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July 26, 2007

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Comments

Mark

Hopefully Ford, Chevy, et al will get the message like a swift kick in the behind. I'm confident we can respond like we did to Sputnik.

Greg woulf

Whew, finally it's starting.

I think we'll see some smart cars hitting the roads and making a difference now.

The first step is to get the right kind of car going, and I think this is it. The next is to develop the batteries, and lower the costs so that we can reduce the majority of oil use and pay for future energy storage systems.

Gregor

And if you think oil is expensive now, get ready. The big oil boys know that EV's are coming and they are about to jam us as much as they can before too many EV's are on the street and their sales of fuel drop. Oil will be over $100 a barrel by the end of 2007, my guess.

They can see the writing on the wall that alternative energy is coming. What they have to figure out is how much money can they make off of us before these alternatives take over.

Charles S

There is still a possibility that oil prices will drop, whether it's by artificial means or unintentional consequences. There are rumors of OPEC starting to increase production by Sept. this year. I'm not saying that it would drop back to $1/gal, but when prices droped to $2.20 last year, sales of trucks surged. Any new non-hybrid cars/trucks bought today will mean less people in the pool who are willing to buy a PHEV, let alone a new fuel-efficient cars in the near future.

Toyota elsewhere quoted that the study will take 3 years. A LOT can happen in 3 years, and there are many obstacles that can easily delay or derail such projects.

I will be the first in line to get a PHEV Prius, but I'm not sure we'll see one in 2010. Let's hope I'm wrong.

kballs

Top speed of 60MPH? Is it me or is Toyota being way more conservative than the current plug-in Prius hackers? Or is this car just a Japanese Kei car (urban only)?

If they are just playing with prototypes, Toyota might as well dump the parallel hybrid drivetrain and go with series hybrid (like the Volt). They must just have so much invested in their planetary geared parallel system they want to keep using it as long as possible no matter what other viable options there are.

Carl Hage

The specs exactly match a normal Prius, but with 2 (NiMH) battery packs instead of 1, so this was a trivial conversion. Presumably this allows the software designers to test drive their work (a good idea) while waiting for new battery technology.

One interesting thing is the single battery is rated at 20kW but the (standard Prius) motor is rated at 50kW. I always wondered about that, and assumed they didn't want to run the motor at capacity. With 2 batteries, they could get 40kW, and get better acceleration (above 15mph) in electric-only mode. Perhaps they also need extra cooling of the electric motor if run at 40kW.

Beek

Toyota will have to go to Lithium-Phosphate (or is it now Manganese?). This is the only way. The issue is not technology or packaging. The remaining issue is mass production of lithium phosphate and pushing the production cost down - IOW, its a classic engineering problem.

All this futzing with parallel hybrids and 2.6 KWh NiMH midget batteries etc., is just to buy time and get that last dollar for their outmoded drivetrains and powertrains. Nobody is going to innovate and reduce costs (and revenue and profit) until they are forced to do so by the competition.

There almost appears to be a conspiracy by big motor companies to shun the LiFePO4.

Thank you John Goodenough (inventor of LiFePO4).

bogyom

This is the right car. I could decrease my oil consumption by 70% with this car. I dont think the price will be much higher than the 2004 prius (i would pay let's say $2000 more). The market is ready for this car right now. Let the plugin hibrid market starts, than they will imporve battery technology. I'm afraid GM lost again, the Volt is nowhere, they use expensive battery technolgy they wont be able to compete with this prius in price.

Rick

I'm pretty sure my next car will be a plug in - probably in about 5 years time - which will be about right for me because I just bought a new Corolla

Chan6372

I agree to Technofossil's opinion. LiFePo4 will be the only solution to power full function EV. The issue of mass production of A123 may be resolved by cooperation with a Taiwan's company, Changes Ascending Enterprise Co.. As I know, Changes Ascending can offer low cost, hige volume batteries. It is "Made-in-Taiwan", not "Made-in-China".

donb

technofossil said:
One interesting thing is the single battery is rated at 20kW but the (standard Prius) motor is rated at 50kW. I always wondered about that, and assumed they didn't want to run the motor at capacity.

The reason for this is that there are two motor/generators. The one you are talking about is connected to the ring gear of the planetary gear assembly, which drives the wheels. During low speed, high acceleration, this motor is powered not only from the battery, but also from the other motor/generator (running as a generator). The total power available is about 50 kW.

kballs said:
Top speed of 60MPH? Is it me or is Toyota being way more conservative than the current plug-in Prius hackers? Or is this car just a Japanese Kei car (urban only)?

As I understand it, the 50 kW motor in the Prius (as discussed above) is not designed for continuous operation at maximum power. This limits the how far and how fast the car can go as a pure electric.

Carl Hage

DonB, Thanks for the explanation on the Prius motors-- I looked up a more technical description. The Toyota customer diagrams are really oversimplified. It's an interesting design-- 1 gear and the difference in speed between the two motors acts in place of gears or cones and no need for a clutch.

I looked up costs for the various battery technologies, and played with them on a spreadsheet. Auto battery prices aren't available, so I used single quantity small cell prices as a rough estimate.

I now see why NiMH cells are used in the HEVs...

Current NiMh and Li-Ion cells are about the same in cost-- about ~$700/kWh, but considering the NiMH batteries only use about 50% of the capacity, NiMH is actually more expensive/kWh.

The problem with Li-Ion for a HEV/PHEV is that to get just the 20kW power, you'd need a minimum of 40-60mi range, $6-10K, and 50-65kg.

The Li-Polymer and LiFePO4 have enough to power 20kW in a 20mi PHEV, but are currently about twice as expensive as the basic Li-Ion cells, so a 20mi range still costs around $6K, and would be about 30-40kg.

The LiFePO4 cells have not quite twice the kW/$ of Li-Polymer, but 4x the Li-Ion. The NiMH is still double the kW/$ of LiFePO4, so only the wimpy 1.3kWh $1K NiMH battery is needed for the Prius 20kW.

No prices are listed for the A123 LiFePO4 cells (samples are 2X other LiFePO4 cells), but assuming comparable cost, the A123 cells have very high maximum power output, so are equal to the NiMH cells in $/kW and $/usable-kWh, but at half the weight.

Hopefully, the new battery companies will be able to bring the cost down. If they can get to the $700/kWh range, then a PHEV-20 battery would be around $3K.

I noticed the contract price for ABT Li-Polymer batteries was about $260/kWh, so maybe they could sell at $500 retail, and a PHEV-20 would be almost down to $2K.

George

And if you think oil is expensive now, get ready. The big oil boys know that EV's are coming and they are about to jam us as much as they can before too many EV's are on the street and their sales of fuel drop. Oil will be over $100 a barrel by the end of 2007, my guess.

Maybe, maybe not. If oil companies want to keep their franchise going, they need to keep the price of gasoline low enough to encourage people to buy stupidly large trucks. If gas gets really expensive, the demand for electric transport will be huge, and it will drive development that much faster. I think it's more likely that big oil will string us along at around the present price of gas, if they possibly can. They might even want to periodically lower the price long enough to induce a new round of vehicle purchases, then raise it again. No oil company ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the public...

Beek

Technofssil: The Li-Polymer and LiFePO4 have enough to power 20kW in a 20mi PHEV, but are currently about twice as expensive as the basic Li-Ion cells, so a 20mi range still costs around $6K, and would be about 30-40kg.

I believe that LiFePO4 can provide more power output than NiMH per weight. A 26650 LiFePO4 cell can deliver 50W (vs 32W for D sized NiMH). To get 20KW, that is 400 cells or 28 Kg and about 2 KWh, or 6 miles. I am not sure why you need 20 mi range?

But the LiFePO4 is cheaper than NiMH - checkout http://www.batteryspace.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=3294

The A123 nano (nLiFePO4) cells in volume I believe are $800/KWh. But blow everything else out of water as far as $/KW is concerned. Also cycle life is 8000 (8 times more than NiMH).

Forget about Li-Poly - too dangerous and expensive.

Carl Hage

Beek: I believe that LiFePO4 can provide more power output than NiMH per weight ... I am not sure why you need 20 mi range? ... But the LiFePO4 is cheaper than NiMH

Yes, LiFePO4 kW/kg is half (even less in A123) NiMH. I just took 20mi range as arbitrary-- I assumed 4.4mi/kWh, with 8.9mi/20kW power, so a cheaper PHEV-10 is practical with LiFePO4, vs the 40-60mi minimum for Li-Ion, and A123 can deliver 20kW with only 3.2mi range.

I also used the same batteryspace.com cell for the LiFePO4 price-- about $1300/kWh. AA NiMH is only $500/kWh, but these have really low power output, and only half the charge-discharge range is used, so I figure LiFePO4 is equal to NiMh in cost/mi-range, but half the weight.

I came across the Prius battery specs, and found it interesting that as newer higher power batteries became available, they reduced the number of modules and kWh range.

1997 has 69kWh, 35kW, 800W/kg,
2000 has 68kWh, 40kW, 1000W/kg,
2004 has 37kWh, 38kW, 1300W/kg.
Weight decreased 44->40->29kg. I assume they are using cheaper batteries and don't care about the range decrease of almost half, 69kWh..37kWh.

Two of the 2004 modules with 50% charge utilization, yield the 8mi range quoted (37/4.4).

Beek

@technofossil

Yes, LiFePO4 kW/kg is half (even less in A123) NiMH.

I think you meant double (not half). A123 (nLiFePO4) and LiFePO4 both have huge power ratings.

I also used the same batteryspace.com cell for the LiFePO4 price-- about $1300/kWh. AA NiMH is only $500/kWh,

The HEV industry does not use NiMH AA's. The use NiMH F cells. Price of F cell = $715 / KWh. But if only 50% of the charge range is used in NiMH, that is $1,430 / KWh, as you say.

LiFePO4 26650 price = $1,085 / KWh . Also, I suspect this price will drop quite a bit more with EV volumes. Note that the NiMH has been around for a while now and the price is already reaching bottom.

The Prius figures you quote are wrong. The Prius energy capacity is about 1.3 KWh. From the link provided, the 2004 Prius capacity = 6.5 Ah * 201.6V = 1.3 KWh. Or, 1.04 * 28 * 46 = 1.34 KWh.

The 6.5 Ah and 201 V is not per module, it is for all 28 modules.

If Prius had 37 KWh capacity, then it could go 160 miles on electric charge alone!

The Tesla has 70 KWh capacity and goes 200 miles.

Allie Petabelli

When you guys talk about Lithium batteries, you never mention Altairnano and its NanoSafe battery. Is it just hype? Too expensive as of now, or bulky or what.

Allie Petabelli

When you guys talk about Lithium batteries, you never mention Altairnano and its NanoSafe battery. Is it just hype? Too expensive as of now, or bulky or what.

Beek

Allie, ALTI nano-safe has impressive specs, although not as high as A123. Question is why are they not selling their batteries to the open market? It seems they only sell to customers that they have a relationship with.

A123 sells its batteries on its website - even the new 32157 32Wh battery is available today.

chan6372

I know you can get LiFePo4 at $0.5/Wh now from Changes Ascending, that is 18650 for $1.5/pcs. The $6.95/26650 or $5.59/18650 you got from Batteryspace.com is "made-in-China".
Right Now, LiFePo4 battery is available only by A123 and Changes Ascending.

Beek

Hi Chan6372 - there is no mention of LiFePO4 at Changs Ascending http://www.caec.com.tw/eng/product4.html

Where did you get the price of $500/KWh for lithium-phosphate? Its pretty low. How different is Changs Ascending from A123 nano-phosphate?

Beek

OK, now I see Changs Ascending manufactures LiFePO4 poder and LiMn2O4 powder. Where did you get the price for the cell? Does Changs supply nano powder to A123?

Carl Hage

Beek: The Prius figures you quote are wrong.

Oops, wrong row in the spreadsheet-- I should have read my post! Correction:
1997 has 1.7kWh, 35kW, 800W/kg, 44kg
2000 has 1.8kWh, 40kW, 1000W/kg, 40kg
2004 has 1.3kWh, 38kW, 1300W/kg, 29kg.
[I also meant to say weight (kg/kW) was half-- thanks.]

All the price quotes are bogus being retail cell prices [I used single quantity] since we can't go to Kragen for a car battery module. But it's useful to estimate retail module costs and compare technologies.

I too believe prices for the new Li technology will come down, and find this an exciting time on the cusp of a new era.

BTW, 2 1.3kWh modules were used in Toyota's PHEV to get 40kW [I assume]. The W/Wh of ~10 for LiFePo4 means you need about 4Kwh for that peak power, or about 18mi range.

I wonder what batteries were used for the Chevy Volt concept car (I guess A123 is the plan). The 16kWh/136kW-peak (40mi range) fits LiFePo4. With A123 batteries, less than 8kWh could give the needed power. Note the Volt has >10x the kWh of the Toyota Prius HEV module, so at the same $/kWh would mean battery cost would be >10x. If the retail-equivalent battery cost was cut in half and range cut to 20mi, then $4K isn't too bad for a battery.

Beek

Technofossil, power output is not an issue with LiFePO4. For example, A123 can easily provide 50C, namely 300 Amperes, or 1 KW per cell!

Now put 1000 of these cells together for a capacity of 32KWh, and you get 1 MW or almost 1500 HP!

LiFePO4 outshines NiMH and LiCo2 by such a huge margin that it is not funny.

A 2KWh A123 battery can deliver 100 HP continuously, and 150 HP burst. So you only need 2KWh with A123 to get 136KW peak continuous power (and not 8 KWh).

Take a look at this older 26650 A123 cell. The newer 32115 cell has twice the power of this one. http://www.a123systems.com/newsite/index.php#/products/cells26650/

rjake

Your folks are missing the big picture on the A123 battery versus the Altair Nanosafe. Granted the Nanosafe battery is about 18 months behind on the production learning curve so today they are twice as expensive as the A123 battery, but the cost will be down to the $500/KWH in 2 years as the volume of shipments ramps up. The Nanosafe batteries have a deep cycle life of 12,000 cycles versus the A123 battery that is rated at 1,000 cycles.

If you put this battery in your Prius it will still give you all the power you need for up to 20 years. The Nanosafe battery can also be recharged in 10 minutes and that gives you a range of 130 miles in the all electric truck they are developing with Phoenix Motor Car. I had the chance to look at this vehicle a week ago and also talked to the Altair sales rep. He assured me they are talking to everyone but when they talk to the big three automakers the talks crash and burn because the big guys want to own the patent rights. Anybody seen Who Killed the Electic Car? You don't want to work with GM.

Since I own both a Prius and a Hybrid Camry I was pushing on the sales rep to explain why they don’t have a partnership for a Prius conversion and all he would tell me is that they will have some type of announcement soon. Not sure if it will involve the Prius yet but at least it is progress.

The Prius currently uses a 1.3KWH battery and my understanding is that they only cycle the battery down to 75% capacity. An Altair Nanosafe battery could be cycled to a fully discharged and since it can be charged in 10 minutes you can get up to 97% recovery by using a high capacity generator when you are braking so you would have even greater efficiency for city driving. We need to see a 5 KWH Altair battery installed in a Prius. I believe you could get 20 to 30 miles of range and average 100 MPG.


Beek

The Nanosafe batteries have a deep cycle life of 12,000 cycles versus the A123 battery that is rated at 1,000 cycles.

Wrong. A123 spec sheet says 3,000 cycles to 90% capacity and 8,000 cycles to 80% capacity and that is with deep discharge.

Also, A123 can be recharged in 5 minutes.

Since Altair does not sell its batteries to independents, how do you know that your figures are true? Maybe its just a relabelled A123? hehehe

Kit P


“I believe you could get 20 to 30 miles of range and average 100 MPG.”

While pretending that no energy is required to produce electricity.

Reality Czech

Where did anyone claim that?

Beek

Kit P - let it go. Why this animosity with BEVs? A123 is real. Tesla is real. 1 gallon of electricity costs 40 cents. GHG and pollution is 30% of gasoline. Let go man ....

Carl Hage

All that matters to me is, when can these new companies start shipping production quantities, and what will be the $/kWh? It would be great if a 4kWh-usable battery could be produced for $2-3K (retail). There seem to be lots and lots of press releases on future batteries, but little to show yet.

A PHEV seems like a good solution in the near future because one can get away with a battery <1/10 a full EV, and at least the announced batteries from A123 etc. have the power needed in lower kWh sizes. Otherwise, the battery cost gets awfully high-- big difference between a $2K and $20K battery, unless it's in a luxury car like a Tesla.

It's great there is A123, Altairnano, EEStor, etc. all have announced great options for HEV/PHEVs-- presumably at least one of them will succeed.

I don't believe in a conspiracy at Toyota-- they are using the regular NiMH battery modules in the PHEV test presumably because they can't get the A123 or comparable batteries.

Beek

Who needs to wait for big-motor Toyota? A123/Hymotion coming to rescue. A123 is promising mass delivery of batteries in 1Q2008 for the Prius- going up to 125 MPG. Alsocycle life is 10,000 - double what is needed for a BEV.

http://jcwinnie.biz/wordpress/?p=2363#comment-13276

Marc Geller3 reports that A123 is requesting approval to sell conversion kits.

With the addition of the A123 battery module, a Prius gets between 125 and 175 mpg. They are beginning to do crash testing, and will meet emission requirements, in pursuit of a fully legal, compliant vehicle. Throw the ZEV mandate into the mix, and maybe we’ve got something.

Use the existing and growing base of hybrids, offer kits to authorized installers, and give ZEV credit to the original manufacturer in exchange for not killing the car’s warranty.
Hybrid drivers in California could finally actually get their hybrid converted.
ARB could finally take some credit for cars with true ZEV miles once again on the road without depending on the ever-resistant, crusher-happy automakers.
A123 gets to sell a lot of batteries without having to wait for the automakers to place orders of the magnitude they promise “once the batteries are ready.”


Plugs and Cars Commentator Felix Kramer, who is founder of the California Cars Initiative (CalCars.org), expounded on4 some key points:

* By the middle of the next decade, there will be 10-15 million hybrids on the road. [Implication is that many will be non-PHEVs.]
* A123 has been in discussions with Volvo and BMW about use of its batteries.
* Modules fit in the spare tire well of hybrids and are installable in an hour by a certified mechanic.
* The modules will be fully NHTSA safety tested, will comply with CARB and EPA regulations, have a 10-year, 300,000-mile lifetime, based on Argonne testing showing a 7-10,000 cycle life [a PHEV needs about 4,000].
* The method is not optimized — it simply makes more electricity available to the onboard computer. But Argonne tests show 150 MPG of gasoline use.
* Conversions of three-to-four million vehicles could move up the objectives of the Zero Emissions Vehicle program within a much tighter timeframe.
* A123 wants to discuss what combination of arrangements work, and offers backup and support.
* A123 proposes giving the resulting ZEV credits to the original manufacturers whose cars the batteries go into, thereby incentivizing them to participate instead of resisting and thereby educating the the public sooner.
* A123 aims to have the product in mass production by the first quarter of 2008.
* Meanwhile, having made no announcements, A123 is getting 500 unsolicited calls a week from people who want to be on a waiting list. [My advice: email to info@hymotion.com, don’t call!]

chan6372

Hi Beek
sorry for late response. I visited Changs Ascending and get their price of 10Ah cell for $15. The CEO said it will be down to $10 if mass production. Their cell is applied to vechile starter, motorcycle, bicycle.

Beek

Hi Chan - do you know what size their 10 Ah cell was? That is a terrific price. How did they manage to get the price down so much?

When can one buy these cells? Are they taking orders?

kert

Just so you know: you can get LiFEPo's from PHET ( phet.com.tw ) as well, and a few other asian sources.

kert

As to why the fepos can be cheap: they dont contain cobalt. While old cobalt-based lithiums have basically no room to improve in $/kwh ( well, apart from making bigger cells perhaps ) due to lower bound costs set relatively high by raw materials, especially cobalt, Fepos basically do not have that constraint.

Beek

Kert - thanks for the pointer. Do you know A123 LiFePO4 differs from that of Phet (or Chang)? With the Phet price-performance, why is Tesla still tinkering with LiCoO2?

Chan6372

Changs Ascending is developing BEV's power system using its 40138 10-15Ah LiFePo4 battery cell. The system will get ready before Oct. 2007. I am a closed friend to Changs Ascending's top managers. Please contact with Dr. Jimmy Chang(V.P.) by jimmy@changs.ascending.com.tw

Chan6372

Please correct my typing error to jimmy@Changs-Ascending.com.tw

kert

Tesla started out on roadster design quite some years ago already. LiFEpos only started shipping to consumers in volume when DeWalt came out with A123 powered powertools.
So the simple answer is, the tech wasnt there when tesla design was set in stone. Another thing is, LiFepo might have higher power density, but it does have lower energy density than Li-cobalt. Tesla might not have wanted to go from 200 miles range to something like 150 with their flagship product.
Another thing for Tesla, they have reiterated time and again, they wanna stick to something known to work, and Li-co has been on the market long enough so its known to work.

Beek

Kert, Chan - which Taiwanese company is it that is producing A123 batteries for them?

Also, how does Chang and Phet compare to A23 in energy and other attributes?

Is there a blog or forum that follows lifepo development?

Beek

Kert, lifepo has been around for a long time now. Tesla should start the conversion now to lifepo. Furthermore, I would reduce the range to 100 miles and one idea is to include a 50% duty generator as a removable option for longer trips. This generator will be about 10 KW and allow a total of about 200 miles without stopping at 65 mph. A 10KW generator is small enough that could be removed from the trunk.

chan6372

As I know, A123's battery has some mass production problems due to yield rate. It divides production line into some segments. A Taiwanese company is involved in the production line. It produces cathode material for A123, while a Korean company produces anode material and a China company manufactures the battery cell. So the yield control problem is happened.
Many users are considering LiFePo4 battery for security issue. If you can get higher power density and shorter recharge time, you may reduce the total power. I believe LiFePo4 battery will replace LiCo in the near future.
I do not get the comparisons. I do believe the A123's battery may have slight higher energy density than that of Changs. The Changs' battery has high yield rate so that it is lower cost.

trac

You can convert your Prius and others to THE battery of the future and make it PHEV using a123systems kit from their acquisition of hymotion in canada.

Claims 500 mpg in 30 mile commute environment, and you can still drive the gas further, recharge is as fast as you can dump AC into it. plud it into your house, uses nano lifepo4 technology that only 123 has via MIT license

amazingdrx

The Hymotion conversion for the Prius is only available to corporate fleet vehicles now and costs 12.5 k. the consumer mass production price will be 9.5 k, when it is available.

Those are rumors straight from Hymotion Prius drivers at the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair this past June.

Too little, too late. But it's the only plugin hybrid on the road. No one is talking about plugin hybrids but the blog world. And even here not many people understand the advantages.

This energy revolution is stalled, if not a complete failure.

Greg woulf

Just want to clarify the A123 vs Altairnano thing.

First, Altair is new, very new. They're not in full production yet. What the cost will be is not yet known, but right now is too high. ($70,000/35 kwh pack) They expect that to be cut down to less than $10k, but that's speculation. Right now it's clearly A123 ahead, and at best Altair will get close.

A123 +1

Secondly is cycle life, Altair is clearly ahead there. They have a cycle life of 20,000 cycles. This has been independently tested.

http://www.autobloggreen.com/2007/05/30/aerovironment-successfully-quick-charges-altair-nanotechnologie/

Altair +1

Energy density is in favor of A123. Altairs nanosafe is about half of regular Lith-ion batteries. That means it takes twice the battery material to get the range. Both are better than NiMh.

Power Density is a wash, both have enough to power a fast car.

To me the trade off between the two is life cycle and the amount of battery material, along with cost.

Does it make more sense to double for a battery that lasts four times as long? I think it makes sense for fleets, but I'm not sure for private use.

Beek

This energy revolution is stalled, if not a complete failure.

Too early to say that Dr.X. It takes time to develop a SPHEV and nano-phosphates or nano-lithiums are not available in volume yet.

To cheer you up, take a look at this monster from PHET (single cell 800 Wh lifepo that looks like something a teenage Islamofascist would wrap around his waist). This is certainly the largest single-cell lithium battery built.

http://www.phet.com.tw/Products/Pack_Spec.aspx

Beek

Greg, A123 energy density (125 Wh/kg is only 50% more than Altair 80 Wh/kg).

Don Harmon

Hey guys LiFeBATT has 40138 Large Format Cells available - check out their website @ www.lifebatt.com

DH

Philippe

Hey guys, is the Chans Ascending website still online? I don't manage to get onto their website...

Thanks

Chan6372

Changs Ascending is preparing their LiFeP battery data. They have 40186 battery. You can get onto their website in near future. If you want more information, please contact with Dr. Jimmy via jimmy@Changs-Ascending.com.tw or me(cheney6372@yahoo.com.tw).

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