkaline electrolyte of potassium hydroxide. Early tests were promising, but the first production batteries were prone to leaking and electrode failure. Edison closed the factory in 1905 and reworked the batteries, finally resuming production four years later. The effort was obviously effective.

“I have modern lead-acid batteries in the car now, but I can still run the original Edison batteries,” Mr. Leno said. “You can just rinse them out, replace the electrolyte, and they’re ready to go. They still work fine, after almost a hundred years.”

The car’s electric motor, about the size of a watermelon, is visible under the car, driving the rear wheels via an enclosed-chain reduction system and a now-conventional driveshaft and differential.

“Since we restored it, I haven’t had to do much of anything to maintain it,” Mr. Leno said. “We just keep it charged up, grease it now and then, and drive it.

“I drive it from the garage up into the Hollywood Hills every year to see the Christmas lights,” he said. “The deer come right up to it and look inside. Because there’s no noise, no vibration, no gasoline smell, they’re completely unafraid.

“It’ll go for about four or five hours on a single charge, at about 20 to 25 miles an hour. Its range is about 110 miles, just about what most electric cars made these days will do. So we really haven’t come very far in a hundred years.

“It’s pretty fun to drive, actually — if you’re not in a hurry, that is,” he said. “Women love it.”

One does not so much enter the Baker as climb it. Once inside, it’s apparent that the designers were less intent on building a vehicle than they were in creating an ornate mobile parlor. Every surface is covered in expensive fabric or carpet, and the doors have braided cords, tassels and embroidered straps. Plump button-tucked bench seats, front and rear, face each other, as they would in the booth of a Victorian tea room. The driver sits on the left of the rear bench. If there are passengers in the front seat, the driver has to look around them to steer.

Which is not as much of a problem as one might expect, given the Baker’s lofty driving position and modest top speed of 25 miles an hour.

There is no steering wheel. At first glance there are few indications that the Baker was meant to be driven at all. A long steering tiller folds down from the left once the driver is seated; the driver pushes forward to steer left and pulls back to go right.

Speed is controlled by a lever just forward of the driver’s left elbow, and there are two brake pedals protruding from the carpet, one for each rear wheel.

On the road, the tall cabin tilts on its springs in corners, giving the sensation of driving a rubber-mounted lifeguard tower. “As you can see, we’ve come a long way in aerodynamics since 1909,” Mr. Leno said. “All the windows — the sides, the rear and the windshield — can be opened up, so you can get a nice breeze running through.”

Driving a car this rare — and this tall — makes its limited speed less of a problem in modern city traffic. Drivers of other vehicles inevitably slow to check out the Baker anyway.

Restoring an early electric requires some ingenuity. Electric motors haven’t changed much in the nearly 200 years since they were invented, so a shop that can rebuild an antique ceiling fan should be able to rewind the armature of an electric motor. Modern deep-cycle batteries, like those used in golf carts, electric boats and neighborhood electric vehicles, can be readily substituted for the originals.

Relatively few electric cars have survived, and their appeal is more that of an oddity or museum piece than that of a better-known classic automobile. So their prices have remained reasonable. According to the Web site of the Gold Book, which is published by Manheim Auctions and tracks prices paid at collector-car auctions, a well-maintained 1915 Baker, a very similar Rauch & Lang, or a Detroit Electric should sell for $9,000 to $20,000, depending on its condition.

Collectors are often attracted to the cars owned by their fathers. With one of these electrics, they can drive a machine that might have been driven by their great-grandmothers.

[b:a970de293f]Dan[/b:a970de293f]
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 4:56 am    Post subject: Re: GM to take lead from Toyota in plug-in cars?? Reply with quote

Dan wrote:
Dan wrote:

A123 expects to have the batteries, which would be flat and similar in appearance to those that power cellphones....


Though I imagine that they would be a whole lot bigger!


I don't know if they are a whole lot bigger, the way this Tesla Vehicle is powered it sounds like there are a couple of thousand small batteries??

Press the ESS tab

http://www.teslamotors.com/design/under_the_skin.php

also on this page there is a pdf on the batteries themselves, they seem to be individual cells so if there is a failure in one it will still continue to operate.

http://www.teslamotors.com/learn_more/white_papers.php


On the 98 yo....have to love that quote about electric motors not changing much in 200 years....

Quote:
Electric motors haven’t changed much in the nearly 200 years since they were invented, so a shop that can rebuild an antique ceiling fan should be able to rewind the bad word removed of an electric motor. Modern deep-cycle batteries, like those used in golf carts, electric boats and neighborhood electric vehicles, can be readily substituted for the originals.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 2:06 am    Post subject: Re: GM to take lead from Toyota in plug-in cars?? Reply with quote

unfortunately.. this is extremely bad news for the environment.. Alot of people think that hybrids and electric vehicles are good for the environment, however, they cannot be further from the truth. All those batteries will become toxic waste once they are no longer operational. Now just imagine if you replace all the cars we have today with ones that are battery powered and just imagine the toxic landfills that it will create. Crying or Very sad Not to mention the pollution from the manufacturing process to create these batteries...

Yes, petroleum based fuels do create pollution, but if you compare a gas powered vehicle with one that is a hybrid (gas and battery powered) I'd take the gas powered over the hybrid if I had to think for the environment..

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:55 pm    Post subject: Re: GM to take lead from Toyota in plug-in cars?? Reply with quote

Electric cars aren't zero emission. They're elsewhere emission. More fuels will be burnt to make the electricity. More radioactive waste will be made.
We are being asked to cut back our electricity use, and then they want us to power our cars with it?? Electricity is already the most expensive type of energy. To cut out electricity costs we have natural gas range and dryer in addition to the already standard gas furnace and water heater (direct vent gas fireplace and BBQ as well to eliminate trips to the store for more propane).
If every car in NA were replaced with an electric one, there would be nowhere near enough power to meet the demand. CA for example is on the razor's edge of supply as it is. Even here in ON we have been warned of possible rolling blackouts to accomodate the summer rush of A/C usage. The price of electricity would increase all the more for that than it will normally. Production of electricity is open to anyone in ON, and it's quite lucrative. Companies are putting up gas powered cogeneration plants all over the countryside. A few burn garbage, which pollutes like nothing else. One project I was on this year has 3 jet engines burning CNG from the pipeline, coupled directly to their generators, and they also heat water whos steam powers a fourth "clean" generator. The plant's total capability is IIRC 780 MW, but not all four will ever be running at the same time. One advantage of these places is they can be shut off and on at will.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 5:01 pm    Post subject: Re: GM to take lead from Toyota in plug-in cars?? Reply with quote

Have to agree that somehow we need to take a much broader view on renewable resources, I do like the idea of diesel/methanol style power that is based on renewable crops...but of course again the production process would need to be examined, and then there is the consideration of diverting production of food to possibly a more lucrative "car market" which brings with it all sorts of ethical/social impacts Rolling Eyes it is not an easy answer that lies ahead as the community begins to become aware of the impact of our "consumerism..."
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 11:44 pm    Post subject: Re: GM to take lead from Toyota in plug-in cars?? Reply with quote

Most batteries that I use can be "turned in", allegedly to be recycled. I would imagine that auto batteries (electric car batteries, not 12 volt batteries in internal combustion cars) would be something that could be recycled.

I am also wondering if more and more electrical generation will take place locally, i.e. solar panels on the roof or even back yard wind generators. My hunch is that as the costs of these items come down, and the costs of electric company generated electricity increases that the "not in my backyard" philosophy will change into "yes, I want to have my own in my own backyard or on my own rooftop". We will rely more and more on electricity, but will expand greatly beyond purchased electricity and use a lot of self generated electricity.

Well,you heard it here first!! Very Happy

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 4:53 pm    Post subject: Re: GM to take lead from Toyota in plug-in cars?? Reply with quote

Dan wrote:
Most batteries that I use can be "turned in", allegedly to be recycled. I would imagine that auto batteries (electric car batteries, not 12 volt batteries in internal combustion cars) would be something that could be recycled.

I am also wondering if more and more electrical generation will take place locally, i.e. solar panels on the roof or even back yard wind generators. My hunch is that as the costs of these items come down, and the costs of electric company generated electricity increases that the "not in my backyard" philosophy will change into "yes, I want to have my own in my own backyard or on my own rooftop". We will rely more and more on electricity, but will expand greatly beyond purchased electricity and use a lot of self generated electricity.

Well,you heard it here first!! Very Happy


My Father's home is a "self reliant home". There are now numerous examples of solar powered homes in Queensland that actually produce enough electricity that they receive a credit from the energy company for putting energy back into the electricity grid... Very Happy

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 7:47 am    Post subject: Re: GM to take lead from Toyota in plug-in cars?? Reply with quote

cpapashley wrote:
Dan wrote:
Most batteries that I use can be "turned in", allegedly to be recycled. I would imagine that auto batteries (electric car batteries, not 12 volt batteries in internal combustion cars) would be something that could be recycled.

I am also wondering if more and more electrical generation will take place locally, i.e. solar panels on the roof or even back yard wind generators. My hunch is that as the costs of these items come down, and the costs of electric company generated electricity increases that the "not in my backyard" philosophy will change into "yes, I want to have my own in my own backyard or on my own rooftop". We will rely more and more on electricity, but will expand greatly beyond purchased electricity and use a lot of self generated electricity.

Well,you heard it here first!! Very Happy


My Father's home is a "self reliant home". There are now numerous examples of solar powered homes in Queensland that actually produce enough electricity that they receive a credit from the energy company for putting energy back into the electricity grid... Very Happy


I have heard of people doing that. When they generate excess electricity they can sell it to "the grid".

I am visiting fil this week in Florida. Just walking around his neighborhood I see lots of roof space that looks like it would be ideal for solar panels. But no one is utilizing that space. Yet.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2007 6:16 pm    Post subject: Re: GM to take lead from Toyota in plug-in cars?? Reply with quote

man everytime "green" comes to play with energy the price of milk just gets higher, over here milk costs more then a gallon of gas, but starbucks is still higher then that Smile .
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2007 9:01 pm    Post subject: Re: GM to take lead from Toyota in plug-in cars?? Reply with quote

novalight wrote:
man everytime "green" comes to play with energy the price of milk just gets higher, over here milk costs more then a gallon of gas, but starbucks is still higher then that Smile .


Ah haaa......that word "Starbucks"....Jon fisher continually reminds me via his "Fischtank" how wonderful starbucks is.....Is it really that good....maybe it may be worth the price...... Wink

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