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
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.