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AeroVironment Achieves Electric Vehicle Fast Charge Milestone

AeroVironment (AV) formally announced that it performed a fast charge demonstration of a lithium-ion battery pack for EVs for representatives of the California Air Resources Board (ARB). AeroVironment had earlier described the demonstration in an ARB hearing on the Zero Emission Vehicle program. (Earlier post.)

The 35kWh (kilowatt-hour) battery pack, developed by Altair Nanotechnologies, is designed for use in the Phoenix Motorcar Sport Utility Truck. This battery pack is designed to allow the truck to travel more than 100 miles on a single charge. The test, conducted by engineers at AV’s Monrovia, California Energy Technology Center, was a milestone in battery fast charging, demonstrating the capability of fully charging the pack in less than ten minutes.

AV engineers used a grid-connected AV advanced battery charger rated at 250kW. Prior testing of the Altairnano NanoSafe battery technology by AV demonstrated that such battery packs can sustain several cycles per day of ten minute charging and two hour discharging. Each cycle is equivalent to an electric vehicle traveling for two hours at 60 mph.




Now we just need to get the cost of the battery pack down. These continued demos of Altair battery packs bolsters my confidence in them.


I wonder what Altair can do to improve their energy density? If they get up to 200 Wh/kg like current lithium-ion, it's pretty much game over for the old-skool chemistries.


If a battery charges as quickly as the Altair (with a virtuously limitless cycle life), is the energy density really a big issue? Yes, their energy density could be higher but AFAIK the only show stopper at the moment is cost.


I was at the shareholders meeting when this news was announced and it is a big deal. But i was surprised to learn that the REALLY big deal in Altair's future is Stationary Storage. Robert Hemphill of AES is on their bod and stated that the market for staionary power into utilities for load leveling is "unquantifiable" but at least $9B!

I also drove the truck and am convinced that it is EVERYTHING they have promised.

The age of the electric vehicle has begun.


Neil, I take your point for EVs, but the market for portable device lithium-ion is vast. Here, only energy density matters and 200 Wh/kg is where the current bar is set.

If Altair reach that, then the old lithium-ion chemistries are basically redundent and Altair are open to billions more in profit from that market too.

Henry Gibson

The peak power of 250 kw required to charge the battery is about 100 times the power required to power the average home. The charger would cost more than most cars and is the kind of load that power companies charge the highest rates for. These rates may be many times the late night rate for power. It might be interesting to see a test of the battery where the charge in one battery is moved to another in a few minutes.

Why not build a battery pack that can be dropped from the car and another picked up.

The real answer to electric car propulsion is the plug in hybrid with a built in small independant engine-generator system.

Two hours of running on the battery means that 17 kilowatts are being consumed by the motors on the average. This means that a 17 kw engine-generator could be running all the time to keep a much smaller battery fully charged and the car running as well. A tank of diesel and engine of this size has much better energy density than any battery, including fuel cells ever will. An OPOC generator of this size would weigh less than 40 pounds.

The full battery charge should have the car go 175 miles, and most cars only need less than 40 miles a day so two thirds of the expensive battery can be removed...hg...

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