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November 07, 2006



Some back o' the envelope calcs:

Charging a 70 kWhr battery in 10 minutes implies a charging power of 420 kW. At 440 volts, this is drawing 954 amps. That's some serious juice. Allowing 8 hours for an overnight charge at 220 volts would draw 40 Amps, well within the capability of most home electrical systems. 200 Amp service is common in residential new construction. 100 Amp is typical in older homes, but upgrading is not difficult.


The price is the key. If the price can be made right then the EV has arrived.


The Republicans get a shoeing and Altairnano produces. Heavens, how good to be alive!

greg woulf

Wow, that's a big jump.

I wonder how much the 70 kwr costs weighs and how long it'll last.

If it's under $10k and 1,000 lbs this is going to push some big changes.

Congrats to Altairnano on the development. I wish they had the contract with Tesla, which seems to have a more pressing vision of what electric cars should look like.


Wow, I had no idea that they were so far along. I'd like some price, weight, and size info too.

Ten 35 kWh batteries delivered in the fourth quarter this year? That kind of battery could really benefit a plug-in hybrid.


Jim from The Energy Blog

Obviously I don't have any pricing details, but as far as life, my Oct. 30 post reports on their life testing. They tested the battery for 15,000 deep charge/discharge cycles and it still retained 85% of capacity. Thats equivalent to 40 years of daily charging.

I am sure they chose to go with Phoenix because of production constraints, which may be less than Tesla's requirements.

Greg Woulf

No offense, but why would you want a plug in hybrid?

70kWh is enough for 250 miles, you can charge this at home, which has huge convenience bonus, and charge it on the road for long trips at easily installed charging stations.

It's a lot of energy to pump in at 10 minutes, but even at 20 it's not a huge inconvenience. The infrastructure is there as far as delivery through the grid. Installing stations is just a matter of having access to the road, and power lines, and installing a charging station hardware.

Of course there are safety concerns and all that, but this isn't even close to what the hydrogen systems would require.

This isn't even close to what's required to put in a new gas station.

Oren T

The car and the fast charging station will have to include some means of handing the heat dissipation. The charging cable would probably consist of thick conductors, a pipe of high pressure air for cooling and another pipe that takes the outgoing hot air and redirects it to an exhaust chimney.

It will probably be pretty noisy.


Fast charging is not needed.

Just take a pit stop at the restaurant, plug-in, and chow down. You've got 30 minutes to recharge. This'll do less wear on the battery.

I just heard that in California they are electrifying truck stops so that truckers don't idle to watch their TVs in their cabs while parked.

So truck stops are already wired & ready.

Bring on the EVs!


Hey Matt

re: This'll do less wear on the battery.

From my understanding this battery is kinda built tough. To go through the 15000 6-minute charge and discharge cycles means it can take it. This is an except from one of their press releases back in Sept 7...

"This nano-titanate material is a "zero strain" material in terms of lithium ion internal deposition and release. The lithium ions have the same size as the sites they occupy in the nano-titanate particles. As a result the nano-titanate particles do not have to expand or shrink when the ions are entering or leaving the nano-titanate particles, therefore resulting in no (zero) strain to the nano-titanate material. This property results in a battery that can be charged and discharged significantly more often than conventional rechargeable batteries because of the absence of particle fatigue that plagues materials such as graphite."

Remember this battery has a 40+ year life span under favorable conditions. 20+ is considering normal wear and tear wich still means you'll have a battery that'll outlive the car. It would be nice to cut the strain in half and maybe get a battery that can last 80+ years... I guess you can pass the battery to the your children and your children's children... And either way... your car will be charged before you finish your meal =)


Almost forgot... as far as pricing is concerned... the only thing I can recall reading about any price is that if I can recall correctly... Phoenix was in an article saying the vehicles will have a target price of around $40000 usd. I can only assume that's the SUV and not the SUT. And I can only hope that's the bigger battery. I'll see if I can find that link.. it's been a while... maybe like late Sept or early Oct.


Even thought the whole article is discussed in hybrid and EV terms, remember that residential solar power is also searching for a breakthrough in battery technology. 70kWh should easily run a house overnight, and a 20+ year lifetime is significantly better than current lead-acid offerings.


Oren T

10 minutes or 30 minutes - it's still very fast compared to an overnight charge and it's going to be hot.

Consider the fact that when you fill up at the gas station the energy content of the gasoline and pump's rate of flow translate to nearly a megawatt going into your car.

Thomas Pedersen

Jimmi wrote:

It would be nice to cut the strain in half and maybe get a battery that can last 80+ years... I guess you can pass the battery to the your children and your children's children...

I'd rather get battery life down a little and energy density up and/or price down.

I don't see much use for a battery that outlives the car, since by then standards, performance, etc. will surely have changed.

Hey, remember the Loremo car?


What range might this car get with a 35 kWh battery..? With a 36 kW three cylinder diesel, it gets 87 mpg, while accelerating 0-62 mph in 9 sec. Top speed 137 mph. Of course at a standard weight of 1000 lbs, a battery pack would surely weigh it down. Probably better to pack a smaller battery. I think it could be interesting :-)


Thomas Pedersen

I totally agree with you. I was refering to the comment by Matt and was trying to imply that battery stress is almost non-existant. I'll try not to use too much cynicism.

Keep an eye on Electro Energy Inc. They're in collaberation with Altair. The joint venture is to design a high density Li-ion battery incorperating Altair's nanomaterials and the bi-polar cell wafer design Electro Energy uses in their NiMh, NiCad, and Super NiCad batteries. This battery will be the one to power solar homes and the long life will really come into play. That's when it gets intresting. Not to mention the joint venture with Alcoa, and the other joint venture with ABAT, the Chinese battery manufacturer. Altair positioned themselves mighty well.

kent beuchert

A battery that outlives the car will be at least as useful as you will be, since you also will presumably outlive your next car. The batteries will retain value when the car no longer does, since the life span of Altairs will probably exceed 20 years. Your belief that newer batteries will make them
obsolete is complete unfounded speculation.
Whether there is some advancement in batteries by then is unknown, but considering the fact that from the time of the Detroit Electric in 1907 to the first EV1 90 years later there was zero battery advancements, the history of battery technology should inhibit loose claims about major imminent advances. Since the Altair batteries will be cost competitive with li ion types, I see no truth in the belief hereabouts that one is paying for unneeded
extended lifespan. The current li ion batteries have NO chance of outliving their vehicles, and cannot be recharged fast enough to allow for public charging stations, which limits their value to that of a preposerously expensive grocery getter - they very reason that the EV1, and the other electrics of recent years were such colossal failures. And deservedly so - they were anything but viable substitute for a gasoline powered vehicle.


Compare Subaru, an established auto manufacturer to Pheonix.

Who will actually mass produce and sell EVs through a dealer network? I still contend that this effort is a less that serious one.

Were this a real mass production attempt, they would go with economy cars first then build up to trucks and SUVs. Why is the obvious economy car mass market that Subaru is pursuing, being bypassed by Pheonix and Altairnano?

When Ford and GM start buying drivetrains and batteries from Phoenix and Altairnano, then one can take this seriously. But for now it remains a poorly funded experiment.

It is really too bad that the capital needed to bring the price of these battery/drivetrain systems into real competition with internal combustion drivetrains is almost completely under the control of those who favor internal combustion powered mainly by oil.

I wonder if the people working hard on this development at Pheonix and Altairnano have some insight into this situation from an insider perspective? That would be interesting, anyone who works on this project read this blog? Speak up please!


Hey Kent,

RE: "Your belief that newer batteries will make them obsolete is complete unfounded speculation."

I hope you didn't get the impression that I was implying the new battery design with Electro would make the Nanosafe battery obsolete. I was just trying to say that Altair and Electro hopefully will becoming out with a new Li-ion battery that can increase the scoop of their market share. Hopefully these new higher density batteries can be applied to other markets like energy demanding military applications, space applications, hydro... geothermal... wind electric power plants so forth and so on.

RE: "Since the Altair batteries will be cost competitive with li ion types, I see no truth in the belief hereabouts that one is paying for unneeded extended lifespan."

I need to elaborate more when I type =P I hope you didn't get the impression that I was trying to imply that we would be paying for unneeded extended battery life. I'm all for long battery life, atleast until we can starting processing lithium from sea water. Until than it's just another advantage the Nanosafe battery has. The extended battery life is a product of the materials Altair decided to use. It's one of five major aspects I believe are the advantages of using nTLO rather than graphite in a battery design. 1)long battery life 2)recharge rates 3)density 4)charging temp range 5)safety. I'm sure there are other reasons but those five really hits home runs for me.

Don't get me wrong I'm all for Altair and alternative energy solutions. Technicaly I'm part owner of Altair. I'm no major stock holder but I'm increasing my position every chance I get. I've been following Altair for some time now. Been keeping up with their press releases since late 2004. I must admit Eestor and their super capacitors are scaring me because of my financial position is with Altair. But we'll see what happens. Like I said before, Altair has positioned themselves rather nicely but I also know there are plenty of competitors out there... A123 systems, Eestor, Vallence, Toshiba just to name a few and all of them having next generation battery technology with specs very similar or better than the Nanosafe battery.

Hey Doc,

I was already planning to send Altair a letter and I might as well add your concern in there also, being that I'm a stock holder. I'm going to try and get them to approach the Virginia Port Autority with their Nanosafe battery. There was an article in our local paper here that there is a distinct effort to make our ports "green" ports to combat our local pollution. From 2001-2005 the VPA has expressed a 33% reduction of emmisions from the fleet vehicles and the equiptment used at the ports. I'm sure VPA would like to get closer to a 75% reduction. We also have a new port being built in Portsmouth VA that will be the first "green port" on the east coast. It will open by summer of 2007. The crane designs are all electric. It will have electric hook ups for the 18-wheelers so they don't have to run on idle while they wait for loads. An all electric fleet would be a nice addition. I hope Altair sees the value in that info. I'd love to see our area be one of the first to order Phoenix's SUTs and SUVs as fleet vehicles.


Good idea Jimmi! Sometimes companies do listen to shareholders.

I hope GM decides to buy their batteries and your investment foresight is richly rewarded!

Battery electric powered tug and utility boats around the port would be great also.


Thanks Doc for the vote of confidence. And good idea on the tugs and utility boats.

I'll be sending in the letter sometime this week. If you have any specific questions please let me know now. I'm no scientist, I'm no chemists, and I'm no engineer so I don't know what questions need to be answered.

Help me out guys... let's get this ball rolling!!!

David Stone

To drx,

re: Were this a real mass production attempt, they would go with economy cars first then build up to trucks and SUVs.

Actually they wouldn't. And they shouldn't.

Like the Tesla Motors idea, you start at the high end of the market and work your way down. That way you prove that you can make the best and improve the image of the idea you are trying to make a reality.
Sports cars need lots of power and speed, suvs and suts lots of brute power to transport loads. By showing that evs are capable of these extremes, people are more likely to believe that a normal everyday car is something that can easily get the job done by the time they are available. Until then, there really is no point.

Few people by high end graphic cards, but they buy from the company that has the best high-end product.

re: Why is the obvious economy car mass market that Subaru is pursuing, being bypassed by Pheonix and Altairnano?

Subaru is a large company with a brand that people trust. Phoenix is small and unknown. It neither has the cash for the large scale mass-production needed for the masses and it has yet to prove itself to them.

Everyday people are very reluctant to risk their money on something completely different, especially with the negative image of it they have been fed all their lives.

Companies are more likely to take a risk on something that might save them money, something evs are likely to do as a direct result of the amount they are drive which makes low running costs more relevant. These companies usually place large orders and if anything goes wrong with many suts, Phoenix will have fewer customers to deal with.
This will give them more security and allow them to grow.

re: Who will actually mass produce and sell EVs through a dealer network? I still contend that this effort is a less that serious one.

That is a good question.

Until evs are more popular, none of the majors will touch it. If and when they are, it will be less of a risk and more businesses are likely to make deals with companies such as Phoenix Motorcars and Tesla Motors.

That will of course only happen when both, and others, become large enough to mass product for non-business clients and have proven themselves to a risk averse, ICE indoctrinated public.


Hey David Stone,

RE:"By showing that evs are capable of these extremes, people are more likely to believe that a normal everyday car is something that can easily get the job done by the time they are available. Until then, there really is no point."

Very perceptive my friend. And "perception" is the key word in play here and the perception that the masses have on EVs has to change.

Tesla went high-end sports and has made a statement concerning EVs and their potential. When they start to roll off the line next year... hopefully the perception on EVs to the mass public will change a bit, especially since you have people like George Clouney and other Hollywood types part of the first production order. Than you just have to let the "herd mentality" set in. Add a lil marketing this with a lil advertising that, and hopefully you'll have a somewhat changed perception on EVs.

Not to mention that there are higher profit margins on sports cars, SUVs,and SUTs. Over the past year, looking at the corelation between SUV sales and gas pump prices, it's obvious the masses of people will only buy SUVs if the cost to fuel them is economical. I think Phoenix is trying to capitalize on this statistic and if their target price is $40000, they may have an EV that will be an accepted technology to the masses. Kinda smart to go after higher profits to help finance other designs and production roll-outs. If I'm not mistaken, Phoenix has other EV designs. I think they have some "PT Cruiser" looking vehicle that previously used Vallence batteries till Altair took over. I'm sure the "economy car" is in Phoenix's scoop of things. But as a business they need to make profits first.

Ed Owen

"When Ford and GM start buying drivetrains and batteries from Phoenix and Altairnano, then one can take this seriously. But for now it remains a poorly funded experiment."

This actually defeats the point. Anyone who thinks that the big three do not have the ability to produce highly efficient EV's is very naive. I happen to be associated with the Phoenix company, and they have some very solid ideas about how to take these vehicles to market. The price I have heard is $45K and the reason for the design choice is to appeal to fleet managers. Check out www.phoenixmotorcars.com for more info. If Tucker had had more clout, we would probably already be driving zev's, with his vision. Certainly our cars would be safer and more efficient. Fortunately, Phoenix has a tidal wave of popular and governmental support at this time. Wait and see what happens. I will definitely keep you updated.


Thanks for the perspective Ed!

Do not mean to diss the effort, my complaint is with millions instead of billions invested in it by government and capital providers.

I realize the amount of information a startup company can release is limited due to SEC regulations. If US automakers would back this drivetrain, mass production would soon follow and that 45k price would come down to allow direct price competition with Toyota and Honda pickups and SUVs.

And a 3k dollar tax credit from government for buyers would help too. Funded by cuts in fossil and nuclear power corporate welfare that they really do not need.

Any news on a possible solid oxide fuel cell/microturbine backup generator to increase the range and lower the battery cost and weight Ed? Now that would beat the now smaller US big three and the new japanese big three.

And they would all be bidding to license this drivetrain/battery technology.

As far as what the old big three can or cannot do, why haven't they done it then? I contend their boardrooms are filled with the same good old boys club as the big oil company boardrooms. Selling oil is the real main business of US automakers.

Thanks again for the information Ed! Keep up the great work. I am telling my new congressman, that I just campaigned for, to bet out tax dollars on the US workforce, just like this nation did in WW2.

That's how that war was won, and that's how this cold war (getting hotter)over oil could be won now. Before it turns into WW3 and a bigger war with mother nature where global climate disaster dwarfs the power of human created weapons.


"Until then, there really is no point."

Tell Subaru that. I bet they won't be listening. By the time everyone else slowly introduces their bigger electric/battery vehicles to the skeptical truck and suv portion of the market, the economy car market will be sewn up by Subaru.

Subaru's all wheel drive station wagons already beat SUVs, as Toyota and Honda pickups and SUVs have beaten US trucks and SUVs.

Big gas guzzler buyers (the Ford faithful for instance)will be the last to abandon ICE power. Economy/environmental minded buyers will be the initial battery/electric drivetrain market, just as they are the initial hybrid market now.


To Ed Owen,

I agree with Phoenix's decision to roll out the SUT and SUV models to fleet managers. Easier to convince one entity to buy 1000 units than to have 1000 entities (the consumer masses) to buy one unit each. It also provides a chance to monitor the vehicles performance and collect data at central location points. Data critically needed to compete in one of the most competitive markets. Not to forget the higher profit margins to help the buisness keep afloat and help finance future designs and roll outs.

But I also agree with DocX. What are Phoenix's plans for an economy car? Don't get me wrong David Stone, I still agree with you that the idea of a higher-end vehicle is needed to help change the perception of the masses. But that's done now. It's now in the hands of the fleet managers to aquire this technology. Time to move on to the next logical project... the economy car.

I've noticed alot of changes recently at Phoenix's website. Why is the site just based on the new SUV and SUT? Does Phoenix still plan to use that "PT Cruiser" looking design? Why are all the press releases just for the year 2006? What happened to all the other news like when Vallence had an agreement with Phoenix to supply the energy storage and energy management systems? Last but not least... are there any plans at all concerning an economy car? I would also like the answers to all the questions that the amazingdrx asked in his previous post.

Not to seem all critical, I would like to offer my congrats to Phoenix's new CEO. I hope Daniel J. Elliot's experience from Boshart Engineering will give you guys the added perspective to transform Phoenix Motorcars into "...the next multi-billion dollar car company..." as said by your Chairman Daniel Riegert.

Thanks for the additional info Ed. It's most appreciated!!!

John Hurt

MIT has developed nano-tube carbon li-ion batteries that have very little resistance to charge and discharge , low heat . They can be manufactured by a harmless virus which will attach itself not only to carbon but to other various elements including gold and can be condensed together by alcohal immersion . No cobalt is needed and is slightly lighter than the current li-lion battery . All of the li-ion battery manufacturers know about the research and are moving to that technology . Lowering the temperature of charging and discharging batteries eliminates electrical current waste and cooling equipment also making a safe and lighter power system . It works more like a capacitor with fast charge and discharge , less than ten minutes , but has the storage properties of an efficient battery with many years of charging cycles . This breakthrough technology is the best invention to arrive since Alessandro Volta's battery . The era of electric propulsion vehicles has arrived just in time and will provide affordable , long range EVs . The auto industry , oil corporations and OPEC will have a very huge paridym shift to contend with and the commuters will finally have a little more control over their world .

sean costello

price? a little over a million for ten 70+ kWh battery configurations installed, so $100k each?, however, these are 10 custom units, not standardized mass-produced, and they were over 70 kWh, how much over they dont say. but even at 35kWh which i'm happy with would be $50k so not bad if mass-production could put the price down to 20k. weight? their website says 90 Wh/kg. so 25 pounds per kWh, so 600 pound battery pack, not bad. they've got some awesome competition from 123power systems, though, in massachussetts and EEstor in austin, tx. so it's an exciting time to be alive

Aryeh Lin, Ph.D.

1.Electric cell is not a substitute to fossil
fuel, since it only stores electric energy,
not producing it
2.Electric cell has self discharge which is
equal to waste of energy
3.Imagine how much energy is invested in
producing all those "energy savers".
4.I myself have a patent on Lithium anodes
which have better mAh/g (10% reversible Li)
than current (US 5283136), and some newer
ideas..if anyone is interested.

Rik Forgo

The British Lightning Car GT (http://www.lightningcarcompany.com) will be using the Altairnano battery. But it also has a sticker price over $300,000 GBP.

Jeff Priddy

I have been monitoring this company for some time, as I have been interested in how the auto industry was going to receive this technology. The batteries do exactly what they say they will do. The environmental considerations are not an issue with this battery technology.
I have noted the Auto makers like Chrysler have looked into the battery. I also know that they have a big contract with the Telco industry to replace their backup batteries as well. We are talking some serious batteries here.
I know that there is an investor that has invested about 40 million dollars here not to long ago. This person is from Saudi Arabia, and appears to be an oil person as far as I have been able to determine. I really wonder what is going to take place now. The president has resigned the company here in the last few weeks. I have also learned the VP of the battery division has also resigned the company less then a week after the president. This leaves one person left in the company that is key to the battery design and manufacture, the chief engineer.
So where is the company going, my fears are that the technology is going to bought up and placed in the no further research and development required folder.
Realizing the nature of the Auto industry in the US I am thinking this is really never going to make it to the market place in the hybrid vehicles at the determent of the public at large world wide.
I am very impressed with the technology that has been developed to this point, but believe it is going to be disassembled and the technology fall to the side due to interests that compete with this technology.
I sincerely hope that I am incorrect in my evaluation of the current status of the company, but it is showing all of the signs of being bought out, at least the battery division. Stopping the development of the technology due to the competition in the industry is what I am expecting. Time will tell all, and if this does go the way I believe it is going to end up, then I for one am going to gat a little proactive with the government to ask WHY when clearly there has been a significant break through with this technology that it has been pushed under the carpet. But we shall see.

Eco Eagles

Our vehicle uses a huge batter pack. I am apart of Embry Riddle's Eco Eagles club. We are Embry Riddle's branch of the EcoCar challenge. We work to design, build and integrate solutions into an existing production vehicle. Solutions such as hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell drive train technologies will be explored. For further information visit www.ecoeagles.org

Pt cruiser accessories

Don't know what is wrong what is rite but i know that every one has there own point of view and same goes to this one..

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Batteries/Hybrid Vehicles