Friday, June 29, 2012

New LiFePO4 CALB CA180FI available at EVTV Store for 252 USD

The awaited New LiFePO4 CALB CA180FI available at EVTV Store for 252 USD !

I think Jack ordered 100 of them, will keep some for testing, and from his last blog post he says they should set new records of performance for LiFePO4 cells, so the stock will decrease very fast in my opinion ...

They come with 70mm braided copper straps and NordLock washers

Train + Smart ED in Rome

The Hertz Corporation has partnered with Italian high speed rail operator Italo-NTV to offer a fleet of discounted smart fortwo electric drive rental vehicles from two train stations in Rome.

The partnership forms part of the Rome Manifesto, which aims to increase the use of electric vehicles and sustainable transport in the Italian capital. Ticket holders will be able to rent the vehicles from €8 per hour, with electricity for recharging provided by Italian utility company Enel.

Giuseppe Sciarrone, general manager, Italo-NTV, said: ‘Italo is an eco-friendly train that offers a greener way to travel. The train offers less noise pollution and energy consumption than other forms of transport and is 98% built from recyclable materials - a testimony to our strong commitment to the environment. Thanks to our partnership with Hertz, we are particularly glad to be able to offer our passengers a sustainable and efficient solution to get around in the city once they step off the train.’

Hertz offers a fleet of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles covering three continents, including London and Oxford in the UK, Washington D.C., New York and San Francisco the United States and another in Shanghai, China. The company said it plans to use its fleet management tools and consumer-facing GPS systems, such as Hertz NeverLost in the United States, to form an electric vehicle grid.

Massimiliano Archiapatti, general manager, Hertz Italy, said: ‘Through our close co-operation with Italo-NTV, the operator's customers can easily go from the train to electric vehicle to get to their final destination. The smart fortwo electric drive's offer a fun and perfect solution to move about in the city - and will help support the Rome Manifesto for electric vehicles.’

Source: EVFleetWorld

Thursday, June 28, 2012

BMW i Born Electric Tour makes first stop in Rome

Rome. The BMW Group inaugurated the BMW i Born Electric Tour at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni located at Via Nazionale 194 in Rome. The worldwide tour will go on to visit six other major cities over the next 12 months: Dusseldorf, Tokyo, New York, London, Paris, and Shanghai.

BMW i was introduced by the BMW Group last year and is now in the process of preparing for the launch of vehicles under the brand in coming years. The models will be characterized by extremely low environmental impact and designed for the express purpose of reconciling the demands for individual mobility and sustainability.

Two prototypes are being presented at the event: the BMW i3 Concept and the BMW i8 Concept. With its zero-emissions all-electric engine and a range of about 150 km, the BMW i3 Concept was designed expressly for city use. True to BMW, it also offers a dynamic driving experience.

“We are very proud,” stated Franz Jung, President and Managing Director of BMW Italia S.p.A., “that this world tour is starting out from Italy and from the city of Rome. This major urban city is predestined for innovative solutions and we wanted to confirm our commitment to sustainable mobility. Furthermore, we believe that the automobile represents an asset for society in terms of contributing to the creation of value, and at the same time, represents an irreplaceable means of individual mobility.”

The presentation in Rome is designed to demonstrate the BMW Group’s holistic approach to future mobility, not only in terms of products displayed, but also in terms of networking information, technologies, and transportation systems. The initiative also benefits from collaboration with the Italian architect and designer, Fabio Novembre. Through collaboration with the Officina Design and Driade, he will create his interpretation of the city and be the first of seven major world-class artists engaged to offer their visions of the urban context.

To underline the integrated approach of the event, other local designers and businesses working in the field of sustainable luxury goods, were selected to develop products representing “Next Premium”. For example the high-fashion eyeglass frames W-eye™, the Etcetera-Design furniture brand, jewellery designer Alice Visin, and the Italian Catellani & Smith brand of lamps.

The event in Rome is scheduled to cover four days from the 20th to 24th June. Yesterday, a series of workshops open to public provided a platform to exchange views with international experts including Jessica Scorpio (Getaround), Benoit Jacob (BMW i), Oriana Persico (AOS), Andrea Granelli (, Federico Ferrazza (WIRED), Carlo Ratti (MIT), Francesco Lipari (OFL Architecture), Fabio Novembre and Joseph Grima (DOMUS). On 22 and 23 June, the exhibit will be open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The detailed program of meetings can be found

With BMW i, the BMW Group is consolidating its position as the most innovative and sustainable automobile manufacturer in the world and is responding to the challenges of the future in terms of eco-sustainable mobility. Together with its premium electric vehicles, BMW also offers a range of services for mobility. These are services aimed at optimizing the use of parking spaces, the utilization of navigation systems that can access local information, intermodal road maps, and car-sharing schemes such as DriveNow.

BMW i recently acquired an interest in MyCityWay and ParkatmyHouse web portals. ParkatmyHouse makes it possible for private persons to rent their personal parking space when it is not in use, via the internet or a specific smartphone application.

For further information please contact:

BMW Group Italia
Roberto Olivi
Corporate Communications Manager

BMW Group Corporate Communications
Cypselus von Frankenberg
Technology Communications, Spokesperson BMW i

Source: BMW

REFUEL 2012 - Clean Power Motorsports Event @ Laguna Seca

What are you doing on Sunday ?

REFUEL 2012 is the 4th annual Clean Power Motorsports Event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for all Electric Cars and Motorcycles. Several members of SF BayLEAFs will be there, driving their LEAFs on the track, and while it is too late to sign-up for track time, it should be a great spectator event with all sorts of 2 and 4 wheel performance, prototype, experimental, and production EVs trying their skill on one of the world's most challenging racetracks.

The Tony Williams BC2BC car will be there on its return trip from Canada, and SF BayLEAFs has worked with Nissan to provide one of their mobile DC QC units for free quick charges at the track. A special guest for the event will be one of the Nissan LEAF Durability Engineers from their Arizona Testing Facility. He is entered to race that day, and would enjoy talking to SF BayLEAF members about how their cars are doing, and EVs in general.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Solar in the UK : Feed-in tariff dives from 21p per kWh to just 16p

One of the key incentives for private individuals and businesses considering cutting down on their energy usage by adopting solar power was the promise of government subsidies for those who took the step of installing panels in their homes or places of work. As of 1 August, however, the money given to anyone who installs solar panels – called a 'feed-in tariff' is set to be cut from the existing rate of 21p per kWh to just 16p – a reduction of around a quarter. In addition, the feed-in tariff will now only last for 20 years instead of the previous 25 years.

Not all bad news
The announcement that the subsidy is set to be dramatically lowered may sound like a death knell for the future of solar power, but it's rather more complex an issue than it may at first appear. The falling subsidy rate reflects the decreasing costs of installing the solar panels into homes and businesses – the prices were initially set to reflect the costs when the scheme began back in 2010. The Department of Energy and Climate Change have calculated that at the altered rates the subsidy should still amount to a return of around six per cent for those who opt for solar power – previous figures at the old rates worked out at seven to 10 per cent.

Rather than being up in arms about the changes to the scheme, green campaigners have been waxing positive about the improved clarity and openness which this announcement means for people considering solar energy, arguing that one of the main barriers to a wider-scale adoption of the clean energy was the cloud of uncertainty surrounding the future of subsidies. This sentiment has been backed up by the statement from the Department of Energy and Climate Change who were quick to hail the deal as a new era of certainty for solar power.

Some clouds on the horizon
Despite the positive noises being made by both sides, and the fact that the reduction is mostly indicative of the fact that solar energy is now cheaper to implement, there are a still a few worrying signs for solar fans. Since the initial announcement in April that the subsidy was to be cut, installations have dropped by a pretty hard-to-ignore 90 per cent, but admittedly that was immediately following a controversial and 'illegal' halving of subsidies from 43p per kWh to 21p per kWh.

It's been far from simple getting to the current figure either, with the government having initially planned to halve the subsidy rates only to be hauled before the courts by solar companies and other eco-groups, losing three cases before arriving at this new deal. Whether this new certainty will prove attractive to those on the fence remains to be seen, but the end of high-profile legal wranglings are surely to be celebrated, and the eventual clarity over the payments greeted with relief.

Would the reduced rates put you off installing solar panels, or does the new certainty over payments make it a more attractive option? Let us know your thoughts.


Jack Rickard from EVTV on New CALB LiFePO4 Grey Cells

Jack Rickard from EVTV wrote a very interesting article on his blog about LiFePO4 cells, that he has been using for 4 years now on different car conversion projects, and about the new comer: CALB CA180FI Grey Cell



Of all the lithium chemistries available, we’ve found the LiFePo4 based lithium cells to offer the best combination of safety, stability, cycle life, power, and energy density. Though slightly less capable in terms of energy density per kilogram, the trade offs of much more stable and safe operation, and the very much longer life expectancy of these cells have made them a favorite.

Of the LiFePo4 cells, the A123 cells are often offered as the mark to beat. We have not found it so. We early on identified the Sky Energy large format prismatics in 100Ah and 180Ah sizes as much more convenient to build into an electric vehicle and offering a flatter discharge curve and long life when compared to all other cells on the market.

Sky Energy received a large investment from the China Aviation Missile Academy, a government entity, and became the China Aviation Lithium Battery Company (CALB). They continued production of the Sky Energy design as the SE series of cells which we have used successfully in a number of builds.

In June, 2012, CALB is introducing their new CA series of cell, notable by its newly designed grey case. Commonly referred to as the “grey cell” this introduction has been eagerly awaited since its announcement well over a year ago.

EVTV has developed a reputation for ruining the party at Lithium battery celebrations by actually performing direct first party testing on cells – often to destruction.

In this comparison, we do NOT perform any direct testing but provide a comparison of the SE and CA series cells based entirely on data provided by CALB, which we’ve found in the past to be quite reliable. Indeed, if we have a criticism, it is that CALB tends to hide their light under a bushel, seeming almost hesitant to make claims for their product.

In this fashion, they have very modestly provided us a spreadsheet of almost puzzling data that on further examination, would seem to hide a stunning advance in LiFePo4 cell quality. We are not at liberty to share the spreadsheet, but rather here present our best take on it, with excerpted graphics.

We do of course plan an entire series of episodes presenting EVTV test data to support or refute these claims. But if past experience holds true, we look forward to discovering performance quite beyond their claims, and we are genuinely excited to examine this new incremental advance in cell chemistry.

It should be noted that it is our intention to begin distribution of these cells through the EVTV online store at our web site. And so we may be viewed as something more than a disinterested party in the matter.

That said, note that we chose the battery, the battery didn’t chose us. Indeed, subsequent to our rejection of the head of their marketing groups desire to establish a U.S. marketing slogan - CALB – Cost A Less Bill, we have never successfully had a relationship with CALB for advertising or sponsorship at all. Indeed, our humorous response to this suggestion must have lost something in translation as he was pretty seriously offended by it. None intended of course.

Despite this, we’ve remained enthusiastic over their SE series and have sent many conversions their way. With the advent of this new CA series, and the ongoing difficulty our viewers have in finding reliable trusted sources to purchase lithium cells from generally, we have painfully arrived at the conclusion that we not only have to sell the batteries ourselves, but stock them in our facility at a somewhat enormous capital expense.

We intend that the immediate impact of these cells will simply be better cars, better conversions, and better results for our viewers. As they demonstrate these very desireable vehicles to their friends, neighbors, and relatives, we believe the demand for electric vehicles will be accelerated and the adoption of electric vehicles in America will within a few short years comprise over half of all vehicle sales.

In the short and the long of it, the story of DIY conversions in America since 2008 has been all about one thing – the enabling power of the batteries. We believe we enjoy SUPERIOR batteries to those used by Tesla, Nissan, and General Motors in every respect. These cells have allowed electric cars to cross the threshold of viability, moving DIY conversions from semi-interesting science projects, to actual drivable useable automobiles, in one smooth move.

The introduction of the CA series represents an incremental, but quite important advance in these cells, and consequently the cars that use them. They really do NOT offer any particular advance in energy density and thus range. But we believe they will provide greater power, longer life, more consistent capacities, better thermal characteristics, and much improved cold weather performance. This represents a kind of maturation of the chemistry, and we find these kinds of improvements really more important than range. Our cars go further than we do now. But longer life, better power output, less heat, better performance in cold weather are all extremely valuable characteristics at this point.

One feature we expect is not provided in the test data, but we intend to test it. Part of the process, and the delay, in introducing the new grey cells was some pretty serious behind the scenes advances in the scale of cell manufacture through the building of newer, larger, and more automated production lines for these cells, enabled by the financial backing received from the government.

This would appear at first glance to hold nothing for the end user/purchaser of the cells.

But one generally overlooked aspect to cell management is the fact that we don’t use cells in cars at all. We use STRINGS of cells in our cars. And our range, and our performance, and our power output can never exceed, to even the slightest degree, the abilities of the LEAST capable cell in the string. You can have 35 cells capable of 10,000 amps of power and a 1000 mile range. If you have one cell limited to 200 amps and 30 miles, your car will never travel more than 30 miles, nor accelerate at a rate greater than 200 amperes can deliver.

I would much rather have a string of cells rated at 180 Ah where each and every cell showed exactly 170Ah capacity, than to have a string where all the cells actually tested at 200Ah, except for two at 165Ah. A more consistent string is easier to charge and discharge safely and effectively and will provide better range and performance simply by being consistent.

So one of the less obvious aspects of the CA cell is CONSISTENCY – what do we actually get out of the box in terms of capacity from one cell to the next. And with these larger, more automated, more efficient assembly facilities, we would expect to see a more consistent product – leading to much improved cell strings in our cars. We intend to actually test this against a box of undisturbed SE cells we have on hand.

And now the bad news. At this point, the erosion in cell prices appears to have not only stopped, but reversed in some ways. CALB, now well financed, has been very stuck on pricing and we are seeing some firming in the other companies as well. Some second tier cells were going as low as $1 per Ah for a few months, but that appears to be over and if anything cell prices appear to be rising slightly.

While we don’t see this trend holding long term, in the immediate future we seem to have formed a “bumpy bottom” in LiFePo4 cell prices. We would love to see a dramatic decrease to half the price in the near future. But it appears to be wishful thinking at this point. In increasing capacity to meet demand, the expenses incurred appear to have put battery manufacturers in a kind of lithium vise. They face ever increasing over capacity and competition, with an inability to deliver cells at any price lower. And so we see their marketing efforts turn hopefully and expectantly to large purchasers for Wind farm and grid power applications. It remains to be seen if this works out for them, but the DIY EV market appears to not offer sufficient clout to drive discounting. We face more likely abandonment than price decline.

Again, we intend further direct testing in the future. But this should provide a peek at what is claimed for these cells on introduction.


All LiFePo4 cells have a stated capacity usually in ampere-hours (AH). We currently carry the CA180FI and CA100FI cells that feature a stated capacity of 180 Ah and 100Ah respectively.

This amp hour rating is measured at a defined rate of discharge of 0.3C. The 100Ah cell would provide 100 ampere hours at a rate of 30 amps. The 180 Ah cell would provide 180 Ah at 54 amps.

At higher discharge rates, the capacity available is decreased. In the SE series of cells, you could expect at a discharge rate of 3C or 300 amps for the 100 amp cell, a capacity of 94% or 94Ah. In the CA series, this is much improved at 97.7% capacity at 3C. Your 100Ah cell will still have nearly 98 Ah at 3C compared to 0.3C.

The charts below compare the CA60FI and the SE60AH cells for high rate discharge performance.


All LiFePo4 cells exhibit a rise in temperature when discharging. The internal process of intercalating lithium ions has certain inefficiencies that show up as heat. At low discharge rates this is of course minor but as the discharge rate increases, so does the heat gain.

At 3C, the SE cell series shows an increase in temperature of 22.6C.

This is actually pretty good. The cells have proven to need no particular cooling at all. They are quite hardy up to about 65C where one of the electrolytic solvents begins to deteriorate.

So at ambient temperatures of 30C for example, an increase of even $25C leaves us at the 55C level. And they cool rather quickly under lower discharge rates. So even under heavy acceleration, we've found cooling of these cells just not necessary. Indeed, they perform better up around 45-50C.

But thermal gain is a sign of an efficiency loss. For the CA series, this is dramatically decreased to a temperature increase of 8.6C. Internally, the CA series is just much more efficient than the SE series. And this points to even more durability and likely longer life under high accelerations and power demands.


One of the more important factors in LiFePo4 cells is their ability to deliver power (current) on demand. We usually relate the number of amperes a cell can deliver with the corresponding decrease (sag) in voltage. More properly, this is measured as POWER DENSITY in Watts per kilogram at various levels of state of charge (SOC)

This chart compares the power density of the SE40AHA, the SE60AHA and the CA60FI cells.

At a 50% state of charge, the SE40AHA shows a power density of 890 W/kg while the SE60AHA shows 779 W/kg. The CA60FI shows 1322 W/kg – a 70% increase over the SE series.

We were able, for example, to discharge the SE180Ah cells 1000Amps with about a 22% voltage sag when testing the Speedster Redux with a Soliton1 controller. This would imply that the CA series cells could deliver 1700 amps in the same situation.

The spec sheets on the new CA series cells have thus far been spotty, conflicting, and incomplete. The SE cells we used to rate at 8C at EVTV. We would conservatively claim 12C on the CA series from this data, and we will attempt some sort of testing as soon as practicable. This is a little difficult on these large format cells. Even the 100 Ah cell would thn require a 1200 amp load to prove this.


One of the disadvantages of LiFePo4 cells compared to other lithium chemistries is a rather sorry performance in cold weather. While not nearly as debilitating as it was in the old lead acid battery era, the decrease in capacity of LiFePo4 cells is very much a factor.

At a temperature of -20C, and a discharge rate of 0.3C, the SE series of cells will provide 71.9% of capacity. Your 100Ah cell will provide a discouraging 72 amp-hours at that temperature. This is of course even worse at higher discharge rates.

The CA series cells provide a dramatic improvement in cold weather performance with 87.49 % of the original capacity. Your 100 Ah cell now provides a little better than 87 Ah at -20C or -4 degrees Fahrenheit at a 0.3C discharge rate.


One of the most important advantages of LiFePo4 cells compared to other lithium chemistries and certainly with Pb chemistry cells is their very long life. We measure this life in the number of expected charge/discharge cycles to 80% discharge and until the cell exhibits 80% of its original capacity..

This is projected by doing several hundred charge/discharge cycles at 1C and to 100% depth of discharge and extrapolating the data to the point where the cell exhibits 80% of its original capacity. This calculation is also improved by assuming an 80% depth of discharge instead of the tested 100%.

At 290 cycles to 100% at 1C, the SE series cells show about 85% of original capacity. The CA series has upped that to about 91%. This represents a huge increase in cycle life for the CA series cell.

Assuming that this had extrapolated to a 2000 cycle life at 80% DOD, the new cells would imply 3300 cycles. For 3000 cycles at 70% DOD, the CA cells should see 5000 cycles

The result appears to be a bit of a huge leap in battery performance at a very minimal increase in price. So while prices have not really come down, we're getting more battery per ducat in a number of very interesting ways.

After a period of relatively static lack of movement in battery cells over the past year, we are enormously excited by this new introduction. After seeing this data, we are attempting to triple our investment in stock on hand on the assumption that these cells will be very much in demand for the foreseeable future.

We intend to ship all cells with our braided cell strap with Nordlock washers

Jack Rickard


Purchase them here:

10th Tesla Model S Customer - Feedback after few days

Here is a video posted by the 10th Model S customer, the last one who got his car last friday during the special event hosted by Tesla

Yeeeehaaaaa  !!

17 inches central display: wow !

Consumption graphs & Music playing

Car delivery last friday at Tesla

Ramp acceleraton is awesome

Playing with his co-workers I suppose :-)

Door handles popping out

Great remote

Instrumentation & More

The wait is over

Model S is a beautiful car ...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wattson naked ... So shocking !

Following my first back opening of Wattson, last night I removed the front panel and here is the result:

6V Battery pack on the side

9V DC in on the other side

New 24V LiFePO4 Charger arrived from China

I finally received my new 24V 10A LiFePO4 charger from BikBattery in China last night (great customer contact with Sammon Nie who followed the traking with me many times) , and used right away to finish charging my battery pack after a few checks: polarities on the XLR plug, ON/OFF switch, charger relay

220-240VAC / 24V / 10A

Resuming battery pack charging but this time @ 10A (See the Analog Ampmeter)

Voltage goes up much faster with this one, so I checked very often the charge status of each group of cells 

And the switch from Constant Current to Constant Voltage happened around 28V: Current decreased slowly from there, here is is @ 7A and going down
NB: I had a slight problem with a group of cells that went much higher faster than the others, and I will have to split their cells into lower voltage groups tonight (that means I will have to re-bottom balance the whole pack another time...)

Voltage continues rising slowly and Current dicreases too: here @ 4A
Shortly after that point, I stopped the charge by turning OFF the charger, because I don't want this group of cells to stay high too long as voltage as not reached 29.2V target voltage and the charger is still pushing 4A

Close up on the Charger line Ampmeter and Battery Pack Volmeter

After that, to make the voltage go down, I turned ON my Grid Tie Inverters fro like 30 minutes and they were pushing 500W back into my home grid, reducing consumption (water heater and TV were ON at that time)

Tesla Model S - Test Drives !

Several Model S test drives: Pics & Video

Pics from Francis Lau taken on a Factory tour & Test Drive on June 23rd, the day after first customer delivery: Great technical shots of the Motor / Power Electronics and overall Model S manufacturing
(click the pic to see the Flickr Album)

Video with Katie Fehrenbacher behind the wheel

Monday, June 25, 2012

LiFePO4 DIY ESS Update - Opening up Wattson

As you already know, my LiFePO4 Battery Energy Storage & Power Supply System (BESPSS) is still manual, is getting better with a remote controlled step-up power output as shown in my previous post & videos, but I would like to automate it based on Wattson's reading, especially its net power usage (usage from the grid - generation)
If you activate the color feature, the back of Wattson glows RED when power usage is high, PURPLE when it is average, BLUE when it is less than average or small, and GREEN when the generation is greater than usage (you then have a negative reading) 

So this week end, in my attempt to get this color information from Wattson, I opened it to  locate the color LEDs and meseared few spots on the PCB to get the signal for generation mode (= GREEN LEDs on).

After removing the 4 rubbers pads, 4 screws are removed, and the back comes off

Negative reading when generation is higher than usage

I can get a good voltage varying when a LED is lit (between 1 to 4V for glowing effect) which could be used maybe with an Arduino board as an input signal and then some programming to trigger relays activating Grid Tie Inverters ...

No more GREEN light = usage is gnow greater than generation

There are 5 groups of 3 LEDs: RED, BLUE, and GREEN to make the different glowing colors (here PURPLE made of a mix of RED & BLUE)

Nissan LEAF Battery Pack Specs

A nice summary of the Nissan LEAF battery pack specifications in details
(Click the picture)


Tesla Model S - Technicals

A great video about the Technicals in detail on Model S

Sunday, June 24, 2012

First 10 TESLA Model S delivered to customers - Live

Elon Musk and the whole Tesla team deliver the first 10 Model S to "regular" customers, live at 3:30PM PDT last friday

The whole Tesla team is here and 10 Model S are ready to go

California Governor Edmund G. Brown does a great speech about California leading the way in cleantech 

CEO Elon Musk; His goal: Making the best sedan ever, 100% Electric of course

The very first Model goes to Chicago, delivered to customer over there, the second one too, and the third one goes to Palo Alto (closer)

The 4th customer: Elon explains how the mini Model S looking remote control works

The 5th Model S customer is a woman, and she thanks everyone with a Champagne bottle

EV Grin: Big Achievment for Elon Musk, he must be happy and releaved

A very happy customer

Even hugs Elon Musk

Another one makes a speech to thank the crowd

Last one

Final photo: They did it !

Model S getting out of the building

That's all folks !

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