Richard Hatfield of Lightning Motors presentation @ EAA Silicon Valley meeting

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reikiman
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Just listened to some exciting news and an interesting presentation. The EAA Silicon Valley chapter hosted Richard Hatfield of Lightning Motors. This is the motorcycle built w/ ThunderSKY LiFEPO4 batteries which has recently been shown around a bit.

See here: http://www.eaasv.org/meetings.html

Quote:

Guest speaker Richard Hatfield of Lightning Motors.

Those of you who were at the December meeting saw his Lithium powered Yamaha 1000 electric motorcycle. He will describe the design of this motorcycle which includes ThunderSky 90 Amp-hour Lithium Ferro Phosphate batteries and a Zivan charger. He'll also discuss Lightning Motors' plans to offer these bikes to 'beta testers' and their plans to offer AC drive conversion kits to those who prefer cars. Here is a related LA Times article that was reprinted in TreeHugger.

He has an interesting background for this -- He's been doing business development work in China for 20 yrs, has many contacts, has been doing car racing (SCCA and the like) for a long time, etc. I found this to be rather promising, he's not just a fly by night I'll go to China and get rich guy, he's been developing knowledge of the market for a long time. He has a couple businesses going, one of which is importing solar PV panels. Another is the EV company.

For the EV company he has a rather broad vision, much more than just building an uuber motorcycle. He described a range of motorcycles besides the one they've already built for demo purposes. Actually he had ?3? motorcycles with him (maybe only 2). Additionally he wants to build a commuter bike (250cc equivalent), and a couple larger ones equivalent to 1000cc and 1600cc. He also talked about building four-wheelers .. I think.

Additionally to building vehicles he wants to provide the basic building blocks as well. Motors, controllers, battery systems, kits to convert a car or motorcycle, etc. He even used the phrase "open source" saying that if someone wanted to buy parts from him and build their own vehicles for sale that would be great.

Hmm, seems I've heard a similar business model recently...

He claims he'll be able to start shipping products in Q4.

He is looking at several battery suppliers, not just ThunderSKY. Interestingly one of them is the same batteries that LifeBATT is selling. These are the cylindrical LiFePO4 in the 10AH size, and I asked him directly if these were the same batteries and he answered "Yes, LifeBATT is also an importer of these batteries". usatracy, weren't you claiming to know who LifeBATT's supplier is? This sounds curious given the recent exchanges with Don Harmon.

He had some sample batteries on hand including a full pack made from the 10AH cylindrical cells. BTW to be fair to Don, the pack construction was nowhere near the same as the pictures on the LifeBATT site. The construction was two boards with the cells between those boards, and the battery terminals poking through the boards, and a layer of plastic wrapped around the whole thing. There is a BMS unit. The sample pack was 3 rows of 8 cells each (24 cells) so that would be a 77 volt pack, 10 AH, and the whole pack weighed 15 lbs(??) okay, using the specs on LifeBatt.com I estimate this pack weighed 20 lbs. One guy thought it was heavy but once I pointed out how much kwh's were in there that put it into perspective. Uh, on another tab I have the SiliconeBatteriesUSA chart showing the weight for GreenSaver batteries, the 12v12ah battery weighs 9 lbs per battery, so hows that for perspective. The equivalent kwh's in SLA would be 60+ lbs and a lot bigger.

Another battery he had was a cell the same form factor as the A123 M1 cell, and which he said tested the same as the A123. That company is planning to go into production with larger cells than that.

Something I didn't ask about, and he didn't talk about, was the patent issue which Don Harmon is repeatedly raising. If all these companies are using the PhosTech technology w/o paying patents ...? Earlier this week I saw an exchange in one mailing list where someone discussed the impossibility of using ThunderSKY batteries in a vehicle to sell because ...??... they didn't spell it out but it would certainly raise an interesting liability to be reselling batteries that were under patent trouble.

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Crusher300
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Re: Richard Hatfield of Lightning Motors presentation @ EAA Sili

Richard's presentation was one of the best I can remember at the EAA-SV chapter meetings. He was very down to earth and well informed. I enjoyed his anecdote about getting to drive Chairman Mao's bomb-proof limo that had been converted to an EV by Thunder Sky! As Richard said, "It's not the best donor vehicle for an EV, but it certainly is unique!"

One of the main points I got from his presentation is that he wants to work with tinkerers and converters and can supply complete LiFePo systems that include a BMS system and charger. his quote for the Thunder Sky cells was $0.50/Watt hour (not including BMS). One of the EAA members (Warren) pointed out that Optima yellow tops sell for about $0.35 per Watt hour. Thunder Sky claims that with a proper BMS and charge/discharge cycles within spec, their cells are good for 2,000 cycles at 80% DoD, or 3,000 cycles at 70% DoD. Optimas are good for 200-500 cycles. worst case here you are getting four times the cycle life for less than 1.5 times the cost. Seems like this is a no-brainer, especially with the cost of lead going through the roof.

Another crucial point Richard made is that the Thunder Sky cells must be kept within spec for charge and discharge. Also they must be kept in compression while charging. If you treat the cells correctly they will function as advertised, BUT they do not tolerate abuse. This info jives with what I have read on the Thunder Sky Yahoo group. If you use a proper BMS and discharge within spec they are great, if you abuse them AT ALL they die.

All in all a great presentation. I plan on contacting Richard to see how much a 40Ahr pack at 48 volts would cost.

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Silver EVT 4000e (60 volt) San Mateo, CA

reikiman
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Re: Richard Hatfield of Lightning Motors presentation @ EAA Sili

I found this thread by Patrick on Endless-Sphere announcing having found a source 36V20AH, 48V20AH, cells - same as LiFeBatt and the pictures are of the pack I looked at yesterday. During the discussion Patrick says he is working with a team designing several EV's and the description is exactly like the plans which Richard described at the meeting.

__________________

- David Herron, Green Transportation Examiner, Green Transportation Info, The Long Tail Pipe, Electric Race News, davidherron.com, 7gen.com, What is Reiki
- Charger bike (rebuilt), Electrified Electra Townie, 1971 Karmann Ghia

Don Harmon
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Re: 60V/40Ah Scooter Packs based on Lead Acid Spec.

So, is there any hope of a large format pack at an economical price (say 60V40Ah)?

ANSWER:

Lithium cannot be compared to Lead Acid. I am suggesting is you cut in half your Ah Lead Acid spec. if you go to Lithium - so what you probably need to look at is something more like (2) 36V/20Ah LiFeBATT HP in Series Connection. This would give you a 72V/20Ah system which in Lithium would equate to your Lead Acid comparison of 60V/50Ah. Lithium has a far more powerful discharge capability.

Plus, you would get 10X the life cycles (compared with Lead Acid) and a 3 Year Warranty. That price is $ 2,820.00 without Chargers. Add (2) 36V U.L. Chargers = $ 450.00 Total price would be $ 3,270.00 + UPS shipping from California. Without our chargers the Warranty would be 2 Years instead of 3 Years. Chargers come with 1 Year Warranty standard.

Each 3620 HP Pack weighs 27,5 lbs. and each one's dimensions are: 14.33" W. x 7.17" W. x 6.36" H. If we can't fit your particular space then we probably can't help, since this would mean a one-off custom configuration which we do not offer. Hope this helps those looking for scooter or motorcycle LiFePO4 Packs? These will all be available beginning March 1, 2008.

Best Regards,

Don Harmon
DSC05589.jpg

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jdh2550_1
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Re: 60V/40Ah Scooter Packs based on Lead Acid Spec.

Thanks for the info Don.

Quote:

Lithium cannot be compared to Lead Acid. I am suggesting is you cut in half your Ah Lead Acid spec. ....
Lithium has a far more powerful discharge capability.

I've seen this type of argument before - and I'm not sure I understand it. I agree that LiFe has a higher discharge capability - however that would affect peak power output, not capacity. Ah is Amp-Hour which is a rating of capacity.

I know that Peukert effect is smaller for Lithium but surely a 20Ah LiFe battery can't offer the same real world capacity as a 40Ah SLA battery? I wouldn't want to spend all that money and end up with less range...

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Don Harmon
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Re: 60V/40Ah Scooter Packs based on Lead Acid Spec.

jdh2550_1 wrote:

Thanks for the info Don.

Quote:

Lithium cannot be compared to Lead Acid. I am suggesting is you cut in half your Ah Lead Acid spec. ....
Lithium has a far more powerful discharge capability.

I've seen this type of argument before - and I'm not sure I understand it. I agree that LiFe has a higher discharge capability - however that would affect peak power output, not capacity. Ah is Amp-Hour which is a rating of capacity.

I know that Peukert effect is smaller for Lithium but surely a 20Ah LiFe battery can't offer the same real world capacity as a 40Ah SLA battery? I wouldn't want to spend all that money and end up with less range...

www.lifebatt.com

The problem with understanding why this takes place is due to Voltage Regulation. Lead Acid (PbA) cells have a strong tendency to drop their voltage at any current. They usually stay at less than a 1C discharge, but the voltage is affected immediately. This shift in voltage causes in increase of discharge current to match the power requirements. Where LiFePO4 has the advantage is that the voltage holds strongly at the rated voltage at a 5C discharge. LiFePO4 cells don?t act like PbA until a 10C discharge, which is 10 times that of the expectations of PbA. By cutting the capacity in half, you only double the discharge rates. And in almost all cases, the max discharge stays below 5C, which means the rated Voltage for a LiFePO4 pack is less than the Actual voltage of the pack, and current will be reduced because of it.

I know it seems folly to claim the capacity of one exceeds that of the other, but since the chemistries are different, we must look at the systems as different and accept the fact that common comparisons are inadequate to explain the cells capabilities.

Best,

Don

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