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Valence Technology to Supply Additional 600 Li-Ion Modules to OEMtek for PHEV Conversions

19 February 2008

by Jack Rosebro

By the end of February, Valence Technology, Inc. will ship an additional 600 custom modules of Valence’s Lithium-ion batteries to OEMtek for use in the conversion of Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles into Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs). Valence previously supplied OEMtek with 300 modules for installation in vehicles which are now being shipped to customers.

Valence’s custom module for OEMtek’s BREEZ (Battery Range Extender EZ) 9 kWh PHEV battery pack is composed of standard-size 18650 cylindrical lithium-phosphate cells. Assuming a nominal module voltage of 14.6V, achieved by placing four 3.65V cells in series, 19 modules would be required to achieve OEMtek’s rated pack voltage of 277V.

Given the 9kWh rating of the pack, as well as packaging constraints, each module is probably composed of approximately 25 parallel strings of 4 cells, in series, for a total of 100 cells per module.

OEMtek’s BREEZ operates in a “piggyback” architecture, complementing the Toyota OEM NiMH hybrid pack. The BREEZ plug-in hybrid will average 90 miles per gallon at freeway speeds of 60 miles per hour for an average distance of 47 miles on a single charge, according to the company. For urban driving the vehicle will average more than 150 mpg at speeds under 35 mph for 30 miles on a single charge.

OEMtek says that its testing yields an all-electric range of 30-35 miles per full charge.

The BREEZ (Battery Range Extender EZ) fits over the tire in the trunk of the Prius, but does not use any of the trunk space.

OEMTEK’s core pack technology includes multiple safety systems, both passive and active, that monitor the level of charge and current of the battery cells. The system is controlled by an OEMtek proprietary smart battery management system (BMS). Logic circuitry and microcontrollers continually monitor voltage, current and temperature within the pack.

Initially the OEMtek product will only be available in California, where more than 500,000 Toyota Prius vehicles have been sold. OEMtek plans to install about 40 BREEZ systems in Toyota Priuses starting in March and will ramp up to 100 monthly conversions by the end of 2008. OEMtek plans to offer plug-in conversions of Ford’s Escape hybrid SUV in late 2008.

The initial BREEZ solution will cost in a range between $12,500 to $15,000.

February 19, 2008 in Batteries, Conversions, Plug-ins | Permalink | Comments (23) | TrackBack (1)

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Comments

Does doing 30-35 miles all electric deplete the battery fully? How many days of driving till that all electric range starts to drop due to battery deterioration?

The latest numbers I saw was 80% energy at 2000 cycles, or 400 commuter weeks, or 8 years. If you drive far every weekend, then 6 years.

-Michael

This is the second large order that Valance announces in only 2 weeks. The first was for Tanfield/Smith which is by far the biggest order ($70 million). However, this one is (300 + 600)*9 = 8100 kWh and this is not bad either. Assuming a kWh price of $700 it is $5.7 million USD for Valence part of the job. It seems like Valance is competing with A123 on the plug-in conversion market and that they may be a little bit ahead. We have not heard any news from A123’s Hymotion lately. They should announce something similar very soon.

Wow! Great news!
100 conversions a month by the end of 2008.

Why do they have to use such small AA size (18 x 65 mm) batteries?

Could they not use at least D Cell 36 x 65mm or larger?

It seems crazy to use myriads of tiny cells - is it heat related, or do people just not make the larger factor batteries. I know Tadiran do.

It sounds like a cottage industry as long as you are using AA cells - a bit like the scene in Toy Story when they meet Buzz first.

In a developing industry I'm always glad to see deliveries rather than press releases.

Mahoni: my guess about the AA cells. They are both available and easily replaced. And since voltage depends upon the # of cells they may have chosen a higher voltage packaging.

Still, extra weight and assembly effort would be negatives. But early adopters have very pronounced views (and extra money.) And some will want a usable plug-in Prius now, not a really good one in 2010.

We are going to need lithium cells the size of beverage cans if we are going to get to EV/PHEV. There were license problems making larger NIMH and I hope that there are not similar problems with lithium.

We should not see patent issues with LiIo battery size because no one has been allowed to coop the underlying Li technology. And surprise we are seeing all kinds of innovation eg nanotitanate, Si nano wires, etc.

Now I see why Toyota doesn't make the Prius hybrid vehicles into Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles.

They have $12,500 reasons not to.

it is rumored Dewalt pays A123 $3.45 per cell for their tool powerpacks. To get a 9kwh pack you would need 1300 A123 M1 cells at a raw cost of $4500.. after including profit, packaging etc you can see where they come up with the price. Incidentally, M1 cells run far cooler than lithium phospate cells, simplifying pack cooling requirements.

A123 is working on larger cell sizes for EV use, so future packs will be simpler. It would be neat if each cell had its own wireless chip transmitting state of charge and cell condition, that would simplify pack construction.

see this article:

http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?ch=specialsections&sc=batteries&id=18054&a=

John: It wouldn't cost Toyota anywhere near 12,500 for Toyota to turn their Prius into a PHEV. Probably closer to half that amount.

And Toyota lost confidence in their lithium batteries due to safety issues. Hence NiMh presently.

- Herm

A123 and Valence cells have basically same chemistry (LiFePO4 + salt&pepper)...i.e. same cell design=same thermal behavior.

BTW, any news on the patent buzz around A123, Valence and UT?

It seems that on something this important the patents could be made more flexible so that the products can come to market from more companies sooner. Companies do exchange patents but some reasonable royalty arrangement might be beneficial to get more companies making the products. These are important to a lot of people and as long as the company can make the development investment back early, a monopoly license for a very long period may not be necessary.

yes, i'm a bit curious about the situation w/ the patent on LiIon Phosphate. It seems that it isn't an issue since both A123 and Valence are both selling the technology on the market. I'm a valence investor so would appreciate anyone shedding some light on this.

I'm also wondering why LIP is not used more in OEM applications - i'm sure you all are aware of the new legislation against putting spare liion batteries in your checked baggage. So if LIP solves this problem, why hasn't it taken off w/ the laptop manufacturers? An obvious reason is cost, but is that the only reason? could it also be that LIP is still not produced on the scale that LiIon cobalt is?

Darryl,
It could be a very good year to be a Valence Investor!
I also own a small amount of shares. Don't know the scoop on the patent issue, but I think Valence is going after Phoshtech for infringements and then they counter sued. Not to worried about it though...
Valence is on a roll!

I checked phostech's website, and they claim to have "exclusive rights" to the UT patent..if that's the case, then how are A123 and Valence producing LiPh batteries? Is there something different about their technology than the UT technology?

this is straight out of Valences's 10Q...

On January 31, 2007, Valence filed a lawsuit against Phostech Lithium Inc. in the Federal Court in Canada (Valence Technology, Inc. v. Phostech Lithium Inc. Court File No. T-219-07) alleging infringement of Valence Canadian Patent 2,395,115. Subsequently, on April 2, 2007, Valence filed an amended claim alleging infringement of its recently granted Canadian Patents 2,483,918 and 2,466,366. The action is in the initial pleading state. The Company is seeking monetary damages and injunctive relief for the acts of Phostech in manufacturing, using and selling phosphate cathode material that infringes the asserted Valence Canadian Patents.

On February 14, 2006, Hydro-Quebec filed a lawsuit against us in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas (Hydro-Quebec v. Valence Technology, Civil Action No. A06CA111). In its amended complaint filed April 13, 2006, Hydro-Quebec alleges that Saphion ® Technology, the technology utilized in all of our commercial products, infringes U.S. Patent No. 5,910,382 and 6,514,640 exclusively licensed to Hydro-Quebec. Hydro-Quebec’s complaint seeks injunctive relief and monetary damages. The action is in the initial pleading state and we have filed a response denying the allegations in the amended complaint. The action has been stayed by the Court until a final determination by the USPTO in either of the reexaminations of the two University of Texas patents asserted in the case. The USPTO has stated in declaring the two reexaminations that there are serious questions as to the patentability of the two patents.

We are subject to, from time to time, various claims and litigation in the normal course of business. In our opinion, all pending legal matters are either covered by insurance or, if not insured, will not have a material adverse impact on our consolidated financial statements.

Is this Lithium polymer (cobalt) or iron phosphate (no cobalt) based tech ?

Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4)

There must be some pretty bad blood between Valence and the University of Texas. You'd think being both in Austin they'd try to work together to a) make some money off this and b) defend their patents together.

Instead Valence is trying to open the door to anyone and their cousin being able to manufacture phosphate lithium batteries, and UT and their vaguely socialist Canadian brethren seem to be acting more like patent trolls than entrepreneurs.

The best case scenario for Valence would seem to be that they win the case (doubtful), then get bought up by a company that actually has the capital to seize market share.

Or maybe that they LOOSE the case, but can cut a deal or merge with Phosphion, but it sounds like that's a road they've tried and run into traffic.

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