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May 11, 2007



With costs reduced to the point of making comparable profit, the next step would be to offer a plug hybrid option to consumers (for additional $$$), perhaps taking a hit on profits to jump-start the market, just as Toyota did with the Prius up until recently.


Exactly what cost-cutting measures are they taking? Economy of scale? Reduced quality? Fewer features? Reduced production steps? Squeezing suppliers? Gov't Subsities? What...?


I love it! I'm looking forward to the time I can plug my car right into the SUN from my solar panels on my roof. I think we would never fight another war for oil ever again. The funny thing is that the tecnology is hear already. We are just held hostage by our frendly oil lobby who would rather we keep our dependence on them. I for one am not going to wait for big business or the government to solve my problems. I will be the change i want to see in the world. I will HarvestTheSun Now.


Are we committed to the strategic fusion of technological genius with social conscience, public purpose with private resources, and ecological defense with fiscal dividends.Don't wage war for oil so I can drive when I can Plug my car into the SUN from my solar panels on my roof. Solar recognizes the planetary environment as the ultimate matrix of life and well-being, and thus the wisest focus of human creativity and investment. The Suns Harvest therefore nurtures innovative approaches to the planet's ecological crises that can be sustained by rewarding financial returns. In Solar's view, the environmental challenge we face is profound and two-fold: preventing further harm in the future and curing the harm already at hand. Solar embraces a balanced approach to this challenge, especially with regard to the all important energy sector, which has caused so much damage in the past, but still offers the key to global renewal and health. Currently, TheSunsHarvest is working to pioneer the green energy sources of the future, as well as the benign, effective remedies to the fossil fueled ills of the seas and the skies.
Thanks for reading now what are you going to do about it? The time is NOW!
Tommy SUN

Thomas Marihart

Li-Ion? Ho-hum. Plug-in? Sign me up.

That's more important.

We're talking less than $500 in parts here to basically allow for plug-in and/or V2G type capability.

Hell, I'd pay another $2K for a car with this capability alone...and to be able to go camping or have an available BU power supply for my house? BONUS.

One of the single most singificant things we could do to reduce our dependence on oil is to take advantage of charging/refueling cars overnite. This would put a big dent in our demand for oil and help the utilities load level better with the assets in place.

We could also shift more of our demand for transport related energy to renewables.

Bottom line: If these boys can't get at least a standard plug in option in on the new cars, then somethings rotten.


By 2010 GM is supposed to have the Volt in production. Because it is a serial plugin hybrid, instead of a paralell hybrid like the Prius, the first 40 miles of driving will be all on battery power.

This reduces average gas consumption by 90%. Making the Prius obsolete with it's maybe 10% increase in gas mileage over an ICE economy car.

Now the question is, will GM actually mass produce their serial plugin hybrid Volt drivetrain?

Will this force Toyota to dump their present prius drivetrain with only very small incremental gas savings (a diesel car can equal it's mileage)and produce a serial plugin hybrid to compete with gM? Will honda and others follow?

Toyota is faltering at number one if they are actually serious about continuing with paralell hybrids. They are a dead end. The electric motor is too small to power the car on battery alone, which is necessary in a plugin.

The Volt drivetrain at the equivalent of a 160 horse power gas engine, is suitable for SUVs and trucks. Half this power drivetrain would be great for economy cars.

Tom mcGreer

Your comment about Honda to follow and the difference between parallel and serial should note that Honda is ONLY parallel, meaning ICE AND electric motor push the car. However, Toyota's is both, meaning under some conditions the electric motor alone is pushing the car (serial operation). Toyota has been indicating they would go Lithium Ion for some time and in my opinion they would ONLY do that under the condition of a plug in system.

The problem with Lithium Ion is length of life and safety. The current batteries have a life of about 700 to 1000 cycles, which has to be why Toyota has delayed this release. As for safety unless the batteries are designed so each cell is it's own battery they can explode or something like that.

However, the Car manufactures know of but will not use Altairnano's Lithium Ion batteries because they have no ending life. What they want is a cheap Lithium Ion battery that will last for about 4000 cycles. Then you as the user will have to come back to them for a new car in the current 5 to 10 year cycles.

Altairnano's batteries have tested so far up to 20,000 cycles (over 54 years of one charge per day, and I think they will NEVER fail. In fact the power companies are looking at these batteries just because of the long life. As for safety they have fixed that problem and in fact they call their battery the "NanoSafe batteries".

As for GM, I said the same thing as to whether they would produce, but some interest statements came from the China Auto-show. GM is suppose to have indicated that instead of an ICE APU to generate 53 KWatts it could be a Fuel Cell. They even indicated they had a new 4th generation fuel cell. The best operation for any proposed fuel cell car would be a battery operated electric drive (serial operation)where the car does not wait for the fuel cell to power up and could drive distances (like 40 or 60 mile) on battery power only. Then the fuel cell would go to full power recharging and powering the car until the batteries were full. Then off again until the batteries needed charging again, and so on. This would be a plug in fuel cell system (and some may call this a hybrid - I don't).

I thought Toyota was heading down the wrong path also, but their design is the best Hybrid you can have. With some simple software (voltage regulator field strength across the generator) they can transfer back and forth from parallel to serial operation. All they have to do is add additional battery storage and they can have addition serial operation.

However, I have never seem this written about Toyota but most of the other high powered electric drive cars are using water to cool the electric motor. This may be a bigger problem for Toyota in that their electric motor can not run continuously because of heating issues. their system was NOT designed to run continuously.

Tom McGreer GreenWorks


It's all good. I've read they're targeting 90 mpg. With improved Li Ion battery and larger electric motor 60 mpg will be trivial, and 70 mpg will not be hard. They can use economies of scale and technical improvements to achieve this while reducing cost. They can sell millions of these cars, make a profit, and reduce the world's rate of fuel use. Sounds good to me.
Toyota is in the lead. Why should they leapfrog themselves? Why not profit from their lead? It's a business.
It's GMs problem to leapfrog to a PHEV design, if they want to re-enter the PHEV/EV market of the future. Phoenix, Tesla, ZAP, and other startups are already going after the EV market. Phoenix plans to market a PHEV next year and may be ahead of the others. All the large car companies will have to pursue the PHEV/EV market to compete. They know this. They are almost all (all?) working on PHEV designs. Toyota has already admitted they are working on a PHEV design. Why release this early and upstage a profitable product?
Welcome to the true beginnings of the electric ground transportation revolution ...joined at the hip by the solar revolution. Reduced fuel use and reduced carbon footprint for ground transportation is virtually unavoidable. Now if we can solve the coal problem and maybe reduce our heat energy output, or compensate for it.


The smaller electric motor and cooling problem with continuous operation make the Prius drivetrain incapable of serial operation that would adequately exploit the liquid fuel savings of plugin technology. 40 miles on battery electric is the main plus of the Volt and other serial plugin hybrids.

Then there is the unecessary expense and complication of the mechanical link between the electric motor and ICE all managed by complex computers. When converting a Prius to plugin, the main expesne is computer replacement. The first cost 40k to convert I think? Most for computers.

Fuel cell? Do you mean hydrogen fuel cell? that is a dead end, the refueling infrastructure is too expensive and poses uninsurable risk (customers self serve fillups with 3000 psi hydrogen? Who would insure that activity?).

If we are talking solid oxide fuel cell/microturbine that runs on any liquid fuel available at gas stations everywhere, I'm all for it. That's a much better backup generator than an iCE. With three times the efficiency.

Boeing is working on these for electric power backup on their airliners and as a power source for unmanned aerial vehicles.

When GM talks hydrogen fuel cell it is a sign they are not serious about the Volt. When they talk ICE generator it has a possibility of actual production.

In fact the EV1 with one quarter the batteries and an ICE generator would make a really great serial plugin hybrid. But GM killed the EV1.

Will survival instinct overcome the love of gas guzzling for the boardroomates at GM? We'll see. The board roomies of exxon and gM are on very intimate terms and it would be a shock if GM produced a car that cut consumption of exxon's main product by 90% (on average).


DrX - I believe the Chinese are interested in methanol fuel cells and that may be what GM is offering(?) The Chinese are having difficulty affording and securing oil at high prices and are pushing methanol as their renewable strategy.

The boardroomies will indeed fight the BEV. But they cannot fight the market. The market will prevail. If GM does not build the SPHEV (serial PHEV), then ZAP or the Koreans or the Chinese or Indians will. It is so much simpler to build and service and maintain an SPHEV or BEV than an ICE.

Oil for small vehicle transportation is dead, IMO. But of course population and economic growth will mean that oil/gas will always be in demand.


I agree totally with mds and Beek. I am hoping my next car will be a plug-in hybred EV. The plug-in feature is so obvious I just can't believe it will be over looked by Toyota. I just bought a 2007 Toyota van and I hope the next generation hybred power train will be available in the vans for my next purchase.

Also, I hope we can get smart like so many other countries and start building safe clean nuclear power plants. The new GE and Westinghouse designs are superior. No other source is as low cost, safe and "green" as nuclear.

DrX... forget the microturbine idea. If I recall my thermodynamics 101 class correctly there is no way they will ever be efficient... it's the physics.. i.e. it's a law. (the law of physics that is) I used small turbines in industry (Solar Turbines now owned by Cat) and they, like their larger counterparts, are not good for start and stop service. They are best suited for low weight, high power contineous service applications... e.g. airplanes, etc. JohnBo


Serial PHEV is the way to go.

Cuts out the cost/weight/maintence/volume of a fully gasoline drivetrain.

And limits it to the bare minimum to generate some backup electricity.


And the funny part is, hydrogen fuel cells running off of H2 derived from natural gas (i.e. Practically where all of it comes from right now) is actually worse than Oil.

Meanwhile electricity from Coal is actually BETTER in CO2 than Oil. (Assuming you're comparing an electric car to a normal car. A prius is dead even with an electric Prius. And a Serial PHEV on Coal electricity would be better than a Prius)


Hehey, thermodynamics 101 eyyh? When you use a turbine to feed off the waste heat from a 50% efficient solid oxide fuel cell, running on liquid fuel, methane, or cellulose, the total efficiency rises to 75%.

10 moving parts versus 1000s for an ICE generator. That's probably why Boeing is working on them.

And the these fuel cells are cheap, with no exotic materials. The fuel cell/turbine would not stop and start with the car. The electric drivetrain would do that.

The backup fuel cell generator would come on when the batteries are low or when the vehicle needed very high power for acceleration or climbing very steep grades.

Nuclear power is too expensive and takes too long to build for everyone except nations seeking to build nuclear weapons. It is not a viable energy solution.

Distributed renewable generation and storage and conservation is the solution to our global energy, oil and nuke war, and GHG problems. And of course reproductive rights for women in order to get human over population under control.


Grey Falcon, thanks for the link.

Due to the higher F2W (fossil to wheel) efficiency of the BEV and high capacity SPHEV, I suspected that coal+BEV would produce less GHG and pollutants than oil. In fact, it would be better to use the oil to run diesel generating plants at 40 to 50% efficiency, than to burn it in the vehicle.

Everything depends on unit price of nLiFePO4/nLiTiO2. I think the technology is fully proven, or is not an obstacle. The only interesting question remaining is what is the cost of mass producing these materials and batteries.

Question: what are the variations of the LiFePO4 battery? How does the LiFePO4 battery sold by www.powerstream.com compare to that of A123? Is it nano structured?


DrX, you are right on the micro turbine, I didn't read carefully what you said. You are right about the over population of humans on earth. But you are wrong regarding nuclear power. It's safe, clean and low cost. Also, we need the bombs to bomb those who want to bomb us. :) JohnBo

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Used Cars

There is chance of explosion with the Li-ion batteries because they work by separating its positive and negative sides by electrolyte, and they allow lithium ions to pass through from one side to other, thus generating current, so in this process bits of metal get stuck in those perforations so pressure and heat can then build up which causing explosion.

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