Why are EV's not running NIMH Batteries?

Discussion in 'Prototypes, Concepts and Electric' started by Walperstyle, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. Why Aren’t EVs Running On NiMH Batteries?

    Received this scandalous email from the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Society today and had to share. There are no footnotes or references to sources however its similar to what has been promoted on Who Killed the Electric Car: GM and Chevron which does have some source info.


    Published by VEVA,

    The tale of GM’s attempted suppression of NiMH, and the hand-off to
    Standard Oil, is so involved and convoluted, so hidden by secret
    agreements and subsidiaries, split-off rights and so on, it’d take a
    legion of lawyers to expose fully, even if the confidential documents and
    settlement agreements were not hidden.

    It’s true that GM in 1994 purchased the exclusive worldwide licensing
    rights for NiMH and then vested these rights in a subsidiary “Joint
    Venture” called GM-Ovonics, and also true that GM sold its interest in
    GM-Ovonics plus shares in the parent company ECD (enough to guarantee
    control of GM-Ovonics and the rights) to Texaco on Oct. 10, 2000.

    Previously in 2000, ECD’s unit, Ovonics, was granted the unusual honour of
    Japanese patent protection, setting the stage for the drama that followed.

    Texaco vested the new assets in its unit “Texaco Technical Ventures”; but
    on Oct. 16, 2000, Texaco and Chevron (Standard Oil of California)
    announced their intent to merge. As we all know, this is not done
    overnight; they were doing Due Diligence for months, or years, belieing
    the 6-day gap separating GM from is co-conspirator Chevron.

    After the merger was consummated, in 2001, the unit was renamed Chevron
    Ovonics Battery Systems (“cobasys”) and a lawsuit was filed by the actual
    patent holder, ECD-Ovonics against PEVE, Toyota, Panasonic et al; later,
    cobasys joined and funded the lawsuit because ECD-Ovonics claimed it
    didn’t have the funds to proceed. Note that the patents themselves are
    held by ECD-Ovonics but the worldwide exclusive LICENSING rights were the
    controlling and inhibiting factor.

    While ECD-Ovonics held the patents, they were unable to license them to
    anyone without the consent of GM-ovonics and, later, Chevron-Ovonics

    In Mar., 2002, Toyota announced sale of the EV-95 NiMH-powered RAV4-EV,
    without trick or any special rights to confiscate and crush them, to the
    general public. This was seen as an attempt to coerce a settlement from
    cobasys et al, because Toyota feared that cobasys would not let them use
    NiMH at all, not even for the Prius.

    Up until that time, the Toyota RAV4-EV was NOT available for sale AT ANY
    price, nor were they even available on boomerang leases except to “fleet
    lease” customers. There was, circa 2001, a few “boutique lease” deals
    where Toyota RAV4-EV were leased to “fleets of one”, for example, Linda’s
    that was leased to Stein Optometric, her husband’s business.

    This brief 6- to 8-month period remains the ONLY occasion where an
    Electric car was EVER offered to the general public by a member of the
    Auto Alliance (prior to 1999, the AAMA).

    In Dec., 2002, Toyota and cobasys announced that they had, circa Nov.,
    2002, reached an agreement to stop production of the RAV4-EV, EV-95 and
    other “large format” batteries, not acknowledging fault on either side,
    and cross-licensing of all rights to NiMH then and in the future in
    exchange for a one-time payment of $30M from Toyota to cobasys et all,
    conditioned and tranched on certain events; and restricted use of NiMH for
    “certain transportation applications”, which we assume meant plug-ins,
    while allowing use for hybrids that can’t plug in.

    Chevron retained these rights, even after they sold the rest of cobasys to
    Samsung/Bosch in response to the Daimler lawsuit which was seeking better
    access to NiMH for hybrids that can’t plug in (apparently cobasys didn’t
    even want these used for hybrids that can’t plug in!).

    To this day, the only company licensed and authorized to use NiMH on
    plug-ins is Gold Peak, which was grandfathered in; but the GP batteries
    were never designed for transportation use, i.e., in an EV. Currently,
    they are being used in PiP conversions by Kim Adelman; GP Lithium
    batteries are also used, giving over 40 miles of all-electric ride. But
    endurance is the issue, since NiMH routinely lasts over 180,000 miles in
    the non-plug-in Prius and some doubt that Lithium is as durable. So why
    not use NiMH for the plug-in version of the Prius, and why not sell it, as
    Toyota sold the NiMH RAV4-EV? The only explanation is this patent
    licensing issue.

    Toyota managers have privately assured me that the cobasys agreement still
    binds or is seen to bind Toyota, whether or not it’s just a gentlemen’s
    agreement, and that it figures importantly in Toyota’s decisions about
    whether and when to issue plug-in vehicles. Toyota is seen as being
    reluctant to use Lithium for plug-ins, due to the apparent failure of
    Lithium to last over 180,000 miles (so far) in the plug-in version of the
    Prius. Toyota is allowing fleet lease of Lithium plug-in Prius, but not
    allowing issuance to the public, and not allowing sale, due to this

    Other battery companies have informed me that they routinely are forced to
    work around Chevron’s patent rights, which are not available at any price
    to any company for use on plug-in EVs. The use of NiMH is outrageously
    still forbidden for the most successful use of that battery, full-function
    EVs that run entirely upon a large battery pack and allow access to the
    entire pack (unlike the 16 kWh Lithium pack for the GM product, which only
    allows access to half due to fear of Lithium battery degradation).
  2. I don't know why are they not?

    I'm not reading that wall of text, so how about you post some cliffs?
  3. ok here is the cliffnotes

    -You are fat and lazy and probably can't read big words.

  4. cuz a123 kicks it in the teeth.
  5. why would they want to use old tech when l-ion and L-polymer has been proven to be excellent in laptops for the last 10 years?

    Why dont you post another article about why ICE cars arent running steam engines?
  6. Cost.
  7. the irony is, he's undoubtedly a lot more intelligent than you
  8. NiMH batteries are well known for their fast degradation as cycle count increase. They don't last as long as the NiCd batteries they replaced, although development have reduced that difference.

    NiMH batteries used for hybrid vehicles are a sort of "heavy duty" NiMH battery, designed to be durable and provide good power. This does however come at a cost, the energy density is not as good as other NiMH batteries. To reduce degradation hybrid cars also keep the batteries state of charge in a narrow range; typically less than half the actual capacity. The result is a poor energy density, only about 30 Wh/kg.

    There isn't one type of lithium ion battery, there are several different types. The most common are the cobalt oxide, manganese and iron phosphate types. The lithium ion cobalt oxide type provide good energy density, today in excess of 200 Wh/kg (just the cell alone), but they are unstable (safety issue), and they offer a poor power density. When they degrade over time, which is both cycle and age ralated, they lose capacity and the internal resistance increase (the latter will limit power output over time). These batteries are mostly suitable to low power portable devices where maximum battery time is of great importance. But such a battery is not suitable for a production car.

    Lithium ion manganese and iron phosphate batteries offer a higher power, and they are are much more stable (safe). But this comes at the cost of a lower energy density - about 110-140 Wh/kg on a cell level. Power densities can be in excess of 3 kW/kg. To improve battery life, the battery is oversized just as with NiMH. Using half the capacity we're down to about 55-70 Wh/kg and for a complete pack about 50 Wh/kg is reasonable; some 60% better than a NiMH pack. Chevrolet Volt for instance uses a lithium ion manganese spinel battery. These battery types are also common in power tools which require durable high power batteries.

    Lithium ion have other advantages too. They don't require large amounts of nickel which would be problematic for large scale production of batteries, they don't have a high self discharge and their charge/discharge efficiency is very high. The latter means less battery heat during charge/discharge and greater fuel efficiency. NiMH batteries suffer froma particulary high internal resistance when they approach a high state of charge.

    Today NiMH batteries are used for two reasons; they are safe and cheap. But NiMH is also a mature technology. This means they batteries are proven, but it also means there isn't much room for improvement. NiMH are about as good and cheap they can be.

    Cobasys did also offer NiMH batteries to the large car manufacturers, but there wasn't much interrest after California dropped the demand of zero emissions cars. Electric cars where neither practical or cost effective and it took a great deal of development until Toyota actually made a profit from their hybrids, and these have a battery that can store just slightly more energy than a regular lead acid car battery (at several times the cost). Small electric car manufacturers never could offer the volumes required to start series production.
  9. I hate electric cars.

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