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Old 06-18-2015, 11:44 AM   #1
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Default More interesting Tesla battery news

This was posted today. I'm sure they are working on several fronts, but making this public I think they are trying to push this idea they are working hard to radically lower costs. Can't see any fault with that.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/tesla-pa...sts-1434553116
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Old 06-18-2015, 12:27 PM   #2
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When materials currently make up 60% of the battery cost, it is going to be pretty tough to make their 50% cost reduction without some kind of design breakthrough using substantially less expensive materials. They mention silicon instead of graphite. Just bringing vendors in house won't get them there.

Bummer with the new designs is always that they wind up back at the beginning of the learning, testing, reliability curve.
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Old 06-18-2015, 12:34 PM   #3
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They identified the problem - cost.
Coincidentally is the same problem facing most Class B van builders in growing the Class B market I think.

It's interesting that they expect/hope that 85kwh lithium batteries will cost between $10,000 and $12,500 in just 5 years.

Using that math, a 8.5kwh battery pack for a Class B at around $1,000 or a 17kwh battery pack for $2,000 would be great.
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Old 06-18-2015, 01:26 PM   #4
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If I am calculating right, that puts them a bit under $1.50 per AH, which is in wet cell territory. Lifeline AGMs are about $2.75 per AH. I sure do hope they are right on being able to get there.
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Old 06-18-2015, 01:37 PM   #5
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I thought that just sheer scale of the giga factory was going to produce some significant savings. This one plant eclipses the total global production of lithium ion batteries!

So to go further by find materials or methods savings is terrific in my view.
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Old 06-18-2015, 03:10 PM   #6
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A few weeks ago I watched an interesting YouTube video of Professor Dahn explaining how lithium batteries eventually die. It's long but a good lecture.

http://youtu.be/9qi03QawZEk
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Old 06-18-2015, 06:40 PM   #7
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The issue isn't just lithium batteries. It is having a battery charger and discharging management system. Unlike lead-acid batteries where you can hang off whatever electrical loads, converters, solar controllers, alternators, all at once, if one doesn't have the charge/discharge rates precisely controlled on a lithium battery, then one learns the meaning of "runaway thermal expansion" pretty quickly.

Of course, this is a solved problem, or else Volts, Priuses, and ARV rigs wouldn't be possible... but it is an expensive, niche technology where you can't just stop by a RV store, buy an EMS for a lithium battery bank, and call it done.

Once this gets solved, then lithium batteries will be a lot more useful for RV-ing.
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Old 06-18-2015, 08:50 PM   #8
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You are correct it's not just the batteries.
I did a lot of research on upgrading to LiFePO4 batteries. I like the power to weight they offer. Was all set to buy a 400 AH LiPO system from AM Solar, along with a new 2000 watt Magnum inverter. They were not yet ready to ship their LiPO systems when I called them a few months ago. The Magnum and my Blue Sky solar controller could be programmed to properly charge the LiPOs. But then I discovered that my Interstate only has a 4 gauge wire from the chassis battery to the house battery. I didn't think that was adequate to handle the current that could flow from my Sprinters 220 amp alternator to the 400 AH LiPO batteries. The new Interstates have upgraded this wire to 1/0 gauge.

But the issues of proper charging from Sprinter alternator and dealing with freezing temp issues made me stay with AGMs for now. Those issues can be solved, but it was too much work for me to take on right now.
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Old 06-18-2015, 09:00 PM   #9
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^^^^^^^
Yes, I am feeling the same way. In another year or three, I am quite sure that there will be drop-in solutions (probably in the shape and size of an Onan genset ) that will deal with charging, heat, and physical protection--and probably at half the current cost.
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Old 06-18-2015, 09:48 PM   #10
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I have gone through the same drill and came to the same conclusion on the lithium-close but not quite ready yet, so we will also be going with AGM.

Boxster-I am surprised that even AGMs wouldn't pull higher than the 4ga would like, which would be about 100 amps. Our wet cells will pull that much. Do you have a separator or isolator? Isolator would drop the voltage and current quite a bit. What size fuse or breakers from the engine to the coach?
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