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SAE’S ANNUAL symposium on hybrids and electric vehicles, held February 11 – 13, 2014, in La Jolla, California, was rich in technical nuggets.
This first of several postings shares battery information offered by one of the symposium speakers, Menahem Anderman. See http://wp.me/p2ETap-R4 and http://wp.me/p2ETap-wU for things I’ve gleaned over the years from earlier SAE and Anderman presentations.
Dr. Anderman’s Advanced Automotive Batteries is a highly respected California-based consulting firm that also holds conferences around the world. For example, AAB Asia 2014 is in Kyoto, Japan, May 19 – 23. His presentation at the SAE symposium was titled “xEV Battery Technology and Market.”
The term “xEV” uses “x” as a place holder, as in BEV (battery electric vehicle), FCEV (fuel-cell EV), HEV (hybrid) and PHEV (plug-in hybrid).
There’s a spectrum within the HEV range, stretching from Micro-1 (with only a Start/Stop feature) and Micro-2 (adding regenerative braking), through Mild-1 and Mild-2 (incorporating launch assist and mild power assist, respectively), to Moderate (with greater power assist) to Strong (offering all of the above, plus some pure electric propulsion).
The Europeans are big on Micro-1 and Micro-2; several BMW and Mercedes-Benz models offer these features. GM’s Malibu hybrid was initially in the Mild-2 category; it’s now a Micro-2.
Honda went the other direction. Its Accord was a Mild-2 in model years 2005 – 2007 and is now a Strong hybrid.
Despite this multiplicity of hybrid categories, the Strong variety dominates and is expected to continue to do so.
Notes Anderman, “Customers seem more willing to pay an extra $3500 for a 35-percent improvement in fuel economy than an extra $1500 for 15-percent better fuel economy. The market is not about logic….”
Also, despite a multiplicity of carmakers, Toyota continues to dominate the HEV market. Only Honda gets its data points much above the horizontal axis.
Anderman also addressed the matter of xEV battery chemistry, everything from conventional lead/acid applications in Micro-1 and Micro-2 to lithium-ion batteries at the other production extreme.
The nickel/metal hydride battery, for example, has proven itself in 15 years of field experience. NiMH packs (as fitted to Toyota Prius HEVs in the U.S. market) have exhibited high reliability, long life and no safety problems.
Lithium-ion batteries are smaller, lighter and exhibit enhanced densities of energy and power. They are also considerably more costly than NiMH counterparts—if, indeed, a NiMH equivalent even exists. Anderman says Li-ion is the preferred battery for most xEV architectures.
Battery energy is measured in kWh (kilowatt-hours). Loosely, it’s an indicator of BEV range. For example, Tesla’s Model S has two battery pack options. Its 60-kWh pack gives the car an EPA range of 208 miles; with its 85-kWh pack, it is EPA-rated at 265 miles.
A Forbes article (appearing more recently than the SAE meeting, http://goo.gl/AaMLwn) estimates Tesla’s current battery cost at around $400/kWh. It says Tesla’s $5 billion investment in a new gigafactory has a goal of reducing this cost to $200/kWh once production reaches its peak in 2020.
Anderman sees a 2020 pack costing $250/kWh for a battery in the 20-25-kWh category (e.g., the Nissan Leaf’s 24-kWh pack). He also notes that this target would more likely be reached by larger packs (i.e., the Tesla’s).
What about future battery chemistries? Anderman advises that none is very far along. Carmakers should not include lithium-air or lithium-sulfur in their 12-year planning.
AAB clients are offered access to all of Anderman’s findings, based on private interviews with 45 leading companies. The report isn’t for the casual reader, though: Its price is $7600 for a pair of encrypted electronic copies and one hardbound version. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2014