Lead-acid versus EEStor

Here are a couple of pieces that appeared recently in Technology Review: one relates to EEStor’s recent announcement with Lockheed Martin and what it means for the company, while the other is a look at a new type of hybrid lead-acid battery with an integrated supercapacitor that claims to last four times longer than conventional lead-acid systems and to perform just as well as nickel-metal hydride systems — but at a fraction of the cost.

Obviously, for those watching the “EEStory”, the impact on transportation, power management, and portable electronics would be immense if the tiny company’s almost unbelievable claims prove true. In the story, EEStor CEO and founder Dick Weir hints that another announcement — this one “technical” — will be coming out soon. Meanwhile, makers of advanced lead-acid batteries, such as the “UltraBattery” discussed in the TR story, believe this new twist on 150-year-old technology (which they argue doesn’t get enough respect these days) could satisfy market demands for low-cost, high-performance hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles — at least until lithium-ion technology gets to the point where it’s cheap enough, safe enough, and reliable enough to make a difference.

Let’s not forget the recent announcement from Shai Agassi of Project Better Place and the Israeli government. It seems lithium-ion batteries (the Wall Street Journal reports that A123 will supply some of them) will be at the center of this very ambitious — and I must say exciting — experiment. All of these announcements and innovations around electric cars and batteries keep reminding me of that Eddie Grant song from 1983 called “Electric Avenue”: “Oh, we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue, and then we’ll take it higher.”

Okay, now I’m aging myself.

NOTE: While we’re on Electric Avenue, forgot to mention that Mississauga, Ontario-based battery maker Electrovaya, fresh off its joint-venture announcement with Malcolm Bricklin’s Visionary Vehicles (a hopeful electric car maker), announced Wednesday that it will soon be launching a low-speed electric vehicle called Maya-300 that will have a 120-mile range but be limited to 35 miles-per-hour. “It will be ideal for fleet operators in cities, universities and parks as well as the many households with a second or third vehicle for urban driving within a local neighborhood,” the company said in a statement. It did not disclose when the cars would be available or what the price might be, but clearly it’s targeting the same market as ZENN Motors and other low-speed EV makers aiming for the urban, second-car market. Click here to see a picture of the Maya, which will be powered by Electrovaya’s lithium-ion SuperPolymer battery technology.

6 thoughts on “Lead-acid versus EEStor”

  1. I saw somewhere (can’t remember where) that the weight of the current Ultrabattery leads to a 3% decline in mpg vs current hybrid batteries. But given the cost reduction vs other current batteries used in hybrids, it sure sounds like an acceptable tradeoff. CSIRO is working on reducing the weight, and if they can get the weight down, then it looks like the designs like the Ultrabattery could serve as basis for lower cost hybrids.

  2. Once in a while we need to go ice fishin’ with Stompin’ Tom; How different from the Maya, Zenn, Smart, etc is a snowmobile? And bonus we won’t need roads, since we’ll do everything local from the nearest train station. Pile on or pile in the trailer; we’re off through the bush for supplies -Woopee!

    What we really need is an electric motor that mimics a bored-out hemi. That you can hear the thing being coaxed to life, warming up, catching its rythym, gunning, pulsing and purring is a very important part of our love of the wheelchair (car). Its like the thing’s alive and we love that in our machines.

    Conversely to purring, an electric is likely going to elicit a constant whining (See/ hear demo videos). My bicycle with a cardboard flapper on the down-frame turned it into a motorbike, maybe its as simple as that; eats a few km’s but sure adds sex-appeal. They could also likely do some reverse-phase audio trickery to get rid of the whine, as in Bose’s noise-cancelling headphones. At least for inside the cabin.

    This is something the Aircar doesn’t have to confront; since its a piston-pumper it likely has some rythym, though the air-tools its based upon sound like dentist’s drills.

    A Ferrari or Lambougoisie or any Formula-1 type (high revolution speed as normal) engine is beyond a whine and into a scream, so here my speil hits a wall attempting a corner, since that whine is associated with desire. But then there’s a tradeoff with everything; extreme performance yes -climb a curb no, limiting the ubiquity of such machines; being by their very nature not for the masses.

  3. Folks interested in energy storage may find The Economist’s “Ne plus ultra” article of 31 Jan 08 of interest.

    “A capacitor can discharge and recharge far faster than a battery, making it ideal both for generating bursts of speed and for soaking up the energy collected by regenerative braking. AFS Trinity, a company based in Washington state, has turned that insight into a piece of equipment that it has fitted into an otherwise standard production model as an experiment. The result—the XH-150—was unveiled at this year’s Detroit motor show.”

    The story contrasts this approach vis a visa EEStor.

    Well worth the read…

  4. Do their caps hold 10x the energy at 1/10th the weight of a lead acid battery?

    Yes.

    Do their caps hold 10x the energy at 1/10th the weight of a lead acid battery?

    Yes.

    of oil dependency

    Do their caps hold 10x the energy at 1/10th the weight of a lead acid battery?

    Yes.

  5. when lionel liebman program manager at lockheed martin was askedDo their caps hold 10x the energy at 1/10th the weight of a lead acid battery? his answer was YES END OF STORY EESTOR HAS THIS TECHNOLOGY NO MORE DEPENDENCE ON FORIGHN OIL TY EESTOR

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