Felix Kramer of CalCars
You can tell I have been bitten by the EV bug, I liked the lead-in: “Let’s talk batteries.”
Vaughan: Let’s talk about the batteries. Toyota says the nickel-metal hydride battery systems in the Prius aren’t powerful enough to make a plug-in hybrid practical. But using more powerful batteries, like the lithium-ion systems, creates some serious heat. Do you think about “thermal runaway,” which could mean your batteries might catch fire or blow up while you’re driving?
Kramer: Nickel-metal hydride batteries, proven, for many years in hybrids, to be safe, could go into plug-in hybrids today — they would be designed more like the ones Toyota put in its 2002 RAV4 EV compact all-electric SUV.
The performance, durability and safety of lithium-ion batteries are improving rapidly.
The Electric Power Research Institute says lithium-ion batteries are ready now. DaimlerChrysler is using them in its prototype PHEV commercial vans.
And the Valence Technology li-ion batteries in the EDrive Systems conversions include a phosphate additive that makes it nearly impossible for them to burn or explode.
O.K., so they aren’t Click and Clack. Nonetheless, they are talking about an important issue: Li Ion batteries promise to deliver performance, the lack of which has been a previous detriment to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles.
I wonder if the Advanced Hybrid Vehicle Development Consortium will be using Valence batteries?
In the interview, Kramer also noted:
We’re working with Plug-In Austin.com and other groups to create a national fleet buy order to bring to car companies. And we’re working to create other incentives to car makers and car buyers to bring these cars into the marketplace.