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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
LiIon batteries are all the rage as well as some exotics for the next step in Hybrids. There is another technology that has been around for tens of years. These are Nickel Hydrogen batteries and yeah I know all about NiH2 batteries as I cut my teeth on them years ago, with their individual Inconel pressureized cells. These are different, low pressure stacked cells, and they still have the same incredible cycle life (I myself tested NiH2 batteries with 44K cycles at 80% DoD). The company behind these batteries is named HERA (http://www.herahydrogen.com/en/products_ni-h2-battery.html) and they are advertising 3K cycles at 100% DoD and no self discharge. And they are targeting hybrid cars. NiH2 batteries are really rechargeable fuel cells and there are literally hundreds floating overhead in space powering LEO satellites.
 

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Here we go again... Toyota says they are no longer subsidizing the Prius.

Those numbskulls, what do they know...
 

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KTPhil said:
Here we go again... Toyota says they are no longer subsidizing the Prius.

Those numbskulls, what do they know...
Toyota isn't the only manufacturer making hybrids. All manufacturers need to make them profitable in order to sell them successfully long term. The Escape is probably profitable for Ford (or will be very soon) since they're selling it, but other planned hybrids by other companies might not be yet since they're not yet on sale.

But I do wonder about the point of the original post and those like it. I doubt that car manufacturer engineers cruise PriusOnline for ideas about what technology to use. They probably look for customer reactions to various existing features, but there are much better trade magazines and websites to efficiently find out what technology is available.
 

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Actually there is no possible way to confirm that Toyota did or did not heavily subsidize the Prius to "fit into a market niche," as articles for six months stated. The Escape is going for twenty nine thousand and might be subsidized by Ford but the numbers made are so small no financial problem will result. So far, all the hybrids mentioned other than the Honda Civic are all above thirty thousand dollars giving complete crediability to the Prius stories. Personally, I wouldn't have paid a dime more than $23,500 for my car. The value just isn't there. I have a lot of compassion for those who paid so much over list. I think Toyota hit it right on and still feel we all got a bargain on our hybrids. Hopefully the rest of the car manufacturers in the world can gain knowledge from what Toyota has done and with mass manufacturing of several million Hybrids will be able to make a profit at a reasonable price. I'm waiting for a hybrid mini-van and the comfort I was use too.
 

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There's one additional factor to consider in a battery technology besides power density and cycle relyability: Safety. LIons aren't used right now because the burn furiously if ignited or even shorted.

How do these new NiH2 rate on safety in the harshness and vunerability of a car?
 

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DanMan32 said:
There's one additional factor to consider in a battery technology besides power density and cycle relyability: Safety. LIons aren't used right now because the burn furiously if ignited or even shorted.
Some LiIons do that! Not all are like that - eg the Valence Saphions in the plug-in Prius are completely fireproof.

The NiH2 website suggests they tolerate overcharge and undercharge, but it sounds like they rely on a valve to isolate reactants in an accident for safety.

As far as I'm aware, though, NiH2 is still stuck at around 50-60 Wh/kg, while lithium ions are well past 200 Wh/kg (meaning LiIons would weigh a quarter that of the NiH2s).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Actually hyperion, all new model cars are "subsidized", particularly if a new factory is involved. That's the reason behind R & D. It usually takes quite a few sold cars to recoup costs in putting in something as universal as a new tranny or engine. And you can easily tell how much R & D (and commensurate "other" costs such as ramp-ups, retooling, etc., AKA admin) costs by looking at the EDGAR and/or 10-k filings. Since they sell the Prius for cost, I highly doubt Toyota was subsidizing any car after the first 20K sold. The dealer is getting only a small margin versus other vehicles (they don't get incentives like they do for other cars) and will make more money from the sale of a SUV or truck. In fact I would dare say they are using the profits they get from all Prius' sold to push Prius R & D faster.

Dan, NiH2 batteries convert prodigous amounts of hydrogen during charging and discharging. One of the reliability problems NASA was worried about with NiH2 batteries exploding was a phenomenon called "hydrogen embrittlement" of the Inconel vessel. I calculated that even after a lifetime of 44K cycles the vessel wouldn't explode on overcharging or if the battery vessel cracked. To try and see if I was wrong, NASA took a vessel and shot it after it had been run for 44K DoD cycles. Nothing happened.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
clett said:
The NiH2 website suggests they tolerate overcharge and undercharge, but it sounds like they rely on a valve to isolate reactants in an accident for safety.

As far as I'm aware, though, NiH2 is still stuck at around 50-60 Wh/kg, while lithium ions are well past 200 Wh/kg (meaning LiIons would weigh a quarter that of the NiH2s).
Well, that was when they still used individual vessels for each cell. This is a Bipolar design and the NiH2 battery is rather lightweight. I'm not sure how much the separate hydrogen store weighs, though. It would be interesting to see it actually used as it is actually a self contained fuel cell. They do have one problem. They have almost no internal resistance and so can discharge one heck of a lot of amperage.
 
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