November 22nd, 2003 ::: EVS-20 put on by EDTA (Electric Drive Transportation Association) was the largest (2000 engineers/presenters) event I have been to so far in the last 20 years with over 100 electric drive businesses and many technical sessions for three days. The ride and drive program was the largest I have been to also with electrics, hybrids and fuel cell vehicles. Some of the new battery technologies such as lithium polymer and sodium nickel are required to run hot and require elaborate thermal and equalizing battery management systems.
The more viable technologies such as the mature Ni-Cads ($600 per kwh) and NiMH ($1.2k per kwh) batteries have been proven and enjoyed by users. Bill West with Southern California Edison really liked the Panasonic - http://panasonic.jp - NiMH batteries in RAV4’s which he still has four vehicles left with 100k miles on the original battery packs.
On the vehicle front, the large automakers have shifted their interest through government funding over to fuel cells. Hybrids such as the new Toyota 04’ Prius was a leap forward in technological improvements while pure electrics were being sold by smaller companies such as ZAP - www.zapworld.com - and Reva - www.evworksus.com - as well as some motorcycles/scooters like WaveCrest and the well engineered Vectrix.
ZAP has had management/money boondoggles in the past so it will be interesting to see if this Chinese import takes off with crash test requirements. Most of the pure electrics were forced into a NEV category for cost/crash test reasons. Reva hopes to raise their US vehicle to 50 mph from the present NEV 25mph requirement since it’s already being used in India at 50mph.
Selling EV’s at glorified golf cart speeds doesn’t help the EV cause. GM Ken Stewart as well as Bill West noted that customers prefer plug-in hybrids (from EV-1 and RAV-4 focus groups) and see that as a desired feature so they don’t have to bother with gas stations. GM said they are working with Daimler-Chrysler to have a 30-60 mile range plug in hybrid available in the next few years to fleets.
I also spanned information from director
Rob Reiner's keynote speech. He gave an excellent pointed presentation
regarding sustainable awareness of a new more efficient AC drive.
Technologies, a Provo, Utah-based company brought a Polaris snowmobile
that they had converted from a polluting two-stroke to a gasoline-electric
four-stroke hybrid, reducing its emissions while significantly increasing
its horsepower. One of their secrets is their new electric motor that
purportedly takes advantage of a little-known principle of physics."
Initially on Sunday, I attended the Ride & Drive starting with Toyota. The 04’ Prius www.toyota.com was substantially improved over the previous model years although it wasn’t plug-in yet. The engine compartment was laid out more cleanly and easier to service than previous year models. I could easily reach under and grab the oil filter for changing and the spark plugs on top of the engine. The price was the same as last year $20k for a better vehicle. The Honda hybrid Civic was also well laid out.
With a $2k tax credit, that would be about $19.5k. The vehicle is roomier with the same fuel economy 60 mpg city / 51 highway. Toyota has sold 100k hybrids so they have the most experience and improvements that I could see. It was also less frumpy (more futuristic looking) than last years typical marsh mellow car-pod look.
I rode in some fuel cell vehicles, Honda, GM and Ford which at present cost a million or more to build each one. They hope the price will come down to $100k in 10 years but presently are not yet ready for prime time. The 1.7 billion dollars mentioned the last state-of-the-Union speech in January has yet to materialize according to the manufacturers that are presently building fuel cell vehicles. It should hopefully be divvied out over a five-year period I was told.
A very interesting small hydrogen manufacturing plant suitable for home (or on location) hydrogen production was demonstrated by Stuart Technology. It used solar panels to separate water using a standard electrolysis process with oxygen as a byproduct. It pressurized to 6Kpsi in gas form to fuel a car. The goal is to go to 10Kpsi for more on board storage and better range. The vehicle tanks are made of carbon composite which should disintegrate in an impact and not explode a Stuart spokesman said. The conversion process is 50% efficient.
I asked, “why not just hook the solar panels to batteries in an EV and charge them directly”. He responded that better range could be had with this set-up even though the process isn’t as efficient as a direct charge connection. Presently the hydrogen manufacturing station generates 3kg (210kWh equivalent) of stored hydrogen. 1kg = 60 miles so 180 miles per day is realized from the generation station.
Air Products www.airproducts.com Donald Eichelberger noted his company and not Stuart was actually fueling the Ride & Drive fuel cells. He said his $6 billion 18k employee company fuels most fuel cell operations and taps off of existing underground hydrogen lines that are already connected to refineries for the refinery process. The hydrogen is reformed from natural gas presently. This can continue in this mode to fuel small amounts of fuel cell vehicles for the next 10 years.
I asked why not burn the natural gas directly in vehicles like the Canadians do for more efficiency. He replied that by at least mixing some hydrogen with natural gas in a direct burn engine, the hydrocarbons and CO2 are drastically reduced resulting in a far cleaner burn. The britilization of a metal engine must be considered (modified) to accommodate pure H2. Air Products claims they sell more hydrogen than all the other suppliers combined and fuel all NASA missions.
I rode around on the Vectrix
www.vectrixusa.com scooter which had impressive
performance ran up to 60mph with regen on a unique bi-directional throttle
and is about 60 miles per charge. I also rode a M750 E-bike by WaveCrest
that is 20 miles per charge. Wavecrest is in Dulles, Virginia and their
bike is being looked at by the military for its stealth like silent drive
and no heat signature.
Maxwell Technologies www.maxwell.com demo’d their Ultra-Caps in a Las Vegas NEDRA race last year going ¼ mile in a drag race starting at 400V and dropping to 180V. The car accelerated to 77mph in 15 seconds. The caps are being considered for hybrids to eliminate the battery but don’t have enough energy storage to replace the battery in a standard EV. The car weighed 1800 lbs and was charged with a 10 minute dump charging pit stop.
team said it will be 1-2 years before they can replace batteries in
hybrids and the new 42V cars and will last the life of the vehicle
removing the battery worries of customers. Their cost has been dropping
and is now at 1 cent per farad but the auto industry needs it at ½ cent
per farad to be viable. Honda is trying an ultra-cap hybrid.
Presently they are selling flex-fuel ethanol vehicles today. Chrysler has a hemi engine which is 10% more fuel efficient in their 5.7 liter engine. They now have 28000 GEM NEV’s on the road, the largest of any manufacturer. They are one of the few actually making profits on EV’s because they are cheaper DC drives.
The shunt (sep-ex)
5hp GE drive and control has the same efficiency with regen capability as
an AC drive but with lower cost and complexity. 40% of their sales are in
California. My patent no, 6,218,812 on
www.uspto.gov for a 1200W switchmode EV charger
can be used for these and similar electric vehicles.
|The EVS-21 in Monte Carlo,
Monaco was presented
for April 2-6 2005.
At the Media Roundtable Robert Stemple president of Ovonics and former president of GM said that across all lines hybrid technology will prevail by 2005. Andreas Truckenbrodt with Chrysler said we must have sustainable transportation to protect our resources. Presently annual solar energy dwarfs all oil reserves. Mike Schwarz with Ford said they are coming out with a hybrid Escape model in 04.
Ken Stuart with GM talked about the new Autonomy vehicle platform that can be used for fuel cell and hybrid vehicles. GM has put hybrid busses on the road equivalent to 8000 cars. They prefer working with larger scale vehicles than cars because of their impact. Toyota may have plug-in hybrids by 05 but battery may be so large as not to be commercially viable. Compressed H2 is easier to handle than liquid H2 that must be –250C.
Ken Stewart with GM said that the EV-1
charge was equivalent to 1.7 gallons of gas for 120 miles range with a 7.5
hour recharge. Presently they have a 250 mile range with fuel cell
vehicles. They said that the EV-1 customers really liked their vehicles
and missed them when they pulled them out of service.
Robert Stempel of Ovonics noted that India and China will be the largest consumer of cars in the next few years with the biggest pollution problems. China has MPG ratings more stringent than the US. Vehicles must be developed for these markets. China sales reached 1.3 million, up 73% in 1 year. By 2020 China will be the number one consumer of vehicles. India has been increasing at the rate of 10% per year and will continue for the next 10 years foreseeable.
T.J Glauthier President of Electric Innovation Institute thanked Kateri Callahan President of EDTA for all her hard work in putting on the symposium. He is looking at upgrading the grid from a 1950’s technology to a smart self-healing grid which finds the fault and re-routes power around to prevent widespread blackouts.
Dennis Campbell CEO of Ballard Power
Systems noted that fuel cells can also be used to feedback from the car or
stationary systems to power homes during outages or where power is not
available. He noted that Honda FCX and Mercedes is using their fuel cells.
Reduced cost on fuel cells is following the Moore’s Law for a 25 fold
decrease from their mark 3 to present mark 9 design.
He noted that from his early childhood development programs “I am Your Child Foundation” to the environment he practices what he preaches by driving a Toyota Prius.
There is a consciousness growing that people recognize the need for better fuel efficiency and to protect the environment. Since 1979 the polar ice caps are melting as much area as California and Texas combined. In 100 years we will loose the polar ice caps by global warming if something isn’t done. Children and the environment are two key issues that effect society. There must be a sustainable world.
Kennedy said we will put a man on the moon in 10 years. We could be energy independent within 10 years. The war on terrorism would be eliminated if we were. 60% of our oil is imported with 25% coming from the middle east. If we all drove hybrids, that would eliminate the need for oil from the middle east. We can not only save our resources but also improve the safety of our planet.
|The Advanced Batteries session was reviewed looking at lithium metal
polymer battery with Anthony Sudano, Avestor
www.avestor.com Their weight is 1/3rd
that of lead acid however they have to be kept at 70C with heaters and a
battery management equalizing system which drives up the cost. It has no
gels or liquid. They are presently being tested in telecom products. The
cost is $800 per kWh which includes the electronic control & equalizing.
It takes 18 minutes to get up to operating temperature.
The Zebra Battery was also reviewed part of
Chrysler which had to be kept at 300C to operate using salt and nickel,
35ah modules. Saft www.saft.com
Phillippe Elrich showed a NiMH battery used
Ken Kelly with NREL
www.nrel.gov showed a “Six-Sigma”
process for measuring better thermal performance of batteries. Note:
“Six-Sigma” is a new buzz word coined by the manufacturing industry for
the previous “Zero Defects” quality control programs that were prevalent
in the 80’s and early 90’s. He showed charts and graphs indicating flow
and pressure differences for NiMH optimum cooling.
Ken Stewart, marketing director for GM noted that they have cut smog by 95% with a 9% fuel economy improvement. People presently buy more larger inefficient vehicles that cost more when it would be more cost effective to buy cheaper more fuel efficient vehicles (probably due to marketing hype). GM/Allison are selling hybrid busses that cut usage by 60% and emissions by 90% over previous busses. 75kW stationary fuel cells can also be used for home power generation (in remote areas).
Hybrid Silverados are for sale in fleet operations. Bill West with Southern California Edison www.sce.com noted that by reducing ground ozone by half will reduce health by 1 billion dollars annually. They now have 10 million EV miles logged since 1990 that will help reduce our need for foreign oil and help global warming. They are replacing their EV’s since they are being pulled by the major auto companies. The EV’s are being replaced by hybrids for electric meter readers. Plug-in hybrids would be better, more like on an EV that is preferred for 40% emissions reduction.
Southern Cal Edison is using GEM NEVs for meter maids since EVs are desired. Some Segways are used for foot meter readers that reduce reading time by 50%. Bill West was skeptical about fuel cell vehicles but will try them. All non-read fork lift and golf cart applications are electric. Bill enjoys electrics and will not give up just because the technology is no longer available from the manufacturers. (They sued CARB with the federal government to eliminate EV production requirements last year.) SoCalEd still has four Toyota RAV-4 EV’s with over 400k miles on the original NiMH battery pack by Panasonic.
The Hawaii EVs were also NiMH and lasted as
long as the vehicle. Plug-in EVs with a 20-40 mile range would be desired.
It is more convenient to plug in at home overnight most users noted, than
going to a gas station. GM plug-in hybrids will be developed with Chrysler
for fleets. Chinese are implementing fuel economy standards more stringent
than the US.
Errol said this design is more efficient and eliminates cooling requirements for the motor and control. He disconnected the Y connection on a standard 3-phase motor and controlled the three coils individually with three independent H-bridges. His test bed was a 97’ GeoMetro with 820 pounds of batteries, 14ea 12V.
This full wave bridge inverter has the windings separated instead of a delta or Y configuration. Errol used a microprocessor instead of a DSP since the control is easier than vector control with square wave pulses using a lookup table on a Motorola microprocessor MC68HC711. The 3 H-Bridges with 3 separate coils had 6 snubber caps and a laminated buss for the 6 leads going to the 25hp Baldor 230V 3-phase 60 hertz induction motor.
The motor individual coils calculate to 132V rms per coil instead of 230V. The resulting vehicle uses 150 W-hours per mile. With peak voltage requirement a 163 volt buss is used. The 5 most significant harmonics are removed with 2k bytes of code. A PWM look-up table is used to synthesize the duty cycle of a sine wave. There must be a 12usec dead-time delay to prevent shoot through for the Collmer IGBT’s. A set/reset flip flop was used for all alarm conditions and a laminated buss is required.
The 5 speed transaxle was retained although 1st gear wasn’t used. Wheel speed was measured with a hall-effect device for the feedback speed/acceleration firmware loop. The rate of change is every 4th cycle for smooth performance. Regen is controlled by a button on the steering column. Greater than a 20% throttle demand results in full torque under software and less than 20% is delivered at 75%.
So, What’s New and Real?
Electrovaya’s Li-Ion, Panasonic and Saft’s NiMH & Li-Ions had excellent 150-250 mile range (depending on the vehicle). They also had a long life with greater than 2000 80% dod BCI life cycles.
The REVA electric car at $10k price looks ready for prime time.
Unique Mobility developed a fuel cell drone electric plane for the military. It’s 89lbs, 71 hp PM BLDC motor called “Caliber EV-53”. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to put in hydrogen fueling stations every 20 miles by 2010. This will initially probably use the existing hydrogen lines going to refineries.
Aerovironment’s Paul McCready designed Helios 2nd generation project for NASA. The high flying electric plane up to 96,863 will now have a hydrogen fuel cell and solar power to stay aloft for weeks between fueling. It will be used for an alternative to communications satellites.
Alan Cocconi’s AC Propulsion T-Zero demo’d 280 miles per charge on Li-Ion batteries from LA to Vegas.
The Toyota Prius and Honda Civic are
affordable clean burn hybrids. Maxwell caps have demonstrated battery
replacement in mild hybrids by drag racing at Vegas only with UltraCaps.
GM, Chrysler and Toyota are evaluating true hybrids or plug-in hybrids
which would be the best of all worlds.
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