DBM Energy, claims they have developed a battery breakthrough that allowed a converted Audi A2 to travel 375 miles without recharging while driving at 55 miles per hour on rolling and sometimes hilly terrain with the heat on in a vehicle that has full trunk space and room for 5 adults." />

Claiming Battery Breakthrough, Electric Audi Drives 375 Miles at 55 MPH Without Recharging

By · October 28, 2010

A converted electric Audi A2 completes a record run going 375 miles without recharging

Just a few days ago I was excited to be able to take the Nissan LEAF on a 116.1 mile round trip without any special adjustment to my driving habits—I basically just drove a bit slower. But what if that 116 miles could turn into 375 miles while driving at 55 miles per hour on rolling and sometimes hilly terrain with the heat on in a vehicle that has full trunk space and room for 5 adults? My 116.1 mile accomplishment would start to look rather paltry, wouldn't it?

A start-up German battery company, DBM Energy, claims that they have done just that in a converted Audi A2 during an overnight drive from Munich to Berlin (website is translated with Google translate) using their "KOLIBRI AlphaPolymer Technology" battery. DBM is says it's a world record, even though a Japanese team drove an electric car 623 miles without recharging earlier this year. The difference, however, is that the Japanese team drove a tiny Daihatsu Mira loaded to the gills with 74 kWh of batteries at a constant 25 mph around an oval track. DBM Energy claims that their converted Audi A2 has indistinguishable functionality from a conventional vehicle, including seating for 5 adults and a full trunk. DBM also claims that their KOLIBRI battery can be fully recharged in as little as 6 minutes using a "high-voltage direct-current source" (no information on how high a current, but some things are just technically unfeasible).

A converted electric Audi A2 completes a record run going 375 miles without recharging

A converted electric Audi A2 completes a record run going 375 miles without recharging.

As impressive as the achievement sounds, there is scant little information on what kind of battery it is exactly. How big was it? How much does it weigh? What's its capacity? I was able to find a picture showing the placement of the battery and the motor within the vehicle, and based on the schematic below, it does seem that it's not a gargantuan battery pack by any means. There's also another schematic below that shows the KOLIBRI battery weight as related to energy capacity when compared to existing lithium-ion and lead-acid battery chemistries—making it appear that DBM's KOLIBRI achieves about a 3 fold improvement over lithium-ion. If this is actually true, then it would represent an amazing breakthrough.

A converted electric Audi A2 completes a record run going 375 miles without recharging
A converted electric Audi A2 completes a record run going 375 miles without recharging

Schematics found on the DBM website showing the placement of the battery and motor in the converted A2 as well as how much lighter the KOLIBRI battery is compared to lithium ion and lead acid batteries of the same capacity.

When asked about the cost of the battery, Mirko Hanneman, the "chief brain" behind DBM and driver on the record run, said that when they get to volume production they will be cheaper than lithium-ion batteries and that a logistics company is already using the packs in its forklifts, providing 28 hour run times without recharging.

Although there is plenty to be skeptical about in this story, the record run did bring out some rather credible support. For instance, the vehicle was funded with support from the German Economy Ministry and German Utility, lekker Energie. At the finish line, Andreas Goerdeler of the German Economy Ministry. reportedly said, "This is a great success, we are in a fierce global competition and this proves that we (Germany) are technological leaders."

I've sent an email to the listed press contacts for DBM asking for lots more clarification and I'll update the post if I hear anything back.

Source: UPI

Comments

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

Definitely seems like a game changer if its real.
As I've only joined the site about 2 weeks ago
you guys have better BS detectors than I.

/Ed

· · 3 years ago

Sure it's interesting, but let's get the details before we start celebrating. My first thought was that it was probably a huge pack, 80kw or so, but if the drawing is correct, then it's nowhere near that big, in fact, it looks rather small compared to some of the other current planned EV's.

Dick Weir doesn't have anything to do with this company does he?

· · 3 years ago

Tom,

Ha! Good one on the Dick Weir reference! EEStor was truly a long lasting joke that I'm glad seems to have finally died off. I really hope these guys get back to me with some details... it just seems too good to be true, no?

· qualia (not verified) · 3 years ago

it's a lithium metal polymer battery with a inherently save design (crash, penetration, etc). it doesn't even need thermal management from -20 to 60°C. durability is 2500-5000 charging cycles, or up to 500'000km (!). weight is around 300kg with around 100kWh, and it's even cheaper than a comparable conventional Li-Ion battery pack. awesome.

· Benjamin Nead (not verified) · 3 years ago

This was the big electric car story on the internet yesterday and I probably read about 30 or so accounts. In one of these, I remember reading that the battery was rated at 115 kW capacity. I'll check around and confirm this.

The claims for recharging ran from 6 to 20 minutes, depending on who was telling the story (or those numbers could be for differing charge voltages.) Wouldn't one also assume that there is some sort of supercapacitor network included with the battery to aid in quick charging? This is what the Pininfarina/Bollare "Blue" has . . .
and they're also using a Lithium Metal Polymer battery, by the way
(155 mile range claimed for the "Blue.")

The EEStor guys are probably just saying "Yeah, we can do better. Just wait." . . . which wouldn't be a surprise. But I wonder what the Nissan Leaf developers are thinking about all of this.

· · 3 years ago

Like I said before, this all sounds wonderful, but let's not pop any champagne until we get the details. We have all read about revolutionary breakthroughs that proved to be hardly that.

· hsr0601 (not verified) · 3 years ago

@Tom Moloughney

German Economics Minister Rainer Bruederle, who subsidized the drive, said it showed electric cars are not utopian but really work.

· · 3 years ago

hsr0601: If you ever read any of my posts you would clearly know how I stand on this issue. Sure electric cars really work, I drive one every day! This battery isn't gong to change that at all, whether it works or not. It could potentially make them work better though.

· dexter bland (not verified) · 3 years ago

There is some earlier background information here (in German - google does OK translation)

http://www.handelsblatt.com/finanzen/kursprofil-aktien/_p=73,wp1_symbol=...

· hsr0601 (not verified) · 3 years ago

Two Defining Factors In My View :

1. It has a lithium-metal-polymer battery. DBM Energy, the company that built the battery and electric motors into the Audi A2, said the battery would function for 500,000 kilometers

2. The battery, based on what DBM Energy calls the KOLIBRI AlphaPolymer Technology, comes with 97 percent efficiency

· · 3 years ago

hsr, I think all Tom is trying to say is that electric cars have great functionality even without a breakthrough like this but that if this breakthrough is what they claim it would make them even more appealing to a broader range of people. I realize that the announcement by DBM is incredibly enticing and exciting, but I think we owe it to ourselves to remain skeptical until more information is made public... which is why I've reached out to them.

If it turns out that they actually have developed a breakthrough, there is always a period of time where the batteries have to be tested and perfected for an automotive application (crash tested, heat tested, durability tested, safety tested, etc.) before they can be implemented on a large scale. If it is true, it could be a couple of years before we even see this reaching the market in a meaningful way.

· dexter bland (not verified) · 3 years ago

The DBM CEO Hannemann was quoted as saying that they were ready for mass production now. If it is simply a matter of using a different electrolyte then that may be the case.

My understanding is that lithium metal polymer batteries have previously had to operate within a narrow temperature range (60-80C). The DBM design apparently removes this requirement, so I guess the battery sheds some weight from not needing any thermal control, insulated packaging etc. Another drawback was low power, so they have usually been used in conjunction with ultracapacitors, as with the Bollore car. Again it sounds like they have solved this problem, if the claims about battery charge times are to be believed.

But yes I agree its always best to wait and see, there is often a trade-off between energy density, power, cycle life, cost or some other parameter.

· · 3 years ago

I wonder if they had their car followed by journalists for conformation that the car didn't recharge on the way to Berlin. I haven't seen any video of the car on the Autobahn period.
I really hope they nailed it, but... We'll see.

· · 3 years ago

Oh, I so hope we can get away from hearing the 6-minute recharge time. We can hazard a guess at how many kWh are needed for that distances given reasonable assumptions (I'm going to guess ~75 kWh). And dumping that kind of energy in the span of six minutes just isn't something we should be discussing. If it can be charged (to at least 80%) in two hours, that would be earth-shaking news. Long range and short recharge time go hand in hand (or are mutually exclusive depending on how you look at it). If you have one, you really don't need the other. So the story here is range (which can be directly translated into capacity... and apparently energy density). After I've driven 350+ miles, I don't give a damn how long it takes to recharge the thing. I'm sleeping!

Color me skeptical as well... but hey, it already smells better than EEStor ever did! I mean except for that 6-minute recharge silliness.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

the prblem with this news is if they are real, they keep you salivating for years.

· Benjamin Nead (not verified) · 3 years ago

Yes, darelidd, the range is the big story here. Agreed. As with most, I could live with a slow charge at home - while I'm under the covers - about once every month. But I thought that the alleged 6-to-20 minute charge time was worth mentioning, since it was something volunteered by the battery manufacturer.

If this whole thing ends up being an off season April Fools joke, Audi and all others involved will have egg on their faces for years to come. But if its true, then quite a few people who were in line for 1st generation electrics (Leaf, iMiev, etc) will now want to wait a few more years until these Audis actually enter production. I just hope my '95 Saturn lasts that long!

· dexter bland (not verified) · 3 years ago

I have heard of short recharge times along these lines applying to many different types of battery. The limiting factor is usually the current (and voltage in USA) available to charge with - though conceivably you could provide this from a similar battery at the charging station.

I hope that early adopters of EVs will be able to upgrade their batteries as technology advances. There is no reason to discard the rest of the vehicle. I am guessing that electric motors, electronics and software may also improve on a fairly steep curve - but door handles, and windscreen wipers?

· Y Brandstetter MD (not verified) · 3 years ago

The manufacturers of this amazing development must provide two numbers in order to be believed
1. what is the energy density of the battery (the Fluence ZE will use a 100wH/kg density, 22 KwH in a 220 Kg pack
2. What is the price of stored Kwh. Again the standard ZE is approximately 500 USD/KwH
Not providing those numbers, the item can be considered a hoax.

· Cleantech Marketing (not verified) · 3 years ago

This is a really hot story in Germany. plz find more information on www.globalcleantech.com

· · 3 years ago

One of the comments here was that a battery with this capability would change early adopters' minds about buying now.

Not true. The Leaf's specifications fit well within my requirements NOW, reduce my emissions NOW, improve my driving experience NOW, etc.

If this battery technology proves true, it simply increases my comfort level in buying a BEV now, and improves the attractiveness of BEV's for a larger number of customers - getting them out of those dinosaur ICE's and the dinosaur fuel they pollute with.

· · 3 years ago

Bruce . . . Are you actually in the process of buying a Leaf . . . NOW? Great if you are. But many - myself included - aren't in an economic position to jump in and have to keep out ICE machines operating for at least a few more years.

The Leaf would work for me on a typical day-to-day basis, except about once a month when I make a single day 120+ mile trip away from town. Then, it would then become a seriously compromised vehicle for my needs. Altruistic concerns aside, it isn't a car I can ever give any consideration in owning, even if I had the funds right now to jump in.

One would assume, as product will be rolling out over these next couple of years on a 1st generation basis, that electric car manufacturers will be in a "range war" to gain customer interest. We now seem to be capped at around 100 miles for pure EVs. As milestones of 150 or 200 are reached, I predict significant large groups of people who are currently "on the fence" will be swayed.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

Bruce & Ben,
As an old EV nut for many years, having converted and driven two of them, I can hardly wait for my Nissan Leaf to be delivered. I just want one of my two cars to be OIL free! 100 miles per charge will work for me until the next step is possible.
JMHO

· · 3 years ago

>> We now seem to be capped at around 100 miles for pure EVs.

When finances are considered, I think 100 miles is the sweet spot today - and that's because there aren't hordes of people willing to pay the price for longer range that is so rarely used. But there is certainly no practical/physical cap of 100 miles. You know of the Tesla roadster, I assume.

· · 3 years ago

Ben and all,

Obviously, each person's circumstances and driving requirements are going to be different. Mine are easily met by the Leaf's current capabilities, and the few times a year where I drive about 1,000 miles round trip are easily obtainable - and cost effectively met, by renting.

I'm on the list for a December delivery, and after being able to actually take the Leaf for a short test drive, the experience is almost sublime when compared to any ICE. I look forward to the day when I don't have to hit the recycle button on the freeway to avoid noxious exhaust fumes, and same for stopping at the supermarket or shopping center and having to walk thru those same fumes and holding my breath.

· · 3 years ago

I live in Tucson, Arizona. As many of you know, Tucson and Phoenix are cities that are going to be receiving the Leaf and compatible charging stations from Ecotality as early as December.

I was getting a bit nervous, though, if any charging stations were designated to be installed along the 100 mile I-10 corridor between these two metro areas. Not having them there could quickly kill off the idea of investing in an EV for a lot of folks down here. Somewhat disturbingly, no press reports were confirming this one way or another . . . and I found myself writing more than a few emails to folks this past week who might be able to give me a solid answer.

I'm pleased to report that an Ecotality representative emailed me today with confirmation that such quick-charge stations will be on that well-traveled stretch of highway at intervals of around every 30 miles or so.

So, with this sort of infrastructure, the Leaf could serve my occasional out-of-town needs. In a few years, when the old Saturn finally gives up the ghost, a used Leaf or iMiev with one of those "old" 100 mile batteries may be an affordable way for me get into an EV.

But yes . . . bring on that long range electric Audi A2!

· dexter bland (not verified) · 3 years ago

Here's another background piece worth translatin:.

http://www.berlinonline.de/berliner-zeitung/archiv/.bin/dump.fcgi/2009/1...

The energy density is stated to be 250Wh/kg, and the claim is that the cost is half that of lithium ion (by weight, or by capacity?). The explanation for the improvement sounds along the lines of what I posted earlier. With lithium metal polymer batteries to date: "The cost of cooling and warming exaggerate weight and price up reduces the efficiency and the energy storage", "We succeeded with a different material combinations, the current flow is now stable between minus 40 and plus 100 degrees Celsius to ensure." The layers allow no liquid electrolyte, the heat generated at high power output is low. "This allows us to increase the efficiency of lithium-ions from 80 to over 97 percent and have the explosion without cooling to get a grip.This in turn reduces the weight, which would be possible in vehicles significantly longer ranges.

Is there a German speaker able to provide a better translation of this?

· · 3 years ago

I don't see what the fuss is about. For the millions of 2 car families like mine: one car will be electric and the other use gas or PHV. The Leaf will make a great addition to our Prius, and both will be commuter cars. On weekends, we plan to use the Leaf as much as possible; using the Prius only if the trip exceeds 90 miles. I just mean to say that, for 2 car families, 100 mile range really isn't an issue.

· · 3 years ago

I don't see what the fuss is about. For the millions of 2 car families like mine: one car will be electric and the other use gas or PHV. The Leaf will make a great addition to our Prius, and both will be commuter cars. On weekends, we plan to use the Leaf as much as possible; using the Prius only if the trip exceeds 90 miles. I just mean to say that, for 2 car families, 100 mile range really isn't an issue.

· · 3 years ago

GasSaver -

You're exactly right. There are those who feel the need for every car (or the one car in many cases) that they own to be able to accomplish EVERYTHING. If I can have 300 miles of range for less than the cost of 100 miles of range, I'm pretty much onboard too. ;)

· · 3 years ago

I suppose the big fuss, GasSaver, is that I can think of more than a couple of exceptional days in recent years when our two car family had both vehicles in use - with schedules to adhere to - where they both went well over 100 miles. Granted, this isn't an every day event for us. But it goes to show that so-called range anxiety can be a legitimate issue for some two-car households. In any of the above scenarios, a 150 or 200 mile range on either/both cars would have probably sufficed.

Something else to remember is that population density is different across the various parts of the country. The large southwest US cities, unfortunately, were planned and grew under the idea that oil would always be cheap and plentiful. Local mass transit, for the most part, never had time to catch up with the sprawling development. A one-way "drive across town" in Phoenix can be 75 miles! Tucson is far better in this respect, but still very spread out when compared to, say, Atlanta, which has a similar overall population.

I'd like to think that a long range EV - one that can haul realistic loads and/or several passengers, have reliable A/C or heat and keep up with highway speeds - is something that we will all see in our lifetimes. That is why the news of this EV Audi is getting so many of us excited. We just didn't think it might be happening so soon.

· · 3 years ago

Regarding those 100+ mile days: Don't forget that public charging infrastructure is very cheap as well. Destination locations are likely to want to encourage EV drivers to visit so they are likely to put in charging. With the exception of long trips, most of my 100+ mile days are spent going between places where I'll spend a little while.
Granted, the slow 3.3 kW charging speed of the Leaf is a little bit slow to take advantage of this "opportunity charging" but once EV manufacturers get smarter, and allow 6 kW or faster, you'll be able to hop around from store to store to soccer field to ballet class to grandma's,etc all day, adding a little more range at every stop.
First adopters may not find everything perfect immediately so they should focus on the EV for their heavy commute driving need and keep your old ICE as a backup but EVs will become more and more useful as their market matures.

· · 3 years ago

I should note that back in 1996, when my wife purchased our then-low mileage Saturn that I'm still driving, the local Saturn dealer had an EV-1 parked in their lot. I was always saying "Someday . . . " whenever I saw that cute little ride sitting there. I never fully appreciated the significance of it, though, until I saw "Who Killed The Electric Car?" some 10 years later.

My typical longish jaunts take me outside of metro Tucson, for the most part. I fly Free Flight model airplanes: no radio control, with large fields required. The designated plots we get to use for this is old farm land that's far from town. The nearest one is 30 miles from home but (I just found today) is only about 10 miles from where Ecotality will place one of their quick chargers, in the town of Marana. The round trip, of course, falls within the 100 range.

The other commonly used field is 60 miles from home, but only 5 miles off I-10, near Eloy. Being over 100 miles for the round trip, though, this is where a quick charge station would be critical. Luckily, the nearby town of Casa Grande will have one of those terminals (again . . . just found this out today.) Good news all the way around.

Not to get too far off topic here, but the next crop of model airplanes coming off the building bench will be powered by supercapacitors. Field recharging may eventually involve a solar panel. If I can also eventually use similar clean technology to get me to and from the places where I fly this stuff, all the better.

· · 3 years ago

"We now seem to be capped at around 100 miles for pure EVs." As Darell pointed out, that is a product of need vs cost. Even if they targeted 150 miles or so, there would be people complaining that until there are 200 miles ranges they won't get onboard. Sure 100 miles won't work for everyone, and neither will 200, but there are a whole lot of folks that can live perfectly fine with a 100 mile BEV. I have been for a year and a half now and Darell has been for a lot longer than that. My wife drives our other car and we have never really has an instance where we both needed to drive a car more than 100 miles on the same day, but if we do, we'll make it work without having a crisis for sure.
Some people, because of their driving needs or where they live really aren't well suited for a BEV with 100 miles so they are going to have to wait a while until advancements are made and public charging is more abundant. Personally, I think 100 -120 MPC range is a great starting point to balance cost and performance. There are more than enough people that this will work for to keep the early EV sales strong.

· · 3 years ago

Well said, Tom . There are more than enough drivers who would be well served with 100 mpc cars than there will be cars available for a long, long while.

· · 3 years ago

Tom and Darrell, great points... it again comes back to this notion that seems to be floating out there that for mass market EVs to be successful they have to satisfy 100% of all driving needs right out of the gate. But as you point out, there are more than enough drivers who, with a little education, will find that 100 mpc is perfectly fine. For those folks that say the electric car will never be successful because it doesn't meet their own needs, I point out that a farmer wouldn't buy a Camaro when he needed an F-250, but that doesn't stop the Camaro and the F-250 from both being incredible sales successes.

I'd say—after you figure in various factors such as driving needs, concern about the environment, desire to become more self-sufficient, desire to stop filling the coffers of various regimes/monopolies that don't care about our sovereignty/security, desire to simplify their mode of transportation, and desire to save money—that at least 25% of this country alone will come around to the idea of electric cars within 20 years.

· DaveM (not verified) · 3 years ago

As I see it, there are two ways the plug-in (non-hybrid) can be successful. 1. By quickly building a network of ultra-fast (<30 min.for a 75% recharge) charging stations throughout the US. Think shopping malls, hotels, hospitals, airports, major corporations and of course highways. This can be encouraged as profitable franchise opportunities for investors. And 2. Extending the driving range through improvements in battery technology. Either way, plug-in electrics will be a winner. Without 1 or 2, 100 mpc is still good for a 2nd car or a city car. Personally, since I drive 70 mi each way to the airport when I travel, I require 150+ mi range, or I need my airport to install a charging station.

· · 3 years ago

DaveM,

While your two suggestions are certainly ways to encourage even deeper market penetration of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), as you say, 100 mpc is good for a 2nd car. Since most U.S. households (75%+) have at least 2 cars (and something like 60% have 3 or more), then the BEV can clearly be "successful" without your 2 suggestions. I think we're on the same page, but I don't like it when I hear that word "success" tied into major infrastructure or technology improvements, because they can be successful without any of those (successful meaning have 10-20% market penetration).

· · 3 years ago

@DaveM
If you look, you'll probably find that there already are electrical outlets at your airport already. Remember that if you're going to park there for a full day, all you need is a 110v outlet for a full 100 mile charge.
This puts the technology rollout issue to rest. All you may need to do is to get your airport to reserve the parking spaces near electrical outlets and let you use them. You might offer to pay an additional $1 or 2 for the privelege.

· · 3 years ago

>> As I see it, there are two ways the plug-in (non-hybrid) can be successful. <<

You may well feel differently once you've lived with one for a while. The fear of the unknown is a significant aspect here. Once the population has some EV education, things will look much different.

· · 3 years ago

@darelldd
DaveM isn't completely wrong about the need for public charging infrastructure and I don't think your experience negates it. You live in a corridor (SF to Sacramento) that has perhaps the best public charging infrastructure in the US today. Granted, they aren't DaveM's "ultra-fast (<30 min.for a 75% recharge) charging stations" but rather 30 mph chargers, however, they do enable you to comfortably drive to either Sacramento or San Francisco for a day of business/shopping and know you'll have a full charge for the return trip. You also have the comfort of knowing that there are charging stations liberally strung out along I-80 between SF and Sacramento if something goes wrong (rain and strong head winds) and you need an intermediate charge. I'd venture to guess that you've seldom driven an EV when there wasn't a public charging station within 20 miles of where you were at all times.

· lbg (not verified) · 3 years ago

How do you invest in DBM Energy? Are they part of DBM Industries? What are the stock symbols?

· · 3 years ago

ex-EV1

I certainly never intended to imply that DaveM was "completely wrong." Only that experience and education changes perceptions immensely - and as I said - he MAY feel differently once he has some EV experience. Obviously, I feel plugin cars CAN be successful without the need for the "two ways" he mentioned. I agree that the EV experience would be less scary for newcomers - and more convenient for some drivers - if the cars had longer range or faster/easier charging. I just feel that EVs can be successful (in fact ARE successful) without those items being "needed." For the record, none of my cars has ever charged faster than about 18 mph. AND I regularly travel 90+ mile one-way distances in my 100 mpc car.

One thing I'll expand on: DaveM has a good grasp of the charge time vs range thing. I hear too often that EVs need longer range AND faster recharge to make them more convenient. I contend (and I like that DaveM implies) that we really only need one of those. If you can charge in 15 minutes, do you really need 500 miles range? If you have 500 mile range, do you really need it to charge in 15 minutes?

You are correct that I'm rarely (though still probably more often than you'd imagine) more than 20 miles away from a charger. The number of times I've *needed* public charging in well over 100,000 EV miles? Too insignificant to even count.

- Darell
EVnut.com

· · 3 years ago

I agree that, for a great many people, 100 mpc should be plenty of range for day to day use. Those of us for whom 100 mpc would often not be enough have choices like the following:

1. Just continue driving our ICE car (30 mpg in our case) indefinitely. Not my favorite choice.
2. Buy a LEAF anyway, and just use it whenever possible. Try to take advantage of DC fast charging when available. In the short to medium term, this would be the most interesting and fun option.
3. Buy a Prius instead. Our net reduction in gasoline usage could be comparable to buying a LEAF, since our longer distance driving would be more efficient. At least for now, this is probably the most practical, if less exciting, option.
4. Wait at least a couple of years, and buy an EV with significantly more range (ideally 200+ miles). If that German battery breakthrough turns out to be readily commercializable, then waiting might be our best option.

Of course, all of this assumes the purchase of just one new car. We are trying to be conservative financially. Otherwise, I would probably buy both a LEAF and a Prius. :-)

· DaveM (not verified) · 3 years ago

You guys are awesome. Thanks for the discussion on my two points. We'll find out soon enough if Nissan really sells 20,000 Leafs the first year. Personally I think they will, and everyone except all of us will be surprised. btw - no recharge infrastructure exists here in Florida. They want to waste tax dollars for a bullet train from Tampa to Orlando (70mi), but they are not preparing for plug-in EVs. Once again CA will have to lead the way.

I had an interesting discussion with a Toyota salesman this weekend. I asked him about the plug-in Prius and the plug-in RAV4 which are now planned for 2012. He says that those cars will be plug-in Hybrids using Lith Ion tech. After teaming with Tesla, I expected Toyota would be able to produce a (non-hybrid) plug-in EV. I guess they are playing it real conservative these days (assuming the salesman knows what he is talking about).

· DaveM (not verified) · 3 years ago

So for now, the BEV options are Tesla Roadster $100K, Leaf $27K, or build your own. Within 2 years add the Tesla Sedan $50K. That's it. Did I miss anything? If Tesla gets purchased, we may never see a sedan. I guess the rumored Tesla "Peoples Car" or the Tesla Crossover "X" are at least 4 years out at best. Nissan could win BIG here. Imagine if Nissan offered an optional battery pack to extend the range to 150 mpc.

Suppose Nissan sold the Leaf for $18K and leased the battery pack for $150/mo? Likewise, suppose Tesla sold the "S" for $35K and leased the battery pack for $250/mo? There's your market penetration . . . Not to mention, significantly improves resale value.

· · 3 years ago

DaveM,

Check out the PluginCars.com's list of upcoming plug-ins for more info on what's available and when. In terms of pure EVs, in the next two years we'll also have the Fisker Karma, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the Ford Focus Electric, the Coda Sedan, the Ford Transit Connect Electric (really an Azure Dynamics car), and the Think City.

Nissan has done analysis on the whole battery leasing thing and has decided that they don't want to lease just the battery (in the U.S. anyways). Renault, their sister company, is offering EVs with battery leases in Europe, leading me to think that Nissan will also eventually sell the LEAF in Europe with that option.

· · 3 years ago

DaveM -

Until proven otherwise, I'd assume that the sales guy didn't know what he was talking about! A hybrid Rav4EV wouldn't be news, and Toyota wouldn't need Tesla. The Rav4 will be all electric - at least everything points to it. The last time I got accurate info from a car salesperson?? I'm not sure it has happened yet.

· · 3 years ago

Nick, thank you for a informative article. I'm looking forward to hearing more details about this DBM "Hummingbird" battery. Hopefully they run this car on more drives, and release the actual consumption data. I would think that if the battery is 100-115kWh that the range would be even farther than 375-400 miles. And obviously, the cost is another key factor.

Sincerely, Neil

· · 3 years ago

I may add a few details about the Audi A2. The first is that it's a small car, same size as a Toyota Yaris. It's also very light thanks to aluminium construction, exactly like the Audi A8 which is much more famous. Finally, the Audi A2 has a drag coefficient of .26.

So the car has all the requisites for establishing records. And I doubt DBM's battery is more than 80 kWh. I'm not surprised they don't allow anyone to have a closer look at the car and its cells, they fear someone may steal their know-how.

· · 3 years ago

Hi Neil, nice to see you found me over here at PluginCars.com! Looking forward to you being a part of this forum too!

· · 3 years ago

Laurent -

I sure see no reason for the pack to be more than 80 kWh with their claimed range. A pack that size in my barn-door shaped Rav4EV would travel 350+ miles on that amount of energy!

· lbg (not verified) · 3 years ago

Unladen A2 test weight = 1170 kgs
Audi A2 unladen weight=895 kgs

Possible weight of battery=1170-895=275 kgs, assuming IC engine and transmission weight equals electric motor, etc weight.

· · 3 years ago

It was observed here that the A2 is an aluminum vehicle . . . and I'm sure that this modified one was as well. But Audi just announced (only days before the record breaking Munich to Berlin EV jaunt) that they would start producing the A2 again for the 2013 model year, but convert it to a steel body . . .

http://www.carmagazine.co.uk/Secret-new-cars/Search-Results/Spyshots/Aud...

Even with this extra weight penalty (albeit with more real world durability,) the extra energy density of the LMP battery would still be an attractive option. If not a 375 mile range, 200 or 250 miles (figures speculatively pulled off the top of my head) would be a significant enough step ahead of what is already out there or soon to be introduced.

Not a lot of follow-up out there on the internet about this one these past few days.
Have people collectively shrugged their shoulders and moved on?

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

There is no disclosure about what battery they used, but from what we can read between the lines, some guesses can be made: (1) It is based on metal Li; (2) it uses polymer electrolyte; (3) it uses LiFePO4 as cathode chemistry. The real problem it may face is how safe the battery would be after recharging for a few hundred cycles. Li metal is not new technology, but there has never been any successful commercialization. The reason: these batteries usually end up with a big crate on the ground. So it is easy to demo a single drive with this battery in high profile, but the life and safety would be the real test.

· Priusmaniac (not verified) · 3 years ago

A recharge in 6 minutes would mean a power input of about 1 MW. You don't find that in your garage but I guess a "fuel" station would be able to deliver that to a dozen of vehicles without to much problems. Proximity with a power line would help though.

· · 3 years ago

Although DMB's web site isn't saying a lot about their battery technology (unless you want to fork over the $250 for their book,) here's a site for a battery company that is working with a lithium metal formulation . . .

http://www.infinitepowersolutions.com/

Their Micro Energy Cells (MEC) are of a considerably smaller format than DMB's KOLIBRI AlphaPolymer technology, but I tend to think that there are a lot of similarities. From one of Infinite Power Solution's PDFs . . .

"The active materials in the device include a LiCoO2 cathode and a Li-metal anode. A solid-state electrolyte called LiPON (Lithium Phosphorus Oxynitride), with its high Li-ion mobility, is used to provide superior power performance."

· Greg (not verified) · 3 years ago

I really think the exciting part of better batteries is to expand the market to different classes of cars. It sounds like many of the posts here are by people who's first priority is being green. I believe there are a lot of us who want to save on energy costs but don't want to drive a golf cart. A better battery is just one step closer to an ev minivan or full size suv that doesn't cost so much that you never recoup it. When that exists ev will be mainstream.

· · 3 years ago

I share your enthusiasm in regards to better battery technology, Greg, but an electric full-size SUV is not on my radar screen. Sure . . . most of us need a vehicle larger than a Smart car (more than two people riding at a time and with associated cargo) and that Audi A2 would certainly fit the bill for me.

But all that a gigantic electric vehicle would often represent is more batteries and more kilo-Watts needing to be generated to transport what (typically) could be hauled around in a reasonably sized compact car. Please remember that the energy needed to propel an EV down the road has to come from some place.

I'd meet you half way with a practically sized and ergonomically configured minivan to take your kids (along with the neighbor's kids) to school, or to haul a couple of sheets of plywood back from the home improvement store. But do we really need a Hummer EV?

· Jerry Ludwig (not verified) · 3 years ago

If you put a Leaf behind a big truck, and lessen the weight by 40% (leaf to a2), you could probably go about 300 miles on a charge. Air resistance is the big stealer of efficiency.

I'm not saying that what they've done. I'm also not saying if this was real, a big battery company would have bought the tech by now. We'll see.

I hope it's a 20% improvement. If it's 40%, that would be great!

· · 3 years ago

Good point, Jerry. Elsewhere here, it was pointed out that the A2 has among the lowest - if not the lowest - drag coefficient of any production automobile ever made. Its also noteworthy that it ended up looking more like a ordinary car with clean lines than (as with so many contemporary designs, electric or otherwise) a bizarre melting gumdrop on wheels.

Limiting weight on a real world production car is more problematic, as we also all want something that is durable and will survive a catastrophic event (not to mention the survivability of those who happen to be inside.) Would the all-aluminum A2 be able to do this? And, if it didn't meet an untimely end in an accident, would an aluminum bodied car still be roadworthy after 100,000 miles? Perhaps composite materials will give us this sort of durability/survivability while also allowing for practical weight savings.

What's needed is another similar test with additional scrutiny and verification. Let's see 'em do it again!

· mad skills (not verified) · 3 years ago

People shouldn't worry about the Leaf becoming obsolete. I would suspect if this battery breakthrough is correct, Nissan will just change batteries. My concern would be, can they continue to get these numbers driving 75 miles per hour on the interstate with air conditioning and radio. As a person who has driven lots of long distances, you typically need to stop for 1/2 hour to an hour for a bite to eat and stretch your legs every 4-5 hours. Using the 350 miles and a 5 hour run, this would fit. Charge at night, drive for 5 hours, 1 hour to recharge battery and self then another 5 hours and dinner break. Charge again and you'll have a 1000 mile day done with two in drive charges. Sounds like a plan!

· · 3 years ago

Mad Skills: How frequently do yo need to drive 1,000miles a day? Just asking. Personally I've been driving for 28 years and I have never driven 1,000 miles to anywhere, let alone in a day.

I'm sure some people need this kind of utility, but perhaps they should look at a plug in hybrid or an EREV like the volt. We can't force square pegs in round holes and for the foreseeable future, you probably shouldn't buy an EV if you think 1,000 mile trips are something you'll need to do.

Sure this (as well as other) battery technology looks promising, but it's a long, long way from being fully tested and installed in production vehicles.

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