CHARGED Electric Vehicles Magazine JUN/JUL 2012

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30 Great S-pectations Tesla begins Model S deliveries





Secondary use

What to do with used EV batteries

56 Hybrids

Series, parallel & everything in between

70 In demnad

FMC Lithium on staying ahead of the demand curve



20 Strength in numbers

CalCharge, a public/ private battery tech consortium


16 Advancing inverters


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contents 44



52 American Icon

Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company



74 Ricardo’s David Greenwood CHARGING


62 A decade-old energy scandal, a new charging network & the free market The CPUC & NRG settlement 80 A case for 25 kW DC Quick Chargers 82 Charge at work Level 1 charging opportunities


90 Long-distance EV travel


Publisher’s Note We got ourselves an industry A mere 18 months ago, there was only one highway-capable plug-in vehicle on sale in North America (the Telsa Roadster). Now buyers have their choice of the Nissan LEAF, Chevrolet Volt, Mitsubishi i, Fisker Karma, Coda Sedan, Toyota Prius Plug-in, Ford Focus Electric, and Tesla Model S. Availability is still limited for most models, but they are for sale somewhere. That’s a giant step in the right direction. All corners of the industry are buzzing with activity, in search of the affordable-EV formula. The big automakers are trying a variety of different design strategies, from ground-up EVs to slapping plugs onto existing product lines. Battery companies and research institutes around the globe are feverishly mixing new chemistries together, seeking higher energy density. Power electronics firms are constantly tweaking and tuning to push the standard for acceptable efficiencies. We even have a few full-blown industry controversies, a great sign of life if you ask me. At this point President Obama’s stated goal of one million EVs on the road by 2015 seems out of reach. However, DOE head Dr. Steven Chu recently predicted that in ten years EVs will have twice as much range and a sticker price comparable to gas-burners, around $25k. The notion seems reasonable, considering that some industry analysts say battery prices are dropping at a rate faster than predicted. Wolfgang Bernhart, a partner at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, pins the cell costs at $250 per kWh for deliveries in 2015. That’s a substantial drop in price compared to EVs on the road today. The cells in the Volt reportedly cost $500 to $600 per kWh and LEAF’s around $375 per kWh. EVs are still years away from dominating transportation, but a close look at the industry, from any angle, reveals unmistakable momentum. Christian Ruoff Publisher


Christian Ruoff Publisher Laurel Zimmer Associate Publisher Charlie Morris Senior Editor Markkus Rovito Associate Editor Jeffrey Jenkins Technology Editor Joey Stetter Copy Editor Nick Sirotich Illustrator & Designer Nate Greco Contributing Artist Contributing Photographers David Wright Henrik Sonnergård Jurvetson (flickr) Kazuhiko Teramoto Kevin Collins Kevin Jones Nayu Kim Omar Bárcena Robert Scoble Roy Kaltschmidt Cover Images Courtesy of Ford Motor Company Contributing Writers Charlie Morris David Herron Dr. Samit Ghosh Forbes Black Ken Stokes Larry Butkovich Markkus Rovito Robert Bruninga Robert Gluck Special Thanks to Kelly Ruoff Sebestien Bourgeois For Letters to the Editor, Article Submissions, & Advertising Inquiries Contact

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CURRENT events PolyPlus awarded $9 mil DOE grant

ChargePoint extends throughout New York State

We are proud to receive this funding for such an important infrastructure project in New York State. This program will place 80 percent of the ChargePoint stations in upstate New York. This will directly address the need to provide ubiquitous EV infrastructure that will allow drivers to be able to travel from New York City to Albany to Buffalo and all points in between. Pat Romano, Coulomb CEO

The ChargePoint Network, which allows drivers to locate and reserve chargers using a smart phone, is the largest network of public EV charging stations in New York.


Photo courtesy of PolyPlus

Photo courtesy of Coulomb Technologies, Inc.

Charging station manufacturer Coulomb Technologies has partnered with power provider National Grid to extend Coulomb’s ChargePoint Network throughout New York State. The company received a million bucks in funding (part of a promised $4.4 million) from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to install 160 new charging ports.

PolyPlus has been awarded $8.99 million to complete development of its Protected Lithium Electrode (PLE), the critical component in its high-energy density lithium-water, lithium-sulfur and lithium-air batteries. Time magazine included the company’s lithium-water battery on its 2011 list of the year’s “50 Best Inventions.” The grant is part of the DOE’s Investments in Innovative Manufacturing Technologies program, and PolyPlus is one of only 13 companies that received an award this time around, out of a pool of 1,500 that submitted letters of interest and 250 that eventually submitted applications. The PolyPlus lithium-water battery achieved the highest energy density ever recorded: 1,300 Wh/kg.

This DOE award is a major milestone for PolyPlus and enables us to move more rapidly toward commercialization of our lithium metal battery technology, which has shown tremendous promise for applications ranging from unmanned underwater robots to electric vehicles. From start to finish, this technology is made in America, and we are excited about adding new jobs in the United States as we work to complete development and ramp up production of our PLE. Steven J. Visco, PolyPlus CEO

Asian group to relaunch Saab as EV brand

Estonia begins rollout of 200 DC fast chargers

ABB will provide network support services and the backbone IT architecture for the web-connected chargers, including remote assistance, management and servicing and smart software upgradeability. ABB will also create a regional training center to help local engineers install and service the chargers. The Estonian government is encouraging the EV market in a big way. It has bought 507 Mitsubishi iMiEVs for its own fleet, and offers healthy purchase incentives for consumers.

The advanced fast charging infrastructure is the key component in the fully developed eco-system for electric vehicles. Together with ABB, we are committed to providing the best combination of hardware, software and services available to Estonian electric vehicle pioneers. This is the mission of the nationwide rollout of fast chargers. Jarmo Tuisk, head of the electro mobility program for Estonia

We’re striving to be a world-leading company for electric cars,” Bergman said. “It’s not only about China being a big market for electric cars, it’s also about China having the ability to make the investments required and build the needed infrastructure.

The new Saab hopes to launch an electric 9-3 sedan in 2014. If all goes well, it will eventually build a second-generation 9-3 model based on a platform that Saab previewed in 2011 in the PhoeniX concept, which featured a hybrid drivetrain and a body by designer Jason Castriota. Image: 2011 Saab PhoeniX Concept

Photo courtesy of ABB

The first of a nationwide network of public EV charging stations was installed in Estonia. Technology giant ABB, state-owned financial institution KredEx and the country’s Ministry of Economic Affairs announced the installation of an ABB Terra 51 DC fast charging station at the Innovation Center in Tallinn. It’s the first of 200 chargers that will be installed throughout the country by the fall of 2012.

Photo by Henrik Sonnergård

A consortium called National Electric Vehicle Sweden, made up of investment companies from China and Japan, has agreed to buy Saab assets and relaunch them as EVs, spokesman Mattias Bergman announced at a press conference. The company will sell its cars globally, but will begin by focusing on China, which the consortium sees as the largest future market for EVs.

JUN/JUL 2012 11

CURRENT events

A123 Systems has a new battery technology

West Coast Electric Highway marches on

Today moves us a giant step closer to the day when we can drive our electric cars from Bellingham, Washington to San Diego, California along Interstate 5, secure in the knowledge we can quickly recharge our vehicles along the way, and today is the beginning of a new era in Washington State. An era where we take a giant step toward protecting our environment from damage caused by vehicle emissions, one that will help free us from our dependence on foreign oil, and one that protects drivers from volatile gas prices. Chris Gregoire, Washington Governor


Photo courtesy of A123 Systems

The West Coast Electric Highway, a network of charging stations that will someday extend from Canada to Mexico, reached a milestone as the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and charging station partner AeroVironment opened 10 new public charging stations that let EV drivers travel emission-free from Seattle to the Canadian border. All of the locations, which are strategically placed near shopping and entertainment venues, offer AeroVironment’s Level 2 chargers, and eight feature DC fast chargers. To access the charging stations, EV drivers must enroll in AeroVironment’s charging network. Charging will be free “for a limited time.” The US Department of Energy provided seed funding of $1.5 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to expand the West Coast Electric Highway in Washington. The funding is administered by the Department of Commerce through the State Energy Program.

Battery maker A123 Systems has announced a new lithium-ion technology called Nanophosphate EXT. The company claims cells made with the new chemistry will be capable of operating at extreme temperatures without requiring thermal management.

Nanophosphate EXT is designed to maintain long cycle life at extremely high temperatures and deliver high power at extremely low temperatures. According to testing performed at the Ohio State University’s Center for Automotive Research (CAR), cells built with A123’s Nanophosphate EXT are expected to be capable of retaining more than 90 percent of initial capacity after 2,000 full charge-discharge cycles at 45 degrees Celsius. CAR has also starting testing cold temperature performance, which A123 expects will deliver a 20 percent increase in power at temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius.

Based on our analysis, the performance of A123’s new Nanophosphate EXT at high temperatures is unlike anything we’ve ever seen from lead acid, lithium-ion or any other battery technology. Dr. Yann Guezennec, a senior fellow at CAR

Rocky Mountain Power to test VIA eRev pickups

The introduction of electric vehicles marks a new era for the utility industry, and we expect to play an important role in the electrification of America’s highways beginning with our own working fleet. Richard Walje, President & CEO of Rocky Mountain Power

Photo courtesy of VIA Motors

Utah-based VIA Motors has signed up another utility to evaluate its extended-range electric pickup trucks. Rocky Mountain Power will test the performance, durability, and potential cost savings of two eRev trucks for a four-month period. Privately-held VIA aims to offer a lineup of powerful PHEVs that it calls VTRUX, including full-size pickups, vans and SUVs. The company’s eREV powertrain includes a 4.3-liter gas V6, a 300 kW electric motor, and A123’s 24 kWh lithiumion battery pack. Each claims an all-electric range of about 40 miles, and combined fuel economy of 100 MPGe. VIA will be selling the electric work trucks initially to fleets early next year, with consumers targeted to follow a year later.

Standard High Voltage Motor Control Systems: (Pictured) PM100 PM150




314 x 200 x 87


436 x 200 x 87

KW - Peak

L x W x H (mm)

Mass KG

Voltage V


360 / 7 20


360 / 720



CURRENT events

Daimler starts production of smart’s EV Daimler has begun production of the smart fortwo electric drive at its factory in Hambach, France. It also announced a new investment of €200 million to upgrade the plant. smart’s two-seater features a 55 kW motor and 17.6 kWh battery delivering a maximum speed of about 78 mph and a range of approximately 90 miles in city traffic. Deliveries will begin in Germany in late summer, with 30 other markets to follow soon. It comes in Coupé and Cabrio (convertible) models, and the respective prices in Germany are €23,680 and €26,770. smart Canada also released pricing. The Coupé will start at $26,990 while the Cabrio will start at $29,990. The first cars will be delivered in Canada spring 2013.

Honda Fit EV earns record efficiency rating

The new hatchback sports a 92 kW (123 hp) coaxial electric motor that generates 188 ft-lb of torque, a 20 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, and a 6.6 kW charger that can deliver a full charge in three hours. Honda debuted the 2013 Fit EV at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show and announced plans to begin leasing the battery-electric commuter vehicle to customers in select California and Oregon markets during the summer of 2012, followed by an East Coast rollout in 2013. The Fit EV will first be offered with a three-year $389/month lease, and will go on sale in 2013 at an MSRP of $36,625.

Just as important as the industry-leading fuel-efficiency and fast recharging time, as a Honda, the 2013 Fit EV will be an absolute kick to drive. Steve Center, Honda VP American Honda Environmental Business Development


Photo courtesy of Daimler

Photo courtesy of Honda

The 2013 Honda Fit EV set a record, as the EPA gave it a combined rating of 118 MPG equivalent, and a power consumption rating of 29 kWh per 100 miles, making it the most fuel-efficient passenger car ever produced. The EPA estimates an annual fuel cost of $500.

The new smart electric drive and the expansion of the Hambach plant are two important milestones for the future of smart. With the new smart electric drive we are further expanding our leading position in urban mobility and making fully electric driving accessible to everyone. For this – and for the successor generation to the current smart – we are making significant investments in the Hambach site. And I am convinced that this is money extremely well invested. Dr. Annette Winkler, smart CEO

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INVERTERS By Michael Kent

Thermally minded

Topping the list of EV inhibitors are cost and consumer perception of long-term reliability of the vehicle. After batteries, power electronics contribute the greatest cost to EVs, when compared to a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. Additionally, inverters and converters are among the most stressed powertrain components. Increasing inverter performance, reliability, and lifetime - while reducing size and cost - are critical requirements for the success of EV adoption. Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) modules are at the heart of the EV power inverter. IGBTs manipulate the power delivered to the motor by literally switching the battery pack voltage on and off at high rates of speed. They make up the majority of the inverter cost. IGBTs generate a lot of heat during switching, and it is imperative to keep them cool. A typical configuration for IGBT thermal control is indirect-liquid cooling. In this configuration the IGBT module heat sink is pasted to a liquid cooling circuit using thermal grease. The liquid is a standard 50/50 mixture of water and automotive antifreeze. This configuration has proven more effective than air-cooling in an EV application, but it can be improved further with recent IGBT packaging advancements. Hatchi Power Devices now offers a line of IGBTs that use a direct-liquid cooled configuration. The base of these IGBT modules is a pinned heat sink that makes direct contact with the liquid coolant. The company claims this configuration improves cooling performance, eliminates manufacturing steps, improves reliability, extends inverter lifetime, and lowers overall system cost. Hitachi’s Jeff Knapp walked us through the major advantages of their cooling technique. When compared to indirect-liquid cooling, direct-


Hitachi Power Devices’ direct-liquid cooled IGBT modules

Photos courtesy of Hitachi Power Device

liquid cooling eliminates non-thermally conductive layers between the IGBT die and the heat sink. This leads to lower thermal impedance with a 35% improvement in cooling performance, and results in greater inverter efficiency.


Indirect-liquid cooling IGBT Module Pinned IGBT Base


Direct-liquid cooling Direct-liquid cooled IGBT modules experience lower temperatures at critical solder points. This means lower stress at the same levels of operation, resulting in reduced thermal fatigue on the IGBT modules and longer life of the inverter - especially critical in urban environments with repeated stop-and-go traffic situations. Application of thermal grease in the indirect-liquid cooled inverter is a critical step that requires inspection

and is prone to failure. By eliminating the thermal grease layer in the direct-liquid cooled design, inverter assembly is made faster, easier, and more reliable. Although still relatively new, inverters using directliquid-cooled IGBT modules are presently available on the market. Mr. Knapp tells us that thousands of IGBT modules operating in the field confirm the reliability studies.

Engineering Notes Thermal grease

Thermal grease (also known as thermal compound or heat sink compound) is a substance commonly used in electronics to increase the thermal dissipation from a heat-generating component to a heat sink. Generally, the grease has a thermal conductivity between 0.5 and 10 W/mK, far less than metal heat sinks, which have between 220 and 420 W/mK. However, the grease is meant to fill the microscopic air gaps and grooves that exist between a component and a heat sink. The thermal conductivity of the air, 0.034 W/mK, is far less than that of the grease. Indirect-liquid cooling requires a thermal grease to be applied between the IGBT baseplate and the heat sink. Any variation in thermal grease thickness causes temperature non-uniformities. While under operation, the IGBT module experiences temperature changes and produces transformations, because it is comprised of materials with different thermal expansion coefficients. This leads to warpage of the IGBT base plate, and, over time, causes thermal grease movement, further thermal impedance variation, and eventual failure of the inverter. By contrast, the direct-liquid cooled approach does not require the thermal grease layer and virtually eliminates the risk of thermal impedance variation.

JUN/JUL 2012 17

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UNDER THE HOOD Cat-like reflexes

Canadian firm TM4, spun off by Hydro-Quebec in 1998, recently released details of its new Reflex™ gate driver technology. Company representatives tell us that inverters equipped with this new tech will have optimized use of the IGTBs - reducing commutation losses and maximizing the amount of current that can be sent to the motor.

Engineering Notes Pushing IGBTs to the limit Passive technique

One common technique to maximize voltage and current ratings of an IGBT is soft switching two-level turn off. This passive feature is embedded in some gate drive chips, like ST Microelectronics’ TD350E, and works by minimizing the overshoot (but not the stray inductance, which is relative to the layout of the IGBT module and the gate driver). The idea is to reduce the gate voltage when a desaturation event occurs, before turning it off completely to prevent extreme overshoots from occurring. However, this method increases losses and makes the thermal design more challenging.

TM4’s active technique

TM4’s unique new feature is an active mechanism that uses the stray inductance of the IGBT to control the current during the turn-off process, without slowing down the rate of voltage change. It doesn’t trigger when desaturation occurs, but only during the maximal overshoot period, and the company says it has virtually no negative effect on efficiency and temperature during normal operation.

Photo courtesy of TM4


“The big cost driver in automotive is current, if you can get more current out of the same component, it is directly proportional to cost. We are able to use the same IGBT modules as most companies, while getting 3040% more current out of that IGBT,” said Eric Azeroual, TM4’s director of sales & marketing. “[This is] probably the most dense inverter in the world at the moment, a patent-pending technology. ReflexTM anticipates a voltage peak on the IGBT, and it ensures that it never reaches the voltage limit: 650 volts in our case. It’s a combination of hardware and software. TM4 uses INFINEON® HybridPACK™2, but designs and manufactures their own gate drivers. Most people using the same module limit the current to 450 amps, while we limit the current to 650 amps.” The company is currently testing the new design in real-world prototype trials. C




3:20 PM

Advanced Solutions For Hybrid and EV Battery Management Pack De-powering Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Service Battery Pack / Module Diagnostics System Troubleshooting







JUN/JUL 2012 19

Thomas Conry loading a lithium cell for testing on an Arbin battery cycler





Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory EETD Battery group members Venkat Srinivasan, Adam Weber, Vince Battaglia

CalCharge, a new public-private consortium, seeks to leverage the academic foundation and fertile entrepreneurial ground of the Bay Area to streamline new battery technology development. By Markkus Rovito Photos by Roy Kaltschmidt, courtesy of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

For a small start-up battery company struggling to get its ideas out to an emerging market, it can feel a bit like trying to jumpstart an entire industry with the power of a single cell. Luckily, out in the California Bay Area, the energy density of the rechargeable battery industry is growing thicker than the fog that swallows up the Golden Gate Bridge on a near-nightly basis. From 2008 to 2010, 258 battery patent filings came from California, more than the next three leading states combined, according to Next 10’s 2012 California Green Innovation Index. Venture capital support for energy storage in California also rocketed up thirteen-fold from 2010 to 2011, making up 11 percent of total clean tech VC funding in the state.

From 2008 to 2010, 258 battery patent filings came from California, more than the next three leading states combined Now, the more than 30 startups and larger battery innovation companies in the Bay Area have another pillar of support on which to lean. At the end of May, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF), banded together to form CalCharge, a unique public/private consortium that will give paying member companies access to the worldclass facilities and personnel of Berkeley Lab with the

JUN/JUL 2012 21

BATTERY TECH intention of accelerating the timeline of energy storage innovation in batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles, consumer electronics and the electric grid.


CalCharge will give member companies easy access to Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) and other arrangements that will lend the companies the services of Berkeley Lab's highly respected battery scientists, as well as state-of-the-art testing and diagnostics equipment that they otherwise might not have access to. Degrees of access will depend on a company's membership level, which will cost an annual fee of $10,000, $25,000, or $50,000.

We can shorten the time frame under which, technologically, these batteries are ready to scale.

CalCharge will support the entire field of battery technology companies, but Venkat Srinivasan, head of Berkeley Lab’s energy storage research program, highlights some points of interest specific to EV battery companies. “Berkeley Lab's battery program is known all over the world for its expertise in developing the next-generation batteries for electric, plug-in hybrid, and hybrid cars,” Srinivasan says. “We are also one of the few ARPA-E awardees for developing batteries for grid storage applications.”


Srinivasan also emphasized the importance of CalCharge building an ecosystem for the battery business in Northern California, a recurring concept in conversations with Berkeley Lab and CalCEF. This ecosystem would include interaction and cooperation among academic, private, and government organizations, with CalCharge helping with workforce training and market education in addition to its technical services for businesses. While CalCharge can't force local governments' hands when it comes to policies supporting battery energy storage, its founders hope to educate and influence government toward that end. “We hope that CalCharge


CalCharge Gao Liu inspects cells in an environmental chamber

Daniel Cheung lines up an instrument to perform mechanical stress tests of battery electrodes

can help local governments understand and plan for energy storage as an industry, and as an energy management resource,” says Douglas Davenport, co-lead of the CalCharge initiative at Berkeley Lab. Davenport is also the contact for companies inquiring about CalCharge membership. Government has certainly had a hand in mandating deadlines for the EV industry, and CalCharge's progenitors would like to do whatever's possible to help meet or beat those deadlines. For example, there's the federal call to put one million EVs on the road by 2015. And early this year, California approved Advanced Clean Car Rules, among which is a 34 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to 2016 levels by 2025. Dan Adler, president of CalCEF, thinks such mandates really depend on auto manufacturers' willingness to commit to EV technology and emissions reductions. But CalCharge should be able to contribute to the progress nonetheless. “To the extent that we can accelerate that process with science,” he says, “we can shorten the time frame under which, technologically, these batteries are ready to scale. We're focusing on technology first, initiating the markets where we can, and proving the technical case on the theory that once the tech is proven, the markets will transition quicker.” With CalCharge currently establishing a roster of founding members and sponsors, Davenport says there will be member announcements soon that will reflect the strong early interest in the consortium. Adler is also confident in the CalCharge's early momentum. “It's a pretty robust community here in the Bay Area,” Adler says. “We're thinking we can attract a substantial component of it.”

JUN/JUL 2012 23



SECONDARY USE What to do with used

electric vehicle batteries



BY DR. SAMIT GHOSH - CEO of P3 North America - a management

consulting and engineering solutions company. Prior to his North American appointment, he served as an Automotive Senior Consultant and Principal at the Stuttgart, Germany-based P3 Automotive GmbH subsidiary since 1999.

ver the past decade, the automotive industry has made significant technological advancements to meet the fuel economy and emissions regulations set forth by the US government. Electric vehicles are among the most promising and significant outcomes of these efforts. However, the cost of these vehicles remains the primary barrier to increased market acceptance. Current efforts to reduce the cost of electric vehicles have focused on the battery, which can contribute to over 30% of the cost of the vehicle. A relatively less explored option is to recover value from the battery at the end of its automotive life by repurposing it for other industries and applications. When batteries are degraded to 70-80% of their original power they are considered inadequate for their primary automotive use, but these partially depleted batteries are well qualified for other applications with less stringent requirements. Such secondary-use applications could significantly increase the total lifetime value of the battery, and thus reduce its cost to the automotive buyer. The choice of a secondary-use application is a complex decision that is driven by multiple market and technical factors including price, demand, type of customers, customer acceptance, technical compatibility, modifications/


rework, battery capacity/power requirements, and safety/ reliability requirements. A critical analysis of these factors reveals several applications that would have a strong demand for used automotive batteries. These applications can be separated into two categories: stationary and mobile.


Most requirements are very similar to those of the battery’s application in an electric vehicle. The design features of such a battery have more value in these applications due to the low weight and long cycle life. However, modification, refurbishing and compatibility present substantial challenges in preparing batteries for such secondary-use applications. The following are some of the mobile applications: OEM PHEVs/HYBRIDS Hybrids and PHEVs electrified vehicles require significantly less capacity than pure EVs, although the safety and reliability requirements are the same. However, challenges exist in regard to design suitability and customer acceptance.

Photo by David Wright

EV/HYBRID Retrofits Although a niche market, electric vehicle retrofits can accept a wide range of batteries at different capacity levels. The lower cost of these batteries could make retrofits a more sustainable industry. Aftermarket As the EV industry matures, there will be a large market for refurbished and repaired batteries. In addition to

providing a market for secondary batteries, this would reduce the cost of ownership of an electrified vehicle. Construction & Ancillary Equipment Battery-operated auxiliaries and ancillary equipment would allow construction and off-highway equipment to operate without fossil fuels, minimizing emissions and costs. However, this would continue to be an evolving niche market.

JUN/JUL 2012 25

Maximum secondary-market price potential High




EV/HEV retrofits Aftermarket Construction and ancillary Ships Trucking, aircraft and military


Backup power

Grid for load optimization Renewable energy DC fast charge and EVSE charging

Photo by David Wright

Manufacturing and energy savings


A Ships Ships can leverage the energy storage and load leveling capabilities of batteries to boost efficiency during idling/ docking and other situations when power availability may vary. Trucking, Aircraft and Military Aircraft auxiliary and backup systems and many military applications require quieter operation and can benefit from the use of batteries.


Power density and performance requirements are far less demanding. Modification for stationary applications is much simpler and practical. However, a large volume of batteries is required for most applications, which may initially present a challenge. The following are some of the stationary applications: Backup Power Batteries for backup power are currently a mature market and offer a promising opportunity for secondary-use electrified vehicle batteries. It might be difficult to com-


pete with mass-produced lead-acid batteries currently used for these applications. Grid Load Optimization Grid storage is a high priority for utility companies trying to level grid loads and avoid the need for new power plants. However, the price target for these batteries will be low and a large volume of compatible batteries is required. Renewable Energy A common challenge for several renewable energy sources is variability in supply and proximity to markets. Secondary batteries offer a low-cost method to stabilize output and provide standby power. This application will be driven by alternative energy markets. DC Fast Charge and EVSE Charging Batteries will offer direct DC charging capability to EVSE stations. This may be a less likely scenario, due to the additional cost and limited capacity available, but could be helped by fleet-type needs with lack of high-voltage access to charging locations.



Photo by Kevin Collins

Photo by Kazuhiko Teramoto

Secondary batteries offer a low cost method to stabilize output and provide standby power

Grid storage is a high priority for utility companies trying to level grid loads 28


Identifying profitable and feasible secondary-use applications will extend the lifetime of a battery, in turn reducing the cost to the automotive user.


Manufacturing and Energy Savings Load balancing and energy recovery has the potential to substantially mitigate energy costs for electricityintensive manufacturing processes like metal refining, stamping, DC robotic motors, large data warehouses and battery manufacturing. Mobile applications promise a higher secondary-market price, but present more technical challenges to overcome for suitable use. On the other hand, several viable stationary applications are already deployed in the marketplace, although with a lower secondary-market price and stiffer competition from less expensive new batteries. Electric vehicles have massive potential to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil and emissions, however, battery costs need to be reduced by approximately 50 percent to make them cost-competitive with conventional internal combustion vehicles. Identifying profitable and feasible secondary-use applications will extend the lifetime of a battery, in turn reducing the cost to the automotive user. Ultimately, this could help auto manufacturers recover high battery costs, and pass the savings along to consumers.




Learn more at


Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors


S-PECTATIONS Tesla Motors has begun delivering its vaunted Model S sedan EV, with a driving range that exceeds the company’s initial engineering target.

By Markkus Rovito



ust like the end of the Mayan Long Count calendar in 2012, it feels like we’ve been hearing rumblings of the Tesla Motors Model S all-electric sedan forever. It was 2009 - coincidentally the same year that Roland Emmerich’s lame apocalypse movie “2012” came out - that Tesla officially unveiled the Model S name and initial specs. Of course, Elon Musk’s California carmaker had already made plans for a 4-door sedan known as early as 2008. At that point, production was targeted for late 2010. Yet that’s all water under the bridge now, and early reservers of the Model S won’t have to wait until the end of the world to drive their rigid-body beauty. Customer deliveries began on June 22, a little more than three years after the first 1,000 people plunked down a minimum of $5,000 to reserve a Model S. Christina Ra, Tesla’s Senior Manager of Communications, tells us that the company plans to deliver about 5,000 Model S cars by the end of this year, with production ramping up to 20,000 units per year in 2013. There were already more than 10,000 Model S reservations just before the initial delivery date.


Photos courtesy of Tesla Motors


As the Model S isn’t a typical car, one won’t be buying it in the typical drive-it-off-the-lot fashion. Purchasers will have the opportunity to customize their Model S with a dizzying amount of options three or four months before the car is delivered. To make the customization process simpler, visual, and, dare we say, fun. Tesla launched an online Design Studio ( design), where all the many options are laid out and then depicted graphically onscreen as you choose them. For anyone who’s enjoyed customizing vehicles in video games, the Design Studio represents a remarkable realworld equivalent that anyone can enjoy, whether they end up buying a Model S or not. For all their patience, Tesla will set out to make their

customers feel special with a “Tesla Personal Delivery” of the Model S. Ra explains what that means. “Tesla will deliver the car wherever a customer chooses: at home, at work, at a friend’s house, at a hotel while on vacation, or anywhere else that brings a smile,” she says. “We’ll make sure customers know everything they need to about owning a Model S. Customers can also choose to take delivery of their vehicles at Tesla’s Fremont factory, where they may also receive a tour to see where the vehicle was born.” For those who’d rather not buy a pricey Model S just for a Tesla factory tour, there are some eye-catching videos of the impressive facilities within the Inside Tesla blog entries at

JUN/JUL 2012 33


In case you had the impression that a Model S would cost less than 50 grand, the $49,900 base price refers to a 40 kWh, 160-mile range Model S after the $7,500 federal tax credit, and the price quickly escalates from there based on options. The 60 kWh, 230-mile Model S comes in at $59,900, and the 85 kWh, 300-mile Model S costs $69,900, both after the federal tax credit. There is also a Model S Performance model ($84,900) that adds a highperformance drive inverter, performance wheels and tires, and other performance and aesthetic upgrades. The first 1,200 Model S deliveries will be the even more exclusive Model S Signature ($87,900) and Model S Signature Performance ($97,900). Those limited-edition units offer exclusive colors and leather interiors, a free year of wireless connectivity, and other upgrades. Regardless of the those preset Model S configurations, a customer could go to the online Design Studio and create almost any combination of 10 exterior colors, three roof types, four wheel types, leather and interior decor options, and package options such as active air suspension, the Sound Studio Package, a parcel shelf, protective paint armor, and a package of other high-tech options. Every Model S comes with an in-dash 17� touchscreen and seating for five adults and two children.


In early May, Elon Musk and Tesla Chief Technical Officer JB Straubel published results from the Model S EPA 2-cycle test procedure for determining EV range on a

Battery Specs

The Numbers

Model S is offered with three battery options.

Estimated Range at 55 mph 0 to 60 mph Top Speed Battery Warranty Supercharging Enters Production


single battery charge. The 85 kWh Model S units are expected to reach 240-335 miles of range at constant speeds of 50-70 mph under the following conditions: constant speed (as with cruise control), flat ground, no wind, no heat or air conditioning, 300 lbs. of vehicle load, windows up and sun roof closed, tires inflated to recommended pressure, and a new battery pack (less than one year old and less than 25,000 miles driven). Overall, the Model S results exceeded Tesla’s goal of breaking a potential range of 300 miles. There are many factors that affect the range of all EVs, with vehicle speed causing the greatest variation. Greater speed causes greater aerodynamic resistance. That combined with regenerative braking makes EVs such as the Model S more efficient when driving at slower speeds within stop-and-go city traffic. Specifically to the Model S, its aerodynamics are such that even though it is a much larger and heavier car than the Tesla Roadster, the Model S consumes only about 10 percent more battery energy on the highway than the Roadster. With more existing Model S reservations than it can produce until sometime next year, Tesla has the luxury of high anticipation and the burden of high expectations. The past performance of the Roadster and present interest in the Model S suggest that this really could be the bridge to a more affordable, mass-produced Tesla EV down the road. For now, however, the Model S remains an exclusive ride, but at least the long line has started to move.

40 kWh

60 kWh

85 kWh

85 kWh Performance

160 miles

230 miles

300 miles

300 miles

6.5 seconds

5.9 seconds

5.6 seconds

4.4 seconds

110 mph

120 mph

125 mph

130 mph

8 years 100,000 mi

8 years 125,000 mi

8 years unlimited mi

8 years unlimited mi

Not Available




Winter 2012

Fall 2012

Summer 2012

Summer 2012


FRIENDS, INVESTORS, COUNTRYMEN, LEND ME YOUR CASH On June 6, Tesla Motors held its annual stockholders meeting, where co-founder, CEO, and chief product architect Elon Musk made a presentation on the state of the company, fielded questions, and teased us with tasty tidbits on future plans. As usual, Musk held the crowd with his strangely authoritative stammer, one moment waxing technical on the facts, and the next moment drawing laughs with his bluntly honest opinions. Model S safety “Our goal was to achieve a 5-star crash rating, which we’ve done. In fact if there were a sixth star, I think we’d get a sixth star. We have a real advantage, because we don’t have a huge steel engine block in the front. As a result, we have a much longer crumple zone, two to three times longer than it would be in a normal sedan. Some people think that this big engine in front of me is protect-

To create a product with revolutionary technology you need to have a revolutionary factory


ing me. Well, not really, because in a really high-speed impact, you’ve got to have a certain compression, and at some point, that engine is going to go through your chest, and that’s not good. “With respect to side impacts, we’ve designed a really strong structure to go along the side. We have the lowest side pull intrusion of any passenger car in the world. “For rear collisions, because we have a third row seat, I wanted to be really careful about that. I’ll have my kids in there; my friends kids will be in there. The regulations around rear collisions are quite low. We are designing for an impact at over 50mph and being able to absorb that impact on only half of the car. We did all those tests effectively at a crash energy level about four or five times greater than the regulations allow. “The roll cage of the car is designed to handle about four times the mass of the car if you roll over. The car can really just tumble, and you don’t get a collapse of the roof

Photos courtesy of Tesla Motors

structure. I think that by far this is the safest car on the road. “In terms of reliability, we’ve put millions of miles on the car effectively with accelerated life testing. It’s going through everything to make sure that under any circumstances, the car never lets you down. If it’s midnight in a Norwegian winter or it’s the hottest day in Death Valley, the car still works and works well. “Our aspiration is not to have a low defect rate, it is to have a no-defect rate.” Model S pricing and leasing “It’s very economical. Although we’ve set the price to be comparable with other premium sedans, that doesn’t take into account the cost savings of using electricity versus gasoline. The Model S costs about a tenth as much to run as if you bought gas. “We will absolutely offer leasing for US customers, probably starting next year. The best way to understand the operational cost advantage of an electric car is to

lease it. Your servicing cost is tiny; you don’t have any oil changes or tuneups or filter changes. You can look at your total monthly cost, and it is a much more obvious advantage.” The Tesla Factory “We’re really creating two machines. One is the Model.S, and the other is the factory to create the Model S. The factory itself is a very complex machine. To create a product with revolutionary technology you need to have a revolutionary factory to create that thing, because it’s not made in the way that other things are made. This is the only all-aluminum car made in North America.” Model S and EV charger standards “The Model S will be able to charge anywhere. It’ll adapt to any voltage you feed it. The adapters for the various standards around the world come with the car. For the actual connector that goes into the car, we did design our own, because the standard just isn’t good enough. We

JUN/JUL 2012 37


July 23 – 26, 2012 San Antonio Convention Center San Antonio, Texas USA

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Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors

If you see a Tesla store in the mall, you should be magnetically drawn to that store even if you don’t own a car

were forced to either have a highly compromised connector in the car, or have two, one which is big and bulky and ugly, in addition to ours which is small and compact and beautiful. I just couldn’t do it on the big ugly one that sucks. But we do have an adapter, which is as small as adapters can be made. “I wanted to have something that could have a huge amount of power, on the order of almost 100 kW of input energy - far beyond any standard that exists. Even the ones that are of half that capability are gigantic and uncomfortable. We have a connector that is dialed down to the limits of what physics can achieve. I wish we could adhere to the standard, but unfortunately the standard is not good, and we won’t compromise the product to adhere to a standard that’s not good.” Tesla’s retail strategy “It’s rare that buying a car ranks as somebody’s top retail experience, but we want that to be the case. “The overarching goal for the stores is if you see a Tesla store in the mall, you should be magnetically drawn to that store even if you don’t own a car. You should feel welcome and really like being there. Our goal may sound

counterintuitive, but we never want to sell a car in the store. If you’re being sold something, to me it feels like someone is pulling the wool over your eyes. You want to learn about something and experience something, but you don’t want to be sold.” The Model X (2014) - the world’s first dual-motor allwheel drive “With a motor in the front and a motor in the back, we can dynamically adjust torque within milliseconds to effectively get the best road holding of any all-wheel drive ever. This is simply in a different league. The Model X will have more functionality than any minivan: a bigger door opening, more usable cargo space, and all in a form factor that is slightly shorter than an Audi Q7. We haven’t achieved that functionality just by making a super-huge car. One of the signs of good car design is it’s bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside.” 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds in an SUV “If you’re ever at a light, and there’s some guy with a Porsche who’s thinking he’s a stud, you can put a dent in his ego with your SUV.”

JUN/JUL 2012 39

© Tourisme Montréal - © Marc Cramer

EV 2012 VÉ Electric Vehicles / Véhicules électriques is the annual Conference and Trade Show focusing on EV opportunities and challenges in Canada. A full technical program involving Canadian and international speakers is complemented by an exhibition including domestic and international OEM's and suppliers. Join us in the multicultural city of Montréal, Québec, Canada, from October 23 to 26 2012. Visit for full details


Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors

New EV battery technologies “There are few industries with more BS than the battery industry. There are a lot of complicating factors for the battery. There’s the gravimetric and volumetric energy density, cost per kWh, the cycle life, the calendar life, safety. Sometimes you see an announcement that sounds really great. It’s an improvement in one area but shortchanges the other areas, and they forget to mention that in the article. “I’m not sure what the best way is to invest in opportunities like that, but I can say confidently that we will see something like a 10% improvement per year [in cost and energy density] for several years, at least. That’s not speculative; that’s known.” Could CAFE standards hurt EV sales? “I think improving the Corporate Average Fuel Economy for car makers actually does help send them in the direction of sustainable transport. But ultimately for the really high CAFE standards that are scheduled to come into effect later this decade, they will have to go to electric cars or at least plug-in hybrids.”

Energy subsidies “There are some subsidies on the sustainable stuff, but it’s nothing like there are for oil, gas and coal, which have been there are a long time. There are a lot of parallels here with how smoking was perceived 40 or 50 years ago, where you had ads claiming that cigarettes were good for your health, with pregnant women in them. Scientists were saying ‘we think there may be a link between lung cancer and smoking,’ and then there would be all these counter studies funded by the tobacco companies that, curiously, felt that there was no link. Over time it became overwhelmingly obvious that smoking is bad for your health. What we’re doing here with carbon emissions is that we’re smoking the planet. It doesn’t seem that we’ve learned our lesson there.” A self-driving Tesla car “I think the whole self-driving thing is pretty cool, and that is something that I’d like Tesla to implement. We have a fairly close relationship with a number of people at Google, and I think it would be great to implement the first production self-driving car at Tesla. Think about it

If you’re ever at a light, and there’s some guy with a Porsche who’s thinking he’s a stud, you can put a dent in his ego with your SUV.

JUN/JUL 2012 41


I intentionally architected the Model S to have a swapped out in less than a minute. We’re going

as a super-smart, active safety system, so that the car is always taking care of you and preventing an accident.” Tesla’s car-servicing strategy “Our goal is to make a car that’s so reliable, it doesn’t need to be serviced. But all of our cars come with 4G connectivity, so we can do over-the-air updates of software like you’re used to getting on a phone or computer. We can also do remote diagnostics, so if the car is reporting a problem, with the users’ permission, we can look at a car, determine what’s wrong, and pre-position any spare parts.


“In an ideal scenario, let’s say you took the car to work. We pick up the car, bring it to our service center where the parts are pre-positioned to be replaced, we replace them, and return the car by the time you’re ready to go home. “So it was invisible to you, and you’ll love that. That’s why I call it ‘invisible love.’ That may sound expensive, but it’s not. If you look at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, it’s a very efficient organization, and yet they pick you up and drop you off for your rental car. That’s a much better use of time than for you to personally pick up and drop off the car.”


Photos courtesy of Tesla Motors

battery pack in the floor pan that can be to show something interesting in that regard. The soon-to-be-announced Supercharger Network, with battery swapping “We’re being deliberately coy, but when... people see what our supercharger network is going to look like and just how awesome it is, it’s gonna blow your mind. It’ll finally make sense to a lot of people, not just to people who have been enthusiastic about electric vehicles for a long time. It’s going to make sense to the broader population. “There’s going to be some interesting stuff with the Supercharger and solar. Solar really helps short circuit this idea that electric cars are just gasoline cars with a long tailpipe. We have to solve sustainable power generation,

as well. Solar is the best way to do that in my opinion. If you have sustainable power generation and sustainable power consumption, then we really have solved the problem. I think the Supercharger system will help illustrate that. “I intentionally architected the Model S to have a battery pack in the floor pan that can be swapped out in less than a minute. We’re going to show something interesting in that regard.” [Sly smile.] Achieving profitability and positive cash flow “That’d be nice.”

JUN/JUL 2012 43



Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company


Ford’s recent launch of the Focus Electric, and the upcoming launches of the Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrids, are major milestones for the American EV industry. The Focus Electric claims the title of the only pure EV currently available from the Big Three US automakers, and the Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi will mark the first time an American company adds plug-in hybrid options to some of its most popular models. For Ford, the new powertrain choices are part of a larger story - a story of an incredible corporate turnaround.

FORD’S NEW PLUG-INS In 2006, the company was out of cash, sales were dropping, and customer satisfaction was abysmal. New CEO Alan Mulally came on board with a mandate for serious change, but just as he was beginning to get a handle on things, the financial crisis hit, decimating sales and freezing up credit markets. To the amazement of almost everyone, Ford not only survived - without a government bailout, thank you but thrived, and today it’s one of the most profitable automakers (see our review of the new book, American Icon, pg. 52). One thing that was obvious to Mulally’s team was that the company needed to become more responsive to its customers’ needs - buyers were demanding more fuel-efficient models, and Ford’s lineup was still heavy with big trucks and SUVs. The company decided to develop a new family of fuel-efficient cars, and to build them on a couple of common platforms in order to minimize costs and maximize flexibility. The resulting “Power of Choice” lineup includes hybrids, plug-in hybrids and our cover girl, Ford’s new Focus Electric. It sounds like a rare success story for both free market capitalists and EV advocates, right? Well, not everyone is convinced just yet. We who write about EVs are well aware that automakers don’t share our love for all things electric. They’re happy to sell any kind of vehicles that people will buy. In this Year of the Electric Car, everyone is talking about EVs, but some in the industry (and quite a few in the press) regard electrification as a passing fad, like tail fins, and have no intention of making a serious commitment to it. The auto industry has a long his-



On May 22nd, 2012, Moody’s Investors Service became the second ratings agency to upgrade the credit rating of Ford Motor Company and Ford Credit to investment grade, a move Fitch Ratings made in April. The upgrade released Ford from the final restrictions of the loan terms they entered into back in 2006. In a shrewd attempt to rebuild without federal intervention, the company leveraged all of its assets, including the rights to its iconic blue oval logo, to borrow $23.4 billion.

Five years ago we used all of our collateral to borrow money to transform our Ford, including the blue oval, and the action today is a tremendous proof point or milestone that we are creating an exciting, viable, profitably growing company based on the strength of our products and the fact that we have now repaid our loans and we are now operating at investment grade. Ford President & CEO, Alan Mulally

tory of developing and hyping new vehicles, then failing to make the sustained effort needed to make them successful. They’re quite capable of building a new model just to comply with the latest government regulations, then killing it once the political winds shift (alas for GM’s martyred EV1). Given the history of EVs, we’re bound to call out any automaker that fails to live up to its hype, and some of Ford’s statements and actions have fueled suspicion in the EV media. In an interview with USA Today back in April, Ford’s global marketing chief Jim Farley said, “The marketing of the Focus Electric is to

people who buy electric vehicles, not to you and me. We’re focused on the people who buy them.” Statements like this are guaranteed to raise the hackles of EV partisans. John Voelcker, editor of High Gear Media’s, fears that the Focus Electric is merely a “compliance car,” meaning that it’s being built only to satisfy the California Air Resources Board Advanced Clean Cars Program. This legislation mandates that 15.4% of vehicles sold in Caliornia are to be zero-emission vehicles by 2025, with a gradual ramp-up beginning this year. Citing Ford’s vague and timid sales

Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company

projections, Voelcker told us that “industry insiders I’ve spoken with [are] almost uniformly skeptical that Ford is committed to pushing the Focus Electric much beyond what it needs to sell to comply with California zero-emission vehicle requirements. Ford may be positioning itself to be a fast follower, which could be a sensible strategy. But there’s a disconnect between the claims about how great the Focus Electric is and the actual plans that Ford appears to have for the car.” No one is knocking the Focus Electric itself - its specifications are, if anything, a little better than those of its logical competitor, the Nissan LEAF, and we were quite impressed when we recently took one for a test drive. The skepticism seems to arise from the way that Ford is producing and marketing its plug-in products. There’s no question that Ford is approaching the EV market differently than GM and Nissan. Ford’s Power of Choice

strategy positions its plug-in models as members of a family of fuel-efficient cars, in which the powertrain is just another option. You’ll soon be able to choose a Fusion with a gas, hybrid, or plug-in hybrid powertrain, or go all the way with a Focus Electric. While GM and Nissan run standalone ad campaigns for their plug-ins, touting the benefits of freedom from the gas pump, Ford’s marketing message presents the Focus Electric as just one option among several, all of them wonderful for the environment. Giving customers options is always good, but the crit-

icism is that this strategy will not maximize EV sales. Given the state of battery technology at the moment, a pure EV is bound to be the priciest member of the “family,” so unless buyers fully understand the benefits (fuel savings, instant torque, silence, lower maintenance, fewer dollars for petro-dictators), it’s the cheaper gaspowered sister that people are going to buy.

JUN/JUL 2012 47

Power of Choice Lineup

2012 Focus Electric C Platform

Ford’s pure EV has a 107 kW (143 hp) motor and a 23 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The cells are manufactured by LG Chem. The pack is liquid cooled and heated. The EPA has certified the Focus Electric with a 110 miles per gallon equivalent city rating - making it the world’s most fuel-efficient fivepassenger vehicle - and a range of 76 miles. Its 6.6 kW on-board charger can deliver a full charge in a little over three hours. Currently there’s no DC fast charging port, but Ford plans to add that capability once the new Combined Charging System standard is finalized. An “in-car coaching” system helps drivers adjust their driving to maximize range, and the MyFord Mobile telematics system lets drivers plan charge times and reserve charge locations. Production of the Focus Electric began in December 2011 for dealership availability in California, New York and New Jersey. By the end of 2012, the Focus Electric will be available in 19 markets across the US. Prices start at $39,995.

2013 C-MAX C Platform

The 2013 C-MAX will be Ford’s first-ever hybrid-only vehicle line offered in North America. The C-MAX Hybrid model is designed to compete with Toyota’s Prius V. It will be available in the fall of 2012. The C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid will feature a powersplit architecture that Ford claims will allow it to operate in electric mode at higher speeds than any other parallel hybrid. They also expect to offer better MPGe in electric mode than the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid and a 500mile overall driving range, more than the Chevrolet Volt. It should be in showrooms in early 2013. Both models will feature 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle I-4 gas engines.

2013 Fusion CD Platform

The 2013 model of Ford’s popular mid-size sedan will offer three engine choices: a 1.6 or 2.0 liter EcoBoost, or a 2.5 liter Duratec. No price or fuel economy figures are available yet, but the 2012 Fusion starts at $20,705 and gets 23 to 33 MPG. The Fusion Hybrid launched with the 2010 model year, and competes with Toyota’s Camry hybrid. The 2012 model starts at $28,775 and gets 36 to 41 MPG. The Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid will be available in early 2013. At this point details are sparse.


Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company

FORD’S NEW PLUG-INS A 2011 Ford survey found that 61% of Americans are “interested” in hybrids and EVs, but few will buy one unless gas reaches the apocalyptic level of $5 a gallon. Unsurprisingly, the survey also found that most consumers don’t understand the differences among hybrids, PHEVs and EVs. Are Ford dealers really going to explain those differences to buyers? Or is the Focus Electric just a marketing tool to sell the same old (sorry, the new EcoBoost) gas-burning vehicles? Wes Sherwood, Ford’s Electrified Vehicles Manager, who is closely involved in the company’s EV marketing strategy, responded to the criticism. “In order for a revolutionary vehicle to catch hold and resonate

with the general public, it needs to be marketed differently than every other car you see on the road. We learned from the marketing mishaps of GM and Nissan. Electric cars require more explanation than a 30 second Super Bowl ad can accommodate.” Another voice that may silence the doubters is that of Executive Chairman Bill Ford. Speaking at this summer’s Go Further With Ford conference next to his personal Focus Electric (serial number one), Mr. Ford expressed his unequivocal environmentalism and his confidence in the demise of the internal combustion engine in his lifetime. Other executives echoed the top floor’s commitment to sustainability. “Bill wants it green,” said one.

To get some details of the company’s electrification strategy, we recently sat down for a nice long talk with Nancy Gioia, Ford’s Global Director of Electrification, who addressed the issue of the company’s EV commitment head-on. In her view, the critics have it backwards - Ford’s Power of Choice strategy indicates more commitment to EVs, not less. As Ms. Gioia explained, Ford’s strategy is to take advantage of the scale and flexibility of the “platform approach” in order to make EVs affordable. “Bringing the scale of our global production process to this is unique to Ford, and is going to be key to making the [EV] business sustainable.”

Bringing the scale of our global production process to this is unique to Ford, and is going to be key to making the [EV] business sustainable

JUN/JUL 2012 49



Automakers began using interchangeable “platforms” in the 1960s. Originally, the term referred to the physical chassis of a vehicle. Today, it’s a more inclusive concept that may include not only physical components such as the floor pan, axles, suspension, steering and powertrain, but also design, engineering, and production processes. Building multiple vehicles on the same platform saves companies money, and offers maximum flexibility - production can easily be shifted among different models, and visual styling can change

to follow the latest fashion. For better or for worse, auto sales are driven by the style of the moment, and manufacturers can have a tough time keeping up. Alan Mulally is not the only one who has observed that being slow to respond to changes in the market was one of the things that got the automakers in trouble. When SUVs fell out of fashion, car makers were stuck with lots full of them, and had to slash prices to get them moving. Nobody (except certain oil-besotted pundits) wants to see that happen with EVs.

Hybrids and electric vehicles should be to the 21st century what the Model T was to the 20th century

Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford’s new Fusion and Focus families each use a single production line to build cars with different powertrains. The Fusion and C-MAX hybrids and PHEVs will share many of the same components, which surely makes life easier for Ford’s many suppliers as well. In fact, the hybrids and the PHEVs are almost exactly the same except for a few beefed-up components like the batteries (the batteries used in PHEVs are larger and use a different type of cell, as PHEVs use a deeper charge/discharge cycle). Gioia points out that building an EV from the ground up would amount to making huge investments - a new production line, training, etc. - for one specific product. EV sales are likely to be driven by gas prices, so sales volumes may fluctuate quite a lot. But even if fickle buyers flit from gas burners to PHEVs to EVs, Ford can keep the production line humming (unlike GM, which recently idled its Volt line for five weeks to let demand catch up), and its supply base can do the same, helping the business to be sustained over the long term. She believes that this represents more of a commitment to EVs than would putting all the company’s electric eggs in one basket. Ford has hardly been behind the pack on electrification. It was the first US maker to introduce a hybrid, the 2004 Escape which was also the first hybrid SUV to hit the market, and it added the Fusion hybrid in 2010. Now it is electrifying its two highestvolume platforms. The C platform, on which the Focus and C-MAX are built, is the basis for 10 different cars, which together sell two million units per year. The midsize CD platform, which lurks inside the Fusion, has a similar sales volume.

Nancy Gioia, director of Global Electrification, leads strategy and planning for the next generation of Ford’s global electric vehicle portfolio, touching all aspects of electrified transportation, including product planning, supplier partnerships and collaboration with the energy industry and government. Gioia started her career at Ford in 1982 in electronics, and through the years she’s worked a variety of design, release and manufacturing assignments, including vehicle programs director, engineering director for small front-wheel- and rear-wheel-drive car platforms, and quality director for North American models.

The megatrend toward marketdriven production and just-in-time delivery has not escaped Detroit’s decision-makers. Metal-bending manufacturers are never going to be as fast and flexible as software sellers, but Ford’s platform-based approach brings it closer to what you might call flavor-of-the-month production, letting it ramp up volumes of whatever model is selling best this quarter. Like many industry insiders, Gioa foresees a gradual progression from hybrids to PHEVs to pure EVs. Want to see EVs take over faster? Then sell more hybrids. “The biggest element to make EVs affordable is more hybrid volume in the near- and mid-term. The reason is that it’s the most affordable [option], and doesn’t require charging infrastructure or behavior change on fueling. And all of the technologies in the hybrids are required technologies for plug-ins and battery electrics. If you really want to see electrified vehicles work, what we have to do is make the business sustainable.” So is the Ford Focus Electric merely a “compliance car,” built only to satisfy California’s looming mandate

for zero-emission vehicles? Perhaps the better questions is, should we care if it is? The California Air Resources Board passed regulations which require automakers to sell a small percentage of zero-emissions vehilces this year. And, suprise suprise, that’s what they are doing.

amortized cost of ownership is on par with standard gas burners. Ford’s Gioia struck a similar tone when she told us that Ford plans to price its plug-in hybrids at a point that will give average drivers a payback period of four years or less, based on an average fuel price of $3.80 per gallon, and including the federal tax credits. “What we find is that if you’re under a four year payback - the premium you pay on the vehicle versus the fuel savings - the customers that are willing to consider and purchase go up significantly.” While some EV advocates seem to want the government to issue an EV with every driver’s license, we at Charged believe that the best way to spread electrification is to bring the costs down through engineering and innovation. The risk-taking automakers that brought us the first mass produced plug-in vehicles deserve to be applauded and supported. As the EV industry evolves, newcomers that bring good ideas to the table deserve the same. Ford’s Power of Choice strategy could be a key step towards unlocking affordable plug-in vehicles for the masses.

What we find is that if you’re under a four year payback - the premium you pay on the vehicle versus the fuel savings - the customers that are willing to consider and purchase go up significantly. However, the real challenge is in finding a profitable way to put millions of people behind the wheel of 100 MPGe plug-in vehicles. What the industry needs is a model for making affordable EVs and a profit, a problem that won’t easily be fixed with legislation. During the closing session of EVS 26, Bob Lutz, the “father of the Chevy Volt,” argued that the tipping point for mass adoption of plug-in vehicles will likely occur when the

JUN/JUL 2012 51



Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company A book review by Charlie Morris

By Bryce G. Hoffman Crown Publishing Group 432 pages, $26


This new book details the remarkable turnaround that CEO Alan Mulally engineered at Ford. In 2006, the company was circling the drain, its costs soaring, market share shrinking, and credit rating in the tank. CEO Bill Ford knew he needed outside help, so he brought in Alan Mulally, the star executive who had turned around Boeing. With a boyish demeanor that concealed a rock-hard resolve, Mulally set out to change Ford’s “poisonous” corporate culture. He consolidated Ford’s autonomous global divisions, instituted stricter quality control, trimmed the company’s capacity to better match demand, and made a square deal with the unions. Before he could do any of this, he had to convince his lieutenants to start telling him the truth about what was happening in their departments. The most powerful CEO can’t accomplish anything if his executives are basically lying to him - concealing bad news behind artificially rosy figures - and that’s just what they were doing until Mulally won their trust in his weekly data-driven meetings. Realizing that lots of cash would be needed for the reforms he had in mind, Mulally’s team tapped the big investment banks for massive loans, offering everything of value Ford had - even the right to its trademark blue oval - as security. It proved a prescient move, as months later the credit markets collapsed and forced GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy. Ford had already made a good start at putting its house in order when the motor oil hit the fan, so, while it did receive some limited forms of government aid, it made a fateful decision not to submit to a federal takeover, a move that earned the company a lot of good will, and gave it more freedom of action. As the economy recovered, Ford powered past its rivals, and today it’s one of the most profitable players in the industry. One of the centerpieces of Ford’s turnaround was a realignment of its product lineup away from the hulking trucks and SUVs that had been the company’s mainstay, and towards a new line of fuel-efficient models. EVs are a part of that strategy, but only a small part at this point, so they rate only a couple of brief mentions in the book. American Icon is an authoritative and fact-filled tome - the author covered the industry for the Detroit News during the period described, and based the book on extensive personal interviews with key players and his study of company documents. It’s also an entertaining story,

rich with colorful details of the powerful personalities that inhabit the heights above Detroit. At a few points, American Icon strays close to hero worship. There are unflattering depictions of several of Mulally’s adversaries and rivals, including predecessor Jacques Nasser, portrayed as a vain and flamboyant character, and deposed GM CEO Rick Wagonner, whom Mulally “played so well he didn’t even notice.” But of course, this is the sort of thing that makes the book an engaging read. It’s quite interesting to read about the drama of the financial collapse and the ensuing industry bailouts from the auto industry’s standpoint. The media accounts that most of us have read naturally took a very different perspective. For example, taxpayers were indignant at the revelation that Detroit CEOs flew corporate jets to Washington to ask for bailout money, but according to this book, when the automakers later got rid of their private planes, it ended up costing them a bundle. For those who follow the auto industry, this book is a must-read, and anyone who is interested in business and economic topics is sure to enjoy it.

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Series, Parallel

HYBRIDS & Everything In Between The different types of hybrids can be confusing - even to some in the auto industry and certainly to many in media. Forbes Black attempts to clear things up.


Forbes has been an EV engineer since 1995, and has spent most of his career with AeroVironment. He has been a part-time EV journalist since 2006, and co-starred in the documentary “What is the Electric Car?”


ybrid electric vehicles generally fall into one of two categories, series hybrids or parallel hybrids. Most of the hybrids on the road today primarily operate as parallel hybrids, which means that their internal combustion engine (ICE) is linked to their wheels through a mechanical transmission. However, increasing numbers of series hybrids, in which the ICE is used as an electrical generator, are appearing on the roads as EV technology progresses. Both designs have benefits and liabilities, and both designs help us move toward a day when electric vehicles will rule the road.

Parallel hybrids

In its most basic form, a parallel hybrid would not use its engine to generate electricity for the motor or batteries. Instead, the electrical components would only recapture energy that a “normal” car would lose during braking or going downhill. Braking that converts a car’s momentum into electrical energy is called “regenerative braking,” and it gives an efficiency edge over cars using only friction brakes to slow down. However, no major manufacturers make a parallel hybrid without any electrical connection between the ICE

Photo by Robert Scoble

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and the electric drive system. Vehicles are considered to be parallel hybrids if the primary power source linked to the drive wheels is the ICE, with a smaller electric motor used for supplemental power during acceleration and hill climbing. Because they can use very small electric motors and battery packs, parallel hybrids can be inexpensive to manufacture in today’s ICE-centered automotive industry. The 2012 Honda Insight hybrid has a starting list price of $18,500, just $2,500 more than the starting price of a Honda Civic. Parallel hybrids do have their limitations. At its heart, a parallel hybrid is simply an ICE-powered car with a supplemental electric drivetrain added. Generally speaking, all power for today’s parallel hybrids comes from gasoline. They cannot drive on electric power alone, because their electric motors and battery packs are too small. Still, the development of parallel hybrids funnels millions of dollars into motor, battery and controller technology. Automakers who start with parallel hybrids gain valuable experience in electrical drivetrain design, which they can use later in developing plug-in hybrids or pure electric vehicles.

Series hybrids

Series hybrids, in contrast, are a definite, logical step toward battery electric vehicles. They are, essentially, a pure electric vehicle with an on-board charging system powered by gasoline (or diesel, bio-diesel, hydrogen, propane, etc.). The electric motor is the only power plant directly connected to the mechanical transmission. The ICE is used only as a generator that produces electrical power to feed the batteries and motor. The motor in a series hybrid must be large enough to propel the car without help from the ICE, because there is no direct connection between the ICE and the drive wheels. Since they have large motors, series hybrids can be operated in “electric-only” mode, with the ICE turned off. The distance they travel on electrical power alone depends on the size of their battery packs, but all series hybrids could, at least in theory, travel a certain distance without using any gasoline. Series hybrids are, however, expensive to make. Their larger motors, battery packs and controllers cost more money. Also, many people argue that it is more efficient to connect the ICE to the drivetrain mechanically, because doing so bypasses the energy losses in the electrical drive system. For these reasons, none of the major automakers sells a pure series hybrid at this point in time.


Series/parallel hybrids

In reality, all hybrids we see on the road today combine elements of both series and parallel drivetrain architectures. Virtually all hybrids cut off their engines when the vehicle comes to a complete stop and travel at least a few feet on electric power alone when the driver steps on the accelerator again. The vehicle that comes closest to being a pure series hybrid is the Chevrolet Volt, which operates as a series hybrid under most circumstances, but does use a mechanical connection between the ICE and the transmission/drive wheels at high speeds when the batteries are depleted. In a series/parallel hybrid drivetrain the vehicle’s control center can pick the most efficient split between electrical and mechanical power from the ICE for any

given circumstance. Perhaps the most widely-recognized example of a series/parallel hybrid design is the Toyota Prius. Much to its competitors’ chagrin, Toyota has proved the efficiency bonus of this design by consistently creating hybrids with the highest gasoline mileage in their segments.

Plug-in hybrids

Recently, plug-in hybrids have received lots of attention as clean, green automotive alternatives. If you can get your power from the plug on your wall, you won’t need to buy gasoline. But when you occasionally need to travel long distances, you can fill up at the pump and be on your way. What could be wrong with that scenario? Not much, in the long run, but there will be some road bumps

as we get from our current situation to a plug-in world. In theory, any hybrid car could be a plug-in hybrid. However, it probably would not make sense to convert a parallel hybrid with small batteries into a plug-in model. Since the hybrid systems on these cars are primarily designed to recover energy that would normally be lost in braking, their electrical systems are not large enough to justify a plug-in option. Series hybrids, on the other hand, are ideal candidates. With big motors and big battery packs already installed, adding a plug-in system to charge the batteries on a series hybrid makes perfect sense. The Chevrolet Volt is an excellent example of a primarily series hybrid architecture used as a plug-in hybrid, although GM refuses to use this label. They prefer to

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call the Volt an electric car with a range-extending “gas generator.” Whatever you call it, the Volt can travel twenty-five to fifty miles in electric-only mode before its ICE kicks in. The Volt can easily handle freeway speeds without using a drop of gasoline. When the Volt depletes its batteries, it has a small ICE that turns on and provides just enough power to keep the batteries from draining further. However, series/parallel hybrids can also be made into efficient, effective plug-in cars. For the past several years, do-it-yourselfers have been taking advantage of the Prius’s relatively large electric motor to convert these cars to operate in electric-only mode when a large, additional battery pack is added. Recently, Toyota introduced its own Prius Plug-In Hybrid. This model can go up to 62mph and travel up to 11 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in, at which point the car operates like a standard Prius until it is plugged in again. Many EV


enthusiasts consider these all-electric speed and range numbers to be disappointing, but the very existence of the Prius Plug-In demonstrates the versatility of Toyota’s series/parallel hybrid design. So what are the downsides of a plug-in hybrid? Complexity and cost. Incorporating a system to allow a vehicle to charge from the wall adds quite a lot of sophisticated electronics to a car’s design. Increasing the battery pack size so it is big enough to provide significant electric-only range also adds complexity and cost. The base model Prius Plug-In costs $8,000 more than the baseline standard Prius. The time it takes to recoup the extra money spent on a plug-in hybrid depends on how much you drive, and your energy costs, but four years is a common estimate. A payback period like that may make sense over the long haul, but in a world with mortgage payments and kids who need braces, that upfront financial hit can sting.

The perfect hybrid?

At this point, you may be wondering, “What is the perfect hybrid?” There are as many answers to that question as there are opinionated EV enthusiasts (and believe me when I tell you there are plenty of those). However, in this writer’s opinion, the perfect hybrid is something very similar to a project created by the company AC Propulsion in which they developed a trailer dubbed the “Long Ranger.” This trailer carried an electrical generator powered by a 500cc engine. The system put out 20 kW continuously, enough power to drive an EV down the freeway or across town. AC Propulsion demonstrated this trailer connected to both its sporty tzero road car and to an electric Toyota RAV4. Their idea was to give people something that could transform their

electric car into a long-distance machine if, and only if, the extra range was needed. From Monday through Friday, one could drive their electric car with nothing attached. Then, when it came time to visit Aunt Bertha in Tuscaloosa, just hook up the Long Ranger and away you go. They even equipped the trailer with intelligent “BackTracker” steering so that the trailer would automatically stay aligned with the car while backing up, even if the driver was not a professional big rig jockey. Sadly, the Long Ranger concept has not yet caught on with the big automakers. Still, the Chevrolet Volt, Toyota Prius Plug-In, and other hybrid offerings from Honda and Ford have given EV lovers a reason to rejoice. Hybrid car designs are advancing to meet our current needs and to pave the way to a gasoline-free future.

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any believe EV adoption faces a chickenand-egg-style hurdle. Prospective electric car owners want to see a ubiquitous charging station network, and prospective charging station owners want to see large numbers of EVs before investing in charging stations that run the risk of going unused. What’s needed is a way to grease the wheels, getting enough charging stations installed to ease the concerns of prospective electric car owners. A large new charging station network is due to be built in California over the next four years, by NRG Energy’s subsidiary eVgo, if it can get past legal and regulatory challenges.

Photo courtesy of eVgo

The Settlement

In late March 2012 a surprise announcement from California Gov. Jerry Brown’s office both ended an old lingering lawsuit from California’s Energy Crisis of 10 years ago, and opened the door to a massive EV charging network. It was a bold move - applauded by many, criticized by others - that converts a legal fight into a resource supporting California’s goal to have 1.5 million electric cars on the road by 2025, displacing 1.5 billion gallons of gasoline annually. The settlement is with NRG Energy, whose eVgo subsidiary is required to, within four years, set up a network of 200 or more fast charging stations, and the wiring to support at least 10,000 Level 2 charging stations. Even for a state as big as California this is a lot of charging stations. The backdrop of this story is the California Energy Crisis of 20002001. During that period, wholesale electricity prices spiked to the highest levels ever recorded in the world, according to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The crisis bankrupted the state’s largest utility companies, forcing the state to take emergency measures. The primary cause of the crisis, discovered much later, was “rampant manipulation in the wholesale energy markets by unscrupulous operators such as the energy traders at Enron.” California has pursued claims against the various companies involved for over 10 years, and has identified two broad categories of cases in which

CHARGING California was overcharged for electricity by these unscrupulous companies: (1) Short-term power contracts in 2000-2001; (2) long-term power contracts enacted during 2001 to shore up the state’s electricity supply, because utility companies were insolvent and unable to purchase power themselves. NRG’s involvement in this case stems from having bought several subsidiaries from Dynegy, inheriting the legal liabilities of those subsidiaries. During the crisis the Dynegy subsidiaries were involved in overcharging for both short-term and long-term power, and CPUC had

Freedom Stations $50.5 million to build at least 200 public charging station locations which would include at least one DC Fast Charge station, plus at least one Level 2 charging station. NRG will own and operate these stations as part of the eVgo network.

Photo courtesy of eVgo

FULL DISCLOSURE Companies discussed in this article are current, previous, and/or potential advertisers in the Charged media portfolio. This article was published solely because it meets the interest of our readership. It has not been paid for, nor has any company’s advertising status (past, current, or future) affected coverage of the story. View our Ethics Statement and Coverage Policy on page 8 for more information about how we choose content to publish.

two active cases against those subsidiaries. In June 2004, they reached a settlement with Dynegy on one of the cases, resulting in a $281-million cash settlement paid to California, leaving NRG holding the bag for the remaining case. This brings us to the issue at hand. The settlement between NRG and California resolves the remaining legal case, over the long-term contracts, in return for which NRG’s eVgo subsidiary will build a large EV charging network in California. The agreement announced in March was a draft, with the final settlement published by CPUC on April 27, 2012 at which time it was submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for approval. That proposal included these terms:


Make Ready Locations $40 million for infrastructure to support at least 10,000 EV charging stations, spread over at least 1,000 locations. This means the wiring, conduit, and electrical service to support installation of charging stations, but no stations. The phrase “make ready� points exactly to the purpose, to make a location ready for electric vehicle charging. While the Freedom Stations are to be installed in the public sphere, the Make Readys are to be installed at workplaces, multi-unit dwellings, and other locations of public interest like shopping malls. These are required to support 30 amp charge rates. The ownership of the wiring, once built, will be handed to building owners. NRG/eVgo will have an 18-month period of exclusivity to sell the building owners on installing eVgo charging stations.

Hire local, hire minorities A commitment on hiring practices while building the infrastructure, to give some preference to local and minority workers and contractors. Immediately, both applause and controversy sprang up. On the one hand building a large EV charging station network is clearly going to make a positive impact on electric vehicle adoption in California. Successfully mainstreaming EVs in California should, many think, positively influence adoption elsewhere. But in some corners the settlement was seen as flawed.


Concerns were aired by a number of organizations, including Plug In America (the electric vehicle advocacy group), and several incumbent charging station network operators. In some cases the concerns were answered by the final

Photo courtesy of ECOtality

R&D in New EV Charging Technology $5 million investment in new technology such as battery storage systems to reduce peak power load on the grid, reducing demand charges, and reducing cost of fast charging.

EV Opportunity Programs $4 million for EV car sharing programs and training programs for EV charging station infrastructure workers.

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proposal sent to the FERC. However, one of the charging network operators, ECOtality, is continuing to shout loudly. The company filed a protest with CPUC in mid-April 2012, and on May 25, 2012, it filed a lawsuit with California’s First District Court of Appeal seeking a stay to block implementation of the settlement. ECOtality’s issues are best summed up by these bullet points made in a filing with CPUC in mid-April: • “The Settlement uses ratepayer funds to provide exclusive market access to one private company at the expense of other market participants, thereby tilting the playing field in California’s EV charging infrastructure market and impairing competition.” • “The Settlement, by funding NRG’s private investment with ratepayer funds, will significantly harm future investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure currently underway in California by private companies acting in response to Commission policies.” “Ratepayer funds” refers to the overcharging during the energy crisis.

California under circumstances where contentious and expensive litigation would otherwise have continued for many years and with uncertain results.”

Repayment or investment?

ECOtality asks whether the $100 million is a business investment by NRG, or a repayment of overcharging committed by NRG’s subsidiaries? According to ECOtality’s theory, this money will be spent by NRG to make a business investment that will benefit NRG. In the meantime NRG’s competitors, including ECOtality, will have a harder time competing because CPUC is interfering in the free market. They argue that what NRG and CPUC are calling a “settlement” is not only a business investment, but one that NRG was likely to have made anyway. NRG’s longstated business goal for eVgo is an expansion across the country. California, being ground zero for electric car adoption, would have been high on NRG’s list for eVgo expansion.

Pro-settlement response:

A response filed by Aloha Systems, a Californian EV

Dollar for dollar?

CPUC estimated NRG’s acquired subsidiaries overcharged California’s ratepayers by $931,042,585, making this amount “ratepayer money” that should be reimbursed through the settlement. The settlement involves a much smaller amount of money, $120 million (approximately $100 million of investment and a $20 million payment to the CPUC). Clearly $120 million is a lot less than $931 million. Did NRG get off with a slap on the wrist? The responses from NRG and CPUC paint a different story. First, there is the previous settlement in which a $281 million repayment was made. When added to the $120 million amount in the current settlement, it means Dynegy and NRG will have contributed over $400 million to California. That is in the form of direct cash payments as well as a “non-cash in-kind” contribution in the form of the electric car charging network. According to CPUC Commissioner Mike Florio, a $400 million settlement “captures significant value for


Photo courtesy of eVgo

Pro-settlement response:

infrastructure company, noted that a refund would amount to $2.65 for each ratepayer ($100,000,000 divided by 37,691,912 people). Aloha asked which gives more benefit, a small one-time refund on a utility bill, or a large charging station network. Aloha went on to argue that the “virtually nonexistent” electric vehicle charging infrastructure clearly calls for public dollars to be allocated to encourage investment in the EV charging infrastructure we need to spur electric vehicle adoption. The $100 million, notes Aloha, is a drop in the bucket compared to the billions of dollars that will be required to build enough charging stations to begin to make a dent in the ubiquity of gas stations, and that there is plenty of market opportunity for all companies in this field. CPUC notes in its response to ECOtality’s lawsuit, that of the 47 previously settled Energy Crisis claims, several included “various forms of non-cash contributions consisting of various forms of energy infrastructure” such as rooftop solar panels and wind turbines. These previous settlements set a precedent for this settlement, in that it is simply another involving “non-cash contributions consisting of various forms of energy infrastructure.”

Beyond the powers?

Another issue raised by ECOtality is the one in which we learn the meaning of a Latin phrase: Ultra Vires. The lawsuit filing describes the whole settlement as an “Ultra Vires action” leaving Wikipedia as one’s only hope of knowing what is going on. We learn there that Ultra Vires literally means “beyond the powers.” An Intra Vires action, in law, is one that is within the scope of authority of a legal body, while an Ultra Vires action is one that’s beyond the scope of its authority. ECOtality is asserting that CPUC, in making this form of settlement with NRG, stepped beyond the bounds of its authority. Meaning “CPUC has no authority to endorse and support one of multiple competitors,” especially when the endorsed competitor is so much bigger than the others, and doubly so when the endorsed competitor is using “ratepayer funds to invest in its own business to successfully impose its business strategy and practices on the California consumers.” ECOtality goes on to note that established policy in California is to support fair and open competition.

Pro-settlement response:

While CPUC did not answer this issue, NRG did so at length in its own response. NRG contends the settlement “raises no anti-competition or unfair business issues,” that the settlement gives NRG “no special preferences or assurances of any kind,” and that other competitors, like ECOtality, are free to make the same sort of investment NRG is making. Additionally the settlement imposes “onerous reporting, contracting, employment practices and auditing requirements” that NRG’s competitors do not have. In short, says NRG, it is not the settlement that is anti-competition, but instead it is ECOtality’s attempt to squash a “pro-competitive investment by another industry participant” that is anti-competitive. “The Settlement Agreement establishes no laws or policies in the EV charging services marketplace and places no barriers to entry on any competitor in that marketplace.”

Photo courtesy of ECOtality


ECOtality also notes that the settlement gives NRG exclusive access to the Make Ready locations for 18 months. Theoretically, NRG could play this exclusivity period to its advantage and lock up control over prime locations for electric car charging stations. Because building owners

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Photos courtesy of eVgo

Another issue the settlement touched on is the war between the CHAdeMO and SAE fast charging standards. The only existing fast charging standard today is CHAdeMO, a fact recognized in the settlement document. There are eight (or is it nine?) automakers promising to implement SAE fast charging in electric cars over the next few years, while CHAdeMO is currently implemented by a couple of Japanese automakers, including Nissan and Mitsubishi. In the long run, CHAdeMO may be supplanted in North America by SAE fast charging, but in the short- to medium-term there’s likely to be a mix of CHAdeMO and SAE stations. The agreement explicitly requires that NRG install CHAdeMO stations now, and then upgrade them later when cars and charging stations implementing the new SAE standard become available. Fortunately for NRG, this may not require a “rip and replace” upgrade, because several CHAdeMO charging station manufacturers have promised to support both standards allowing for an easy upgrade path.


are unlikely to make charging station deals with multiple network operators, once NRG installs a charging station at a Make Ready location, that location would be under NRG’s control. Similarly if a building owner desires to contract with a different charging network operator, the building owner would have to wait 18 months before they could do so, according to ECOtality’s filings. A careful reading of the Settlement Agreement seems to back up ECOtality’s theory, saying that “NRG shall have an exclusive right to install EVSE’s in the MakeReady Stubs … for a period of eighteen (18) months.”

of his analysis is the imbalance between a subsidized competitor that is also a Fortune 300 company, versus the many small, incumbent charging station networks. Will this “subsidy” allow NRG to engage in predatory pricing and lock up prime locations? Will NRG/eVgo be able to offer a better deal than Coulomb (ChargePoint network), ECOtality (Blink network) or other incumbent network operators? Because the settlement requires NRG to cover the cost of wiring Make Ready locations, building owners would not pay that cost, while with other charging network operators that might not be the case.

Pro-settlement response:

Pro-settlement response:

NRG responded to this issue in its June 12th filing, saying that the Settlement does not grant 18 months of exclusive access, but that it “permits NRG to attempt to negotiate with potential hosts a period of exclusivity.” Because the Settlement does discuss an 18 month period of exclusive access, and does not say anything about negotiations between NRG and host sites, it appears to contradict NRG’s argument in its filing. An NRG spokesperson clarified this in an email, saying that the Settlement “cannot bind persons or entities who are not parties to it,” meaning that owners of Make Ready host sites are not bound by the terms of the Settlement, in turn meaning that NRG still has to negotiate terms with each host site owner. Further, he said, exclusivity periods “following a significant infrastructure investment [are] par for the course” because no company would invest capital without some guarantee of an opportunity to “make a return on its initial investment.”

A subsidized competitor?

ECOtality’s lawsuit filing included an analysis written by Dr. C. Paul Wazzan, of the Berkeley Research Group. His report described NRG as a “subsidized” competitor, and quoted a claim from Donald B. Karner, ECOtality Chief Innovation Officer, that ECOtality had found several potential electric car charging station host sites where the building owner had decided to “wait and see if they can get EVCS (electric vehicle charging station) from NRG at reduced cost or even for free.” Dr. Wazzan expressed concern that “the effect of the subsidy in this case, therefore, may well be to crowd out private investment by the non-subsidized firms” but went on to say the net impact was unclear. The main theme

In its June 12th filing, NRG submitted the declarations of Stanford economist Dr. Richard Gilbert stating that “Dr. Wazzan erroneously characterizes the EVCS market as static,” and that the installation 10,000 stations at 1,000 Make-Ready sites will not saturate the market. In his estimation “there are at least 3 million such sites in California.” Additionally, NRG argues that there is no chance to capture the “first-mover” advantage, because “ECOtality has already had a 3-year head start in California” and “itself relies heavily on government subsidies.” ECOtality and Coulomb have both received public dollars for charging station installation.

Coulomb has been absent in this debate. The company is in a similar position to ECOtality, a relatively small start-up operating a charging network. They have made no filings - for or against the NRG settlement - and when asked directly to comment, declined to do so. The situation is rapidly moving and changing. ECOtality’s lawsuit, filed on May 25, was denied on May 29 by Judge P.J. Kline - requiring more filings within 14 days to clarify some issues. In the meantime the FERC is expected to rule on the proposed settlement shortly. Will one charging station network operator eventually rise to dominate the market? With all of these companies competing to grow and gain market share, that is the key question. What’s ultimately at stake is electric vehicle adoption. The success of building out charging infrastructure will likely influence the speed at which EVs rise above the early adopters.

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IN DEMAND Top lithium supplier FMC Lithium, on staying ahead of the curve

Photo by psyberartist

By Michael Kent

Beneath the crust of the vast salt flats in South America is brine exceptionally rich in lithium.



ithium is the key ingredient in today’s advanced automotive batteries. It allows them to store more energy, deliver more power, and last longer. It’s no surprise that it is experiencing growing global demand. Battery producers are using more lithium as auto manufacturers gear up to meet burgeoning demand, and consumer electronics like notebook computers, tablets, readers, and new smart phones, continue to gain popularity. Analysts estimate that by 2020 the transportation industry alone will account for over 25 percent of worldwide demand for lithium. During this decade, electric transportation will likely be the fastest growing application for lithium followed by consumer electronics. Conventional applications like air treatment, ceramics/glass, construction and industrial applications, fine chemicals, grease/lubricants, polymers, and pharmaceuticals will grow at a modest pace. New applications for lithium batteries for grid storage, salts for solar thermal energy storage, and nuclear fusion and micro-reactor cooling are beginning to appear on the horizon and are likely to grow. In the context of adoption of electric vehicles, where growth is fueled by the rising cost of oil and growing environmental consciousness, the lithium demand projections seem accurate. So should battery manufacturers be concerned about lithium supplies? We posed that question to the company that produced lithium carbonate to make a cathode for the first lithiumion battery in 1991. Their answer was, quite simply, no.


Management at FMC Lithium, a division of Philadelphiabased specialty chemical company FMC Corporation, has been anticipating this market growth for the past five years. With operations in Argentina, China, India, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, FMC Lithium


says it has taken the necessary steps, both in process and capital investment, to assure a continuous and ongoing lithium supply to fuel worldwide market needs. “We’ve been a key part of this industry for years, and as such we’re committed to being a long-term supplier,” FMC Lithium General Manager Jon Evans told us. “We’re in the midst of several expansions now in Argentina and here in the United States.”

FMC Lithium’s current expansion efforts • A new lithium hydroxide plant at their Bessemer City, North Carolina site • Expansion of mining and plant operations in Argentina to increase lithium carbonate capacity by 30 percent • Construction of a 145-km (90-mile) gas pipeline to the Salar in Argentina that is targeted for completion in early 2013 • Commissioning of a proprietary metal distillation unit at the Bessemer City site to supply high-purity metal to the battery and metal alloy markets (FMC is the only fully integrated manufacturer with these capabilities) • Pre-engineering work in preparation for additional lithium carbonate equivalent LCE capacity expansion in Argentina


While lithium is less than one percent of a rechargeable battery’s cost, it is essential for energy storage because of its superior electrochemical properties per unit weight. Lithium compounds are widely used in the most reliable rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. But consumers and automakers are demanding longer battery life, shorter recharge time, and more power. The increasing demands of the lithium-ion battery

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market place an onus on suppliers to offer specific particle size cuts, higher purity levels, and consistency of product profile from production lot to production lot. To the rescue: research and development efforts. “Innovation is critical for our long term success,” Evans says. “For us, it’s not about producing more lithium, it’s about producing better lithium.” Evans emphasizes that “better” is not defined by FMC but by its lithium customers. In the last two years FMC has introduced three new micronized grades of lithium compounds. Pushing the boundaries of lithium for energy storage requires purer, higher quality lithium to meet the more stringent standards new applications require. FMC cites two recently developed materials as examples of their continuing innovation efforts: a high-performance battery cathode material; and their Stabilized Lithium Metal Powder (SLMP®). They created the proprietary cathode technology for the family of layered lithium metal oxide cathodes (LiMO2 where M= Co, Ni and/or Mn) to deliver distinct performance benefits. While this technology has been recently sold to Umicore, a major cathode manufacturer with plants in Europe and Asia, FMC says that the development process has given them extensive knowledge in engineering and manufacturing of the advanced cathode materials that differentiates them as a supplier of the lithium salts to the cathode manufacturers. Their Stabilized Lithium Metal Powder is marketed under the trade name Lectro® Max. The product is produced in a range of particle sizes based on customer requirements, and FMC claims it allows the most efficient use of lithium and ensures industry sustainability. “We are currently focused on innovations in the energy storage industry that enable leapfrog improvements,” says Eric Norris, FMC Lithium’s global commercial director. “These are improvements of conventional battery technologies, as well as advanced energy storage technologies, such as lithium-air, lithium-sulfur and lithium-metal rechargeable applications. We have a unique position in these developmental efforts due to SLMP.” “We have a strength in cathode development and manufacturing knowledge,” says Norris. “That knowledge, and technical expertise, adds value for our customer’s business. Customers can get lithium from several sources, they can only get this level of knowledge from FMC.” FMC has the highest market share supplying lithium precursors into advanced cathode production.


Engineering Notes Purity

Currently FMC Lithium produces specific grades of lithium hydroxide and carbonate that surpass 99.5% purity. Two examples:

Lithium Carbonate, Micronized Battery Grade

- a superior purity grade with 99.5% purity and 5 µm D50 particle size. 10 ppm or less (guaranteed) for each of the following metals: aluminum, copper and iron.

Lithium Hydroxide Monohydrate, Electrolyte Grade - an ultra high-purity grade guaranteeing 5

ppm or less for each of the following metals: aluminum, copper, and iron.

Cathode Material

The distinct performance benefits of the cathode material FMC recently sold to Umicore include high rate capabilities, low impedance build-up, 100% retention of discharge voltage upon prolonged cycling, excellent capacity retention in a wide temperature range and improved safety.

Stabilized Lithium Metal Powder

Currently lithium, which is the element that carries the energy, comes in the form of lithium metal oxide in the cathode, and that limits the choice of electrode active materials and the energy density that is possible with lithium chemistry. It has long been desired for lithium to come in the elemental form, especially in the powder form, to prelithiate the Li-ion anode host material for the most efficient utilization and fastest diffusion. Because of lithium’s high reactivity, this has not been possible FMC’s SLMP technology allows integration of the independent source of lithium into the current lithium-ion systems, thus increasing energy density, improving calendar life and improving battery safety, while allowing more efficient use of lithium resources and ensuring a sustainable future for the battery industry. This technology enables battery manufacturers to develop lithium-based anodes for a variety of new approaches to future lithium-ion systems.


We are currently focused on innovations in the energy storage industry that enable leap frog improvements



Ensuring sustainable lithium supplies inevitably requires a focus on maintaining sustainable mining and processing practices. FMC touts a commitment to sustainability with operations that are far more benign to the environment than traditional spodumene-based lithium mining. In 2012 they launched a variety of sustainability practices that reduce harmful emissions, reduce overall energy consumption, recycle lithium previously lost in the manufacturing process, reduce waste traditionally bound for landfills, and reuse shipping pallets. These practices

are part of a corporate-wide effort to identify, track, and adopt commonly accepted sustainability best practices. In Argentina, the focus during 2012 is on improving energy consumption and air emissions per unit production. The new expansion provides the capability to utilize increased solar evaporation to reduce unit energy consumption in the processing of salar brines. A new gas pipeline is now in the works to supply fuel for steam and electricity generation that will minimize the use of diesel fuel transported by truck over long mountain roads and substantially reduce criteria air pollutant emissions. Their North Carolina plant has launched an array of projects aimed at recovering lithium from several hazardous waste streams, thus recycling previously disposed material and avoiding the need for emissions-intensive incineration. With their market position, technology resources, and commitment to sustainable operations, FMC Lithium insists battery manufacturers have little reason to be concerned about supplies, now or in the future.

Proprietary Edge

Photo by Kevin Jones

FMC uses a proprietary brine technology for lithium extraction and production from the salt lakes. Their process removes impurities via absorption while others use a pond system and chemical treatment to perform the same task. FMC says their method results in a substantially shorter cycle time (6 months versus up to 24 months) and much greater control of impurity removal from the brine.

JUN/JUL 2012 73

h wit




What is the mission of Ricardo and your department?

DAVE GREENWOOD: Since its formation nearly a century ago, Ricardo has been focused on the development of technology and innovation. These days the company operates as an engineering consultancy across a diverse range of global market sectors from rail to renewable energy, but its roots and the core of its business remain within the automotive industry. There are few if any vehicle brands worldwide that have not at some time used Ricardo’s services and the company has been responsible for many world firsts in powertrain technology. I'm responsible for the hybrid and electric systems group, whose remit is to assist our customers in delivering high quality, market-relevant hybrid and electric vehicles and systems. We have full vehicle expertise, including a comprehensive design and development capability in battery packs, battery management systems and vehicle power electronics, motors and drives, and mechanical transmission and driveline systems. Whilst most of our business is in the fast growing area of hybrid and electric vehicles - ranging from passenger cars and commercial vehicles to off-highway equipment - we are also active in the wind and tidal generation markets and on defense projects. What relationship does Ricardo have with automakers? DG: Our customers are generally the vehicle manufacturers and their tier-one supply chain, but we also provide advice to governments and regulatory authorities. Our client relationships are generally confidential, as many customers prefer that our role in delivery of their products is behind the scenes.


Dave Greenwood is Head of Hybrid and Electric Systems at Ricardo UK. Since joining Ricardo in 1989, Dave has enjoyed developing and delivering a broad range of technologies, including hybrid and electric vehicles, flywheel energy storage, KERS systems for premium motorsport, UAV and heavy fuel engines to name but a few. Dave is a Board member of CENEX and Chair of the Innovation Working Group of the UK Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership. He recently took an active role in the delivery of the UK Automotive Industry Technology Roadmaps and has advisory roles with various government and NGO organizations on technology development for the transport sector. Prior to his current role, Dave was Head of Advanced Technology at Ricardo, responsible for technology strategy studies and commercialization of new technologies. Dave holds a Masters Degree in Engineering from Cambridge University and a Masters Degree in Technology Management from Chalmers University, Sweden. He is married with two children, and in what little free time remains, enjoys scuba diving, waterskiing and sailing.

Please tell our readers a little bit about your background and how you arrived at Ricardo. DG: I first visited Ricardo as part of a short course just before leaving school, and was really inspired by the company. Following school I took a year out and worked at Ricardo in technical software development, before being accepted on a degree course with Cambridge University. I returned to Ricardo full time in 1993 and since then, I have worked in a wide range of research and development activities. Most recently as part of the technology and innovation team, I took an active role in much of the company’s hybrid research and development work, before being appointed to my current role as head of hybrid and electrical vehicle systems.

Photos courtesy of Ricardo

The automotive industry has a fine history of driving out costs in complex components and systems while improving quality

What can you tell us about Ricardo's work with plugins?

strate a range of technologies including, for example, a Ricardo-designed Auxiliary Power Unit.

DG: As I said earlier, most of our work must remain client confidential. However, there are exceptions such as our work with Chery in helping to develop two hybrid vehicles for use in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and a project with Eaton in the US assisting in the development of a plug-in hybrid ‘trouble truck’ to be used by power utility companies in the maintenance of overhead lines. We have also been involved extensively with companies such as Axeon and QinetiQ in research projects to develop battery systems, and we have just completed participation in a multi-partner project in the UK which saw us develop a plug-in range extended electric SUV platform to demon-

Kent Niederhofer, President of Ricardo's North American subsidiary, has said "the provision of a safe and effective charging infrastructure for plug-in vehicles will be a crucial enabler for their success. The PEP Station product, engineered in collaboration with Ricardo, is exactly the type of innovation that will help meet this need and based on initial market feedback, will be extremely attractive to both building owners and EV users alike." What are your thoughts on infrastructure? DG: The development of a robust charging network is recognized as a key enabler for the effective uptake of

JUN/JUL 2012 75

Photos courtesy of Ricardo



We have the technologies around us now to make truly great electric vehicles. The next step is to make them affordable to everyone.



EVs within the urban environment. However, the extent to which it will be used in the longer term remains the subject of debate. Many studies predict the adaptation of behavior around home and workplace charging, with roadside charging rarely being used. High-rate charging at service stations would be attractive but is technically difficult both for the battery life and charge acceptance, and in terms of the robustness of the local power distribution network. The PEP station is an excellent example of a very practical and innovative Ricardo client project in this area. Ricardo collaborates with many other corporations on projects that are vital to the industry. Can you elaborate on a few of the current collaborations and give a few details on the progress of these projects? DG: Ricardo commits in the region of 7% of its revenue to research and development projects, as they deliver the knowledge and expertise which keep us ahead of the market, and allow us to meet the future technology and innovation needs of our customers. While this is an impressive commitment to research and development for a commercial organization, it would never be sufficient for us to explore each and every promising avenue of research or pressing future issue for our customers. For this reason we focus our investments using technology road mapping, and we explore opportunities to collaborate with other companies and with academia where this is mutually beneficial. To make our R&D investments go further, we seek external sources of funding and support where these are available. This approach magnifies the benefit of our research and development efforts for our customers and stockholders, and it ensures that our research strategy, plans and work are continually exposed to objective peer review. As for examples, I would recommend anyone interested to take a look at the Ricardo quarterly magazine, RQ, where we regularly publish details of much of our research work [Further information on RQ can be found at]. In my Q & A with Sidney Goodman of Better Place he said: "When China goes electric everyone else will follow." What is your response to this statement? DG: There are many factors which would encourage China to go electric, including availability of raw mate-

rials, the need to improve energy security through the reduction of oil imports and widely reported concerns regarding urban air quality. This does however remain a relatively expensive solution, where cheaper options may allow a more rapid growth in personal transport and thereby economic growth. A further concern is that the carbon intensity of Chinese electricity, particularly from coal-powered generation, is such that net emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur oxides and particulates of EVs could be higher than those from conventionally fuelled vehicles. China is investing rapidly in renewables, but unless this happens in advance of mass EV deployment then the CO2 impact could be viewed as counterintuitive. Notwithstanding this possibly questionable effect on net CO2 emissions however, China may well be the focus of very rapid expansion of EV use due to its more pressing policy imperatives of energy security and continued economic development. Looking to the future what are some plans and/or projects on the horizon for Ricardo? DG: In regard to plug-in vehicles, we expect to see increased focus on brand differentiation as more models become available in the market. Vehicle attributes such as noise, handling and performance feel will become more important as EVs become more closely aligned with the characteristics of mainstream vehicles from individual manufacturers. Key to increasing the market penetration of plug-in vehicles is the continued reduction in cost of battery systems, motors and power electronics. We have the technologies around us now to make truly great electric vehicles. The next step is to make them affordable to everyone. Ricardo is, of course actively innovating in these areas, and I hope to be able to say more to your readers in the near future. What are embedded carbon emissions? DG: We are all very familiar - especially in Europe - with the comparison of different vehicles being expressed in terms of their respective carbon dioxide emissions per kilometer driven. There is a growing recognition that the value chain of electric and hybrid vehicles, from production to recycling, is sufficiently different to that of their conventional counterparts that lifecycle emissions

JUN/JUL 2012 77


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Advanced electric motor controllers up to 1600 hp. | electric vehicle systems


The next two decades will be the most exciting time to be in the automotive industry since the early 1900s

need to be considered. At Ricardo we have led the way in researching the carbon emissions embedded within vehicles throughout their lifecycles. Some have misinterpreted this work as being biased against the introduction of electric vehicles, but nothing could be further from the truth. We recognize that EVs deliver a net carbon saving relative to their conventional counterparts, but it is also the case that close to half of the lifecycle emissions are associated with the production of the vehicle. Once you understand that, you can design to minimize the embedded carbon, much in the same way that financial analysis exposes those aspects in need of development to improve profitability. Indeed most of the measures we implement to reduce embedded CO2 also act to reduce the cost of the vehicle. Going forward for the industry, how do you see companies facing the problems of cost? DG: The automotive industry has a fine history of driving out costs in complex components and systems while improving quality, durability and ultimately the value delivered to the consumer. The key question for electric vehicles is the cost of battery systems, with power elec-


tronics following close behind. The threshold of commercial viability in terms of dollars per kilowatt hour stored is likely to be more challenging for passenger cars than for applications such as light commercial vehicles, particularly if they are manufactured and sold in sufficient volumes. In the longer term I believe that battery cells will be commodity sourced with the value (and the battle for ownership) being in pack design and control technology, as these are the aspects which result in improved durability and functionality. Do you see an inevitable rise of EVs? DG: EVs have a strong role to play in the decarbonization of transport, but for at least the next two decades I believe that they will be part of the solution, not the whole of it. Liquid hydrocarbon fuels, including increasing renewables content and improvements in the efficiency of more conventional powertrain technologies, will have an equally strong part to play, as perhaps too will changes in travel behavior and vehicle ownership. The next two decades will be the most exciting time to be in the automotive industry since the early 1900s - and I for one am looking forward to it!

JUN/JUL 2012 79



A Case for 25 kW DC Quick Chargers By Larry Butkovich, General Manager of EV Systems at Fuji Electric Corp. of America - a manufacturer of 25 kW DC Quick Chargers

Retail store owners, fleet managers, and government officials are currently faced with the dilemma of selecting charging stations for their sites, and are often overwhelmed by all of the information presented to them. When considering charging stations, owners must take into account several factors that will influence their purchasing decision: timing, functionality, and total cost of ownership (TCO). TCO is the most important factor influencing their decision because it takes into consideration the cost of the product itself, the installation costs, costs of upgrading existing power for the building/site and ultimately, the ongoing utility costs associated with charging (operating the charging station). Ironically, the most important cost (those recurring utility charges), have been the ones most overlooked by station owners. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option, and station owners will weigh their needs (and those of their customers) in order to determine which charging station is right for them. 25 kW chargers can offer station owners the ideal scenario-charging times acceptable to customers at a cost bearable to owners. Unit Price & Installation The lower cost of installation (compared to a 50 kW charger) can be attributed to the hardware cost itself, combined with the reduction in size/ weight.


For example, Fuji Electric’s Generation 3 DC Quick Charger features a scalable 12.5 kW power supply-based architecture. Transformer-based chargers are common, but the use of an isolation transformer results in a larger, heavier product: 1,500-2,000 lbs. compared to 400-500 lbs. for a power supply-based charger. Transformer-based chargers are also nearly 30% larger. Power supply-based quick chargers are less expensive, with costs ranging from $22.5-$27.5k, while transformer-based chargers typically cost $35-60k. The lower unit price that is associated with 25 kW charging stations improves the business case for station owners as they calculate the total cost of ownership of the chargers. Often, DC Quick Charging is dismissed due to the perception of unbearable hardware/installation costs and the threat of high utility demand costs each month. Power Requirements The most significant challenge with DC Quick Charging is the additional power required for use, and the costs associated with accommodating the input voltage of the charging station. During our assessment of the US market, it was determined that 208 V, 3-Phase input would be the most economical choice for station owners, with minimal disturbance to the existing foundation and the ability to use basic equipment for the install.

Installation sites with 480 V available power are easily adjusted to 208 V input, with a general-duty transformer costing around $700. Sites with 208 V available power that must step up to 480 V equipment, on the other hand, will cost nearly $4,000. When selecting a site for installation, the power requirements of the charger must be weighed against the available power of the building. A 25 kW DC Quick Charger requires 30 kVA of available power, while the a 50 kW charger requires 60 kVA of available power. Unfortunately, a typical 100,000-square-foot office/warehouse peaks at - yes, you guessed it - 60 kVA. This makes it difficult to find acceptable sites and complete the permitting process, which lengthens the amount of time the project takes. Monthly demand charges can result in high utility costs, which is the main drawback of DC Quick Charging for station owners, since demand charges may total $28 per kW in some areas. In certain areas, these charges may start at 19 kW, which is within the working range of a 25 kW charger. How? Because a 25 kW charger’s power may be limited in order to avoid the peak demand charges that begin at 19 kW. The same can be said for a 50 kW charger, but the station owner would then be paying for a significant amount of charging capacity that is not utilized.

Charging from 30% to 77% State of Charge 50 45

50 kW Charger 25 kW Charger


power (kW)

35 30

Both chargers at or below 25 kW

25 20

Less than 7 min additional charge time with 25 kW

15 10 5 0





time (minutes)



Based on internal data from Fuji Electric Corporation

Charging Time After all of the challenges and hurdles of DC Quick Charging are taken into consideration, one may wonder why they are not summarily dismissed and Level 2 chargers chosen instead. The answer? Charging time. The purpose of making quick chargers available for public use is to offer drivers a value-added solution that makes their life easier, thereby encouraging the adoption of EVs around the country. People are simply not willing or able to wait 4 hours for their cars to charge in the middle of their hectic days.

50 kW chargers provide a complete charge faster than a 25 kW charger can, but, contrary to popular belief, the charging time is not cut in half by doubling the power from 25 kW to 50 kW. This is the number one misconception among station owners, users, and even EV industry insiders. A 50 kW charger will charge at a faster rate for the first 7-10 minutes of the charging cycle, after which it drops off to the same rate as the 25 kW charger as directed by the vehicle’s Battery Management System (BMS). The BMS dictates charge rate based

on a number of factors including cell temperature, state of charge and cell balance. Therefore, the reduction in charging time is just 7-10 minutes. Ultimately, station owners will make the best decision for their business and their customers, and DC Quick Chargers should be a major part of that process. 25 kW Quick Chargers offer cost savings in terms of product, installation and operating costs over 50 kW charging products. The increase in charge time between 25 kW and 50 kW is not as significant in real-world scenarios as many people are led to believe.

JUN/JUL 2012 81

Photos by Omar Bรกrcena





By Robert Bruninga - a Professional Engineer in the Aerospace Department of

the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Bob is a member of the IEEE National Committee on Transportation and Aerospace Policy and a 30-year EV owner, since the original CitiCar.

Why are we ignoring Level 1 charging opportunities? Nothing in this discussion is intended to slow or impede Level 2 or Level 3 charging initiatives. The goal here is to make sure that we do not overlook Level 1 opportunities in our haste towards charging speed. We should focus more on charging-at-work rather than myopically focusing on speed and range. The value of the EV is in long-term lower commuting cost, lower emissions, and improved national security. It is counterproductive to assume that the primary means to get to that state is based on special trips to find public fast chargers. Leisurely Level 1 charging is fine in most cases.



he emphasis on public charging contributes more to the perpetuation of range anxiety than it does to mitigating concerns for the average driver. We must divorce our thinking from the century-old gas tank experience. Run-until-empty followed by fill-up-to-full at a public station is not how EVs will be used. The majority of EV charging will be done at home and at work, at the lowest cost and where convenient. In the long term, fast, expensive and often inconvenient public charging will typically be used in extremis, or for occasional distant travel or for special situation peace-of-mind. Vehicles in the US spend more than 90% of their existence parked at home or at work. That is more than 21 hours a day available for charging while parked, which could equate to almost 85 miles per day using standard 120 V outlet Level 1 charging alone. We must not overlook this simple demographic in our rush to fast public charging. Eventually, parking and charging will be synonymous.

JUN/JUL 2012 83



Cost to Charge


Approximate EVSE Cost

Driver’s Activity

Driver’s Percieved Time Engaged in Charging

Interstate Travel

20 m Travel





20 min

Shopping/ Visiting

1-2 hrs Public





20 sec*

4-8 hrs Workplace





20 sec*

8-10 hrs Residential





20 sec*

Work/Airport/ Rail/Bus Home

* Connect/Disconnect Time

All EVs come with 120 V charge cords, so it is important to look at the charging pyramid. The majority of all charging will be at home. Next will be routine charging at work and only the small tip of the pyramid will be public charging. Public charging can be further separated into “chargingwhile-parked” such as at retail business locations and “charging-whilewaiting” along Interstates, stopping between point A and point B. What is most revealing about the charging pyramid are the added notes that seem to go against the conventional wisdom of “faster = better.” First, more than 90% of all commuters can fully recharge on Level 1 cords at home and at work. Second, the cost of installing Level 2/3 chargers is much greater than simply using existing Level 1 outlets. Third, the cost of Level 1 electricity


is usually half to one fourth the cost at public Level 2/3 chargers. Fourth, all but the most expensive fast charging is done while the driver is doing something else. The time investment in the charge is not hours but seconds to plug in and seconds to unplug. The real eye-opener is that the goal of the fastest possible charging is actually the worst of all cases. Because the driver is usually waiting for the charge, the driver perceives it to be the slowest. The long-term promise of the EV is total cost of ownership, and this is undermined by using the most expensive and fastest charger. LEVEL 2 CHARGING AT WORK Another revelation comes from looking at commuter travel. US Department of Transportation statistics tell us that 68% of commuters travel 15 miles or less in one

direction. Level 2 charging at work would give them the ability to fully recharge an EV in under an hour. And 90% of all commuters could be fully recharged in under two hours. While this is a benefit to the retail customer shopping at Walgreens, it makes no sense at work. Level 2 chargers at work or at other eighthour parking lots waste most of the available charging capacity (83%) when blocked by fully charged cars. It is impractical to expect employees to move their cars during the workday to share a few Level 2 chargers. LEVEL 1 CHARGING AT WORK In contrast, an analysis of commuting statistics reveals that 90% of commuters can fully charge in eight hours or less on simple 120 V Level 1 outlets. Commuter EVs arrive at work with a need for charging that correlates with their home-to-work


EV CHARGING PAID Photos by Nayu Kim


distance. Nearly 70% could be fully charged by noon, and 90% can leave in the afternoon with a full charge for the remainder of their daily activities. Level 1 charging at work is painless and can also effectively double the daily range for some commuters. Time-to-charge vanishes as an issue, because the car is always fully charged at the start of each trip. Battery capacity also vanishes as an issue, as long as it covers at least half of the daily miles. CHARGING DISTANCE VS. TIME We perpetuate range anxiety by focusing on hours-to-full-charge. This ignores the fact that an EV owner will rarely ever run to empty. Instead, we should simply note that the milesper-charge for an eight-hour at-home or at-work charge period is at least 32 miles. With this metric, neither the size of the battery nor time-to-charge

is an issue with Level 1 charging, only the length of the commute. PAYING FOR WORK CHARGING Due to the public’s gas-tank legacy thinking, there is an obsessive attention to pricing, payment and usage metering. A gas-tank fill-up can cost from $50 to $75 (usually near empty), but in comparison, it takes only pennies to charge an EV. With half of the charging at home at night, the nonhome daily charging generally costs between 50 cents and one dollar a day to maintain a full charge and maximum range. This is a two-orderof-magnitude difference in refueling cost that is not obvious to the general gas driving public. This misplaced metering and payment concern also drives huge investments in credit card metering and charging complexity, often

costing more per charge transaction than the actual cost of the electricity. Fortunately, charging on Level 1 outlets is self-limiting. The most an EV can draw from a 120 V outlet is about $1.80 a day, and only if it sits there for eight hours. EV charging at 120 V is limited to 12 amps, about the same as a coffee pot, and this is independent of the car model, battery capacity or range. The easiest payment approach for EV commuter car charging is to simply pay the employer (or parking lot owner) in advance for the nominal rate of electricity used for the daily commute to work. The cost of this pass would be from $8 to $24 per month for 80% of all commuters. These pay-toplugin passes can be managed by the employer as easily as they presently manage employee parking passes and handicapped placards.

JUN/JUL 2012 85



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LONG-DISTANCE EV TRAVEL The Model S exemplifies why I’m passionate about EVSE work - truly a game changing vehicle with tremendous potential for moving mass EV adoption forward. The first Model S rolled off the line on June 22, 2012 - a much-anticipated milestone. Tesla has also announced its intentions of building a Supercharger Network of 90 kW charging stations for Tesla owners along major interstate highways in the US. An ambitious undertaking. Tesla Supercharging is rumored to be capable of adding 160 miles of range in just 30 minutes, so a coffee break or lunch stop can provide considerable range extension for longer distance travel. This means 400 to 600 miles of all-electric range is possible in the 85 kWh model. Leave with a full “tank” of juice, and just one strategic charging stop is needed. Amazing! As a Model S reservation holder, urban planner, and EVSE engineer, I’ve put considerable thought into the opportunity Tesla has to get its charging infrastructure right. Unfortunately, many of the current EVSE programs are indiscriminately slapping down charging stations in a haphazard manner, without proper planning, and with little customer focus – a key element in the convenience charging paradigm. Great confusion exists on where to place the chargers, and best practices are lacking on the complementary activities customers need while charging. In addition, existing fast charging programs - already started in some parts of the country - will likely be stymied by the advent of the new SAE standard “Combined

Photo by Jurvetson (flickr)

BY KEN STOKES - a 30 year professional civil engineer, urban planner, & Model S reservation holder.

Charging System.” I believe it will ultimately replace CHAdeMO in the US and Europe. Having a national standard is important, but Tesla’s planned 90 kW Super-chargers, their own plug, and unique customer expectations heighten the need to do it smarter and better - unfettered by others’ slow movement. A few pharmacy store locations, truck stops, gas stations, underutilized parks, hotels, and chain restaurants along the interstate are indicative of the experimentation going on in the infrastructure world. Very little of it is customer, corridor, or distance-travel oriented. The Tesla experience should be smarter and better. Renewed focus and equal attention needs to be placed on some basic planning principles for charge stations nationally: 1. Location planning & spacing - the where to? 2. Destination - the stop (what and why?) 3. The customer experience - what drivers are offered and can expect while charging (consistent, to the extent possible, with the Tesla retail experience) Moving forward, all charge station offerings should take these planning principles into consideration to make them more user-friendly and intensify their use. Charge stations are a key part of the chicken-and-egg EV acceptance scenario. Station owners have a tremendous opportunity to do it better.

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