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Old 02-04-2011, 04:24 AM   #1
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Default A 375-Mile Battery Range: Too Good to be True?

Intrigues are not difficult to find in the world of electric vehicles. Whether it’s the saga of General Motors’ EV1 or Renault’s executive-sabotage case, E.V.’s generate intense controversy. The latest involves a battery pack employing what is called Kolibri alpha-polymer technology.

Last October, a Kolibri-powered Audi A2, converted by DBM Energy GmbH and Lekker Energie with funding from the German economy ministry, traveled from Munich to Berlin, around 375 miles, which the car covered in about seven hours without recharging. Upon arrival, its 115-kW pack was only around 80 percent depleted, implying a total range of more than 400 miles from a pack weighing just 770 pounds. For comparison, the Tesla Roadster’s pack, which claims 245 miles of range, weighs 990 pounds.

If verified — and DBM states on its Web site that the inspection organization DEKRA checked the vehicle and also cites 30 eyewitnesses — it would be a world record. A specially designed battery-powered Daihatsu Mira went 623 miles on a track last May, but while only averaging 25 miles per hour. The 375-mile journey by the Lekker Mobil is notable because it was done on public roads in wet weather at an average speed of 55 m.p.h.
As for the controversy? The A2 disintegrated in a December fire while parked in a warehouse. The fire is under police investigation, but it has prompted skeptics to further question whether DBM has anything to hide.

Peter Hoffmann, who publishes The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Letter Web site and newsletter, discovered that the organizations that were instrumental in the vehicle’s development were not backing down and intend to bring a Kolibri battery and another converted A2 to the CeBIT electronic industry show in Hanover, Germany, in March. Mr. Hoffmann reported that DBM planned to convert a third A2 as well as a BMW X5 and conduct more “confidence-building” tests later this month.

For its part, DMB exclaims on its Web site, “We have done nothing wrong!”, adding that its plans to bring the battery to market have not changed. DMB also claims to be working to bring Kolibri technology to stationary storage for renewable energy producers. A version of the battery is in service on a forklift operated by Papstar, a paper manufacturer.
Battery specifications provided to Mr. Hoffmann by DBM might prompt further incredulity among skeptics. The firm expects its pack to operate for 10 years, or 2,000 charge cycles. Mr. Hoffmann also cites estimates that the mass-production cost of a 98.8 kW version of the pack would range from 800 to 1,000 euros, or from about $1,100 to $1,400, which is thousands below current costs.

“Needless to say, if these claims for vastly extended battery ranges are proven to be true, it could change the entire ballgame of battery electric power vs. hydrogen fuel-cell technology,” Mr. Hoffman wrote.
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Old 02-04-2011, 08:37 AM   #2
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Just don't use heat or AC and you might go <100mi if you go EZ. And wait...we forgot to tell you......or it only lasts 65 miles part yet to come.
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:11 AM   #3
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kWh, not kW.

1000 Euros for a 100 kWh pack sounds like:

a) a lie
b) a scam
c) both
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Old 02-04-2011, 01:17 PM   #4
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The math on energy density is on the bleeding edge of plausible, however.

314.3 Wh/kg for the pack. Difficult, but possible today.

The Tesla is far below this at about 55Wh/kg, but uses non-automotive cylindrical cells with 5 year old chemistry. They could already drop their pack weight by a third using Pansaonic's latest commercial cylindrical cells. Going to large-format cells would drop it possibly another 50%... Going to nano-structured materials might get the next necessary doubling...

The cost thing though... Yeah, that's going to require some disclosure...

And I don't want to think about how long it would take to charge from empty.
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