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Electrovaya Negotiating Supply Agreement with Phoenix Motorcars for Li-ion Packs

Electrovaya Inc. is negotiating a purchase and supply agreement and has begun work on a lithium-ion battery pack design and production program with Phoenix Motorcars.

Electrovaya’s program will be focused on the production of integrated battery systems for Phoenix Motorcars’ long-range, zero-emission, electric sports utility vehicles and sport utility trucks. These systems will use Electrovaya’s MN-Series (a lithiated manganese oxide-based system) Lithium-Ion SuperPolymer batteries and integrated intelligent battery management system (iBMS).

The MN-Series, introduced in 2007, offers up to 50% higher energy density and comparable safety characteristics to Electrovaya’s Phosphate-Series chemistry. Electrovaya has used MN Series cells in PHEV conversion packs (earlier post), and Raser Technologies is using an MN Series pack in its plug-in hybrid demonstrator vehicle (earlier post).

Electrovaya’s proprietary Lithium Ion SuperPolymer technology is independent of the composition of the positive electrode active material. As such, ongoing advances in positive electrode chemistry, such as the MN-Series, are expected to enable better technical performance and safety characteristics at more economical price-points, according to the company. Electrovaya currently offers three chemistry solutions for its polymer battery platform:

  • Cobaltate (150-220 Wh/kg) for small systems, i.e. cells up to 10 Ah;

  • Phosphate (110-130 Wh/kg), a lithium iron phosphate electrode material for large systems including transportation; and

  • MN (170-210 Wh/kg). The MN series is the company’s preferred chemistry for transportation. (Earlier post.) Electrovaya says that the chemistry can offer densities of beyond 330 Wh/kg and 650 Wh/liter.

The upgraded Version-3 intelligent Battery Management System (iBMS) for transportation applications, which Electrovaya showcased earlier this year at EVS-23, has been designed for 15V and 48V modules which may be integrated to form intelligent Battery Systems from 48V to 710V.

The iBMS is an integrated, CAN-bus solution with fail-safe capabilities. It optimizes the battery system for optimal performance at a cell and module-level, protects the system and provides system-level interface communications to optimize the battery system together with other elements such as motor, controller and charger.

The iBMS consists of both distributed and system control intelligence integrated in the battery system design. It is available in several voltage configurations and is available as an integrated solution for all three of Electrovaya’s chemistry offerings.

We are pleased to have Electrovaya join forces with us, and we are excited to be working with their team and their advanced technologies. Electrovaya’s innovative Lithium Ion SuperPolymer battery technology stands apart from its peers as a platform, chemistry agnostic technology. Electrovaya’s systems expertise and design experience provide what we need in terms of battery performance.

—Daniel J. Elliott, Phoenix Motorcars CEO

Phoenix Motorcars’ SUT and SUV vehicles are battery-electric, zero-emission vehicles that can travel at freeway speeds while carrying four passengers and a full payload. Phoenix Motorcars will develop and manufacture the vehicles at its facility in Ontario, California.

The project includes certain upfront engineering design services and hardware production. Electrovaya has received payment in advance for a substantial portion of this work.

Phoenix currently has a strategic alliance and supply agreement with Altairnano for up to 500 35 kWh Li-ion packs. (Earlier post.) In consideration for a three-year exclusivity agreement within the US, Altairnano received a 16.6% ownership in Phoenix. Phoenix announced in November that it would use a second generation of Altairnano pack that was more compact that originally projected.

In March, Phoenix announced it was working closely with Altairnano rectify warranty claims for configuration issues related the Generation 1 battery model. Phoenix had shifted to the revised and improved Generation 2 battery in late 2007, making the configuration issues unrelated to all-electric sport utility trucks (SUT) and sport utility vehicles (SUV) that are scheduled to roll-out to fleet customers in 2008.

Phoenix Motorcars has taken orders for fleet-ready vehicles for delivery in 2008 to companies such as Pacific Gas & Electric, City of Santa Monica, County of San Bernardino, County of Fresno and others.



interesting, i wonder if they are simply diversifying their suppliers or if there were issues with alti...


The issue is perhaps that ALTI still take $2000 per kWh or $70000 for the battery pack for Phonix. Others can do it for much less and are much more capable to deliver in volume. Also the entire first shipment of ALTI’s batteries to Phonix broke down after 6 months or so. I would say ALTI chance of success is minimal by now. The window of opportunity is almost closed.


"In consideration for a three-year exclusivity agreement within the US, Altairnano received a 16.6% ownership in Phoenix."

That was one sweet deal for Altair. It shows what companies will give away in the early stages to stay alive. They come to regret that later on however.


I'd really like to know what is actually going on here.


Phoenix's entire model was based on capturing valuable ($200k by some estimates) CARB ZEV Type III credits. These credits require 10 minute recharge which only ALTI could do. That's why Phoenix was so intent on exclusivity -- they didn't want any competition for the credits except million dollar FCVs.

Of course ALTI has had problems and CARB has changed the program YET AGAIN, so I guess Phoenix is "exploring alternatives".

Harvey D

Will thousands small Li-On cells ever make a good automotive battery pack?

Would much larger cells make better ESSUs?

Modularity, at the KWh energy level may be an asset to supply essential configuration flexibility but may not be an advantage at 2.4V or 3.7V minor cell level.

More R&D is required to find the best ESSU configuration. Toyota may be on the right track.


Oh puhleese. Toyota is resting on their Prius success. They made a bad decision to make cobalt Li-ion work, failed, and are not in a hurry to fix this.
There is plenty of Li-ion chemistries. Altair battery could probably be made to work reliably. A123 seems to have a working Li-ion battery.
SUMMARY of Li Ion cycle data from internet sources:
A123 – FePO4 – 87% good after 3,700 cycles at ?% DOD - ?Wh/kg (M1 battery is 108 Wh/kg)
Altairnano – TiO2 – 85% good after 15,000 cycles at ?% DOD – 90 Wh/kg (reproducible results? DOD level?)
EnerDel/Ener1 – TiO2 – 95% good after 1,000 cycles at ?% DOD - ? Wh/kg
EnerDel/Ener1 – NMC/HC (NiMnC/HC?) – ? at ?% DOD - ? Wh/kg (still being tested)
Lithium Technology Corp – FePO2 - 80% good after 3,000 cycles at ?% DOD – ? Wh/kg
Advanced Battery Technology – Lithium Polymer (chemistry?) - ?% good after 4,000 cycles at ?% DOD – ? Wh/kg
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd – MnO2 - ?% good after 3,500 cycles at ?% DOD – 160 Wh/kg
Toshiba (SCiB battery) – chemistry? – 90% good after 3,000 cycles at ?% DOD - 50 to 67 Wh/kg
LiFeBATT – FePO4 - ?% good after 1,500 cycles at ?% DOD - ? Wh/kg (3 year or 1,500 cycle warranty)
E-One Moli Energy Ltd - Mn2O4 - ?cycles at ?% DOD - ? Wh/kg (Exclusive contract with Milwaukee tools.)
Thunder Sky – chemistry? - 2,000 cycles at 80% DOD 3,000 cycles at 70% DOD 62.5 to 75 Wh/kg
Valence Technology Inc. - chemistry? - 90% good after 1,800 cycles at 100% DOD? – 77 to 85 Wh/kg
Electrovaya – FePO2 – ?cycles at ?% DOD – 110-130 Wh/kg
Electrovaya – MnO2 – ?cycles at ?% DOD – 170-210 Wh/kg

Don't take Toyota's word for it. They already have the NiMH Prius and are simply not anxious to compete with themselves.


I wouldn't dismiss Toyota... sure they are no hurry to go lithium with their hybrids or do plug-ins. But that doesn't mean they don't have the technology. They will be there when it's profitable for them. Just look at their lithium patents and you can infer how many people they have looking at this, not to mention at Panasonic. Incidently Honda also has loads of lithium battery patents. That's not to say that US venture companies don't have a chance, especially in the niche vehicle segments, but let's not lose track of the mighty and cash-rich boys in Toyota City.

Harvey D


Even if they are not saying so, many feel like you and would not be surprised to see Toyota come up with their own high performance, high reliability lithium battery pack by 2010.

Meanwhile, they can extend the useful life of their very reliable NimH units for another 2 or 3 years.

Since Toyota's hybrids are built to last a very long time, owners may elect to upgrade-retrofit to larger capacity lithium at a latter date, when performance is higher and price is lower.


So if Toyota made a Li-ion to replace the current NiMH and if the Li-ion had close to the 4 or 5 times power density often claimed over NiMH, would that enable plug in ability for all that switched? Guess a plug, charger and a few other goodies would be needed too.


It seems that Toyota takes a very conservative approach to these things. They do not make a lot of fanfare and hoopla about what they are going to do. They do things within their organization, they try things out, run the heck out of them and then discuss possible further action.

This is the Japanese way. I know a guy that worked over there for years and taught a cultural class in business school. The Japanese are very thorough and deliberate. They are not all that wild eyed and spontaneous, but when they make a decision, everyone knows why and is behind it. This makes for some pretty good harmony and team work that leads to a better outcome. Maybe we could learn from this as well.

Dave K.

Bet on it, Toyota is in the game big time, they'll suddenly whip it out and say "Want a PHEV? Here it is!". The chemistry they're exploring is very energy dense, and their blended approach plus their previous investment in the Prius and other hybrids will mean they can sell more PHEVs cheaper than GM. I think their real competition is going to be BYD.

Harvey D


You may have described Toyota's basic operation mode very well.

It is getting to be common believe that the next generation Prius coming out in early 2009 will have limited built-in PHEV capability with an optional double size NiMH power pack.

It is also fair to believe that the new 2009 Prius will be upgradable with higher capacity lithium power modules when they become available at an affordable price 2 or 3 years afterward.

Will retrofitting be as simple as swapping battery modules? Will the other components be able to handle the extra power? Toyota will certainly address those possibilities properly.


This may be off subject, but I talked to a gentleman who drives a Ford Escape hybrid furnished to him by the local electric company. He said the best average mileage was 27 mpg. I got better than that on my 1991 Buick LaSabre with a six cylinder 3800 engine.


some people get mpg in the high 30s with their Escape.. it all depends on how you drive it. Check out this database of mileage with ford escapes.

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