Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Free upgrade to plug-in hybrid? 10X power in 5 years? $500 lithium ion auto battery?

Free upgrade to plug-in hybrid?
Reported by Tom Krishner, AP Auto Writer Monday, July 21, 2008: ..."lithium-ion battery packs needed to power even a small car now cost in excess of $10,000..."
A couple of years ago, I came up with the fun dollar-savings equation that: if America needed only half as much imported oil (meaning 5 million bbl/day then) and if we needed to pay only half the price ($30/bbl then) due to said lowered demand, then, we could save $165 billion a year (by spending only 5,000,000 bbl/day X 365 days X $30 instead of 10,000,000 bbl/day X 365 days X $60 = a saving of $164,250,000,000/year)...

...or, exactly enough to subsidize building the 16.5 million cars and trucks we manufacture every year as LITHIUM, PLUG-IN hybrids -- at $10,000 per vehicle!

Now, with oil recently approaching the $150/bbl range, we could be shipping $500 billion more a year overseas; potentially justifying any form of subsidy for the manufacture of lithium plug-in hybrids.
10X power in 5 years?
For 30 years it has been known that building lithium ion batteries with silicon wires (instead of carbon wires) could yield ten times the power holding ability but, because silicon wires expanded and contracted too much as they cycled, they quickly destroyed themselves. The development of silicon nano wires – about a thousandth of the width of a sheet of paper -- has solved that drawback -- while potentially making lithium ion batteries more stable (safer) at the same time!

Near term, only the anode side of the batteries will be manufactured with nano wires, yielding the quadruple jump (up powering GM’s Volt to go 160 miles on one charge instead of 40?). Long term, manufacturing the cathode side with silicon nano wires is expected to reach the ten multiple target (introducing hybrid, long distant trucks?).
$500 lithium ion auto battery?
PS. If a 10X power battery is developed (take 5 years according to the developer) would that mean that you could choose a 40 mile range battery at 1/10th the price? It is worth looking into. A Wikipedia article states that a 10X power battery would cost the same or less per watt hour, but the Stanford article did not suggest that a 20 hour notebook battery would cost an arm and a leg. If watt hour price drops with the power increase and higher mass production advantages reduce costs it is conceivable you could choose a 40 hour battery for $500 in the not too distant future.

This may not help GM with the original price but could cut replacement battery price to a pittance (cheaper than all those tune ups) -- cut some weight too.

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