Jack and Brian in Wonderland – The Search for Alice.

Lies, Damn Lies, and EV Industry Forecasts.

It starts with the rather bald implication that the American public is hungering for electric cars, and that the evil empire is denying them access to them for various vaguely nefarious and republican reasons. This huge, latent demand for a better technology, left unfulfilled and unrequited in the eternal quest for filthy euchre and the ongoing quest for global climactic rape and mayhem.

And somehow lurking in all that is the eternal premise that the wealthy grow wealthy on the backs of the poor working man.

If you could spend a day in my mailbox from THIS end, you’d understand why I’m old, cranky, and overweight.

In truth, the demand for a battery powered electric vehicle, not only in the United States but worldwide, is essentially and statistically zero and always was.

China, a country whose primary means of transportation for a century has been a bicycle, offered a more advanced government subsidy last year for electric cars than the United States and had a whopping 34 takers.

It IS true that those who DID lease an EV1, a RAV4, a Ford Ranger, or a Chevy S10 in the 1990s, probably overwhelmingly wanted to keep them.

Today, the Volt is under siege both as a non seller and a fire hazard. But Volt owners haven’t gotten the word. They love the car. In fact, according to Consumer Reports, it has the highest vehicle owner satisfaction numbers in the business – ahead of the Dodge Challenger and the Porsche 911. Neither beast nor fowl, it uses both gasoline and kilowattage rather indiscriminately.

To know an electric car at this point, with modern Lithium ion cells, is to love one. But almost nobody knows them.

And so we have this bizarre Alice in Wonderland national debate, with almost ALL the voices on ALL sides of it, pro AND con, bereft of any experience with the vehicles whatsoever, and they entirely drown out the plaintive mews of actual owners who have actually owned and driven the beasts for at least two weeks.
Since their experience matches not the preconceived pro OR con notions, there is not really a slot on the evening news for their voices at all.

[jwplayer file=”news120211 – iPhone.mov” hd.file=”news120211-1280.mov” image=”http://media3.ev-tv.me/news120211.jpg” streamer=”rtmp://s3einxnpkaij93.cloudfront.net/cfx/st/” provider=”rtmp” html5_file=”http://media3.ev-tv.me/news120211 – iPhone.mov” download_file=”http://media3.ev-tv.me/news120211-1280.mov”]

More annoying for me personally, is the entirely altered nature of business in America. An unintended consequence of the Internet. A decade or more ago, all businesses had telephones and answered them as a matter of course, taking all callers. They responded to electronic mail. And generally, they would sell their products to anyone capable of paying for them, in quantities large or small.

This is actually a necessary mannerism of commerce. Despite the 80/20 rule that all businesses live by, wherein 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers, the 20% age and die. Worse, they merge. And so you have to constantly replenish them from the great mass of unwashed 80% of your customers most of whom are in truth a pain in the ass. Problem being, you can’t tell which of them is going to switch categories on you.

Today, we have whole industries with no phone number. They don’t have a receptionist. Nobody screens the incoming call because no one takes them. E-mail addresses are posted, but no humanoid ever checks that mailbox. The sales process is very much more efficient because it is entirely outbound. There is no incoming over the transom business because there is no one there to take the order.

This is most forgivable in mature industries. Massive hedging in corn futures could be forgiven for being a bit clubby. There are a few traders who have been doing this as a family business for a hundred years or so. Ironically, you can call them and they’ll take the call.

But in young, emerging, technically disruptive businesses, this is pretty much a page of lost opportunity and connections and relationships never made and never fulfilled. In other words, kids playing at having a business – usually with other peoples money.

So it is no great loss to the CEO of Enerdel. That half a billion in investor capital went away because HE was too busy in a business FANTASY to answer the phone wasn’t really his money. And A123 can likewise VERY cavalierly claim to NOT do business with the great unwashed AS they watch their investors stock plunge below $3 – not a problem. OPM.

But the lost opportunities are a treasonous high crime and misdemeanor. Backyard and garage inventors Bill Hewlett, David Packard, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, Paul Allen would simply be shut out today because they cannot “qualify” to get a phone call or e-mail returned, much less order a small quantity of whatever it is the companies offer.

So today, we have this ironic situation where we have plunging prices on American lithium batteries that can only be purchased from Chinese traders,which is ok because the American made batteries are really made in Korea or China ANYWAY while the American company is laying off workers in MICHIGAN prior to going out of business and being delisted from the Nasdaq ANYWAY and our main question is will these cells be available long enough for us to bother to design a module/package for sufficient to use in a car.

And if we did, and enough of you purchased the cells, would the cells then remain in production in China to fill THAT backdoor demand even though the original U.S. company went out of business entirely? Oh, did I mention they received $259 million of YOUR tax dollars to do all this? But they will neither sell to you or even SPEAK to you at this point?

American jobs? I’m sorry. Americans don’t DESERVE jobs. They can’t be bothered answering the phone.

Beyond ranting and raving about these developments, we’re basically taking the win on almost everything we’ve predicted for the past two years. It is now becoming evident to everyone that General Motors sales projections, Nissan’s sales projections, and all industry observers sales projections, have been nothing but fantasy confused by the ongoing propensity to offer a bare faced lie to anyone who will listen.

Electric cars offer a serious advantage to those who own them. The problem is those who own them are very few and not part of the national conversation on this topic. So in this Alice and Wonderland world, the only way anyone is going to learn anything useful about a modern electric car is to take a ride with one of the very few who have one. ANd that ironically is the same group that was building their own. The conversion guys generally ARE the low hanging fruit who are buying the Leaf’s and the Volts, and parking them right next to their own efforts at an electric car in the same garage. But that’s what’s happening.

And so the bootstrapping of this technology to the masses is going to be a much longer and much slower process than Carlos Ghosn can imagine I do fear, despite his heroic work in this area. It remains an early adopter market. And will because the American public has learned to rely on information gathered first hand by their own experience. They have over time learned how to tell when the corporate elements of the world are lying …..
…..- you can see their lips moving…..

We continue to work on the Swallow – which is fun with an open VW chassis from 1968. We’re making battery boxes and hooking things up left and right.

Jack Rickard


77 thoughts on “Jack and Brian in Wonderland – The Search for Alice.”

  1. I’ve seen a product hijacked by the Chinese. One of the customers of the company I was doing consulting with wanted a better margin so they took our product and asked the Chinese to clone it. The Chinese version of the product was not as good as the original but was a lot cheaper. (Eventually it vanished for this reason.) They supposedly had an exclusive deal and this seemed true for about 6 months. After that time all of their (and our) competition started selling this clone product. What I think happens is you talk to a trading company which then hires a factory to make the product. The deal is with the trading company, not the factory. This will all work out great if you take every item you contracted to make at the rate you requested. The problem comes about when your demand doesn’t meet expectations and you tell them to slow down production. You are only telling the trading company. The factory just wants to make product and continues to do so at the original ordered rate. So they look for another trading company to sell the excess when they realize it is building up. End result is your competition ends up with your product at a lower price than what you are paying. It sure looks like a good deal to a manufacturer to have their stuff built over there but you have almost no control over it when you do. A123 is probably seeing exactly this situation. As long as they were taking all the production they stay in control. When they say cut back a little that doesn’t happen and the excess eventually ends up at your competition or on Ebay.

    A123 is still selling the 18650 and 26650 cells to Dewalt and Black and Decker so they may manage to stay in business for a while yet. Fortunately for us they may have lost control of their food bag prismatics and the price may end up to be very attractive for a while. It may also be that the ones we are seeing for cheap may be fallouts that didnt meet quality control. The specs for those indicate 19.6AH minimal capacity. What are you seeing for capacity Jack?

    Winston/Balqon may be in control for now but I bet we will see their batteries showing up again. The fact that we haven’t may mean that some entity is absorbing the production and there is no excess at the factory that is making them. The line is dedicated to making the size that Balqon wants.

    Sinopoly is more of a puzzle. They must be selling to someone somewhere. I suppose they might be waiting for a large quantity order before they tell the factory to make some.

    For now we still have the excellent CALB and GBS batteries.


  2. Here is a nice article regarding a private US corporation (they break company policy and talk to the media) and how they expanded into China. I personally know the people involved.

    What the article does not tell you is, that to “own” a Chinese factory, You have to have Chinese residency. Better brush up on your Mandarin!


  3. hehe I’m not sure you can blame your age and weight on us lefties Jack : )
    but if you mean the stress and frustration that’s because you at times fight against the truth and that cannot be won.
    republicans are douches. they start wars based on lies. they do anything the corporate wants. and you can tell they lie when they open their mouths.
    big oil is the enemy. you may not like these facts but that is not the fault of the facts.

    but ironically I believe you are wrong on the Volt fire issue and the demand issue even though it is from big auto. obviously the sales have been supply limited. it’s possible the Volt doesn’t have super great demand but it’s there. and certainly the Leaf has been supply limited. that’s a Jackism that you deny that. Nissan’s projections were basically spot on despite earthquakes and they are projecting much larger numbers in the future. and this despite the car being quite overpriced not to mention unattractive.
    you are also wrong about demand for EVs in general. sure the hardcore EV fans are few but there is a big group of unengaged latent dogooders. the meek middle class, those who will inherit the earth. mom and pop who doesn’t spend all their time online looking for EV parts but who have a bit of money and good inclination and it’s an ocean that will enlarge as they become more familiar with the concept when they are seen around town or Tom at work gets one.
    if supply opens up and they are priced by cost then sales will be in the millions in short order.
    the super overpriced mitsubishi iMiev has sold over 1000 now in Norway alone. a country of maybe 6 million. they cost about 40k$. a tiny slow car with 16kWh. it’s a kei car. yet there is demand.

  4. once there is selection and decent price for EVs they will explode.
    I know you like the idea that we the EV freaks will change the world and big auto’s current efforts wont matter. that’s just not true. big auto will survive and they will provide EVs. it is in motion and the only question is timing. if we want to be relevant we have to demonstrate something better than their current offerings. I see two main avenues; cheaper and higher performance.
    if we can’t make something cheaper and faster than a Leaf we’d be crazy to spend our time on building one instead of just buying a Leaf.
    fortunately it’s possible to make it much cheaper and faster than a Leaf.
    if we do that we can embarrass the dull-witted automakers and that’s the only thing that gets them to move.

    and the key to achieve both is a light weight aerodynamic car because you get the speed and the range for less battery. a ferrari killer for econobox money. the more such cars we can get in the hands of enthusiasts who bring them to drag strips and humiliate socalled sports cars the more we take over the world. it’s basically that easy.
    the 818 is one way to do the weight and aerodynamics thing. and we have workable battery prices now. and the last piece of the puzzle is cost optimized drivetrains. no 1600$ motor nonsense, no 4000$ 50kW controller or 2000$ charger and DCDC.
    instead it can all in one for 1000$ and 250$ motors. the power electronics components are cheap enough for it and I think we can use industrial AC induction motors.

    other than doing that within the closing window before big auto fills the possibilities, the only thing I see that’s left in the long run is the enthusiast custom market like crate engines, hotrod, dragster etc.
    but that’s niche like we are now and wont take over the world.

    this is an example of power electronics cost.
    this IGBT http://search.digikey.com/us/en/products/STGW40NC60WD/497-5742-ND/1299904
    costs 2.3$ if you buy 1000. each one can do for instance 400V 32A which is 12.8kW. 4 of those can do 50kW. that’s less than 10$.
    to make a DC buck controller power section you need the equivalent in diodes and capacitors and their prices are similar.

    the potential is there. also for integration rather than trying to piece together 3 different products and then some.

  5. A few years ago, when gas was well north of $4 per gallon, and lead-acid was the battery of choice, you could convert a car with a projected ROI of about 6 years (if you were “cost careful” and nice to your batteries), just based on fuel cost differential. And electricity is home grown and is a relatively stable commodity. The “EV grin” happened when you drove past a gas station and saw the prices. The market for your EV was yourself, as was the supplier. The market was trusted and understood.

    And if lil’ ol’ me could convert a car for $10k, surely a car company, starting from a glider, with all the efficiencies of the assemly line, etc., coud do it for half that.

    What happened?

    Mike Kaindl

  6. Dan,
    Perhap I do not understand your exact controller design, but from the IGBT info you gave you would have a hard time doing a real controller for the price you quote. Here is the problem: the four IGBTs only give you 128 Amps. If you derate them to 50% you now have 64 amps. If you want a 640 amp controller you now need ~40 IGBTs.
    At $2.30 thats $92. Now you probably need caps and diodes for each of these which you say are similarly priced so add another $184. Now add the cost and complexity of dealing with so many IGBTs, and matching them and heat sinking them and driving them, and I think you will find that you have a very expensive and impractical controller. However I could be wrong.

  7. DGS, not only could you be but you are. it’s a 70A rated IGBT so how many times do you need to derate it by 50%?
    secondly you arbitrarily come up with 640A as the design requirement but you never stop to realize that 400V at 640A is 340 horsepower.
    now go back and realize I am right. maybe even publically admit your mistake and learn from it.

  8. “In truth, the demand for a battery powered electric vehicle, not only in the United States but worldwide, is essentially and statistically zero and always was.”

    Still working on the penultimate EVTV video, but there are 140 million electric vehicles in use in China alone [1], and “worldwide sales of electric two-wheel vehicles (E2WVs) are expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.4% through 2016.”[2] As of the beginning of the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan had sold 20,000 LEAFS worldwide.[3] My own ev-angelism and generalized jonesing for electric vehicles is extrapolated from the grin of pushing a battery electric lawnmower and the certain health, environmental, and cost benefits of shucking dependency on petro fuels.
    Replace “(DOT}” with “.”
    [1] http://oilprice(DOT}com/Metals/Commodities/Massive-Demand-for-Electric-Bikes-in-China-Impacting-Lead-and-Lithium-Prices.html
    [2] http://www.pikeresearch(DOT)com/newsroom/electric-bicycles-motorcycles-and-scooters-to-gain-increasing-acceptance-worldwide
    [3] http://green.autoblog(DOT)com/2011/11/29/nissan-sells-20000-leafs-worldwide-10000-in-us/

  9. Dan,
    High voltages are less safe and more impracticable in a real world car in the real world with humidity, corrosion, fingers and the bogey man of Less equal AH rating of the smaller cells pulling the whole pack down in range.

    The maximum current rating for any device is the one-off spike current on a tested sample. Nothing to do with continuous rating.
    I presume you haven’t ever followed up anybody else’s links on here. You CAN include full stops. This is not youtube.

    Jacks noted the burgeoning quantities of electric bikes on the EVDL list already. Not wishing to sound snobbish but its mostly of off-topic here.

  10. “much longer and much slower process than Carlos Ghosn can imagine I do fear”

    Nissan opened up sales in seven more states yesterday. If you check the online inventories of practically any Nissan dealer, in any of the previous launch states, you will see that most have at least one to over a dozen 2011’s, and 2012’s waiting for a home.

    By this time next year, some will have unsold examples of three model years. It will be hard to pretend there is more demand than supply.

  11. Guys please, we’re having an abusive argument break out over a controller that is entirely a FANTASY in Dan’s mind, will never be built, and he is so desperate to be RIGHT on something in his fantasy world, that it will never end. It does not exist. It is not proposed. It is a fantasy. So debating it’s merits is not a useful exercise for this forum.

    Jack Rickard

  12. Electric bikes are entirely another kettle of fish. I think people are familiar with the concept and apparently willing to buy at the drop of a hat. I approve of them. BUt we don’t do them.

    We’re kind of interestested in cars. Cars allow you to have personal mobility with greater control of your “environment bubble”. Bicycles are great, but they can’t carry much, are at the whims of the weather. And they’re very easy to steal, which means they are hard to keep from getting stolen.

    But I love the whole concept, and you are quite correct, they exist now in the millions.

    We owe much to RC helicopters and bicycles. But we’re about cars.

    Jack Rickard

  13. Mike:

    Part of the issue is the batteries. A car with lead acid batteries is, to my way of thinking not a car. It’s a science project. It can demonstrate that a car can move on electricity. But it doesn’t work for me as a car. The range is too short and really more importantly, the life cycle of the cells just moves the problem from the gas pump to the battery store.

    LiFePo4 cells represent a change across a very important threshold of viability wherein the car becomes a car instead of an interesting project. 80 miles range is roughly twice what most of us drive daily. and 12 years or so of cycle life is basically the life of the car.

    Not to say problems do not remain aplenty, but these two changes alter the landscape mightily. The problem is the batteries cost $10K. It’s a little tough to do a conversion for $10K when the main component costs that alone.

    We’re finding it very difficult to do this task for $15K – more like $16-$17k for a basic small 2000 lb car.

    If you want to do the large car thing, the costs go up exponentially. The batteries for the Escalade are over $25,000.

    So what kind of car, and what do you want it to do. All cars are not created equal.

    Beyond that, if your point is that EV’s are well within the abilities of the OEMs to build, of course they are. Implicit in that is that there is this huge latent demand just waiting for the right product offering. Perhaps. But the value proposition will remain poor until economies of scale are achieved.

    Ironically, for now the answer is a bit of sweat equity and “do it yourself.” If you take out the labor and profit, and you install the components yourself in an existing car, you can still wind up with a good car for less money.


  14. Warren:

    It is. Actually we’ve been talking about this for over six months and the excuses have actually run out some time ago. These cars present a poor value proposition to a market that is unsure they want an electric vehicle at all.

    As prices come down, and marketplace familiarity increases, things will get better. But without some sort of dramatic product introduction, it will be slow.

    I think the Tesla Model S will actually be the crysalis in the supersaturated solution.

    Jack Rickard

  15. EVs are simply a hobby at this point so forget about the cost it’s all about who has the biggest boat right now.

    Even the OEM ev’s are simply toys. Ten years ago the tablet was a toy, now seems people can’t function without one.

  16. Ahh the parent appears on bit of sibling rivalry. lol

    Dan simply doesn’t listen.
    Last week on the home brew charger you said “As these things normally go, the heatsink, the enclosure, and the knobs are the most expensive things.”. I know this is true with the all and sundry items on any EV or kit car build.

    I’m afraid he is scarily like those BMS manufacturers who’s circuits on the bench can theoretically do wonders. Then they let them loose under the hood unboxed in the rain, high emc fields, crazy weather, connector blocks with unconsidered wiring. Plugs that can be assembled in any direction and any variation of unconsidered errors including software issues that they did not know. All while in bed dreaming of taking over the world…

    It’s carefully considered cars that have the best engineering. He has never seen a bill of materials in his life. If he did, he would despair.

    I’m not saying these things to get at him but I feel he learns nothing.

  17. Jack,
    You stated:

    I think the Tesla Model S will actually be the crysalis in the supersaturated solution.

    I am reading with interest with what you are saying, but I do not know what you are saying because I could not find the word “crysalis” in the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary.
    With respect,
    Mark Yormark

  18. First you must figure that maybe the reason you did not find the word was because the word was not spelled correctly. Ooops. chrysalis


    It means it is the point before the butterfly. An emerging ………..

    The Tesla is a beautiful vehicle. That there is no doubt and it is one hell of an engineering art piece. Practical, nearly affordable to many and gorgeous. It is the emerging butterfly of the worlds EV’s.

    Pete ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. A beautiful red Tesla with only 1200 miles sold on EBay yesterday for $80100. I was tempted to bid for about 5 seconds and then came to my senses.
    I think the roadster has too much range. I would prefer a lighter battery pack. Maybe I should buy an Elise and do my own conversion.

    The model S is going to be very tempting.


  20. Jack, I agree that the Tesla Model S[tarship] could cause a great reaction. All E2WVs, however, are not created equal: many e-scooter/e-motorcycles can carry a passenger and or tote groceries/pizzas. A 400lb scooter is not so easy to steal. On the handful of inclement weather days which discourage/prevent E2WV use, take the car, call a taxi, use public transportation, or walk. Do the Dutch ride bicyles in the winter? Check out this elektro-Swallow[1]. I have a suggestion for some great EVTV episodes. Fly Dan F. over as your [minimum wage] paid intern. If he makes it through the grunt work stage for a week or two, give him access to your electronic bench and EE knowledge and let the world–and Dan–see how easy or difficult it is to build a revolutionary new controller or whatever.
    Andyj, I have on more than a half dozen occasions had my post post only to find it nowhere to be found when I returned to the blog. This problem has been remedied by my use of (dot), etc. as my posted posts now remain.


    It would be very interesting to learn EVTV viewers’ Myers Briggs personality test showings.

  21. Perin:
    Please don’t suggest something which could cause what all of Jack’s bad habits, like having someone cut a live cable while he’s holding it or setting batteries on fire haven’t been able to do. He’s a resource that MUST be protected. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Another great program. Thank you.


  22. not sure if you were joking Perin but I was of course never suggesting that I’d go to Missouri to work. I have the equipment I need here. and I sure wont be doing any ‘grunt work’.
    broom pushers are not in a position to design the electronics I am suggesting.

  23. Dan,

    I started in the print business pushing a broom then worked slowly up over the years to Journey Man PressMan. Yes Dan, I am afraid sometimes you DO need to push a broom first. NO GRUNT WORK. What a joke. No one starts out a MASTER. It is all grunt work. How do you think a car is built? How do you think a house is built. Do you think it together? Hardly. You design it completely then go BUILD THE THING. If it does not work you change your design and TRY AGAIN.

    I actually think he was serious about the suggestion but after your remark I see that what I was going to write was completely right. I won’t work because it involves WORK.

  24. Shows Dan knows nothing of real working environments.

    There is a peculiarly satisfying feeling when you have repaired the fuselage on that supersonic fighter. It’s not the fact you can stand back and admire the work. It only feels complete when you and your mate are working together on the final clean down, sweeping and hoovering up the jet and the hangar floor.

    That is the time your boss (and the customer) shows their greatest appreciation of your efforts. It is also the time they gain the greatest respect for your work ethic.

    Believe me, I’ve known bosses up to middle management have chipped in helping with a yard brush. Who am I to deny them some job satisfaction shared respect and comradery?

    Yes, I am a full mechanical production engineer with 35 years varied aerospace experience, unix, SAP etc. My worst days on “clean” jobs was in the office. People, computers and paperwork carry no job satisfaction.

    It’s the little people in the gutter who only look up to the sky and never down.

    Dan, I see you make a bad team player.

  25. Our mindless pettiness? I went back to school and now work with doctors putting people back together. I am the eyes of the operation. I have skill I use and go to work and get paid for my work. Pushing the broom was in the beginning. I did it more than once so to speak. Flippin burgers, washin dishes, pushing brooms, salvaging scrap but I never sat around crying about no work. I do what I need.

    To bad the world is so full of folks so full of themselves. Unwilling to work. Piss poor work ethics. Yes a janitor can have job satisfaction. They at least work. It’s a start. But noooooooooo it is sooooo below you to do such petty work you’d rather not work at all no matter what it is and sit here bitching and complaining that someone who earned their money won’t GIVE you any because YOU are so brilliant.

  26. Don’t know about you Dan but I have letters after my name.

    We can quote Einstein..
    “A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.”
    “Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.”
    “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.”
    “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”
    “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.”
    “In order to form an immaculate member of a flock of sheep one must, above all, be a sheep.”

    My brother in law is CEO of a very successful engineering company. He left his old place of work as a turner because there was somebody employed to clean the machines, sweep the floor, bring the work and tea. He was driven stir crazy doing one job. My Dad was area manager of a huge haulage company. When David and myself were setting up his business, Dad who was happily retired, dusted himself down, got some togs on done the books, taxes, wages, buying, phone trading and you guessed it. When he had time straight on the shop floor and swept up. I was in the offices at my place of work at that time. I went to Dave’s, hand sharpened his drills (up to 3.5″dia) and worked the Asquith and PCD drills if he wanted me. It made me feel good.

    Dan, you are unemployed. If your potential employer asks a question on your work ethic, you will stay unemployed. You never hear of Aldi employee’s saying “Oh no! I only fill shelves or only do the till”.

  27. “I guess Einstein was a fool for not realizing that only janitors get job satisfaction. and only janitors are good team players.”

    Einstein might be a perfect example. When he graduated he took plenty of bad jobs because nobody thought he could do anything for them in the world of physics. He seemed mad (sound familiar). He eventually landed a job at the patent office where he then met friends who worked with him on Physics outside of work. The outside work proved to the “establishment” that he was capable of doing things, so he finally landed a teaching job in physics.

    You might be the next Einstein for all we know, but you need to prove it by doing something before we believe you. You can’t just talk your way into the respect and admiration of others.

  28. I’d like to see a AC-50 controller that has 144V. Make it for peanuts sell it for $2500. First to do it should make a killing …

    On a more serious note there is a UK Sinopoly seller on diyelectriccar, I’ve asked him to contact Jack with a price list and availability to US

    Calb 180ah 5.6 kg, 3.6 L, Peak 2600 W (6C @ 25% sag)
    Sinopoly 200ah 5.6 kg, 3.4 L, Peak ? W

    If you count them at 210 ah (@1C) thats 120 Wh/kg

  29. Wow, this is Jack’s blog but it is starting to sound like Dan’s blog. Jack talks about EVs. Dan talks about why he can’t. I can’t help can’t — and the good people that are doing are far more interesting.

  30. Mark:

    Unfortunately I not only make up words but use the wrong ones all the time. I was referring to the ability of a very tiny crystalline
    seed to “flash” a supersaturated solution kind of on contact, crystallizing the entire solution. Not precisely to butterflies.

    Jack Rickard

  31. John:

    I have a few of the cells. I examined Sebs Porsche 911 quite closely. He favors these cells. I guess I don’t -but on almost purely mechanical construction issues. Cylindrical cells also pose some volumetric issues anyway. A lot of wasted space between cylinders. The prismatics are basically stacked sheets without all that lost space.


  32. Drgrieve:

    Curtis is making a 145 volt controller for the AC=-50. It’s been delayed a bit but is coming. Bad news is its back to 550 Amps.

    I have corresponded with the new Sinopoly dealer in the UK. He admitted under the lights that he had not actually RECEIVED any of these cells yet. Sinopoly has made quite a bit of noise, but I’m STILL LOOKING for anyone that has actually received a cell from them.

    Meanwhile, they offered to make US a dealer. There’s something these guys don’t quit get about U.S. marketing and publications and so forth.

    MEANWHILE Thundersky now does not respond insisting all queries should go to Balqon. We can’t even get Balqon to return a phone call and technically they are an advertiser. Same problem. I can’t find ANYONE who has successfully ordered and received cells from these guys.

    Jack Rickard

  33. Hello Jack !

    I know I sent you a link to the swedish EV forum about a guy in sweden already taking delivery of the new Sinopoly black 200ah cells.
    Somehow you also managed somehow send that mail to Sinopolys sales rep who contacted me straight away looking for more customers.

    Here is the Link
    The picture is when the cells has arrived to stockholm. That was in october.

    I know you don’t want to order from China directly. But to say that no one has gotten any cells from Sinopoly is a bit harsh. If you have problem reading the link I sent you try the google translate or let me know and I’ll translate for you.
    I hope you liked the Nord-Lock tour.
    I had a blast when Chris was here, I’m going to plan for next EVCCON.


  34. Per:

    Your segments I think were very good. Let me understand this, YOU received some Sinopoly cells, or you are providing me a link to someone in Sweden who purports to have received some Sinopoly cells? That I can’t read….

    Similarly I was told this UK distributor HAD them by another party. When I contacted him, HE had not actually received any, but was looking to receive soon.

    Jack Rickard

  35. Jack:

    I have not received them personally.
    BUT I know this guy who received them.
    He is a fellow EV:er that I have close contact with. I can see if I can get you in touch with the distributor that he used.

    The cells that he bought is probably gonna end up in a Clio like mine.

    To bad the US import scene is really fu regarding the large prismatics…..


  36. Dan, on the other side of the GOP there is Ron Paul.

    John, I don’t understand. These things are double the price of say, Sinopoly’s and at 24AH per kilo and energy density of way below 100wh/kg. Are they worth the effort of buying, assembling and fitting them?

  37. Jack, you’ve talked about this controller before
    and it’s used in the new varley super car from australia. it’s still not cheap but it has good power and high enough voltage that it might work with an inexpensive 220V 3 phase AC induction motor so as to get experience with that angle.
    as an experiment it might even work with a single chain of A123 cells coupled like I proposed if the car is light. say 420V 20Ah ish that’s around 8kWh. maybe only50-60km range but that gets you around and it would be an angry little thing (as in quicker than a tesla roadster). and very cheap once a cheaper AC controller comes around.
    sure there are DCDC and charger issues to be solved.

  38. Every time Dan opens his mouth. :((

    “a single chain of A123 cells”. Seeing the lowest cell could be as low as 16.5AH, subtract 20% off your figure.

    A cheap and lightweight industrial AC motor? That is an oxymoron.

    A $6K CANBUS controller

    So you propose a 20mile range car with needlessly huge technical (DC-DC, CANBUS) hurdles and costing at least 1.5x of a new car from a showroom.

    Very good Dan. Knock yourself out. Be the first.

  39. AndyJ – yes that is my question.

    The bit that is interesting for the HP cells is the max C rating which (if it is accurate, which is always a big “if”) looks like it would allow one to do a shorter-range lower cost conversion. Also (with no BMS) assembling a pack has to be easier than using pouch cells.

    I also take Jacks point about packing density of cylinders; but in some situations it allows you to shape a pack to fill a space – if you have a triangular hole, you can build a triangular battery box

    It may be an evolutionary gum tree but I thought it might be one worth climbing to take a look

  40. Fairy nuff John, I did consider them myself, once.

    Seems Sinopoly has upped the absolute minimum price of their cells $0.10/AH to $1.2/AH.

    Got news! Russia Today on TV has just announced Thundersky is going to make its batteries in Russia with a company called “Neo Tec”. The cells in view looked identical to those 600AH 2.8V Li-S cells you thought would be great for the Escalade.

  41. Jack has stated in voice twice that his lowest cell was 16.5AH and none were up to 20AH. It is also in writing. Do you not read and learn?

    If you want exactly the same cells used in the GM car then I suggest you buy them from GM.

  42. Let me add, those batteries that are fitted in the GM car are paralleled 3.2V units. Machined assembled to give the same AH on spec. This is accomplished by mixing the good cells with bad.

    Your theoretical series connected pack does not do this. If you have an errant cell of 10AH that is what you are stuck with. A 10AH pack, regardless of voltage. Then your range will be a pitiful 15 miles.

  43. Thanks for that Rachael. Apologies.
    I never followed up to look for the site itself. The LT-LYP 300 was the cell I saw on TV that seems to be the same case as their previously proposed 600AH Li-sulpur cell.

  44. I gather this “Hey Baby, Is That a Prius Youโ€™re Driving?” http://www.freakonomics(DOT)com/2011/07/07/hey-baby-is-that-a-prius-you%E2%80%99re-driving-full-transcript/
    is the article Brian was referencing. Conspicuous conservation as the driving reason for Toyota Prius popularity is ridiculousness cubed. Toyota rules the hybrid market for obvious reasons, two being Toyota is one of the two largest auto makers and Toyota has the reputation of having exceptionally high quality products. “In fact, thereโ€™s a number of cited cases where people will put solar paneling on a shadier side of their house because itโ€™s the street side, so people will be able to see it.” What’s the number? Two? A number of persons have used Petroleum Jelly as a food stuff, too, but just as the vast majority don’t put Vaseline on breakfast toast, 99%+ of solar panel owners do not put up multi-thousand dollar installations for best the Joneses greenie points.

  45. Perin du Bulu:

    And some DO. Rather the point. Where do YOU get the 99% number? What if it is 49% instead of 99%?

    That ANYONE would put the solar panels on the front of their house so they could be seen as green from the curb IS ridiculous, but also QUITE believable.

    That anyone would put a blow up doll in their car so they could ride in the carpool lane is also ridiculous, but they do it.

    California is not like back here in the States Mr. Bulu. There are a lot of very odd things done there….


  46. Why demand more of my ‘paper’ than the Sextons’ paper? The PV citations: let’s see them. Simply put, I don’t believe there are more than a half dozen fools in the world with such a surfeit of riches and an absence of brain cells allowing $40K to be cavalierly frittered away on a conspicuous conservation statement. I think it’s interesting to note 14,587 Toyota Camry hybrid vs 7336 Honda Civic hybrid 2010 sales numbers given that the Toyota Camry hybrid looks like the regular Camry. Since its introduction in 2006, the Camry hybrid has outsold the Honda Civic hybrid. The truer metaanalysis is more likely that Toyota got the running start in hybrid sales and early publicity/positive reputation and this built upon Toyota’s stellar track record–so competitors have been playing catch-up ever since. This doesn’t have the punch of a sensational internet rumor passed along without being verfied through SNOPES; Santa doesn’t deliver presents with the assist of flying reindeer, either.



    2008 World Rankings:
    Toyota 9,237,780
    Honda 3,912,700

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