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back to article Japan kicks off electric car format war

Japanese motor globocorps jockeying for position in the electric car market of tomorrow will unite to present a worldwide standard for automotive Li-ion batteries and related technologies, according to reports. The alliance will include Toyota, Nissan and Matsushita, but Honda - which appears to favour hydrogen fuel cells over …

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If they agree sensible standards...

Then they could migrate to the newer technologies.

Standard voltages and connectors, with enough current capacity to enable energy transfer comparable with a petrol pump...

Even if they are overrated for the first couple of battery generations, batteries can be replaced in vehicles - and indeed that's likely to be necessary, so why not upgrade the batteries every few years, the motors will be fine for a good long while...

This could be of significant benefit to the industry.

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Coat

A car with a Sony Li-ion battery.... !!!

Mines the Nomex one.....

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Black Helicopters

Connexion?!

Ok, so this is an IT rag and we're using 18th century (s)language?!

Connection? Whats wrong with that?

Black helicopter cos "White vans are the black helecopters of Urbanity"

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"connexion"?

Are we expecting the electric car format to be announced in 1940?

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Flame

Yes!!!!

... you know since they sorted that whole HD DVD vs Blu-Ray thing out these comment sections had become really quite dull with people offering their opinions without even the slightest trace of blood-curdling bile.

Good to see we'll have something new to fight about now ... the only thing that would make this story any better would be if Microsoft picked a format that was going to be the only one supported by Windows 7.

*sigh*

Sometimes you just can't have everything.

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Don't let S**y make the batteries

Could me meltdown on the M4.

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Anonymous Coward

Safety

"should be able to charge up from an industrial three-phase outlet"

Ye gods, I hope it won't be self-service !

415v is more than can be trusted to the moron in the street.

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Why...

do all these cars have silly names?

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Stop

I call Bullshiite!

I see more and more of those Toyota "Pius" cars on the road and I laugh my ass off at the sheeple driving them. Just the other day I saw a stereotype driving a Pius, complete with beard, wife, 1.2 children, Obama sticker, and "If you're not outraged, your not paying attention" sticker - didn't like it when I looked him dead in the eye while I was passing and laughed. Actually tred to catch up to me...didn't work in my 06 Pontiac Vibe (38 mpg).

Why? 41mpg that's why. An 1984 Chevy Sprint (percursor to the Geo Metro) got 48-50+ mpg waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back then and now your telling me that with all the technology in the Pius it can't beat that? Betcha the "carbon footprint" is a hell of a lot bigger on the Pius too.

Btw: GM is also testing hydrogen SUV's as well as the Volt.

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Unhappy

GM 0wned? Thanks for killing EV1

So GM doesn't look so bright like it did when the EV1 program got axed. Had they continued that venue, maybe we would have a Li-Ion car by now! Or something else...

I'd love a fully-electric car, but given I live in an apartment block, I just can't get a 100 meter power cable to plug my car at night ... and that is assuming I were able to actually run the cable down to the underground parking lot.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: I call Bullshiite!

It's really heartening to discern that you are neither judgemental nor smug, Dennis.

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How does he do it?

Finally the electric car, after over a hundred years of first battling it out with the internal combustion engine, is going to have a decent chance to settle some old scores.

This is also an unprecedented opportunity for vehicle manufacturers to completely reassess the concept of private transport. Designs which take up less space, weigh less, consume less - to build, use and recycle - and threaten to kill others less.

One can only hope they take that chance with both hands.

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It's a source of electric power

the actual technology in the box shouldn't matter - Li-ion, fuels cells, stirling cyle engines, fried mushroom based diesel generators. Well maybe not the mushrooms, but you get the idea.

Standards are to be welcomed, but if they are too narrow and you end up with a format war we're better off without them.

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lifetime

So when you buy the car, you can go 100 miles on a full charge.

Six months later, 80 miles. A year, 60 miles. Two years later, 2 miles - 40 miles.

People will love these cars.

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Anonymous Coward

100 meter power cable

Indeed, need swappable packs.

You could trickle charge from a low current supply as well.

Or just motor up to a garage and swap there of course...

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Happy

What I want...

Is an electric motorbike. Suzuki and Honda both made some very nice concept bikes. They have two advantages.

1) They give much better packaging without the need to have fule slosing around, and the fule in close to the motor.

2) Bikers are less likely to be resistant to change.

I want me somthing totaly radical, perhaps an electric cyber punk streetfighter/cafe racer look, but without the need for the tank hump.

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Anonymous Coward

Looking forward to...

...Top Gear this weekend then ;)

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RE: Re: I call Bullshiite!

He's got a point though - in real-world tests (not manufacturer specified figures) the Prius actually gets about 40mpg *if* driven carefully. Take any standard modern diesel and it could wipe the floor with that figure, even if driven less than carefully.

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Anonymous Coward

why stop with a 100 metre power cable?

Why not get a hundred mile one? or more?

Hey presto, maximum distance problem solved.

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@Simpson

Nah, it'll be like tyres. Every time you take the car in for an MOT or whatever, the mechanics will find some reason to sell you an entirely new battery. It isn't like you keep every other component of a car unchanged during its lifetime.

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Rechargable Batteries...

...and whats going to happen to all of the batteries that have lost their capacity to hold charge? Throw them away in some huge landfill / bury them under ground?

Don't get me wrong, I'm in favour of electric cars, just think they have a chance to seriously look to the future and the impact they will have on us.

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Sam
Coat

@Simpson

Quote from the manufacturers

"NanoSafe™ batteries have a life expectancy of 12+ years, versus the 3-5 year life of other batteries. NanoSafe™ can retain up to 85% charge capacity after 15,000 charges."

I want some for my Dewalt power toys.

TOOLS! I meant TOOLS, honest.

The yellow one with the black logo, ta.

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Coat

Ultracapacitors

Ultracapacitors?

Did I miss supercapacitors, megacapacitors and hypercapacitors? Or are those just old hat now?

We're going to need a new set of prefixes soon if we start playing 'ultra' as an opener...

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Paris Hilton

exploding batteries

I was told not to buy dodgy batteries as they tend to explode when charged. Is it going to be the case with these car batteries?

http://search.theregister.co.uk/?q=exploding+battery

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Happy

re:safety

"415v is more than can be trusted to the moron in the street."

In the days of storage heaters I knew of several domestic installations where 3 phase was supplied due to the heavy load.

What's the difference? -- it's just blue plugs and red plugs. Use one of them lovely highly flexible armoured cables (like wot the leccy board does for temporary supplies) and just plug and play.

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Heart

Laugh at the Prius all you want...

...I do and the people driving.

BUT Toyota are laughing all the way to the bank based on some suspect MPG figures and first to market plus the ever handy celeb endorsements. It doesn't even look good, not even next to the Korean boxes on wheels.

I *heart* the planet!

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Paris Hilton

Re: Connexion

Indeed the correct version is "connexion" as it is based on the third of the following Latin parts of the verb: Connecto, connectere, connexi, connectum. I used to be accused regularly of using the Merkin version of the word because I spelt it with an "x". Actually it is the Merkins who use the "ct" version and are wrong.

Now we have put that right we should rehabilitate "reflexion" for the same reason but even I guess that would be a battle too far.

John Arthur

Paris 'cos even she knows how things are spelt proper like.

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@ Mark_T Re: Safety.

"415v is more than can be trusted to the moron in the street."

And flammable, carcinogenic hydrocarbons are? At least you can't spill electricity all over the forecourt and if you are stupid enough to come into contact with 415 V it's only your own defective genes that you are removing from the gene pool.

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Boffin

Almost right

Connexion is from the latin noun connexio (OED) and connex is a back formation - the current spelling 'connect' came in around 1750. Connecto (the latin verb) goes like necto: necto, nectere, nexui, nexum.

Now, can we get back to discussing whether -ise or -ize is more correct :)

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IT Angle

Re: Connexion

:rolleyes: Come back and talk trash after you've learnt to say "aluminum" properly.

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Go

Why do we need a "standard"?

It's not as though there's a "standard" for existing automobiles; I can't just take the transmission from a Ford Focus and drop it into my Honda Civic and expect everything to work. It seems that the only "standard" is the electric hook-up--and that's a matter of what country you're in.

Oh, hey, something else--what killed the EV1 was California's insistence that it not have a gasoline engine installed. If GM had put a gas generator onboard, the range and speed limitations would have been removed--indeed, that's the whole gimmick of the Volt. But no, no, can't burn gas, GREEN UBER ALLES! And so the EV1 died.

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Stop

Fast charging not really an option

Let us consider some numbers...

1 Litre of Petrol ~30MJ, so 5 Litres ~150MJ

Let us try and store the equivalent of 1 gallon of petrol in storage batteries (150MJ) and demand a recharge time of 5 minutes (300 seconds)

150MJ/300seconds = 500 kWatt - That's a serious drain on the National Grid. O.K. - it's less than an electric train but given that the local Tesco has 12 pumps we are talking about a maximum load of 6 MWatt dropping to nil very quickly when the store/station closes.

Slow charging is a much better option for the National Grid, especially if Wind Power forms a significant part of generating capacity. The car is charged up at night, while you sleep, and in the morning, if there is no wind, you have a cold breakfast and drive to work, or a hot breakfast and walk!

There's room for both rechargeable batteries (commuting and shopping cars) and fuel cells (long distance vehicles)

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Re: Re: Connexion

Merkin? From Lewis?

<quote src="American dictionary" href="http://m-w.com/dictionary/connexion">

chiefly British variant of connection

</quote>

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480v

Has tendency to through you. 120/220 is the on that will cause your muscle to contract and lock. Of course that will kill you.

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Buy shares in Lithium now

As the price is going to go way higher than oil is now. There is an estimated 10·4 million tons of lithium reserves on the planet, with currently 500 million cars on the roads now, if they were to convert overnight to Li-ion batteries they would need around 18 kilos of LI each that's 9 million tons gone immediately, leaving only 1.4 million tons for your De Walts and trucks and buses etc. It may well be that ultimately Honda is where the smart money is. Unless that is , the japs know where to find a big hole full of lithium. Personally, I am developing my own steam car powered by burning junk mail and free newspapers. Sod the carbon footprint it's not my problem.

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@Ultracapacitors

You did indeed miss out on Supercaps.

They've been used to keep SRAM-based non-volatile storage running for decades.

(At least *two* decades anyway)

@Exploding batteries:

Almost all Lithium-Ion cell designs regularly 'vent with flame' if significantly overcharged.

- How much is 'significant' depends on the cell design. Liquid Li-Ion is very unstable, Li-Po is pretty stable. "NanoSafe" are said to be even more stable than Li-Po, but they'll still go 'whoosh' if you really try.

The challenge is to make it impossible to overcharge them - every good Li-Ion battery pack has a charge monitor IC that shuts down charging if an overcharge attempt is made.

The dodgy ones skimp on that little detail...

@Prius

Oh yes. My diesel happily gets over 40MPG on the urban-only commute to work.

On a combined cycle it'll do 47-50 MPG.

Plus I can fit so much more stuff in the boot than you'll ever get in a Prius.

What I don't understand is the complete lack of Diesel-Electric hybrids. If Petrol-Electric is good, surely diesel-electric is better?

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Tom

New prefixes for you AC

They'll probably make UltraII.. or U2, U3 capacitors.. like they do with memcards.

Or... Super Ultra Mega Capacitors.. SUMC... or maybe Holy Crap dont touch those Capacitors.. HCDTTC's... or maybe the next thing after Ultra is Hyperactive.. like ADHD capacitors. I dunno. Back to work.

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I See

That the Yankee-Twat-O-Tron® is firing on all cylinders.

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Stop

Stuff the latin

I've made many connections over {mmfty mmff} year, and never failed to connect, nor had a connectivity failure as far as I am aware.

I don't think I'd know how to connex. Hmmm wasn't that a failed train company?

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Re: AC - What I want...

"I want me somthing totaly radical, perhaps an electric cyber punk streetfighter/cafe racer look, but without the need for the tank hump."

My good man, might I suggest you watch Akira, and come back when you have changed your spunk ridden pants.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZg8XYJ-bTE

"Damn, my motor coils were just getting warmed up"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shotaro_Kaneda_(Akira)#Kaneda.27s_bike

I want.

Steven R

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55.79MPG - More Prius envy?

Based on more than 50000 miles of actual everyday commuting in a Prius, with no attempt at "economical" driving, I recorded an average of 55.79MPG (or, if you prefer, 5.08L/100k). That was based on actual fuel purchase records and distance measured. I'm sure I could have done a lot better if I had tried.

I would be interested to know of any other car of similar size, and with similar equipment levels, that can beat that. I don't count these new "micro-diesels" as being remotely equivalent - I only include cars that can realistically hold 4-5 adults and a useful amount of luggage.

As a matter of interest, on a holiday last year, I hired a VW Jetta diesel - one of the so-called "Prius beaters". Over a total distance of more than 3000 miles, it used a lot more fuel, it didn't have enough room, it had lousy performance and it was very unpleasant to drive. It was a relief to get back to driving the Prius.

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Ni-Cad

Pity someone was (a) granted a patent for cars using nicad, (b) that said patent is controlled by GM and (c) that they aren't licensing it or allowing it to be used to others, instead sitting on the tech doing nothing with it.

(http://www.ev1.org/chevron.htm). Lithium-ion has a long way to go still.

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@Sarah Bee

It's really heartening to discern that -you're- not judgmental or smug either.

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@Rechargable Batteries...

Don't forget dumping them in the ocean - another popular option!

Actually Matthew, all hybrids come with an SEP Field as standard equipment (cf Doug Adams those are not familiar with this feature) - so no worries!

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Re: RE: Re: I call Bullshiite!

Tim Spence said: "He's got a point though - in real-world tests (not manufacturer specified figures) the Prius actually gets about 40mpg *if* driven carefully."

I drive one of the first edition Prius, and I am exceedingly disappointed with the fuel consumption. Especially after the highly trained Toyota technicians have serviced the car. And we all know that manufacturer accredited service agents are the best in the world. I achieve about 51 mpg, mostly on long journeys, mostly (only just) sticking to the speed limit.

The car has a higher self opinion than is justified. It consistently reports that it is doing over 53 mpg. But I know how much I feed it!

I got it just to see if the technology was worth the hype. The answer is NO, big time. As others have said, a modern diesel will deliver the performance for a lot less capital outlay. If Volvo have got their "Recharge" project into gear by the time my piggy bank has been recharged with enough pennies to permit a car replacement, then a Volvo Recharge is next. Otherwise its a diesel, and stuff the greenies and their fuss about PM10s.

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Lithium Ion

These would be the same batteries that occasionally make laptops explode, right? Yay!

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Boffin

Charging in minutes?

Take a lot of minutes.

You either end up with a relatively low voltage (say, 415 3ph) and heck of a lot of amps (now you need large bars to get those amps into the battery, adding weight and switching) or a very high voltage (several KV) with many less amps, but now need to down covert the high voltage to battery voltage.

And convince the unwashed that they won't be electrocuted if you go with high voltage (which at least can be reasonably downconverted to battery level, and doesn't require massive copper or aluminum cables).

There isn't any magic to the transfer of energy, hydrocarbons have a high energy density; hard to quickly pump that number of KW-hr through wires into a car though it can be done. The marketdroids have so far been successful in convincing people that only an itty bitty zip cord would be enough to charge a car in minutes...

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Pay Attention. I shall only say ziz once...

"Why not get a hundred mile one? or more?

Hey presto, maximum distance problem solved."

I2R

That is all...

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H2o

the latest h2o technolgy is the the future with "50" per litre, with water beimg accessable anywhere, and able to use any kind of water, handy if you have a full bladder or find a stream nearby, with no extra co2 emissions from charging or transporting fuelcells, and can get extra power of the axel which would help in the conversion of trucks and buses

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Bollox.

Connexion is an archaic variant not "the correct version". What next, do we spell heaven "heofenan" because it was used 1100 years ago?

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