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post #61 of 63 (permalink) Old 07-20-2018, 10:17 AM
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Re: Ford says battery tech still too immature for performance EV

Originally Posted by Assimilator View Post
Regarding the origin article of this thread, hybrids are actually a huge part of the performance story for many Fords arriving post 2020, just like EcoBoost. Ford is taking Hybrid performance from expensive niche luxury tech to higher volume core products with even better performance and reliability. Their Hybrid business is absolutely brilliant, I don't see anything else quite like it on the horizon from others but we'll see.

As for their BEVs...Ford isn't that enthusiastic bout them until Solid State Batteries make them cheaper and more reliable, but Mach1 is very much intended to be a well balanced and faster than average vehicle like all Fords. I think Farley got a little carried away with the Mach1 rebranding (originally know as C-EV inside Ford) but they are taking a page from Elon Musk's playbook to drum up investor excitement. Farley gets a little clumsy when they are under pressure and this is one of those things.

Ford's contribution to NG Li-ion is to make the battery components modular so they can swap out parts of the batteries and not the entire sled which effectively totals the car. Right now Ford's battery supplier is LG Chem out of Holland Michigan. Ford is working exclusively with LG Chem on solid state batteries but I think it's safe to assume they won't be the first to have them in their products.

There's no getting around that Ford is going to be very absent from the BEV market for nearly 3 years and that's going to get annoying to investors so I hope they at least show off the Mach1 sooner than later. Mach 1 is arriving late 2021 but Ford's huge Hybrid rollout will be happening in the interim.

My advice is that if you're waiting on a Ford will come eventually but FAR later than you hoped..but it's not like we won't have smart transitional products...many of which may have no equal. Ford is staying out of the early BEV market for very specific reasons, they want to make it right and we should trust them to do so, they certainly can't afford to get it wrong. Ford is not intentionally or unintentionally missing the mark, they know what it is and how long it will take to get there. And by the time they do get here, you will have forgotten that time you criticized Ford's absence. I think Ford deserves credit for not doing the obvious thing all the time, otherwise this would be a pretty boring company with nothing to contribute. The BEV market still needs to take a major leap from enthusiastic early adopters to mainstream volume products which is Ford's customer. That's a bigger challenge than just making the car affordable, you have to satisfy a customer that wasn't already convinced and committed to the lifestyle in the first place.

Toyota is doing exactly the same Ford is doing: waiting that the batteries, the infrastructure and the profitability of the electric vehicles make these a good business. Meanwhile, they let the other manufacturers be the first, suffering the losses and consequences of the mistakes that a completely new technology can have.
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post #62 of 63 (permalink) Old 07-23-2018, 02:15 PM
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Re: Ford says battery tech still too immature for performance EV

Without widespread infrastructure with a universal, international charging standard, the BEV revolution could falter and take a longer time to fruition. Imagining having to bypass T***a charging stations in your Ford BEV and running out of charge in the middle of nowhere. What is not mature is the industry response to the future.
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post #63 of 63 (permalink) Old 02-06-2019, 09:15 PM
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Re: Ford says battery tech still too immature for performance EV

I can't remember if I posted this article in another thread but it's worth a look.

Battery swapping is a high-investment technology (of the kind that would make an American capitalist blanche) that would also require a universal international technical standard to have any viability. That puts a huge black cloud over the idea. Still, in an ideal world, this really would be the best way to go about it. After all, gasoline is not sold as part of the vehicle, only the tank. Making the battery an exchangeable commodity that can have other uses outside of vehicle propulsion, such as local excess grid power storage, would be a win-win.

Sadly, and I hope I'm wrong, this will never happen here. If it happens in China and eventually becomes a world standard, we will have witnessed the changing of the guard.


CHINESE CARMAKER NIO, the world’s newest electric vehicle unicorn, has a big idea: battery swapping. In theory, the process is quicker and more convenient than a fast charge. A driver rolls into a battery swap station, and a robot replaces the drained battery with a fully charged spare. But even though NIO’s battery swapping stations are already deployed in major cities across China, retail investors don't seem to be taking NIO’s swap network seriously.

Perhaps that’s because Chinese electric vehicle hype has often outpaced performance (See: CODA, BYD, and Faraday Future.) Or perhaps it's the shadow of an earlier battery-swap unicorn, Better Place—arguably the most spectacular EV flameout in history. There’s also the fact that NIO is billed as a challenger to Tesla—a claim that strains credulity. Elon Musk continues to crush automakers like BMW and Audi in the EV market. So, it’s no great surprise that investors are skeptical. When NIO set a target price for its IPO between $6.25 and $8.25 last month, it barely scraped the floor, debuting at $6.26.

Still, NIO's battery swapping business may be worth far more than Wall Street realizes.

There’s a lot to like about battery swapping. For one, it reverses the standard time tradeoff between EVs and gasoline-powered vehicles. Many EV owners plug-in overnight and charge for hours. In general, fast chargers are now able to charge a battery to 80 percent in a little under half an hour. But in that time, some battery swap stations could charge dozens of cars to 100 percent. In 2013, Tesla swapped out two EV batteries in the time it took to fill an Audi's tank with gas. Today, a company called BattSwap says it can change out a battery in less than a minute. “It requires no user interaction," says Bert Robbens, BattSwap's Chief Technical Officer. "You can do the swap from within your vehicle.” And swapping a 500-mile EV battery won’t necessarily take longer than one with a 100-mile range.

But ever since the downfall of Better Place in 2012, battery swapping has been widely regarded as a technological dead end. Nonetheless, a number of innovative companies, including Tesla, are still quietly developing battery swap ecosystems. That’s because as EV ranges get longer and batteries get bigger, fast-charge technology is fighting physics. Each of Tesla’s newest Super Chargers provides up to 135 Kilowatts of power—twenty-seven thousand times more than an ordinary iPhone charger. (Some EV companies are already testing “ultra-fast” chargers that will provide up to 350 Kilowatts.) These power levels are so high that powerful cooling systems are required to keep vehicles from overheating. Tesla has even experimented with liquid-cooled cables. That’s because systems aren’t 100 percent efficient and the remaining percentage points of lost energy are converted into heat. For a 95 percent efficient 135 kilowatt system, that energy loss is like having half a dozen industrial-grade heat guns on full blast.

Pulling that amount of power from the electrical grid is also a major headache for local utilities. Distribution lines and transformers need to handle enormous spikes of electrical demand when cars plug in; many systems will have to be replaced or upgraded. The user pays for these upgrades in the form of “demand charges,” based on their peak consumption of electricity. Demand charges can make or break a business—significant spikes in demand can mean fees that are higher than the cost of electricity provided.

Battery swapping flips this liability on its head. Empty batteries that are swapped out can be charged when electricity is cheap or demand is low. Whoever owns those batteries can then sell that electricity to motorists at a premium, or even sell it back into the grid when prices are high and supplies are tight. This arbitrage is particularly important in a world of renewable energy. When the sun shines bright or the wind blows hard, renewable energy sources may produce more electricity than the grid needs; at other times renewables may not produce enough. Banks of batteries waiting to be swapped can soak up extra energy and sell it at a profit, thus balancing supply and demand.

If utilization is high enough to defray capital costs, battery swapping is a compelling economic proposition. And it can also benefit consumers. EV batteries lose range over the years. But with a swap system, users pay for electricity and batteries as they are used. That could mean lower upfront vehicle costs and increased driving range, as batteries improve.

Time, technological advances, and deliberate planning have neutralized many of the problems that plagued Better Place. NIO’s doomed predecessor struggled with slow market growth, lackluster cars, high capital costs, expensive batteries, and extravagant capital outlays. NIO is manufacturing its own electric vehicles, so it’s not dependent on automakers to produce sexy cars or agree to its technical standards. And because battery costs have plummeted, so have costs for battery swapping.

China’s booming market, which accounts for more than half of global electric vehicle sales, gives NIO the potential to scale much faster than Better Place ever could. And as China moves toward 35% renewable energy by 2030, NIO is poised to play a significant and profitable role balancing the supply and demand for China’s renewables-rich grid.

NIO’s battery swapping could serve as the cornerstone of a powerful ecosystem that integrates electric vehicles, mobility, renewable energy, and storage. Properly executed, NIO could indeed compete with Tesla, and at a massive scale.

Those who have accepted the demise of battery swapping may be in for a shock. The technology will likely be a critical enabler for electrification, not just in cars, but planes, drones, rideshare fleets, and autonomous vehicles. It may also be one of the most economical ways to build out the large battery banks necessary to support the world’s growing supplies of renewable energy.

It shouldn’t surprise us that technologies left for dead sometimes come back to change the world. After all, it wasn’t that long ago we were asking, “Who killed the electric car?”

Last edited by glyphics; 02-06-2019 at 09:18 PM.
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