TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT

Lithium Batteries are inherently humbling. The energy storage component of our electric vehicles is THE central issue to successful builds, so it comes as no surprise that we get a lot of questions about batteries. And every time I try to answer one, I think to myself “I hope that is more or less correct.”

You see, I’m not exactly sure. And it may well be that I don’t know.

This is a bit hard to admit in a world so replete with so very many online battery experts who are so absolutely certain regarding their beliefs regarding the cells, connections, battery management systems and so forth. I often ask myself “how did they get SO smart, while I struggle along trying to understand these cells.”

There are two complicating factors. First, nobody, and by that I mean no humanoids currently in context on terra firma, actually KNOWS how these cells work. There are some hypothesis that are working along pretty well. And some theories that are more of the “working” version. But the people who INVENTED them don’t really know precisely what is going on inside the battery. It’s kind of alchemy. If we use THIS material here, and THIS material here, and add this magic lotion in the middle, we can measure THIS. Which is a good thing.

Along the way, we can actually IMPROVE the battery without really knowing much about it. If we add THIS magic sauce to the cathode, it does nothing. But if we add THIS OTHER magic sauce, it improves things. If we use THIS magic lotion electrolyte, we get THIS and if we use this OTHER magic lotion electrolyte, we get THAT.

And there are basically four things they seek to improve:

1. Energy density – how much total power can be stored in a given volume (volumetric density) or weight (gravimetric density).
2. Power density – how much instantaneous current (power) can this battery deliver into a load.
3. Cycle life – how many times can we discharge and recharge this cell.
4. Safety – how soon before it burns our car and house to the ground.

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We have some measurable indications of things like the formation of the Solid Electrolyte Interphase (SEI) layer on the anode. We can take a used cell apart and actually see it. How it forms is a bit of a mystery. What it does is a matter of controversy. It’s an advantage in one sense, and a huge disadvantage in another.

The second complicating factor is that a thing can be VERY true about these cells, and that can matter a great deal, somewhat, or not at all. And this is all about context. Compared to what? And for practical purposes, does it matter?

For example, do Lithium ionic cells self discharge.

Lead acid cells readily self discharge. An internal shuttle mechanism causes the battery to discharge with both terminals connected to nothing. No load whatsoever. The internal discharge rate is a function of the equivalent series resistance (ESR) exhibited by the cell. And so each cell in a lead acid battery self discharges at a different rate. This is what leads us to the concept of cell equalization and the necessity for having it. This is so ingrained in the battery “expert” community that they simply cannot mentally grasp a battery world where it is not so.

With regards to lithium cells, do THEY self discharge. The answer is I don’t know. But if they do I don’t care. Why? Well, in the first place, there is no similar internal shuttle mechanism to explain it THAT WE KNOW OF. Second, in this week’s episode, the measurements IF we accept the values provided by the manufacturer, and IF we assume that both their equipment and our equipment are identically calibrated, which is a near enough sure bet NOT, then it would appear they do self discharge. About 6 millivolts over a 31 month period or 0.19 millivolts (0.00019 volts) per YEAR.

In BRAND NEW fully charged lead acid cells you can easily see 2 volts PER MONTH in truly excellent cells and I’ve owned batteries that fully discharged to zero in 45 days.

In that context, if you get the question “do Lithium ion cells self discharge” what is the correct answer? As a practical matter it is absurd. No, they do not self discharge. As a technical matter, PERHAPS they do. But we are talking about 0.19 millivolts per year. What action would be effective to counteract this? Why would we want to? It just isn’t a factor.

Examine the three specification sheets on this page. Note that NONE of them list a self discharge rate. I can tell you that two years ago ALL of them DID. They listed it as “less than 3% per month”. Do you know how they derived that data? I don’t. But I made mirth of the fact that Chinese battery suppliers were trying to comply with American battery buyers demand that they indicate the self discharge rate on their spec sheets and so in a spirit of accommodation, they did. They copied the best self discharge rate they could find on existing battery specs which were of course lead cells. And sported it proudly on their spec sheet.

Of course it IS “less than” 3% per month and so it was absolutely, demonstrably, and empirically true. I mentioned this a couple of times in our videos and magically the self discharge spec disappeared from almost all Chinese lithium battery specifications. It would be heroically immodest of me, and astounding to you, to learn how much the information coming from Chinese manufacturers about their batteries has changed in the last four years, and from whence it came.

Which rather increases the pressure to “be right” on our battery information. But given that nobody really knows, and indeed it may not matter, that’s kind of hard to do. And I question it constantly.

This past week I prayed to the battery gods and did my penance – standing for hours and hours in the battery lab, carefully measuring and remeasuring. And it is humbling to admit at the end of it that I don’t know.

The topic that comes up is Calendar fade. Do the cells actually lose capacity over time. It is a given that they do. I’ve long maintained that they do not. We’ve pulled up cells from a 2008 Thundersky purchase every six months for four years, noting that the open circuit voltage (OCV) is identical each time.

But that’s not really a capacity test. Voltage does INDEED indicate state of charge. But it does not indicate capacity.

And that brings us to the technology merry go round. I had an e-mail from a viewer very happy with his original Ford Ranger factory electric truck. But he was down to about 30 mile range on the truck and wanted to upgrade to lithium batteries from the long suffering Nickle Metal Hydride cells that had been in the vehicle. He didn’t know whether to spring for obsolete SE100AHA cells or wait 18 months for obsolete CA100FI cells. He had already determined the merry go round time cycle, and just wanted to be on the ass end of it so the cells would be the least expensive.

The answer is you get on when you need to. There will always be two generation old cells available, the last generation still available, a good generation just coming out and the really GREAT battery is of course on the horizon. This will not cease in lithium batteries during my remaining life expectancy.

We have been having the conversation with CALB about how to dispose of a quantity of remaining SE cells while introducing some vastly superior new CAM series cells.
Your unceasing demonstration of thrift to the point of beggary, most recently demonstrated powerfully by the shocking flight of Better Place battery packs off my concrete floor, persuades me we could probably dispose of these somewhat gracefully IF the price was right.

And so began the strangest negotiation I’ve ever heard of. Between two honest men, who are so rare in today’s world of commerce that they almost never encounter each other so this doesn’t come up very much.

The one seeks the HIGHEST price he can get for the cells, but feels obligated to disclose that these batteries are really no good at all for any purpose. The other, seeking the LOWEST possible price to purchase, but reassuring the seller that there is nothing wrong with the cells at all and they are as good as the day they were manufactured. How to resolve this at all? It is actually too bizarre to contemplate.

But we agreed to test the cells carefully and let the hammer fall where it fell. As it turns out, and predictably enough, somewhere in between.

We tested the cells in the blind. And then we obtained the factory measurements on the SAME cells by serial number. The results were surprising to me. I have no difficulty admitting I was wrong. They are NOT as good as the day they left the factory. But they are good enough I don’t think it matters at all. And pretty much I mean AT ALL.

We charged and discharged the three cells several times and at several different rates. One of the rates was C/3 which is why the testing was so boringly gruesome. That means a full 3 hours to charge, and 3 hours to discharge. In the end, the WORST case cell was measured at a discharge capacity of 103.298 Ampere hours. Two others were only slightly better up to about 105 amphours.

The factory data indicated the shipping voltage and the measured capacity at 111 amp hours. And data from the rest of the cells indicate a more common 103-105 Ampere hour initial capacity.

And so it would appear that calendar fade is real with these cells loosing just under 7% of their original capacity over 31 months or about 0.22% per month and a little over 2% per year.

The proviso is that the test site, the test equipment, and most likely the test procedure were all different. This COULD cause the apparent calendar fade itself. But my best sense is that those variables would account for 1%, not 6.75% difference. I’ve been fondling these kind of cells a long time. I don’t think there’s a 6% error in here.

Typing myself smart, and not indicated in the episode, is that my sense is also that this type of calendar fade is nonlinear. That is, it doesn’t really fade at 0.22% per month, but more likely 3% the first month, and 1% the second year, and 0.5% every year after that. But that is a guess, no data supporting it at this point.

In any event, I would posit it doesn’t much matter. The 103 Ah cells are probably going to come in at 96-97 AH. The 103Ah measured in the test is 3% ABOVE the advertised spec. And so as a value proposition, I still claim there is no such thing as calendar fade and these cells are perfectly good for EV applications.

Indeed, our Escalade, Mini Cooper, Speedster, and Spyder all run on cells of this chemistry today, and indeed cells that are OLDER by calendar than these cells are, which were manufactured on September 21, 2011.

We have also arrived at a price point that is much higher than I would have liked, and much lower than he would have liked. It remains to be seen whether or not you like it. But for a limited time, until the quantity runs out, we are making them available at $0.95 cents per ampere hour or $95 per cell, however you like to look at it. Your sense of urgency is advised by your sense of the lust of your peers for the cells AT that price.

A 36 cell pack for an HPEVS AC50 system then would run $3420. It would be a 12kWh pack which is not going to get you very far – perhaps 48 miles in most small vehicles where the AC50 would be appropriate. But that is further than you would go with 750 lbs of lead acid cells at $2500 which would likely last 2 years. Better, it would weigh 252 lbs. You could of course run two parallel strings of these for 90+ miles and 504 lbs of batteries.

Are they as good as the CA series. Not. That’s next generation. And indeed, the CA series are simply not what the new CAM series is going to be which we should have in hand in early May – at a much higher price than either the CA or SE series. You still get what you pay for in lithium batteries. And where you belong on the lithium ionic battery technology merry go round is entirely up to you. I see some magic boat builds in my future using very physically small CAM cells with AC drive systems at 330volts or more. Speedster lite would undoubtedly have to use those as well.

The VW DOKA pickup will get a Better Place pack. Not actually my choice at all in chemistry, but the mechanics and packaging of these cells have grown on me immeasurably. We don’t need great range or life with the DOKA. It is destined to be a local delivery and errand vehicle for us. And those modules should slide right into the treasure chest with very little fabrication. Some slides. Maybe some boxes. Maybe no boxes.

I am including some brand new fresh ink Specification sheets for the new CAM72F and CAM80F cells we will be carrying, and a sheet on the SE100AHA cells as well for your consideration.

CAM72FI

CAM80FI

SpecificationSE100AHA

We also had an occurrence that would be comical but it caused such an inundation from our viewers noting that there were Nissan Leaf battery packs – brand new ones – available from a Nissan Leaf parts warehouse online at $4100 and indeed one set for less than $2000. I found it curious of our position in that out of about 12 of these e-mail messages, not a SINGLE ONE had actually ordered and received a pack, they just wanted us to know about it. For what? Well of course they wanted US to once again determine whether this was unobtainium, a scam, or whatever before they actually entered an order. I don’t know whether to be offended by this or flattered. But in any event, we did get online and ordered an entire battery pack and they did indeed charge our credit card the $4300 indicated with shipping.

nissan

My first inkling that things were off was when I received a tracking number and FEDEX listed the shipment at 143 pounds. That would be great news if a full Nissan Leaf battery pack WAS 143 pounds and I would put it in the same category as a full Nissan Leaf battery pack being available at $4100.

What we did receive was even MORE surprising. In a powerfully striking demonstration of corporate ineptitude, Peoria Nissan of Phoenix, claiming to be the largest Nissan Leaf dealership in the world, sent us a Nissan Leaf traction motor. Indeed these DO appear to be available brand new at about the same price – $4100.

As to the batteries, when we telephoned the online sales manager at Peoria Nissan, he told us he wasn’t quite sure what happened. But they had no Leaf batteries in stock and probably never would. Indeed he relates that they had a customer with an ailing pack who brought the car in. Nissan sent in a team of engineers and technicians and actually demanded that all Peoria Nissan personel vacate the room before they would remove the pack and open it. They were not even allowed to SEE inside the pack. So he said it was unlikely they would ever be able to sell modules or packs. He didnt really know why or how it got up on the website other than they were putting the entire catalog up there and would have to work these things out over time.

nissanmotor

In any event, they agreed to provide a will call tag to pickup the motor and issue a refund. That was last Thursday. Of course they have done neither as of MOnday morning.

Ironically, ultimately I see a day, after the cross-eyed myopic clench of proprietary paranoia releases its grip, when you will of course be able to order any part for any electric car online and from the authorized dealers. But it may be awhile. Meantime, there are plenty of wrecked leaf’s available online for bottom feeders and dumpster divers to paw through for parts – yes even batteries. We may bid on a few ourselves. Given what I know of AC motors, it would be unlikely I would spring for a new Nissan motor in favor of one out of a wreck with 2500 miles on it.

In fact I think this will be a cornucopia of future parts. It would be unlikely to have a car with a front end collision that did not have some serious motor damage, at least to some of the ancilliary parts. It would be also exceedingly unlikely to get a Nissan Leaf in ANY kind of collision not involving fire or flood that DID put as much as a scratch on the electric motor. I just can’t imagine what you’d have to do to damage one beyond fire or flood. Similarly the inverter, the charger, and the DC-DC converter.

I have had another epiphany you might find interesting. I’ve had two people from Cape Girardeau who have moved to other cities in the U.S. Both report that on their first conversation with anyone in the new town, when they advised them they were from Cape Girardeau the locals responded – “oh yes. That’s where Jack Rickard is from.” Flattering in that that used to be Rush Limbaugh’s position.

But I couple it with the startling realization that after 3 months, we have but 86 custom electric vehicles listed in the database. Now its true that it is a bit of a gruesome process, and no I haven’t myself gotten around to entering the THING or the Escalade or the MiniCooper. So there is some latency. But it would appear from these two bits of information that we have an almost global and universal dispersal footprint, into a community so small that when you let the air out of the electric bicycles, motorcyles, lawn mowers, and the odd divan, the community of people who have actually successfully built a custom lithium ion powered car is very very small – indeed select. You guys are not a minority. You are a total outlier that statistically does not exist.

As this May marks five years that I have devoted nearly every waking moment to doing a weekly video for such a small group why am I so happy?

It kind of reminds me of the story of the guy giving a seminar on marital relationships to ask everyone in the audience who had had sex with their spouse to stand. He then asked those who had sex more than three times a day to sit down. A few couples sat down promptly and of course began eyeing each other. He then asked those who had sex at least once per day to sit down. A few more couples did.

He then asked those couples who had sex once per week or more to sit down. The vast majority of those standing took the dive on that one. He then followed with those who had sex at least once every two weeks to sit down and most of those standing sat down. He then asked for those who had sex once per month or more frequently to sit down and almost all the rest sat down.

He then asked for those who had sex at least once every six months to sit down. This left one couple still standing and the husband was waving his hands wildly and grinning. How often? the presenter asked. “Once per year” the guy shouted out exhuberantly.

“Well you certainly seem happy about it for some reason. Why are you so excited to be here having sex but once per year?”

“Well,” the guy looked down shyly. “You see TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT!”

I spend several hours each morning dealing with 150 e-mails daily. We have numerous viewers claiming to have watched every single episode. And we are now the largest purveyor of EV components in the world. It LOOKS from our webstat analysis tools as if we have between 22,000 and 25,000 viewers worldwide who essentially download the video at least twice per month. And I regularly hear from viewers I know have excellent results such as Dale Friedhoff in St. Louis and Ed Pezant in Louisianna that report it is one of the most satisfying projects or things they have every done. And have essentially become local celebrities because they did it.

Now how is this going to turn out? What do you imagine it would look like to ME if this thing actually caught on and a couple of HUNDRED people worldwide started building these cars, instead of just 86? Or dare we imagine? 1000? I would have to have 10 people answering e-mail for me and Amazon’s bandwidth would not likely be able to handle all the video downloads.

And as better drive train components become available less expensively, and most notably batteries, maybe….just maybe…. TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT!

On the other hand, one camel sneeze and the world goes to shit in front of us, with a mad scramble for electric cars…. that would actually be unpleasant.

Jack Rickard

52 thoughts on “TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT”

  1. Could the mechanism for “Calendar fade” be evaporation of the electrolytes? More heat leads to more evaporation. That might explain the accelerated deterioration of the Nissan cells in Arizona cars that bake in the sun on a repeated basis.

    1. John:

      The accepted explanation is side reactions of the electrolyte forming a thickening SEI layer and a loss of cyclable lithium in hte electrolyte.

      None of them evaporate at all. Barring a venting event, all gases stay in the sealed cell.

      Jack Rickard

  2. Jack,

    How many times did you do the capacity test on the old cells. I saw some (weak) evidence that the loss in range due to age might not be permanent. It may regain some of it after a few charge cycles…

    This was something I noticed on and old Li batteries for power tools. I found an old battery I had lost. It definitely had lower capacity the first couple of times I charged it, but after a few charges, it seemed to last about as long as a new battery…

    Of course this was not a true instrumented test and I have no idea what the charger was ding to the cell in question…

    1. I rebuilt two 18 volt NiCad drill packs with cheap cells from an AliBaba source. They had little capacity the first few cycles but now deliver better than the originals. The Ah rating was higher and I was dubious about this until they ripened under my abuse.

      1. It is getting more curious. There might be selfdischarge or selfdischarge mimicked by loss of capacity. It could even be waxing and waning of both capacity and charge. 32 month is not the same month of the year and I am afraid Jack did not have an eye on the thermometer, did you Jack?

        It could well be another week in a car the cells look like fresh from the factory again. I remember from our i-MiEV 2 years after building the car the datasheat told us the battery was better than when they put it in for the first time.

        Stan, I can confirm what you have seen with the NiCads. I built a charger implementing assymetric AC. Take a diode and solder 10 kiloohms parallel and 1 kiloohm in series. That gives you a discharge with every cycle of 60 Hz. I could “recharge” disposable batteries but they would leak. I could refresh lead acid. I could improve NiCad but very soon there would grow stalagmites and stalagtites stabbing the diaphragma and shorting the cell. I could even fuse the shorts with a “big” capacitor but then the cells would start leaking again.

        Jack dont giveup your belief in Lithium Batteries cannot selfdischarge except when connected to a BMS. A car sitting for 32 month develops other problems than lost charge and you dont want to build a spaceship in the first place, do you?

        Those batteries could actually store energy for some 10 years. With disposable batteries that would not work.

        1. Michael Harris

          When I tested the 1st module (2S2P) from Better Place pack, it only discharged ~48AH. I was a bit disappointed. However, I’ve now cycled that pack about 4 (or 5?) times, and the last reading gave about 55AH. I had heard about this “effect” , but had forgotten about it until this happened. Needless to say, I am much heartened by seeing them output 55AH.

          Mike

          ps- Our EV club has a PL6 I was able to borrow for testing. I’ll post the discharge curves in the BP forum later.

  3. Jack, About the new CAM cells. Going strictly from the datasheet the 2C continuous discharge is worse than the CA series as is the maximum charge rate of 1C. I do see an incremental improvement in wh/kg. The CA series go from 90 to 103 wh/kg while the CAM cells are 121 for the 72AH and 116 for the 80AH so better. If you compare the CA100 vs the CAM72 1.29 times better. The bigger change is in the density numbers. The CA series vary from 134 to 165 wh/li while the CAM72 is 265 wh/li and the CAM80 is 238 wh/li. If you again compare the CA100 to the CAM72 you see that the density is 1.68 times better. So you should see nearly a 30% range increase at the same weight or you can get a reduced weight for the same range. As for density, you can fit quite a lot more battery in the same space or get some of your precious cargo space back at the same range. I am very much looking forward to the bench tests. Maybe these will end up in my next build! I have a comparison spreadsheet
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AgBmASH7PKGodHJ5M2pDeXFYbFAyYzM2cnNqSDRaT1E&usp=drive_web&authkey=CJnMwJ0I&authkey=CJnMwJ0I#gid=0

    I have been adding to over the years. Some of you may find it interesting. Prices may not be current.

    Doug

    1. I have discussed this with them. They insist it is the same as teh CA series cells. They now claim CA series is 2C, not 3C. They DID list it at one time as 3C. The 10C/8C likewise seems graven in jello. I’ve always had problems getting consistent spec sheets out fo these guys and they are very conservative on what they will put to writing.

      But they are quite firm that they have the same characteristics as the CA series cells.

      Jack Rickard

  4. michel bertrand

    Thanx Doug, I thought that I was the only one who noticed that the continuous discharge rate of 2C was not as good as the CA series. I`m not sure ,but the cells that Jack tested were a cam25PI which is more of a power cell than the camFI series, and are capable of 6C continuous.
    I wonder if he plans on carrying those on board

  5. I want to get my Fiero on the data base but have been waiting to get a little more work done on it. The interior is still out of it and I have been waiting for better weather so I can clean it up before taking pictures. It would also be nice to have the Better Place Modules are in, so I bet that as the weather breaks, we will start seeing more builders posting their cars.

    1. Jack,

      I too, have an Electric Vehicle, but I have not entered it into your database. Why? Because my vehicle is not quite pretty enough for your site, yet. It is a 2000 Ford Escort that is reliably getting me back and forth to work, but its appearance needs to be improved. As soon as I get that sorted out, I’ll put it in your database.

      I’ll bet there are a bunch of people just like me, waiting to show you our cars.

    2. Yes I would guess that there are quite a few folk building at the moment who are not quite at the point of putting something on the database. Also it has the problem that it is the sort of important but non-urgent job that folk do “when they have time”

  6. Just watched the Good Friday show. Great work on the batteries. I’ve been messing with these cells for several years and I always learn something new when you do a paint drying session on batteries: this week brought home to me that my cycle life testing is actually measuring some unknown combination of calendar life and cycle life.

    And yes indeed, the curve of capacity versus number of cycles for the CALB 40s I’ve been testing wobbled their way across the 80%-of-ACTUAL-ORIGINAL-capacity mark at around 1700 cycles. The cells originally put out more than the spec 40 Ah. The trend line suggests that they will fall below 80%-of-NOMINAL-capacity (i.e. 32 Ah) at around 2500 cycles

  7. Thomas,
    Take heart, I too drive a rather homely looking 98 Ford Aspire. It has reliably done the 40 mile round trip to work every day since January and although not as sexy as a those seen on EVTV, I still get that “EV grin” driving it. Maybe one day it too will be nice enough to show on Jacks registry.

    1. If anyone has a running EV on lithium, I would urge them to put an entry on the registry unless it is going to paint tomorrow! You can always upgrade the photos, and change the text. Someone who is on the fence about the whole EV thing may see YOUR vehicle because they have the same vehicle and did a search about it. If it convinces one person to dive into the deep end of EV’s I’d say it is worth having it up on the registry in any shape or form (as long as it runs on lithium of course).

  8. Hey Jack, another good show. I generally watch your show from You Tube. I can watch it in parts and pick up where I left off and I don’t have to bother with downloading, streaming works good. Looks like you have at this point 960 You Tube views so you can add us to your count of viewers.

    I did want to mention something on you comments about Oklahoma. I do agree with you that the whole thing looked to be bought and paid for and they may have some of the best politicians money can buy. We have several like that here in Alabama also. You might be interested in a web site that is geared toward getting big money out of politics, http://www.wolf-pac.com. Both Republicans and Democrats and involved and it is not a partisan thing, it is a save our Democracy thing. Check it out, it may interest you. If it doesn’t interest you just forget I mentioned it. Also, if I had the choice of telling people I was from the same city as Jack Rickard or Rush Limbaugh it would be Jack Rickard hands down. I’ll keep my Rush opinion to myself.

    I know you probably hear it but I just wanted to say thanks for the show. I have learned more about electric cars and now boats than I would ever thought.possible. And please tell everyone else that helps put the show a big thanks also.

    David

    1. Yea – who is this Rush Limbaugh guy? Over this side of the pond we know Rickard, J and Noto B but surely no one would be cruel enough to call their baby “Rush”?

    2. Only because I see his name mentioned here. Limbough is something like Jacks GEVCU. Put it in your car but dont trust it. Cyborgs are peculiar because half human and half robot. Two brain operations to implant cochlear hearing aids did leave their collateral damage. Except that damage existed already before operation.

      Sorry in advance for all those people with hearing aids including my wife and me. I did not mean you. I only meant that guy who thinks legally killing people might be a good idea except for him of coarse.

      Jack I am curious for your video today and I hope I did not step on the wrong peoples feet.

      1. I don’t find any link between Rush Limbaugh and GEVCU Peter. In fact, while I have been dinking around with GEVCU software through the winter, it was mostly adding frills to the web site view and little features like brake lights during regen, cooling fan control, and precharge issues.

        The unit basically just works right out of the box to drive the DMOC645 and Siemens motor and it is very easy to tune your brakes and throttle to the exact feel you want in the car. The wiring issues are very easy to deal with as we supply a wiring harness. We’ve kind of failed to mention that it is available now and works well for the basics.

        We’re still kind of forward looking toward tablet/phone displays for it and maybe some other features – electric forward and reverse, charger control, etc. We’re also pursuing Rinehart and UQM functionality for it. So it is very mid-process for me personally. But if you want to run a SIemens DMOC645 pair, I guess I rather failed to mention that it’s been ready for prime time for several months.

        This takes the Siemens/DMOC645 from an almost impossible to use science project for EE types, to a device that is actually EASIER than most to wire and configure. Anybody can pretty much “drop in” a Siemens at this point.

        Jack Rickard

        1. Jack, sorry I did not want to insult the GEVCU either 🙂

          A hint from Mitsubishi, renaming the i-MiEV to EV gets enough space to put in 100 kilowatt hours good for 1000 kilometers.

          I have been meditating about replacing the original 16 kilowatt hours, Jehu style with 32 kilowatt hours. 32 times 5-5-5 results in 150 kilowatt hours and 1500 kilometers. So what Osamu Masuko says looks reasonable if not understatement. I dont know if there is something similar in english:

          http://www.heise.de/autos/artikel/Mitsubishi-Chef-prophezeit-Durchbruch-fuer-E-Autos-2172133.html

  9. Thought I’d share a perspective on battery advances.

    I was looking through some old books on Google, and it seems that in the early automotive days, battery manufacturers were fond of expressing the energy density of their batteries in terms of how high they could “lift their own weight” against gravity (Disregarding air resistance and conversion losses). Maybe because the values seemed so high compared to things like rubber-bands and steel springs.

    The Lead-acid batteries of the time seemed to be in the 2 to 5 mile range. The Edison Nickel-alkaline battery at 30.85 Wh/Kg claimed 7 miles.

    Plugging in the values from the CALB 180, I see they might “slip the surly bonds” to over 23 miles. I’ll be interested in the values for the new CAM cells.

    Still some way to go before we have a battery that can “lift itself” into Space. It will be interesting to see where that milestone intersects the adoption-curve timeline.

    BTW, will you be offering the 25AH CAM cells? I have something far less ambitious than a space-shot where they’d work.

    Regards

    1. John,
      Interesting. Got the old pencil out
      An 18650B Panasonic which is a claimed 3.7V nominal and 3350mAh (12.395 WH) for 48.5gm’s makes it fly to 307,802′ .. Over 58 miles. This is in space.

      Jehu had better put plenty of sealant around his windows.

  10. Jack,

    After noticing that EVTV had received one million hits, I went back to your original blog post, http://evtv.me/2009/05/new-blog/, where it all started. Are any of the original posters, Mark Farmer, Robert Green, Tom Alvary, and Will Brunner still around? It would be interesting to see if any of them have built an EV since then.

    Randy

    1. The early days of the online world was almost entirely driven by individuals, working nights on their computers in basements and attics and bedrooms across the land. They funded the telephone lines, the modems, the whole thing. At first a few dozen, and then a few hundred, and then a few thousand. And it kept growing inspite of every obstacle the government and large corporate vested interests could impose. It was an idea whose time had come, implemented by resourceful individuals who would not give up the dream. AT&T, Charter Communications, Cisco Systems, and Microsoft did NOT bring you the Internet. Neither did Yahoo or Google. It was a small band of misfits, who trailed ethernet cable across empty lots in San Francisco because they were paving it the next day.

      Today, there are a few hundred people who don’t care what GM did to the EV1. They’re busy converting their Miatas, bicycles, Volkswagens, and in one case a toilet, into electric powered transportation. Some of it is funny. Some of it is sad. And all of it makes me misty-eyed. They don’t even KNOW how important they really are.

      The advantage of being 54 and on Rodeo No. 2 is that I do. And I’m going to show you. These guys will change the world forever. They are my heroes. Someday they too will be forgotten, much as the Internet pioneers are in the blizzard of corparate nonsense talk you are inundated with. But it just won’t happen without them.

      Jack Rickard

      You caused me to reread it as well. The above the final closing thoughts. Still true today….

      Jack

      1. Jack,

        I hope you have not lost a long term viewer. Had to change my router and rename all stuff behind it. Next will be my ISP. Trading 1 MBit for 50 MBit. The big ones dont so our community does DIY it.

        Had my first NAVI ride today. Imagine a 10 by 7 inch tablet in an i-MiEV. Looks like an Airbus and feels like a Tesla.

        Sitting in front of the house I have Google Maps but on the road it is OSMand and downloaded maps. Relying on Glonas satellites mostly because we live so close to the Russians 🙂

        Cheers
        Peter and Karin

    1. I have seen it on Jehu’s u-tube. A damn fast Samba in deed. All the windows blown out.

      Enjoyed both videos.

      And a thank you to John Hardy. Probably saved my life maltraiting Lithium Iron Phospate. I want to replace 12V Lead Acid in our i-MiEV’s 12V system. Lithium Iron Phosphat seems to be the right choice and there seems to be little or no difference between 3.2V and 3.3V it only depends on when you read the meter.

      1. Many thanks Peter. I would defer to Jack and others here, but I think an LiFePO4 low voltage pack is probably OK provided the supply voltage is under the rested open circuit voltage of a fully charged cell i.e. 3.38 volts per cell. It is mistakenly float charging at the normal maximum charge voltage (3.65 volts per cell) for example which is the potential problem.

  11. Just watched the 25 April news show. I noted you were having problems with the flasher and LED lighting. Owners of the 2003 era Toyota RAV4-EV had similar problems. After replacing the lamps they would not flash or flash rapidly indicating a BO bulb. They went into the electronic flasher and mad a little mod by opening up a pin on the IC. This removed the bulb current detection and made it think the bulbs were good. The reference page where I saw this is http://evnut.com/rav_flasher.htm

    1. When working on motorcycles I found that BMW had different spec for the turn signal flasher that required it to work properly even if a bulb was burned out. Search ebay for:
      Universal Turn Signal Blinker Indicator Flasher Relay Fix LED Hyper Flash Signal.
      They cost $7 and might fix the problem.

    1. Jehu, they did not get it. Whenever I have seen a group of cars, your’s was always the first one.

      It is the same with our i-MiEV. Whenever there is a corso ours is always the first one and they are all honking and cheering behind us.

      Cheers
      Peter and Karin

  12. Jack,
    Recently you revealed several details about changes to you Escalade build that would be valuable information to your viewers that were doing similar builds of “fooling the PCM, ECU, or ECM” by means of a rotating reluctor wheel and the crankshaft positioning sensor.
    Originally you were using the 0 to 5 vdc signal off the GM throttle body and then through a amplified circuit to the Solitons, but now you just use the 0-5vdc of the accelerator pedal. Why did you make that change? Cruise control seems like a feature one would want to keep.
    The serpentine belt that rotates the reluctor wheel on the front of your Jim Husted dual 11″ was slipping causing you all sort of problems with your GM6L80E transmissions. Since you fixed the slipping problem you now can drive 80 m.p.h. on this very sophisticated can- bus computer switching solenoid activated transmission,
    So since the slipping problem has been remedied how is it shifting in normal operation?
    So you disabled the ABS. Why? on this fooled PCM, ECU, and ECM that communicates to the GM BCM, (body control module) that to my knowledge controls the 4 channel EBCM, (electronic brake control module}…stability control.
    I appreciate all that you do to further the cause of individuals building their own electric vehicles. Maybe you could enlighten us all with a follow-up video on more details of your Escalade build.
    Thank you,
    Mark Yormark

  13. The 818 is a very nice project but it is oversteering pretty quick. How is the balance?
    Possibly the chassis setting is to soft in front and to hard on the rear axle. Maybe the rear axel camber is to positive. Or is it just to heavy on the rear axel?
    Some adjustments and this baby is a stunner.

    1. The suspension appears to be coilovers and pretty much adjustable so I believe it can be easily jacked and balanced for whatever the choice of tire might be. This will definitely make a good handling EV street or RC and it will be damn hard to resist not buying.one.

      1. Stanley Cloyd

        I hope the video of the trade show helps the silent viewers get over themselves. They are silent because they are in higher positions with American industry. Hopefully they will realize being left behind IS a decision. The rectal-cranial inversion continues with American corporations that must realize 30% r.o.a. or they just shutter the plant and sell the equipment south of the border, every border. The history of the support engineers for the DMOC645 rings a bell with the attitude of many that they deserve a high income for life no-matter-what. The trouble is Congress gets away with it. For the unions, not so much. The automotive dealerships are getting theirs state by state, but slowly.

  14. Just seen Early May’s EVTV. Hoping Brian gets better.
    .
    That Tesla letter. What a goon!
    Part of it said Musk wanted the war in Afghanistan for the Lithium. You invaded in 2001 after the Taliban refused to allow the Caspian oil & gas pipelines through their land with the promise of a carpet of gold, else a carpet of bombs.
    Oil & gas security is the worlds biggest open secret. Those in the know are actually very worried. World supply is increasing and the regular suppliers are max’ed out. Not only control of the oil/gas nations and their money but the West also requires all transit routes be controlled. Syria, ‘ghan, Ukraine etc.
    .
    Mining in ‘ghan for Lithium is simply not happening. Uranium yellow cake is top of the list. The Earth has less than 50 years supply of that.
    .
    Listen to the accuser. Money on, he suffers from anal itching real bad. >:-))

  15. Jack; I can’t believe how quiet the Thing is! Even with the top down and everything! You won’t be able to fart in your own car…..

    1. Stanley Cloyd

      The double digit count down has begun. 99 days left until EVCCON 2014. A show special would blow it out the door. I’m changing out the air shocks the week before.

  16. I hope everything works out for you Brian. Hopefully it’s just a small speed bump. You seem to be having a run of bad luck at the moment. You never did explain what happened to your face. This EV thing is clearly highly dangerous! 🙂 Come back soon though.

    1. Jack Rickard

      Nick:

      Yes, he’s had a bad run. The face thing was removal of a very small basil cell carcinoma. The finger thing I don’t quite understand, but some sort of capilliary tumor under the finger nail. They had to surgically remove the nail to remove the knot. He thought he would be out a day but it’s been much more painful recovery than he had been led to believe.

      I’m assured none really serious. But annoying I’m sure.

      Jack Rickard

      1. Jarkko Santala

        Two things that amaze me – all the things that go wrong in our bodies and the fact that so many of us manage to stay alive so long regardless. Quick and as painless recovery as possible to Brain. We need you back to finish the Ghia and it’s LED lights!

      2. Cripes! It’s not as though you can remove a nail by soaking it in water 🙁 I’ve had a couple fall off after severe trauma and the thought of any finger damage still makes me squirm.

        The manager once mailed me one of those managerial puts-you-in-a-position-awkward-questions asking how I was getting on. So mailed him some close up photos with the dressing off. He threw up on the spot. Priceless.

        My heart deeply goes to Brian for his pain to subside.

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