A paper by a couple of Swedish researchers figures that the price-per-kWh for lithium-ion battery packs is now $410, down from more than $1,000 in 2007. Economies-of-scale, not chemistry advances, will do the most to get that down to $230 by 2018.
Tesla Motors said earlier this month that the agreement it has with Toyota to supply battery packs for the Toyota RAV4 EV SUV would be finished by the end of the year. The deal is done, but Toyota is now singing its best version of Baby, Please Don't Go.
UK-based transmission engineering and control specialist Vocis wants to take electric vehicles in another direction, one with dual clutch transmissions. Vocis says its dual clutch transmissions provide seamless shifting and up to 15 percent improvement in EV efficiency. Vocis' DCT is currently on display in a Mercedes-Benz Vito minibus demonstration vehicle.
Next month, Smart USA will launch the first US market electric vehicle with a separate rental program for the battery pack. Those buying or leasing the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive will have the option of renting the lithium ion battery for a monthly fee.
There are quite a few taxi operators testing out electric cars by adding Nissan Leaf EVs to their fleets – whether that be New York (pictured), Hong Kong or Mexico City. It's a channel for the global automaker to sell more of the cars and give more people their own experience of being transported in a Leaf. But there can be a downside.
If you've got an older car in your driveway, which experts say is getting to be more typical lately, what happens when the battery poops out? You'll be paying $100 to $200 to pick one up at a retail parts store. But what about hybrid electric vehicles?
Thomas Edison famously said that genius was one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. To get to the heart of what's holding back broader adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), though, it's even better to paraphrase one-time Bill Clinton advisor James Carville: "It's the battery, stupid."
Engineering challenges are like a siren's call to Neal Saiki. Since leaving Zero Motorcycles in early 2011, the company he co-founded with his wife Lisa, he's spent lots of time and effort wrestling with the human-powered helicopter conumdrum. As engaging as that might be, however, he still hasn't been able to keep himself from considering how to build a better electric motorcycle; work that has, it seems, proved slightly less Sisyphean as he has just announced a pretty cool battery pack breakth
GM-Volt.com found an interesting patent application from General Motors (filed a year ago) that entertains the possibility of refurbishing worn out lithium-ion battery packs such as the one in the Chevrolet Volt. While the Volt's 8-year, 100,000 mile battery warranty will cover a lot of people for a lot of miles, these lithium-ion batteries do not last forever and will need replacement eventually.
We know that General Motors has the largest battery lab in the world, one that's capable of carrying out all kinds of scientific tests, but that's a little boring, if you ask us. If you want to test a battery's durability, do you really need fancy lab equipment and sophisticated computers? Or can you just use a few household items, a swimming pool, bullets and a lot of time? Maybe it's time to ditch the lab coats, fire up the oven and learn how battery testing is really done.
At the Detroit Auto Show in January, Ford announced that it would bring production of battery packs for its hybrid and plug-in vehicles in-house by 2012, in time for the launch of its next-generation models. At the time, Ford would only say that the production facility would be somewhere in southeast Michigan without giving specifics.