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Have you ever found yourself wishing for a time machine to project a decade or longer into the future just to see how things turned out?
For starters, we could settle whether Toyota is wise in sidestepping mass-market battery electric cars for now, or whether EV advocates are correct saying it’s misguided, excessively self-serving, too risk averse, and possibly even conspiring to postpone progress.
Yes, we’ve heard all these allegations and more from a well-connected EV advocate who asked to remain anonymous.
Toyota’s ecological pop-star status started with its Prius launched in Japan in 1997, and the U.S. But with the advent of lithium-ion-powered global electric cars from Tesla, Renault-Nissan and even Mitsubishi – plus limited-market or pending EVs from Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Fiat, and BMW – some say Toyota’s hybrids are no longer the most progressive means to wean away from petroleum. The company does have its Tesla-powered RAV4 EV, but this is California-only with just 2,600 units to be built before production halts next year.
Last month in Michigan, Toyota outlined its past, present and future centered on hybrids including plug-in hybrids to come, and mentioned also a plan to leapfrog battery electric to fuel cell vehicles beginning in 2015.
It has never said never for commercialized EVs of the sort that Nissan is now spending billions to cultivate a market for, but expounded on why joining the push for EVs would be a waste of its resources. Toyota had flown in from Japan Managing Officer Satoshi Ogiso, formerly the Prius lead engineer who’d followed in the footsteps of Uchiyamada, and now higher up in Toyota’s alternative-tech development. Toyota’s presentation suggested hybrids will grow to near ubiquity and still be going strong as far out as 2070 and beyond.
Actually automakers’ amorphous “all-of-the-above” approach will see several competing – or complementary – technologies vying for a place, but where folks are agreeing to disagree is on how much emphasis should be put today on battery powered cars.
If hybridization is a “bridge,” then all-electric is the ground to which the bridge is leading. Plug-in cars are being adopted especially in regions where hybrids were more widely accepted first, and their success is considered evidence of battery electric cars’ destiny to also succeed. First off, sales of perhaps “5,000-10,000” battery electric cars annually is not enough to “move the dial” for Toyota’s fleet to comply with regulations considering the 2 million units per year volume it does, said VP of Technology and Regulatory Affairs, Tom Stricker.
And to say plug-ins are doing as well necessitates an “apples-to-coconuts” comparison because today market conditions and policies are “very different” than in the early 2000s, he said. Stricker observed only two hybrids were marketed for the first 31 months after 2000, the Prius and Honda Insight. What’s more, billions in government dollars allocated for subsidies for consumers, loans and grants for manufacturers and infrastructure providers is adding to a virtual “tailwind” pushing EVs and PHEVs along.
But, Stricker postulated, what if we look at hybrid sales from the moment the IRS allowed them a several-thousand-dollar credit around 2005 through 2010 and California offered solo occupancy for its HOV lanes?
Assuming a worthwhile comparison, Stricker presented another chart showing hybrids sold from 2005-on enjoying just some of the props from which EVs and PHEVs have benefited.
Coincidentally, Stricker said, exactly a dozen hybrids were being sold after January 2005, and guess what?
Stricker said he realized this was not a completely equal parallel, but felt it had a measure of validity. He noted also plug-in car proponents are basically “hanging their hat” on the assumption that battery costs per kilowatt-hour will drop and allow for longer-range, cheaper EVs.
The Electrification Coalition, one of the “more optimistic” advocates of this belief, Stricker said, had estimated a few weeks prior that $275 per kwh will mean a tipping point to be achieved in the next several years.
Stricker figured by then, federal plug-in subsidies will no longer be available, so factoring savings for battery costs, but an increase due to lack of incentives, he calculated EVs’ value proposition would be worse, not better. Plug In America’s Legislative Director Jay Friedland turned tables on Toyota’s spin saying this indicates Toyota is missing market signs as its once-faithful move on. Despite expected and unexpected setbacks, he said, evidence suggests the proverbial horses have left the stable, and there’s no putting them back. The study of technological diffusion looks at past adoption curves and may also chart how fast a given technology may be accepted from the day of its introduction onwards.
It involves advanced mathematical equations and data-crunching computers but the short story is technology that has made it always did so against resistance. Trends have shown newer and less regulated technologies became mainstream faster than previous ones – assuming the technology was destined for viability and did not die in the cradle.
It’s as though this more-connected society is consuming new inventions with less lag time, than, say, the telephone, that required 71 years to be in 50 percent of homes. His paper goes into great detail, but his charts project proliferation for battery electric and plug-in hybrid cars. This could be due to plug-in EVs becoming less expensive, their range multiplying, charging much faster, or a combination thereof.
And if anyone is saying three years into it that battery cars are a losing investment, bear in mind we are 13 years since the U.S. Diffusion theory contemplates that first-generation EVs are going against societal expectations rooted in petroleum vehicles that have matured for 100 years. Friedland also noted an “Innovator’s Dilemma” that could be working against Toyota’s leaders and explained in another seminal work with this same title by Harvard Business School professor Clay Christensen.
Unbeknownst to Friedland, his views echoed those from a recent article by Green Car Reports which used tenets on disruptive technology espoused by Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma to essentially put Toyota on the therapist’s couch. GCR writer Matthew Klippenstein succinctly analyzed Toyota’s corporate psyche questioning whether its success with hybrids is blinding and binding it to its past instead of allowing it to bravely go from strength to strength. Past examples of the phenomenon include floppy disk drives that shrunk in size until they were replaced by solid state storage, CRT televisions replaced by flat screens, VCR tapes replaced by DVDs, cassette tapes replaced by cds, and so on. It has worked out its hybrid formula which is now quite profitable, does cost less than EV tech, doesn’t need subsidies to sell, refuels in minutes, has no range anxiety, and the market presently speaks louder than theorists. Not at all bashful of Toyota’s stance on hybrids, Carter actually issued a challenge for competitors to join it. In any event, Toyota says such things now, but in 1997, Toyota’s leadership had no idea that its allowing the Prius to see daylight would be a turning point and make it a hero. The company fully admits there was huge internal resistance and skepticism all the way through to the second-generation Prius in 2003.
What’s more, if “business is war,” it’s been suggested today Toyota is playing a cagy strategy of sitting out expensive, uphill commercialization of mass-market EVs while it lets its competitors do the heavy lifting and preparing of a market it may come back to when it sees profitability. And truth be told, at the moment only Nissan and Tesla are making much of a dent in the battery electric market.
Ogiso also dropped hints about a massive R&D budget for things like advanced solid-state batteries, wireless recharging, and other technologies the company will want in battery electric cars wearing a Toyota or Lexus badge. Lacking a time machine, we’ll have to ask you to check back with us in 10 years or so to learn whether Toyota is being crazy, or crazy like a fox. GM’s OnStar division announced yesterday, July 10, a project with TimberRock Energy Solutions, Inc. Nissan’s Leaf electric vehicle is breaking sales record, with September being the seventh record month in a row.
Its $100 per kilowatt-hour goal could be reached sooner than expected—and well ahead of the competition.
Solar veterans will recall a time not so long ago when the industry's biggest dream was a PV module with a cost of 99 cents per watt. In fact, the 99-cent figure was more a VC-funding, press-ready construct than a real economic calculation. Which is reminiscent of the equally arbitrary $100 per kilowatt-hour battery cost goal now put forth by the battery industry and the press. Ben Kallo at equity analyst firm RW Baird believes that Tesla's current battery costs are ~$150 to ~$200 per kilowatt-hour, well below the industry average pack costs of ~$350 per kilowatt-hour (as estimated by Bloomberg New Energy Finance). Electrical energy from non-rechargeable (primary) batteries is expensive in relative terms and its use is limited to low power applications such as watches, flashlights and portable entertainment devices. In this paper we calculate the cost to produce 1000 watts of power for one hour (1kWh) from different energy storage medias.
Secondary batteries provide far more economical energy than primaries, as Figure 2 reveals.

Newer chemistries provide higher energy densities than conventional batteries per size and weight but the cost per kWh is higher. The low costs of nickel-cadmium can only be achieved by applying a full discharge once every 1-2 month as part of a maintenance program to prevent memory.
Figure 3 compares the energy cost to generate 1kW of energy from the primary AA alkaline cells, a nickel-cadmium pack, a combustion engine used in a midsize car, fuel cells and the electrical grid.
The fuel cell offers the most effective means of generating electricity but is expensive in terms of cost per kWh.
By submitting this form, you are providing your express consent to receive electronic communications from Battery University. US investment bank Morgan Stanley has predicted battery storage technology will be installed at rate four times quicker than Australia’s incumbent energy industry expects, in a new report. The report, Asia Insight: Solar and batteries, reveals Morgan Stanley expects the market for battery storage to grow from about 2,000 Australian homes now to one million by 2020.
The findings of Morgan Stanley are almost diametrically opposed to most in the industry – the incumbent utilities and regulators included. Last week, the Australian Energy Market Operator predicted 6.6GWh of battery storage in Australia by 2035.
Battery storage installation costs, Morgan Stanley believes, are likely to fall by 40 per cent within two years, and changing business models and tariffs mean that these could be revenue positive by that time. About Latest Posts Giles ParkinsonGiles Parkinson regularly contributes unique content to Solar Choice News.
Targeted PrimaryVanadium Electrolyte (VE) Liquid vanadium electrolyte for vanadium redox batteries "VRBs". Because 42% of the cost of a VRB is vanadium itself, high and volatile vanadium prices have long inhibited large scale commercialization.
Given today’s evolving markets, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest news and industry trends. Valentin Muenzel receives research funding from the Australian Research Council and IBM Research - Australia. The cost of batteries is one of the major hurdles standing in the way of widespread use of electric cars and household solar batteries. But research published recently in Nature Climate Change Letters shows battery pack costs may in some cases be as low as US$300 per kilowatt-hour today, and could reach US$200 by 2020. Falling prices will pave the way for what could be a rapid transition to a cleaner energy system. Last year, my colleagues and I analysed the cost-benefits of household battery storage alongside rooftop solar systems. Our analysis of ten studies published by research institutes and consultancies suggested a dramatic fall in battery cost over the next two decades, making solar power and electric vehicles more affordable. The new research by two Swedish researchers published in Nature Climate Change Letters this month used a similar approach but found an even sharper plunge.
Bjorn Nykvist and Mans Nilsson of the Stockholm Environment Institute analysed 85 sources of data including journal articles, consultancy reports, and statements by industry analysts and experts.
The core conclusion of the new paper is that the cost of full automotive Lithium ion battery packs has already reduced to around US$410 per kWh industry-wide. The analysis also estimated that the industry as a whole is currently seeing annual battery cost reductions of 14%, while for leading players with already lower costs this is closer to 8%. Assuming continued electric vehicle sales growth, the authors suggest costs as low as US$200 per kWh are possible without further improvements in the cell chemistry. As battery costs decrease, technologies such as electric vehicles and household energy storage are likely to undergo a transition, from niche products in the hands of early adopters to standard acquisitions by pragmatic consumers. Increased opportunities naturally attract commercial competition, which has the potential to further accelerate the technological improvements.
The findings published this month suggest that the transition from niche to mainstream product may well occur far sooner than people believe.
The Greens are the party of climate action - but do they embrace enough technologies to get there? In a competitive marketplace, car manufacturers are always trying to outdo other brands, and one of the ways they do this is by identifying future trends as early as possible so that they can study them and determine how to implement them.
People have been clamoring for self-driving cars for years now, and finally it seems like we’re almost there.
A variation on autonomous driving, some of today’s new cars are able to park themselves, even without a driver behind the wheel.
Another of the new car trends we have been hearing about is that cars (particularly hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicles) will be able to power our houses in the future. With ever-increasing fuel economy standards and the continuous downsizing of engines comes the need to reduce weight. Hybrids have been getting more economical as battery, electric motor, electronic, and internal combustion engine technology has improved.
There are several factors that are currently holding electric cars back, including their high cost, low range, and long recharge times.
The main goal of vehicle-to-vehicle communications is to reduce or eliminate traffic accidents by allowing cars to communicate their positions and intentions to one another.
This is a trend that has been ongoing since the seventies, and one that will probably continue for a while longer.
And it’s almost ironic considering to date, Toyota has basked in a reputation as an electrification pioneer – a mantel it proudly wears and helps along as needed, now having sold 5 million Toyota and Lexus hybrids worldwide. In contradistinction, advocates say the Japanese automaker is overlooking opportunities to leverage its current lead, and may hurt itself while doing little for the ultimate cause. Gas was cheap and there were no subsidies except for a tax deduction that might net up to $600.
They are being bought most heavily in regions prepped by hybrids and need less explaining to sell to those already lined up to buy. Hybrids in 2005 benefited from the previous several years of hybrid proliferation and so are today’s plug-ins. For the period of 31 months after the 12 hybrids sold 10-times the volume of the 12 EVs and PHEVs for their first 31 months. Patrick Plotz of the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (Fraunhofer ISI) suggests these propulsion technologies are substitutable for one another. By later in the decade of 2020-2030, one hypothetical model suggests hybrids will start tapering off as technology ripens for plug-in cars. Toyota now embraces them, but Friedland said it’s misreading the parallel for battery cars.
The idea behind the innovator’s dilemma is that leading technological innovators – such as Toyota – have been shown to lose their market dominance as a potentially superior but underdog replacement technology – such as battery electric cars – comes along. According to Toyota media rep, Maurice Durand, its decisions are based on the present as it sees it, and it can shift gears later. If later technology improves – and assuming the prognosticators in Silicon Valley are wrong – Toyota will be able to pick up where it left off and this is part of Toyota’s long-term consideration, as Ogiso said.
Obviously, the solar industry has long left that figure in the dust -- module costs of 40 cents per watt are a reality in today's market. Kallo suggests that the Chevy Bolt's battery costs "are significantly higher" than those of Tesla.
Prior to joining GTM, Eric Wesoff founded Sage Marketing Partners in 2000 to provide sales and marketing-consulting services to venture-capital firms and their portfolio companies in the alternative energy and telecommunications sectors.
His strengths are in market research and analysis, business development and due diligence for investors. We first look at primary and secondary batteries; then compare the energy cost derived from an internal combustion motor, the fuel cell and finally the electrical grid. This analysis is based on the estimated purchase price of a commercial battery pack and on the number of discharge-charge cycles it can endure before replacement is necessary.

If omitted, nickel-cadmium is on par with nickel-metal-hydride and lithium-ion in terms of cycle life. Battery University monitors the comments and understands the importance of expressing perspectives and opinions in a shared forum.
While we make all efforts to answer your questions accurately, we cannot guarantee results. We use a Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivatives licence, so you can republish our articles for free, online or in print. By storing surplus energy, batteries allow households to reduce power bought from the electricity grid.
This cost development is notably cheaper and faster decreasing than I and many others expected. The analysis therefore suggests that the cost of electric car batteries may be as low as $7,500 today and reducing to $5,000 by 2020. Encountering difficulty in finding reliable sources of present and future lithium-ion battery costs, we published our own study on The Conversation.
They report that since 2011 the number of electric vehicles worldwide has doubled each year.
Market-leading manufacturers such as Nissan and Tesla are already seeing prices around US$300 per kWh. It is therefore predicted that battery cost for all involved should converge to around US$230 per kWh in 2017-2018. This explains why, for example, Tesla Motors is making a US$5 billion dollar bet in the shape of a massive battery factory. And given that the perceived unlikelihood of governmental clean technology commitments in Australia has apparently reached April-Fools'-joke-worthy levels, it seems about time. Most manufacturers have employees on their staff whose job is to forecast the trends of the future, often by looking outside of the automobile industry to identify the next big thing. While hydrogen-fueled vehicles are on the roads in only a few states, we don’t expect them to become widely available anytime soon. We have already seen extensive use of aluminum in fairly high-volume vehicles by manufacturers such as Audi, Jaguar, and Ford, with the result of fairly significant weight savings and moderate improvements in fuel economy.
Both have been steadily improving over the last few years, with passive safety using the latest materials and technology to improve crash test scores, as well as the introduction of numerous active safety systems. Since the Prius was introduced, each successive generation has improved on the previous model’s fuel economy by approximately 10 percent, a streak that Toyota hopes to continue into the future. Over the last few years the cost of electric cars has dropped while their ranges have increased and recharge times have shortened, but obviously not enough to make the trend practical for everyone. If every car communicates its location, speed, and heading, it should be easy for other cars to avoid it, especially if they are all driving autonomously. The company now has 23 Hybrid Synergy Drive vehicles across its global lines with plans for 15 more by 2015. If Stricker said “5,000-10,000” EVs was insignificant, do you think 25,000 like Nissan may sell would make Toyota change its mind? He frequently consults for energy startups and Silicon Valley's premier venture capitalists.
Primary batteries contain little toxic substances and are considered environmentally friendly.
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Neither can we take responsibility for any damages or injuries that may result as a consequence of the information provided. He is a journalist of 30 years experience, a former Business Editor and Deputy Editor of the Financial Review, a columnist for The Bulletin magazine and The Australian, and the founding editor of Climate Spectator. In our previous work we estimated these levels to be reached only in 2018 and 2022, respectively. This seems to be the case in a recently filed lawsuit regarding rival battery chemistry patents involving BASF, Umicore, 3M, and Argonne National Labs. By collaborating with customers, utilities can develop more intelligent and versatile grids. Let’s take a look at some of the current trends and see which manufacturers are leading the charge, and which might be falling behind. At the moment, Tesla’s system is still in beta, so the company is asking drivers to restrict their use of the system to their own private property, and to oversee the system while it is in use, all in order to help prevent accidents.
Instead, electric car manufacturers could use their electrical technology to create household batteries that store renewable energy, much like Tesla has done with its 6.4 kWh Powerwall. In the future, we expect this trend to spread to more vehicles, where it could be used to block light from passing through any of the windows when parked (to reduce in-car temperatures) or to make window tint less dark for nighttime use (to improve visibility).
Other manufacturers, such as BMW, have adopted this new car trend by attempting to make carbon fiber more affordable, using it on their lower-volume models before hopefully increasing production levels. Volvo hopes that the combination of the two new car trends will prevent anyone from being seriously hurt in one of their cars—in fact, they've set a target to achieve just that by the year 2020. At the same time, manufacturers have made hybrids that behave more and more like normal cars, and each generation of hybrids is more powerful. Eventually, the price may drop enough to make electric cars affordable enough for mass production, which in turn will lower their costs further. Other uses for vehicle-to-vehicle communications include reducing traffic congestion by making it easy to locate underused roads, helping law enforcement, and preventing pedestrian injuries and fatalities (by making it impossible to run a red light, for example). Honda sold 420 Fit EVs, Ford sold 1,225 Focus EVs, even poor Mitsubishi sold only 958 i-MiEVs and the recently launched Chevy Spark EV is only offered in Oregon and California.
Environmental conditions, such as elevated temperatures and incorrect charging, reduce the expected battery life of all battery chemistries.
According to the US Department of Energy, hydrogen is four times as expensive as gasoline and the fuel cell is ten times as expensive to build as a gasoline engine. Please accept our advice as a free public support rather than an engineering or professional service. And jointly, the penetration of intermittent renewables in our electricity mix can be increased significantly. These limitations should be resolved in the next few years, but until then we’ll have to do most of the driving for ourselves. In the future it is hoped that the system becomes mature enough that these restrictions can be removed. This could increase the market for batteries, helping to reduce the per-battery costs while also increasing the uptake of green energy—a win-win for everyone involved. In the near future, even "normal" cars might make extensive use of these alternative materials, theoretically leading to lighter, stronger, safer, and more economical cars. Hybrid systems now perform so well that they have made appearances in super high-end sports cars, where instead of improving fuel economy they are used to fill in gaps in the drivetrain’s power delivery. While electricity isn’t likely to completely replace gasoline in the near future, electric vehicles will become more prevalent as time goes on, and we might soon find ourselves using electric cars for most short trips. In the future, vehicle-to-vehicle communications may also allow cars to run nose-to-tail on the highway, further decreasing congestion and improving fuel economy. Incentives other than cost may be needed to entice motorists to switch to the environmentally friendly fuel cell.
The energy cost of the 6-volt camera battery is more than ten times that of an alkaline C cell.

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