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New Li-Ion battery for Honda next-gen Hybrids

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Honda Awaiting New "Super" Lithium-Ion Battery for Next-Generation Hybrids

Full article at Edmunds

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Honda Motor Co. is preparing for an all-new, advanced lithium-ion battery that will allow its engineers to extend Honda's Integrated Motor Assist hybrid-electric technology to larger vehicles, a senior company executive told Green Car Advisor during an annual auto-industry conference frequented by heavy-hitters from carmakers' management ranks.

John German, American Honda's manager of environmental and energy analysis, said the coming lithium-ion battery formula -- the developer of which he wouldn't name -- does not enjoy extra capacity compared with known lithium-ion characteristics. Instead, the new chemistry is targeted at allowing the batteries to charge much more quickly.

This, in turn, will allow for an increased amount of battery capacity that can be assigned to actually powering the motor. And more power means the IMA system can be employed for larger, heavier vehicles.

German says the new butt-kicker lithium-ion chemistry should be ready in about the same timeframe as GM's lithium-ion-dependent Chevrolet Volt "extended-range" electric vehicle, the car that put lithium-ion development on the hot seat.

German told Green Car Advisor, that he thinks Toyota invested in the wrong technology by opting for the "full" hybrid design instead of Honda's IMA mild hybrid system. "We get 80 percent of the (full-hybrid) benefit at 60 percent of the cost," German insists.
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i think I need something in that picture to set scale... it looks flipping huge!

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i think I need something in that picture to set scale... it looks flipping huge!

The orange/yellow part is the IMA motor, which is sandwiched between the normal-sized gasoline engine and CVT transmission.

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I think GM and Honda have been teaming up. Ever since the 3.0l V6 showed up in the Vue, something has been up.

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I think GM and Honda have been teaming up. Ever since the 3.0l V6 showed up in the Vue, something has been up.

You mean the Honda 3.5L V6? The 3.0L engine in the Vue was for the first couple years, and was the same 3.0L in the L-Series, a GM engine (which is known to be an utter pain to work on).

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Where is GXT to say that this is not possible in this time frame and it's just Honda blowing smoke?

So is this battery more or less the same as the Volt's, or does it have improvements vs. the Volt's? Or do we even know?

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I think GM and Honda have been teaming up. Ever since the 3.0l V6 showed up in the Vue, something has been up.

Probably not. Just because they are both working on procuring Li-Ion batteries for hybrid vehicles at the same time does not indicate they're collaborating. For the Vue Redline, GM may not have had an engine suitable for that application. That was before GM developed the 3.6 DI engine after all.

So is this battery more or less the same as the Volt's, or does it have improvements vs. the Volt's? Or do we even know?

From the article, it indicates they are taking a different route than other Li-Ion adopters. Honda wants to focus on charge and discharge times for the batteries, so the batteries can provide more power quickly and then recharge quickly as well.

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From the article, it indicates they are taking a different route than other Li-Ion adopters. Honda wants to focus on charge and discharge times for the batteries, so the batteries can provide more power quickly and then recharge quickly as well.

Yes, but does that make the battery any better for actual driving? If you have a 20 mile drive to work and 20 mile drive home, you're using pretty much no fuel in the Volt. If the Honda battery can be recharged in an hour to say the Volt's 4 hours (this is not at all based on anything, just made up) but it can only go 20 miles without fuel, and there is no place to recharge while at work, then it certainly isn't better for someone with a 40 mile round-trip each day. If it's someone like a stay-at-home mom who runs lots of errands, I could see it being better to have shorter range and less recharge time. Go get groceries, come back, an hour later go pick up the kids, then go out to dinner a couple hours later, etc etc., whereas perhaps the Volt wouldn't have time to recharge (again, I have no idea how much time it takes either to recharge, though. Also don't have any idea of the range of the Volt vs. Honda).

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Yes, but does that make the battery any better for actual driving? If you have a 20 mile drive to work and 20 mile drive home, you're using pretty much no fuel in the Volt. If the Honda battery can be recharged in an hour to say the Volt's 4 hours (this is not at all based on anything, just made up) but it can only go 20 miles without fuel, and there is no place to recharge while at work, then it certainly isn't better for someone with a 40 mile round-trip each day. If it's someone like a stay-at-home mom who runs lots of errands, I could see it being better to have shorter range and less recharge time. Go get groceries, come back, an hour later go pick up the kids, then go out to dinner a couple hours later, etc etc., whereas perhaps the Volt wouldn't have time to recharge (again, I have no idea how much time it takes either to recharge, though. Also don't have any idea of the range of the Volt vs. Honda).

Honda still hasn't announced any plans to make a plug-in hybrid. As far as I can tell the Li-Ion batteries will be for their current hybrids, as they have designed them to accept Li-Ion batteries when they become economically feasible. The rapid charging (from regen braking and engine) and fast discharging (for more power to the electric motor) will allow them to use more electric assist during acceleration and to use IMA on larger vehicles.

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Where is GXT to say that this is not possible in this time frame and it's just Honda blowing smoke?

So is this battery more or less the same as the Volt's, or does it have improvements vs. the Volt's? Or do we even know?

Here I am.

One of the "problems" with the Volt is that it has a 16KWh battery but it actually only uses about half of it before it starts charging. That means if the battery were $10,000 you would basically be hauling around $5,000 worth of battery you don't really use.

Based on the IMAs Honda has made to date, I assume Honda will put something like a 2KWh battery in their car and based on this release as well as how their IMA system works, they should be able to use pretty much all of it. That would mean a $1,250 battery and you get to use most all of it. I believe the advantage of such a battery in a non-plug-in hybrid is that more energy can be recovered while braking and therefore more energy for acceleration and therefore MPG will increase.

Difference between the Honda and GM approach:

1) Give the same capacity to make batteries, Honda can produce 8 times as many cars.

2) The cost of batteries for Honda's cars will be $8,500 less expensive than the Volt.

3) This would likely be a drop in for the GSH (<sarcasm>not a revolutionary moon shot of unimaginable difficulty</sarcasm>).

4) If 3 is true, based on the pricing rumours the Honda car will cost less than 1/2 of what the Volt costs.

5) If Honda can use all 2KWh, even though their pack is 1/8th the size of the Volt, they will have 1/4 of the usable energy.

But the main difference is that GM tends to try to wildly distract you from the depressing reality with promises of future vehicles that never really pan out. On the other hand, Honda will quietly deliver an excellent product when the time is right.

But I am more than a bit annoyed that GM has the automakers running around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off trying to demonstrate that they crap Li-Ion nuggets too.

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Honda still hasn't announced any plans to make a plug-in hybrid. As far as I can tell the Li-Ion batteries will be for their current hybrids, as they have designed them to accept Li-Ion batteries when they become economically feasible. The rapid charging (from regen braking and engine) and fast discharging (for more power to the electric motor) will allow them to use more electric assist during acceleration and to use IMA on larger vehicles.

I see, thanks for the explanation.

Here I am.

One of the "problems" with the Volt is that it has a 16KWh battery but it actually only uses about half of it before it starts charging. That means if the battery were $10,000 you would basically be hauling around $5,000 worth of battery you don't really use.

Based on the IMAs Honda has made to date, I assume Honda will put something like a 2KWh battery in their car and based on this release as well as how their IMA system works, they should be able to use pretty much all of it. That would mean a $1,250 battery and you get to use most all of it. I believe the advantage of such a battery in a non-plug-in hybrid is that more energy can be recovered while braking and therefore more energy for acceleration and therefore MPG will increase.

Difference between the Honda and GM approach:

1) Give the same capacity to make batteries, Honda can produce 8 times as many cars.

2) The cost of batteries for Honda's cars will be $8,500 less expensive than the Volt.

3) This would likely be a drop in for the GSH (<sarcasm>not a revolutionary moon shot of unimaginable difficulty</sarcasm>).

4) If 3 is true, based on the pricing rumours the Honda car will cost less than 1/2 of what the Volt costs.

5) If Honda can use all 2KWh, even though their pack is 1/8th the size of the Volt, they will have 1/4 of the usable energy.

But the main difference is that GM tends to try to wildly distract you from the depressing reality with promises of future vehicles that never really pan out. On the other hand, Honda will quietly deliver an excellent product when the time is right.

But I am more than a bit annoyed that GM has the automakers running around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off trying to demonstrate that they crap Li-Ion nuggets too.

So you are saying that it uses only half of the battery before it wants to be re-charged? Surely GM is not that stupid as to have twice as much battery capacity as it will use?

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I see, thanks for the explanation.

So you are saying that it uses only half of the battery before it wants to be re-charged? Surely GM is not that stupid as to have twice as much battery capacity as it will use?

I looked into this a little more. Here is some more information:

http://gm-volt.com/2007/08/29/latest-chevy...clarifications/

So to clarify the 50% number, the car will only charge the battery to 80% when plugged in and the generator will kick in at 30%. So 50% of the battery is not used (well, technically it is saved as a reserve and as potential room for storing energy from regenerative braking).

As I understand it, there are two major reasons for this:

1) It is one of the downsides of the series design.

Apparently when on the generator the Volt is not able to put as much energy to the wheels as it would when running off battery alone (IIRC, the shortfall is fairly significant when under load). Therefore the 30% is required as a reserve in case you want to have the AC on and go up a hill (for example), accelerate rapidly, etc.

The Prius or an IMA design could rely entirely on the gas engine and therefore does not need to keep this reserve.

2) Apparently it is needed to get the 10 year battery life expectancy.

Edited by GXT
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As I understand it, the Volt's mission will be to be treated as solely an electric vehicle. More than 50% of the people in Toronto live in highrises or apartments. Most of those people will never be able to plug in their vehicle. The infrastructure (not to mention the 'billing') to plug in your vehicle at work, for example, is going to be years off. For those people, the Volt will be of little use.

However, for the rest of the people, who live in single family dwellings (or even condos, because I would imagine that when demand warrants, a lot of condos could be retrofited for individual, metered electrical hook up in the underground garage), electrical range will be everything and recharge times not so important. For those people, the ability to drive to and from work, do a couple errands and then recharge the batteries over night (when hydro rates are cheaper) will be a big buying feature.

We covered this in a different thread, but initial reports were that GM wanted a 600 mile range for the Volt when running on gasoline/electric. That is a lofty but unnecessary goal. Nearly all gasoline vehicles go half that on a full tank, so if the Volt can run 350 miles on the combination of gas/electric, that would be more than enough.

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As I understand it, the Volt's mission will be to be treated as solely an electric vehicle. More than 50% of the people in Toronto live in highrises or apartments. Most of those people will never be able to plug in their vehicle. The infrastructure (not to mention the 'billing') to plug in your vehicle at work, for example, is going to be years off. For those people, the Volt will be of little use.

However, for the rest of the people, who live in single family dwellings (or even condos, because I would imagine that when demand warrants, a lot of condos could be retrofited for individual, metered electrical hook up in the underground garage), electrical range will be everything and recharge times not so important. For those people, the ability to drive to and from work, do a couple errands and then recharge the batteries over night (when hydro rates are cheaper) will be a big buying feature.

We covered this in a different thread, but initial reports were that GM wanted a 600 mile range for the Volt when running on gasoline/electric. That is a lofty but unnecessary goal. Nearly all gasoline vehicles go half that on a full tank, so if the Volt can run 350 miles on the combination of gas/electric, that would be more than enough.

If I recall, the Volt's combined range had been lowered to a more realistic 350~ range.

I for one would probably be too lazy to plug in my car every night and then unplug it every morning. What a hassle! When I get home from work, I literally spring from my car and the first thing to go is the pants. Likewise, in the morning I am tired and cranky. I would probably drive away with the plug still attached more than a few times.

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For those people, the ability to drive to and from work, do a couple errands and then recharge the batteries over night (when hydro rates are cheaper) will be a big buying feature.

But how much will they be willing to pay for that feature?

The Volt will not make much sense until battery prices drop radically. If you drive a lot, then you will be doing most of the driving on gas in which case there is little point to the cost and weight of the electric drive components of the Volt. You may as well pocket the extra $25,000 and just drive a Civic (or pocket the ~$22,000 and get even better MPG with the GSH). If you drive very little then you should be able to do it all-electric with the Volt. But if you are driving so little then you wouldn't have been using much gas in which case you have paid a huge premium to save a few bucks a day. Again, you should pocket the extra $25,000 and just drive a Civic.

The Volt won't pay off economically for anyone, but there are very few people for which it even comes close to being the correct solution. I guess that is why GM has said it will be a niche vehicle until at least 2015. In the meantime the few dealerships that happen to get a Volt or two will have to sell it to someone who is so rich they don't care about economics.

We covered this in a different thread, but initial reports were that GM wanted a 600 mile range for the Volt when running on gasoline/electric. That is a lofty but unnecessary goal. Nearly all gasoline vehicles go half that on a full tank, so if the Volt can run 350 miles on the combination of gas/electric, that would be more than enough.

It has already been reported that the second gas tank has been removed, so the range is down to the 300-something miles.

It was a good move on GM's part. Why haul so much gas if the point of the vehicle is not to use it? Like much else about the Volt, I am pretty sure the huge range was a PR-vestige in an attempt to allay range-anxiety and to spin "X Miles per tank" for those who aren't smart enough to realize it is pretty much a meaningless number.

Edited by GXT
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I for one would probably be too lazy to plug in my car every night and then unplug it every morning. What a hassle! When I get home from work, I literally spring from my car and the first thing to go is the pants. Likewise, in the morning I am tired and cranky. I would probably drive away with the plug still attached more than a few times.

Heh... where I live if you park outside in the Winter then you have to plug in the car or it won't start the next morning. And the "forgot to unplug" (especially on groggy mornings) can be an issue. You can identify those people by the extension cords (or at least part of them) dragging behind them.

I have to assume that it will not be possible to start the Volt when it is plugged in.

But fear not! You will have the motivation of having paid 100% more than a Prius or a GSH as incentive to plug and un-plug!

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The two gas tanks were totally unnecessary, as that adds cost and weight. If someone is taking a long trip, I don't think a break for gas every 350 miles is too big of a deal. Surely they'll get hungry, have to have a bathroom break, etc., in 350 miles of driving. The range is actually more than 350 miles if someone is only driving, say, 50 miles a day, obviously.

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If I recall, the Volt's combined range had been lowered to a more realistic 350~ range.

I for one would probably be too lazy to plug in my car every night and then unplug it every morning. What a hassle! When I get home from work, I literally spring from my car and the first thing to go is the pants. Likewise, in the morning I am tired and cranky. I would probably drive away with the plug still attached more than a few times.

You ought to me to northern Ontario: I used to plug my Caprice in every night from December to March when I lived in Collingwood - about 90 minutes north of Toronto. Those zero farenheit nights can be a bitch! :lol:

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You ought to me to northern Ontario: I used to plug my Caprice in every night from December to March when I lived in Collingwood - about 90 minutes north of Toronto. Those zero farenheit nights can be a bitch! :lol:

Speaking of extreme weather, I know someone that spends their summers in Palm Springs (which is as about as extreme as Phoenix) and their winters in Regina, Saskatchewan (which can get pretty cold, so I've heard).

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i tend to think a cruze with 42-45 highway mpg and no overly complex systems at a much lower price to me would be more attractive.

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i tend to think a cruze with 42-45 highway mpg and no overly complex systems at a much lower price to me would be more attractive.

Don't think of the IMA as an overly complex system, it is nothing like Synergy.

I doubt the Cruze will break into the 40's as far as the EPA rating goes.

Your argument can be applied to every gasoline vs hybrid comparison, except it won't be nearly as valid in the case of the GSH. It is better applied when comparing something like the Volt to the Malibu.

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