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Altair Nanotechnologies Completes Li-Ion Battery Pack Order for Phoenix Motorcars

28 December 2006

Anano
Comparison of cycle life (18,000 cycles for Altairnano NanoSafe vs. 750 for conventional li-ion). Click to enlarge.

Altair Nanotechnologies Inc. announced today that it shipped ten rapid-charge, high-power li-ion battery packs to Phoenix Motorcars, Inc. on schedule. The shipment of the ten 35 kWh battery packs fulfills and completes the $750,000 order placed by Phoenix in July 2006.

The company placed an additional order for one 35 kWh battery pack which will be shipped later this week.

Altairnano’s NanoSafe battery packs power the Phoenix sport utility truck (SUT) and sport utility vehicle (SUV). Altairnano’s nano-Titanate-based batteries come in two battery pack configurations: 35 kWh and 70 kWh.

The 35 and 70 kWh NanoSafe packs provide sufficient power and energy for a fleet vehicle to travel up to 130 or 250 miles, respectively, with a top speed of more than 100 mph. Both NanoSafe battery packs can be recharged in less than 10 minutes using an industrial 480 volt battery charging platform.

The NanoSafe battery packs can also be charged over longer periods of time when using typical 120 or 240 volt power sources. An on-board charger is standard equipment for both the Phoenix SUT and SUV vehicles.

We are pleased with the on-time shipments, the quality and performance of the Altairnano NanoSafe battery packs. Early customer interest in our SUV and SUT vehicles has exceeded expectations. Phoenix has committed to use Altairnano’s NanoSafe battery packs exclusively and we anticipate placing more orders for the NanoSafe battery packs shortly. Phoenix is on track to begin commercial delivery of our full size, all electric Sport Utility Trucks to the fleet market in the spring of 2007.

—Daniel Elliott, CEO Phoenix Motorcars

In September, Altairnano and Alcoa AFL Automotive announced they will develop an integrated lithium-ion battery pack system for medium-duty hybrid trucks. The battery pack will use Altairnano’s NanoSafe battery technology and AFL Automotive’s electrical interconnect and application technology to integrate the battery pack system into the vehicle’s electrical architecture. (Earlier post.)

Altairnano replaces graphite anodes with its nano-Titanate material, which provides a very high surface area and reduces hazards by removing the graphite. The NanoSafe batteries charge in less than 10 minutes, have a power density of 4 kW/kg, have 85% charge retention at 20,000 cycles, will not explode and have no thermal runaway, according to the company.

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December 28, 2006 in Batteries, Electric (Battery) | Permalink | Comments (26) | TrackBack (0)

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I sincerely hope the $75k per (smaller) battery includes a lot of development and/or startup costs. This is not a sustainable price for commercial deployment of BEV's. Phoenix has tentatively identified a market price around $50k for the truck with the smaller battery.

Whoa, if these things can do 20,000 cycles at 85% capacity, with ~150-180 miles per cycle, maybe more for low speed work like Edison's Rav-4 EVs, then these packs should make it to 3 million miles! Even if they are $75k a pack, compared to gas at $2-3 a gallon, the pack will be way cheaper over the life of the vehicle. Gas alone for an SUV averaging 25mpg over the same distance would be $300k when it's at $2.50 a gallon... If a company has on site storage and buys electricity during off peak hours the difference in lifetime cost would be nuts!

It may soon be practical to finance EV purchases with 15+ year payment plans. The durability of major components like motors, controllers, and batteries in a composite frame and body changes the economics of vehicle ownership. Add a solar or wind energy system into the financing package and you endup paying interest instead of buying fuel at ever increasing prices.
Business idea: Build solar powered homes and BEVs as a package deal and amortize the cost over 20-30 years.

Remember, the only way Phoenix hopes to make money on it's vehicles is by getting the $200,000 per vehicle credit, (don't remember what it's actually called), on top of the 45K selling price. At 75K a battery pack I can see why.
That needs to be a 10K battery pack or less to make it in the mass market.

Ya this will run abou as long as that subsidy runs.

Oh and it wasnt 20000 85% drain cycles it was 20000 cycles and in the end it lost 15% or about 22.5 miles range. They dont actauly tell you the duty cycle they based that on. Oh and we dont know the real world ranges when the truck is loaded;/

Well lets hope the subsidy does as its designed to do - encouraging the purchase of these cars so that battery prices can go down with mass production. No need to be so negative - instead buy one quick!

This battery is, at this point, based on advertised data, either a very pricey one ($2150/kWh) or an extremely cheap one (3c/mi battery usage depreciation in this truck) depending on to what extent you can make use of its lifetime capability. To use it fully you'd have to be on the road at freeway speeds for 10 hours a day, something like that. (12 years assumed life, using the figure from the Phoenix site.)

It's a shame Phoenix isn't introducing the batteries together with V2G capability, which would give you a much better opportunity to recoup the costs. Then you might not even need subsidies to get this thing going. V2G really needs batteries like this.

If you can put a much smaller pack inside a PIHEV, and use it up and charge it twice a day (i.e. home and work), then you can get the batteries to pencil internally within the 12 years. Not counting externalities so no subsidies even needed. So Phoenix may have to compete with these other customers at first. I hope Altairnano can scale up production fast. And as soon as they can halve the price I'd say the revolution will be fully launched.

Having a 20,000 charge/discharge cycle is one thing, but shelf-life is another. Ordinary Li-ion battery has a shelf-life but 3-5 years whether it's used or not. NiCd battery has a shelf life but ~5 years no matter how little usage. I know these from real-life experience from a lot of rechargeable battery usage.

Unless Altair-Nano can provide data on battery degradation rate with time even in the abscence of use, then all bets will be off!

It's a shame that these batteries are 75K. They should contact Tesla Motors so that they can use one of these batteries in their roadster. By my calculations, a 35 KW*hr battery at 90 W*hr/kg would weight 389 kg. These batteries can provide 4 kW/kg therefore the pack can provide up to 1555 kW. The tesla roadster has a peak power output of 185 kW which means the 35 kW*hr pack would have to provide 11.9% of the peak power output. at 11.9% of peak power output, I don't expect a lot of heat production which means the battery cooling system may not be needed at all. A lighter tesla will have a higher power to weight ratio (faster acceleration) and a slightly longer range for each kW*hr of capacity

Let's say a battery pack costs $20,000 and I drive 20,000 miles per year. If my gas car gets 20 mpg and gas cost $3 per gallon, I pay $3,000 per year for fuel. If I can drive the same 20,000 miles with the BEV at $1 per gallon equivalent, I save $2,000 per year on fuel. If the battery needs to be replaced at the end of 10 years for $20,000, I broke even. That says a 35kWh battery pack should cost no more than $20k and last at least 10 years.

There is a very high probability of the $750,000 cost including NRE and tooling costs.

A brand new startup company (Altair) is not likely to waive such fees unless they are trying to woo a major player with a huge market potential (say if Toyota or GM were planning to purchase 10,000 battery packs per year, then they might disregard such costs but it is doubtful they would do the same for 10 battery packs per year).

Well it all depends on if this is a porkworks or a real deal.

You can wind upmaming a rather large sum of money from gov grants if you know what your doing

Also dont forget there isnt JUST the truck maker very likely the truck BUYER gets a different grant as well maybe even as much as 50k per truck.

I've been told that the company, (Altairnano), said that the $750,000.00 order for 10 packs included one time costs. Hopefully much of the 750K price tag....

I would guess that at least 1/2 that amount was NRE. So that puts that packs at about $35K for 35kWh which is $1000 per 1000 watt hours. That is more than the $400 per 1000 watt hours that someone quoted Tesla's batteries to be. However, if they last 10 times longer, they would be worth more. Also, if they do not catch fire when internally shorted, that would be worth lots more!. I still think under $20k is a price that makes more sense.

John,
What you say makes some sense as Phoenix has exclusive rights to Nanosafe batts for the BEV market.
The field is open however in HEV and one can presume that Altair is trying to cut a deal there also with someone.

According to the Alcoa AFL site:

"AFL designs, validates and manufactures complete automotive electrical systems. Core competencies include high volume, low cost assembly, precision injection molding and metal stamping. Key products include wiring harness assemblies, battery cables and components, connectors, terminals, bulk cable, conduits, retention devices, electrical distribution centers, and custom and build to print electronic assemblies."

One would presume that this deep pocket company would make a fine equity partner for Altair and their future BEV/HEV product plans. The great news is there is a real viable electric vehicle on the road right NOW. Phoenix might well be "the shot heard 'round the world." That is a revolution.

In comparing these batteries to the Tesla, what about the cost and weight of Tesla's battery containment? Liquid cooling and individual encasement for each cell?

I just saw this post on The Energy Blog. I'll quote it here in its entirety, since it answers the $75,000 battery question, and is kind of funny in a peevish way...

NO, the battery packs do NOT cost $75,000
apiece. They cost approximately $14,000 each.
Most of the $750,000 was for engineering service fees performed by Altair in engineering the batteries and packs for the vehicles Phoenix is using. So far, every single forum has committed this confusion. Isn't the internet just grand? It can spread more ignorance in less time than a boatload of gossipy old maids ever could. Just like TV. It was going to make every citizen well informed. Over 80% of these folks think we've been visited by aliens. And you want these bozos sitting on a jury and deciding your fate?


Posted by: Kerry Beauhrt | December 29, 2006 at 02:24 PM

Wait, $14,000 for a pack that should allow a full size sedan to go nearly 170 miles at 65mph, and last over three million miles? As long as these have a shelf life of a decade or so with minimal loss in capacity, we may see a big H/EV boom in a few years.

It seems we do not know the cost per KWH but it is apparently less than $2100 per KWH, and perhaps as low as $400 per KWH.

The shelf life of the Nano-safe battery has been questioned, but their data sheet says it has a 20+ year calendar life. Whether this is apples and oranges, I do not know.

The claim of lasting through many cycles while retaining 85% of charge has been questioned, but the data sheet says the cycles were "full depth of charge and discharge cycles" suggesting battery cycle test was appropriate to compare with other battery cycle performance tests.

This battery is supposedly green, being more environmentally friendly, than lead, or cobalt or cadmium containing batteries.

This battery supposedly holds its charge, losing about 5% per month, so the self-discharge issue with the current Hybrid batteries seems resolved.

My problem is that I am waiting until one of these SUTs is turned over to Consumer Reports for an independent performance test, because it seems too good to be true.

I just want Altair to turn batteries over to independant testing labs for verification. That is what you do in science, engineering and to keep your credibility in the business community.

Just remember when talking about data the data also said there were weapons of mass destruction all over iraq;/




I m hopeful that the new tech has increased the near full charge cycle range and that it des indeed allow DEEP discharges for a long sycle life.

Im also hopeful the process can be adapted for mass production so the price goes down a fair bit even 14000 a pack is far too much after all.

The problem with the Internet is that there are few people on it who have expertise on aerodynamics, weight reduction, and battery technology. Electric cars will need to make maximum use of all three to overcome existing prejudices. The numbers just don't look good if you apply an exotic new battery to some old vehicle that you've heard of that uses 400 wh per mile and weights 3000 lbs.

Unless, of course, the vehicle was a Honda Civic converted by AC Propulsion, a dozen years ago:

www.acpropulsion.com/resources/reports.htm

"In June of 1996, at 77,000 km, the AC Propulsion electric vehicle traveled 233 km (145 mi) on one charge over Southern California Edison’s Pomona Loop, a 31.2 km (19.4 mi) circuit of city streets in and around Pomona, California."

Just lead-acid. 120 wh/mile.

There are fifteen local links in that page.  Google has not indexed the papers within.  Which one is the specific report you are citing?

Worse, all those links are broken (they have a superfluous "resources/") which you have to delete to get to the correct page.

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