Intelligent Electric Vehicles and Smart Grids

Intelligent Electric Vehicles and Smart Grids

SEV connects to Smart Grid with J1772

SEV connects to Smart Grid with J1772

By John Addison (8/20/09).

The new freeway-speed electric cars will also be intelligent. They will be smart about using energy inside the vehicle so that it can go 100 miles between charges. The plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) will be smart about navigation options that consider your preference for getting somewhere fast or traveling with minimal energy use. PEVs will be full of electronics to entertain passengers, like kids in the back seat.

They will be smart about charging to meet driver preferences for saving money or charging more quickly. Smart electric vehicles ideally use a smart grid for charging. The electric utilities see the electric vehicle as part of the new smart grid which uses information technology to make the electric grid efficient, reliable, distributed, and interoperable. Years ago, mainframe computers with dumb terminals gave way to network computing. Similar improvements are now underway with the electric grid.

At the Plug-in 2009 Conference and Exposition in Long Beach, I joined thousands in seeing new electric vehicles, new smart charging stations, and joining presentations by leading auto makers, utilities, early fleet users, and sustainable city leaders from Southern California Edison, SDGE, AQMD, EPRI, and many others.

At the Plug-in Conference, the new Nissan Leaf got a lot of deserved attention. By the end of 2011, Nissan may deliver as many as 10,000 of these. Most will be delivered where utility and other partners have committed to complete programs to install garage, employer, and other public charging stations.

The new 2010 Nissan Leaf is a comfortable compact hatchback that seats five. Clean Fleet Report’s test drives of Nissan EV prototypes demonstrated plenty of acceleration. The Nissan Leaf is powered by 24kWh of lithium-ion batteries. The Leaf has a range of about 100 miles. In 8 hours you are good for another 100 miles with a Level 2 AC200V home-use charger; in 26 minutes you can be 80 percent charged with a Level 3 DC 50kW quick charger.

Transportation expert, Antonio Benecchi a Partner with Roland Berger forecasts that plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles will capture 10 to 20 percent of the auto market by 2030. The speed of adoption will depend on cost and early customer experience. If the lifetime cost of owning and operating an electric vehicle is less than a comparable gasoline powered one, 20 percent could be low by 2030.

When you get an iPhone, Nokia, or Blackberry, the cost of the smartphone depends on the type of subscription plan you have with the wireless carrier. Similarly, over the next few years, automakers and their partners may explore different business models such as:

·    Vehicle purchased with battery leased
·    Vehicle, battery, and energy for charging are all subscribed
·    EV and charging are part of carsharing plans
·    Integrated mobility offerings will include an EV

For example, the Nissan Leaf might be offered by a dealer for under $30,000 with battery and charging offered on a subscription plan by Better Place or various electric utilities.

If charging and subscription plans are kept simple, consumers will love it. If consumers must sign for different plans as they go to different cities, EVs will be a turn-off. Early cell phone users rebelled against complicated plans and big surprise “roaming” charges.

Standards are being put in place so that auto makers, charging station providers, and electric utilities will be compatible. A key standard is automotive SAE J1772, which standardizes the electrical connection, current flow, and some communication between smart vehicle and smart charger. This standard is compatible with important advanced metering smart home electric standards such as Smart Energy 2.0.

EV customers will be able to check on how much their EV batteries are charged through a web browser, their smart phone, or by looking at their vehicle dash. The networking and software is there, so that they could look at monthly vehicle use and charges.

Electric utility operators will be able to track, manage, and forecast EV electricity use thanks to smart charging stations with electric utility meter chips built in such as Coulomb ChargePoint Networked Charging Stations and ETEC, who has already installed over 5,500 charging stations. ETEC will be installing over 12,500 new charging stations thanks to a matching grant of almost $100 million from DOE.

I am on the wait list to buy the Nissan Leaf. When I get a new EV or PHEV, I would be glad to agree to a subscription plan that would save me $100 per month if I would agree to have my vehicle not charge during peak-demand hours. We’ll see if I am given that kind of option. Thanks to software services from GirdPoint and others, the technology is there to plug-in and having charging managed by user preferences and subscription agreements.

Utilities could shape demand to off-peak. Utilities could use EVs for spinning reserves and peak power using vehicle-to-grid (V2G). Dr. Jasna Tomic with CALSTART estimates that the national grid would only need 7 percent additional capacity to off-peak charge 100 million electric vehicles. Those same vehicles could provide 70 percent of the national grid’s needed peak power. Smart grid upgrades, customer price signals and subscription agreements could enable growing use of V2G in the coming decade.

Smart vehicles and smart grids create a trillion dollar opportunity for incumbents and innovators. The opportunity has attracted GM, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, and hundreds of other auto makers. It has attracted the world’s largest electric utilities and grid operators. This smart grid “Internet” for electricity now has devoted teams inside IBM, Google, Cisco, Microsoft, and other information technology giants.

Intelligent electric cars are symbiotic with the smart grid. The communication technology is here. It is the business models and customer experience that count. Get ready for the most comfortable and intelligent ride of your life.

Top 10 Electric Car Makers

Toyota Lithium Battery Delays and Advancements

Toyota Lithium Battery Delays and Advancements

Plug-In Hybrid

By John Addison (8/13/07)

Toyota Prius enthusiasts may now be forced to wait until 2012  Prius plugin hybrid with lithium batteries. It was hoped that the shift to these batteries would give hybrids better miles per gallon and accelerate the availability of a plug-in hybrid sold and warrantied by a major auto maker.

There could be several reasons for the delay. One is that lithium batteries continue to be more expensive than the nickel metal hydride batteries that Toyota now uses. Another is concern about bad press from even a single incident of a thermal runaway. Apparently Toyota in its JV with Panasonic is developing lithium cobalt oxide battery chemistry. A similar chemistry caused some Sony laptops to catch fire.

Warranty requirements of 150,000 miles are a big hurdle, especially in a plug-in hybrid which makes far greater demands on the battery stack than a conventional hybrid.

Toyota (TM) did provide significant encouragement with the announcement that it is demonstrating ten plug-in hybrids (PHEV) and plans to follow with commercial sales. The new Toyota with its NiMH battery pack and has an all-electric range of only 13 kilometers (8 miles) and a maximum speed of only 100 km/h (62 mph) in electric-only mode. Green Car Congress

Eight of the new Toyota PHEV will be demonstrated in Japan. Two will be demonstrated in California, which may currently be the world’s biggest market for hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and freeway speed electric vehicles. California ZEV Program

Toyota’s delays with lithium batteries give General Motors the opportunity to be first. GM plans to sell a 2010 model year Saturn VUE Green Line plug-in hybrid. GM is evaluating using the A123Systems’ nanophosphate batteries.

General Motors and A123Systems will co-develop cells with A123Systems’ nanophosphate battery chemistry for use in GM’s electric drive E-Flex system. The first car likely to use the E-Flex drive system is the Chevy Volt. GM announced that it plans to move ahead with road testing the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid electric passenger car by spring 2008. GM’s chief of global products, Bob Lutz said, “We’ll have some on the road for testing next spring, and we should have the Volt in production by the end of 2010.”

A123Systems has received venture capital investment exceeding $100 million. It has demonstrated volume manufacturing success in making over 10 million lithium nanophosphate batteries annually for Black and Decker power tools and other customer applications.

A123 has developed two Automotive Class Lithium Ion cells, the ultra high power AHR32113M1Ultra and the more energy dense AHR32157M1HD. These two cells, designed for HEV and PHEV applications offer extremely low cost per Watt and Watt-hour, respectively.

The AHR32113 uses the new Ultra electrode design, offering yet higher power over that seen in the traditional 26650M1. Alternatively, the 32157 uses a more energy dense electrode, geared for the higher energy requirements of the PHEV marketplace, while not sacrificing the power capability needed for charge-sustaining operation. A123 Battery Details

Altair Nanotechnologies (ALTI) claims double the power density of A123. At the start of the year, Altair issued the following: “On January 9, 2007, we entered into a multi-year purchase and supply agreement with Phoenix for lithium nanoTitanate battery packs to be used in electric vehicles produced by Phoenix. Contemporaneously, Phoenix placed firm purchase orders for 35KWh battery pack systems valued at $1,040,000 to be delivered in March and April of 2007 and placed an indicative blanket purchase order for up to 500 battery pack systems to be delivered during 2007 (projected value between $16 and $42 million).”

Phoenix Motorcars, a private company, announced an order for 200 electric trucks from PG&E, with the first two to be delivered by June. In my recent August meetings at PG&E, I was informed that they had not received the two trucks from Phoenix. Delivery is now expected in January 2008. PG&E stated that there is no order for 200.

During its August 9 investor conference call, Altair announced that Phoenix’s fund raising was not progressing as expected, and that projected 2007 shipments from Altair would not be reached. For Altair, one challenge will be progressing from impressive lab results to low-cost volume manufacturing. Altair lost over $5 million last quarter and only has $20 million in cash left.

The State of New York continues to evaluate converting at least 500 of its hybrids to plug-in hybrids. Electrovaya (TSX: EFL) has delivered a converted Ford Escape SUV Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Electrovaya uses its MN Series Lithium Ion SuperPolymer cells—a lithiated manganese oxide-based system. Electrovaya’s testing indicates 130 mpg for the converted PHEV. Green Car Congress

Recognizing that a 150,000 mile warranty is an obstacle to putting clean PHEV on the road, South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) ordered 30 more plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) that are likely to achieve over 100 mpg with 50,000 mile warranties. Ten will be Toyota (TM) Priuses converted to PHEV by A123 Hymotion using A123 lithium batteries. 20 will be Ford (F) Escapes converted to PHEV by Quantum (QTWW) using Advanced Lithium Power batteries. AQMD Award

Tesla gives people the opportunity to drive battery electric vehicles (EV). Unlike the PHEV, the Tesla Roadster does not use a gasoline engine, it is pure electric. The Roadster is hot and pricy, starting at $92,000. In the future, Tesla plans to offer a more affordable 4-door sedan EV named WhiteStar. A secret to making a five-seat sedan electric vehicle for $50,000 will be lowering the cost of the battery stack. While major auto OEMs are betting on new lithium chemistry in larger form factors, Tesla integrates 6,831 commodity 18650-sized lithium-ion cells into the 56 kWh Energy Storage System (ESS) pack. The 18650 size is somewhat larger than an AA battery. The size is popular in a range of consumer electronics. Millions are made in high-volume, low cost manufacturing. Tesla Article

Although the road to clean transportation can be bumpy, in the future, we will have increasingly affordable PHEV and EV choices that allow us to use home and work electric power, saving fuel cost and lowering emissions.