Don't expect those Altair batteries to be cheep because they don't have to be. The A123 cells are available using simular technology at a set of 6 for $129 and 2 or more sets at $110 each. But that only makes 2.5ah per cell at 50/70 amps peak and what you need is capacity more than a single cell high output power level at a premium price. http://www.a123systems.com/html/products/buyKit.html
Rapid charging a multi-kwh battery is pointless unless you have your own substation connection to the grid. A 10kwh battery charged in an hour means 50 amps at 220 volts and that is a small EV car battery.
There was a battery company making a stacked NiMh cell battery that looks very promising in Hartford Ct I think but I can't find the link to it. It has great cycle life and they were thinking of putting it in a Prius but then you run into the patent on the 10ah limit for EV used on NiMh.
The Firefly battery does sound great but I don't see any product listed.
It goes without saying that some oilies should be shot. Even if you develop your own large NiMH battery and get your own patent, you'll have much difficulty manufacturing it for mass market EV applications, because the oilies will sue your *** for everything you got.
This is truly keeping viable EVs from the masses. Today's 18650 size Li Ion if mass produced would achieve cost pairty with gas cars at about $3.00/gallon. NiMH is much better, ~$1.30/gallon gas cost pairty, but Chevron has a hold on it. AGM lead acid can do ~$1.50-2.50/gallon cost parity(if improperly cared for, costs can go much higher. Needs thermal manageemnt, charging management, and a full BMS), but is severely hampered by range. Flooded lead acid is also hampered by range and needs periodic watering, but can be much cheaper than AGM.
The Altair Nanotechnologies batteries have a projected shelf life of 40 years. Given their number of cycles, price would have to be over $2,000/kWh for the costs to eventually not be recouped, assuming $3.00/gallon gas. If they can get it down below $1,000/kWh, they may be viable yet for luxury vehicles in the 150-200 mile range, $40,000-50,000 price bracket. The only problem is that the upfront costs would price most out of the market, even if it may save money over cheap econoboxes in the long run even at that high price. This assumes Altair's cycle life and shelf life claims are also accurate.
Here's a video on the Altair Nanotechnolgies SUV, with 200 miles range and 10 minute recharge:
A fast recharge is not at all pointless given that infrastructure for it could be developed. In the 1990s, Aerovironment developed quick chargers that could recharge PbA and NiMH OEM EVs in under 30 minutes. Southern California Edison wanted to develop such infrastructure throught California and along Route 66 to make long trips by EV practical. Then the oil companies stepped in, lobbied the government, and prevented SCE from raising the funds.
I particularly like the point-form list of Firefly benefits (caveat: as described by the marketing guy).
Compared to standard PbA batts:
1) uses 80 percent less lead and thus is one quarter of the weight
2) has a recharge rate that is seven times faster
3) is more resistant to corrosion
4) has double the life expectancy
5) is safer for the environment when discarded at the end of its life cycle
YEAH NOW if only we could buy some!!! Would love to try a set in my scooter and it would be nice if they make a high voltage battery like 48 volts! or even 42 volts would be cool - I can run anything from 12 volts up to 63 volts on my controller and the higher the better top speed and easier to recharge.
The Canadian company making ZENN LSV's claims the ultracapacitors being developed by EEStor (with whom they have an exclusivity agreement to power EV's up to 1400 kilos curb weight) will quadruple the range of their current PBA-equipped LSV's at a cost premium of just $1000. But unlike batteries, ultracaps apparently don't wear out.
Supposedly, 3rd party test results of the technology is imminent, according to an ABG interview with the ZENN CEO yesterday, who said the EEstor technology will give them the ability to make an affordable, mid-size (5-passenger) high-speed EV with ICE range.
It's still vaporware at this point, but just imagine if it turns out to be real.
The company has come up with a new method for making ultracapacitors, battery-like devices that can store large amounts of electricity. EEStor's energy storage unit can hold enough charge to power a car 300 miles, according to its patent, and it can be recharged in the time it takes to pump a tank of gas.
...the company expected to eventually produce its energy storage devices for as little as $2,100 — roughly half the cost of a standard gas engine and power train.
Seasoned scientists at EEStore say they've created a battery made of glass-
and aluminum-coated ceramics that could allow electric motors to completely
replace the internal combustion engine. The inventors, erstwhile Xerox PARC
and IBMmers, boast about the car's efficiency, saying it'll be so cheap
it'll be as if gas costs 45 cents per gallon, will drive 500 miles on nine
bucks' worth of electricity, and needs just five minutes to completely
recharge. Plus, the company's CEO says, "a four-passenger sedan will drive
like a Ferrari." Tall claims, EEStore.
Meanwhile, Feel Good Cars, those Canadian electric carmeisters whose ZENN
electric car is pictured above, vow to make this technology roadworthy by
2008. Oil companies, get out your checkbooks, but you'd better have some
phat cash 'cause these EEStore guys are well-financed. - Charlie White