Technological novices will argue that alternate cheaper materials will be found and that there will be a way of reducing the quantity of raw materials. I argue that we have found the least expensive materials that actually work electrochemically and that less materials just means less power stored in the battery. Last week A123 put a Google ad on my site. I have no control over who advertises. A 123 has this battery pack as an after market add on for a standard Prius to make it plug in and capable of going 15 miles on the battery. I called the company and got the following information. The battery is a 5 kilowatt hour battery. It costs $11,000 and if I drove 12,000 miles a year with their system I would save approximately 180 gallons a year of gasoline compared with the base Prius. OK I will need to pay the electric company something like $200 per year for the electricity and I save $540 a year in gasoline at $3 per gallon. So my net savings are $340 a year. I need more than 30 years to pay for the batteries. But the story gets worse the batteries are only good for a maximum of 8 years. So every 8 years I pay $11,000 to get back $2,720. I think A123 should change their name to the Made Off Battery Company.
I have been trying for four months to see my congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, the ranking democrat on the house sub-committee on energy technology. I have been blocked and stonewalled by her staffers. Just today I wrote to the Committee Against Government Waste http://www.cagw.org/ as their head had commented on the waste of tax payer dollars money that the Feds just gave to Fisker a plug in hybrid company funded by Alfalfa Gore and his VC group. Here is a copy of my email to CAGW:
I am outraged by the waste of tax payers’ dollars on plug in vehicles. I am a chemical engineer and a pretty well known expert in thermodynamics. I blog at http://www.greenexplored.com/ The Lithium plug in will be as big a waste as Fuel Cells, ethanol and bio-diesel. I am convinced that batteries will cost more not less in ten years. These proofs of concept are just pure ways of giving money away. Lithium Ion batteries are expensive because the raw materials are expensive. Raw materials account for 80% of the cost and the other 20% may have some economies of scale but the inflation in raw material costs will simply overwhelm the decrease in costs from economies of scale. The plug in electric vehicles or hybrids are a betamax technology. Great play things for a few rich folks. We need many diesel vehicles, we need many basic hybrids with small batteries, we need an energy policy based on the laws of thermodynamics not the laws of the Washington pig farm. I think I can help you with the supporting science, engineering, thermodynamics and get our voice out there. For four months I have been asking for an audience with my congresswoman. One Lynn Woolsey who is the ranking democrat on the house sub-committee for energy technology. I have been given the run around. No doubt because she has to follow her party and follow her guru one Alfalfa Gore. please go to http://www.greenexplored.com/ and then let's chat. I have no commercial interest in any technology, business, or organization involved in energy. I only care about the country and the planet. Lindsay Leveen The Green Machine