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Electric Car Goes 375 Miles On One 6-Minute Charge

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the now-that's-more-like-it dept.

Power 603

thecarchik writes with this quote from AllCarsElectric: "We all know that battery packs are the weakest link in electric vehicles. Not only are they heavy and expensive, but they take a long time to recharge and on average can only provide around 100 miles per charge. A German-based company has changed all that with a new vehicle capable of driving up to 375 miles at moderate highway speeds. ... It doesn't end there. The company responsible for the battery pack, DBM Energy, claims a battery pack efficiency of 97 percent and a recharge time of around 6 minutes when charged from a direct current source. Unlike the small Daihatsu which was heavily modified by a team in Japan earlier this year that achieved a massive 623 miles on a charge at around 27 mph, the Audi A2 modified by DBM Energy was able to achieve its 375 miles range at an average speed of 55 mph."

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How long does it last? (5, Insightful)

rossdee (243626) | more than 4 years ago | (#34058924)

How many charge-discharge cycles will this battery last, and how expensive is it?

Re:How long does it last? (4, Insightful)

mail2345 (1201389) | more than 4 years ago | (#34058982)

Don't forget the recharger, which might be expensive or inefficient.
The manufacturing process could also pose a problem, it might require plenty of energy and/or release waste.

Re:How long does it last? (0)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059024)

Forget manufacturing. It's incredibly expensive to build your own personal nuclear power plant just to be able to charge your car in six minutes!

Re:How long does it last? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059122)

Thankfully nuclear powerplants tend to be subsidised by the local energy cooperative, and are a shared expense of typically upwards of several thousand simultaneous users.

The major hurdles to the manufacture of one tends to be getting zoning permits, construction contracts, and DoE and AEC certifications for design, construction, and operation. Hurdles to operation, such as sourcing fuel rods and waste disposal come later.

That said, my area is already powered in part by the output of a local fission plant- the WolfCreek nuclear plant, so at least for this potential customer of an electric vehicle, that particular prerequisite is already met.

Re:How long does it last? (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059154)

It won't be "several thousand simultaneous users" if they're all charging their cars in 6 minutes. It'll be more like .... I dunno, 5?

Re:How long does it last? (5, Informative)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059242)

Now to totally suck the humour out of that post:
Call it 1GW output for a reasonably sized nuclear plant. A reasonable estimate for the efficiency of an electric car (according to Wikipedia) is about 15kWh/100km; after converting to more usable units, the 600km capacity means the battery holds 324MJ. A 6 minute charge time gives a 900kW transfer rate, or about 1,100 users per nuclear power station.

Re:How long does it last? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059286)

and not every single person is going to be hitting this sucker at once though.

besides, are there even 1100 gas pumps in even a city the size of new york?

Re:How long does it last? (5, Informative)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059420)

It takes 4-6 hours to use up that energy, though -- assuming you're constantly driving. That gives you far more users per power station -- just a peak capacity of 1100.

Re:How long does it last? (3, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059424)

A reasonable estimate for the efficiency of an electric car (according to Wikipedia) is about 15kWh/100km; after converting to more usable units, the 600km capacity means the battery holds 324MJ. A 6 minute charge time gives a 900kW transfer rate

900,000 watts eh? That makes me wonder just how practical this would be outside of the lab. You'd need a really high voltage or a really thick cable to transfer that much wattage into an automobile. The American Wire Gauge only goes up to OOOO according to this table [powerstream.com] . A OOOO conductor is 0.46" thick. Even that insanely heavy cable only goes up to 300 amps. You'd need 3,000 volts to deliver your 900kW on such a cable.

Re:How long does it last? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059182)

Why do people struggle with this? To provide the charging current needed to charge in 6 minutes, all you need is a charging station that is topped up by the grid but uses a large battery (of batteries). The peak current to charge the car is taken care off by the batteries and the average daily usage at the station is supplied by the grid.

Similarly, you could have a small charging station at home that consists of a battery similar to what is in the car and a trickle top up system that take 24 hours or more to charge off the low current house supply.

No rocket (or nuclear) science needed!

Re:How long does it last? (2, Interesting)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059338)

This is, however, trading reliance on oil as a fuel source for reliance on lithium as a storage medium. Admittedly that's more conducive to recycling, but while I'm no expert on batteries, I'm pretty sure it's not trivial to turn a dead, degraded cell into a shiny new one.

It's a shame we haven't managed to get particularly far with hydrogen as a storage medium - it can be produced straight from fossil fuels to ease the transition, and then produced directly from water once we get the power generation infrastructure up to scratch. No reliance on a non-renewable power source or storage medium.

Re:How long does it last? (2, Interesting)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059400)

Then, sadly, you would waste energy through heat dissipation twice instead of once.

Re:How long does it last? (2, Insightful)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059426)

A charging station sees enough short cycles that they might as well use a bank of capacitors instead.

When can I buy one? (2, Insightful)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#34058930)

It's wonderful to see these new claimed technologies, I just wish they'd actually make some of them available to the public sometimes.

Re:When can I buy one? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#34058994)

They do, it just takes a while. Engineering is time-consuming.

Re:When can I buy one? (4, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059146)

No, the engineering is what they are doing now with their prototype. The fact that a tangible prototype exists suggests that the brunt of the core engineering has already been completed, barring any rework on the design that might be required for mass-manufacture.

What is required now, is getting a greenlight from investors, regulators, and safety orgs.

Like most things, the actual design and core science happens much faster than the beaurocracy can actually handle. That is where most projects end up dieing on the vine-- the beaurocratic side, not the engineering side.

Re:When can I buy one? (5, Insightful)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059414)

The core engineering require to build a proof-of-concept prototype is a small fraction of the engineering work necessary to put it into readily-available, commercial products.

Re:When can I buy one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059152)

Yea, light one laptop on fire and people bitch about more regulation.

Re:When can I buy one? (3, Interesting)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059250)

Fall 2011 for around 27,000$ after tax break. Or so says Mitsubishi.

Too good to be true (2, Insightful)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#34058936)

Somebody in the know prove me wrong.

Finally looking practical... (1)

linatux (63153) | more than 4 years ago | (#34058938)

will it be affordable?

Re:Finally looking practical... (0, Troll)

Valcrus (1242564) | more than 4 years ago | (#34058948)

Heck no. It will probably cost close to if not more than 100k. I will believe in it when I can charge it to full in 10 mins and buy one for the same cost as a normal car. Everything released so far is more than I want to pay for a car that I drive to and from work in.

Re:Finally looking practical... (2, Insightful)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059104)

is that cost to the planet or cost to your wallet?

Re:Finally looking practical... (5, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059318)

The planet doesn't give a damn. It's us who are fucked.

Power required to charge? (3, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#34058944)

Is it really that hard for tech reporters to slip in enough meaningful numbers to give us a full picture of what they are supposedly reporting about? Sure it might only take 6 minutes, but what kind of power was it drawing during those 6 minutes? Will the average house have a connection large enough to actually charge it that fast? Will it be practical to build "gas" stations that can charge several cars like this in a reasonable amount of time?

Re:Power required to charge? (2, Insightful)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059004)

I agree. A couple numbers go a long ways towards allowing the user to make sense of the gizmo at hand.

A range of 375 miles at 55 mph is seven hours of driving at speed. Six minutes is 0.1 hours. So they have to feed at least 70 times as much power into the battery as the car consumes to hold 55 mph. If the car takes 3 HP (2 kW) to drive at highway speed, then they have to feed 150 kW through that thin charging cable.

I don't know anyone with a 150kW electrical service to their house. Do you?

Re:Power required to charge? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059116)

I don't know anyone with a 150kW electrical service to their house. Do you?

Dr. Frankenstein already solved that problem with lightning rods :)
Next!!

Re:Power required to charge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059120)

I COULD, but I'm not sure the power company would appreciate my home made taps onto the high voltage lines. And I REALLY doubt they'll appreciate it when my charging system takes out their substation :)

Re:Power required to charge? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059136)

I don't know anyone with a gasoline pump at their house either.

It is a mystery how people are able to drive cars without running out of fuel.

Re:Power required to charge? (4, Informative)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059140)

Excellent calculations, but based on an almost certainly flawed assumption of 2kW cruising power. 10-20kW is more likely, based on typical electric car requirements. So... you'd need roughly a megawatt of power available for charging. That's the peak draw of a relatively large office building.

Re:Power required to charge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059388)

Excellent calculations, but based on an almost certainly flawed assumption of 2kW cruising power. 10-20kW is more likely, based on typical electric car requirements.

Even at a 98% engine efficiency? Granted, might be more than 2kW, but certainly less than 20.

Re:Power required to charge? (4, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059172)

If the car takes 3 HP (2 kW) to drive at highway speed

HA! You are an order of magnitude too low. Otherwise we'd all be installing 50cc moped motors into our cars. I think 30-40 HP is what it takes to overcome air resistance, rolling resistance, and the incline of the terrain when that comes along.

As others mentioned, the article is short on facts. I can drive 300 miles at 55 mph (average) and spend 0 kWh, as long as the road is downhill all the way, or if I use a sail. That fact alone is worthless.

I don't know anyone with a 150kW electrical service to their house.

My house has 200A, 240V service (2 phases 120V each, 180 degrees off.) The maximum power is, therefore, 48 kW. The car will need 1.5 MW power source to charge in 6 minutes, and the battery would have to hold 150 kWh, or 540 MJ, equivalent to 1/8 ton of TNT [wikipedia.org] or to 3 gallons [wikipedia.org] of gasoline.

Re:Power required to charge? (3, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059188)

It is possible that the charger "Cheats" too--

It might contain a very large capacitor array that allows for the boost charging speed, at the expense of the recharger itself requireing several more minutes, to even several hours to "recover" afterward. (That is to say, the charger itself is a glorified high-voltage regulator attached to a very large ultracapacitor bank. The rapid discharge rate required by the battery's charging station would neccessitate such a solution if 150kw service was unavailable/inpractical. When the battery pack is attached, the capcacitor bank discharges to fill the battery, but then the capacitor array has a required recharging period before it can be used again; a process which could occur while the driver is on the road.)

Such a "cheating" solution would pose a significant risk should a short occur inside the charger though.

Re:Power required to charge? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059324)

Is it really cheating? You're just replacing huge gasoline holding tanks with capacitors. And is the risk really that significant compared to current fueling stations? You're just replacing a gasoline-igniting spark with a short.

Re:Power required to charge? (2, Insightful)

espiesp (1251084) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059344)

No more of a risk than the giant battery pack with wheels you'd be driving around at 70mpg...

Re:Power required to charge? (2, Informative)

NIK282000 (737852) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059244)

3 HP is a pretty conservative number for maintaining highway speeds but it illustrates the point very well. To charge in 6 minutes using (euro) household voltage you would have to pump 625amps into it. The cable required for that (by electrical code) would be 2cm in diameter x2 conductors. Not something your average non-superman can lift and bend.

To get the current down to a manageable level and the cable to a reasonable (3awg) size, you would have to put the voltage up to 1500votls (100amps). That leaves you with the electrical equivalent of a loaded gun. A very high potential for ark flash or instant BBQ users. They are going to have to come out with a seriously safe/automated charging station for these cars which is more then likely to offset any savings of owning the car in the first place.

Re:Power required to charge? (3, Insightful)

DeadboltX (751907) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059248)

I don't know anyone with a 150kW electrical service to their house. Do you

I don't know anyone with a 10,000 gallon tank of gas under their house either
It is perfectly conceivable for a "gas station" (charging station) to get a hookup large enough to service 12 cars simultaneously.

6 minutes is not a long time to wait at a gas station, and I presume you don't have to wait for the battery to be drained before you charge it.

Re:Power required to charge? (2, Interesting)

F34nor (321515) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059346)

Once you are there hot swapping the packs with a life becomes the way to go with even lead acid. People are so focused on perfection here that they miss the opportunity for just better.

Re:Power required to charge? (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059268)

I don't know anyone with a 150kW electrical service to their house. Do you?

Lots of people! For example Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, Gru, Tony Stark, etc.

Re:Power required to charge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059392)

...and not only that, it's also direct current - revenge for Thomas Edison at last! Take that, Tesla! [wikipedia.org]

Re:Power required to charge? (2, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059298)

I would imagine the home charger will take somewhat longer, but then you're home.

The fast charge would be for a charging station when you're out and about and don't really want to wait an hour or two.

Re:Power required to charge? (1)

F34nor (321515) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059326)

Yeah but I'd wait 6 minutes at a "filling station" to get not only clean power but also only one moving part in my car.

Re:Power required to charge? (3, Funny)

Shark (78448) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059432)

Might be tricky riding in a car with one moving part... Unless you plan to go in through a permanently open window like the Dukes of Hazard... And drive exclusively in a straight line while suffering every bump in the road.

Re:Power required to charge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059358)

Furthermore 375miles/55mph*150kWh is over 1000 kWh a giant battery over 50 times that in the Chevy Volt, I wonder what it weighs.

Re:Power required to charge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059360)

I haven't RTFA, of course, but do they claim a FULL charge after 6 minutes, or just enough to go a few ks?

Re:Power required to charge? (1)

gundersd (787946) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059404)

Not only that, but the image in the linked article shows something that looks decidedly like a standard extension cord plugged into the car (possibly, at a stretch, a 440v 3-phase supply). I'm not an EE, but I would imagine that for a cable that thin to be charging the car as quickly as they claim, the voltage would have to be pretty high - high enough to require things like exotic looking connectors and insulation around the charge point.

Also, as other posters have pointed out, a car moving @ 55MPH will consume far more than 2kW of power - it's unlikely that would cover rolling resistance, let alone aerodynamic drag etc. Something has to be powering the accessories too (power steering pump, lights?, dashboard, control circuitry etc).

I get the feeling that someone got punk'd.

Re:Power required to charge? (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059142)

Well, its suposed to charge off of regular house current (going to guess 220v). So it cant be that much of a drain. Its only a 74kwh power source that reaches 97% charge in under 6 min. The rest is down to the utilization of the power source. So this isn't going the route of massive batteries and a standard induction motor. I'd love to get one of these in the shop to see how it works, but since they plan on actually selling these (27,000$ estimated street price) we'll know soon enough.

Re:Power required to charge? (3, Interesting)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059290)

74kwh in 6 minutes is 740 kilowatts. They said specifically that this could be achieved with a "DC current source", so they clearly aren't talking about a standard 220V outlet. More likely, to actually achieve this you'd need a large capacitor as suggested by a post above. 74kwh supercapacitors are damned expensive, so I doubt if anyone would put one in their house.

What would be practical, though, is for a bank of supercapacitors to be located at a gas station. There could be six, eight, or however many different capacitors, and when you pull up to the "electricity pump" it would connect you to one of the charged ones. Then the capacitor would go back to charging from a ~30kw mains circuit (for about 3 hours). If all the capacitors were drained, a big red light would turn on at the pump and you would have to wait for one of them to finish charging (or get a partial charge).

Even if the gas station *did* have a 1 megawatt feed line, this kind of huge instantaneous load spike would not be nice to the electrical grid, so capacitors would be the preferred method of implementation. The gas stations could even wire them up to feed power back to the grid if it needed stabilization, or it would be the one place you could charge your phone when a storm knocks out the neighborhood.

Re:Power required to charge? (1)

nonguru (1777998) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059178)

I agree. It's the "gee whiz" sales/reporting pitch without context. I'd be interested to know the current and forecast cost of the batteries and the predicted lifetime.

Re:Power required to charge? (5, Informative)

Spoke (6112) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059226)

From what I've been able to dig up, the battery pack holds about 115 kWh.

In any case, your typical EV these days goes about 4 kWh/mile, which matches up nicely with their 375 mile trip.

So if you want to fill the car with 100 kWh in 6 minutes, you'd need about 1000 kW (ignoring charging losses).

Your typical house in the USA has 240V service with a main panel size ranging between 100A-200A - or 24-48 kW. There is no way you're charging this battery in a short amount of time at home unless you use some sort of buffer.

Your typical EV today uses a Level 2 J1772 EVSE - of which the J1772 specification will handle up to 240V AC at 80A or 19 kW. But the first mass produced EVs on the market (the Leaf/Volt) will only be able to charge at 3.3 kW or so using that standard.

The Tesla Roadster can charge at up to 19 kW, but still uses a slightly different plug (Tesla came before the J1772 standard, but existing Roadsters are expected to be converted over).

"Gas" stations to sustain Level 3 charging (meaning anything that spits out high current DC) are currently being deployed with chargers that will push out a max of 50 kW or so. The Leaf will be the first car to use those chargers and can charge it's 24 kW pack to 80% in 20-30 minutes.

I suspect that some sort of local battery buffer will be needed in most locations to support 1000 kW chargers - or you'll need to be very close to electrical substations and transmission lines.

Re:Power required to charge? (2, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059230)

The 6 minute charging time is only really necessary for long road trips. Long charging times don't keep people from charging at their home, it keeps them from taking their car long distances. The "gas" stations to charge the car in 6 minutes would have massive power requirements, but it's not impossible or even all that improbable that they could provide it. Then, at home, you have a normal charger that you plug in at night that charges it over a few hours.

One thick cable.... (1)

acnicklas (1740146) | more than 4 years ago | (#34058950)

I can't see this thing being hooked up to the 120V in the garage and still charging in six minutes... more like 460V 3-phase (disclaimer - I am by no means an EE).

Re:One thick cable.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34058974)

Don't worry, we knew immediately you weren't an EE. There was no need to clarify.

Re:One thick cable.... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059006)

Don't worry, we knew immediately you weren't an EE. There was no need to clarify.

dickhead

Re:One thick cable.... (1)

beernutmark (1274132) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059218)

Mod parent funny. Perfect setup and spike.

Re:One thick cable.... (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059018)

It's feasible with high quality Denon Super High Fidelity Power Ethernet(TM) cable. You can look it up at Amazon.com

Re:One thick cable.... (2, Funny)

nonguru (1777998) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059200)

I'm sure you can use can use Monster Hi-Fi cables with suitable adapters. The quality of the electrical storage is so much better than with the cheaper alternative - 3/4 listeners recommend it...

Re:One thick cable.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059048)

I can't see this thing being hooked up to the 120V in the garage and still charging in six minutes... more like 460V 3-phase (disclaimer - I am by no means an EE).

More likely, it will need 1.21 Gigawatts. Let's see if it can sustain 88mph.

What kind of direct current source? (2, Interesting)

Petersko (564140) | more than 4 years ago | (#34058958)

"when charged from a direct current source"

Am I gonna need 2000 amp breakers for the garage?

Re:What kind of direct current source? (2, Interesting)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059002)

Only if you don't have 10 kV outlets...

Re:What kind of direct current source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059074)

10 kV direct current?

Re:What kind of direct current source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059086)

Amateurs!!! I just connect it directly to this line,

http://www.hydro.mb.ca/corporate/facilities/ts_nelson.shtml

Re:What kind of direct current source? (3, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059202)

Am I gonna need 2000 amp breakers for the garage?

No, because you normally don't pit-stop at home for 6 minutes at a time. At home you would charge it at night, likely from a 220v source like your dryer and stove use. What the fast charge is for is to also enable the car to make long trips by having special chargers at gas stations.

Re:What kind of direct current source? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059246)

Am I gonna need 2000 amp breakers for the garage?

No, because you normally don't pit-stop at home for 6 minutes at a time. At home you would charge it at night, likely from a 220v source like your dryer and stove use. What the fast charge is for is to also enable the car to make long trips by having special chargers at gas stations.

If electric cars catch on I think "gas stations" will be a thing of the past. A charging station could be a box attached to an electricity pylon.

Re:What kind of direct current source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059342)

Yeah, like if the internal combustion engine catches on those troughs in front of bars and those dirty guys with "U" shaped things for horses feet will be a thing of the past...

Re:What kind of direct current source? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059406)

They probably won't sell gas; but I'd be fairly surprised to see the "arrangement of roads allowing safe stopping by multiple vehicles around a set of fueling points, along with ancillary rest areas and/or vending services" model die out.

The ability to just clip an AC-DC converter to the nearest pylon, connected to a cell-network or powerline networked POS terminal, will make putting low traffic/emergency fueling points in the ass end of nowhere a good deal easier(especially since, the further you are from competition and civilization, the less choosy customers get to be about their charge rate. Something that can dump a 100kw of DC power from an AC line isn't cheap. Something that can do 1 or 2 kw is.)

Re:What kind of direct current source? (3, Insightful)

espiesp (1251084) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059410)

Not for quick charging. You MUST have the electrical equivalent to a gasoline storage tank in order to supply it quickly enough. A big bank of batteries/capacitors.

Yes, you will likely be able to plug in at the local shopping mall and grocery store, maybe even plug into the parking meter! But for a road trip, you use up your 'tank' and want to fill it up quickly. The grid can not support that now or likely ever. Thus, the need for the 'gas station' with the 6-min charge capability (at a drastically increased cost of electricity over a home fillup to pay for the infrastructure.)

Charge at service stations (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059322)

Okay, so we won't be able to charge car batteries at home. But we don't fill our cars with petrol or diesel at home either.

We use service stations for that. I'm sure service stations could be retrofitted to charge car batteries.
(Though for safety reasons, a service station should probably not serve both fuel and high voltage electricity.)

Re:What kind of direct current source? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059380)

I'm assuming that the "when charged from a direct current source" is a polite way of either cutting AC rectification losses out of the equation or saying that you won't be charging this sucker at home without quite specialized equipment and a fairly obliging utility company. I'm fairly sure that not only is my house wiring not up to it, even if you don't throw in a few percent extra for the AC-DC converter; but neither is the utility wiring for a fair distance from my house.

I'd assume, beyond simple dick waving, that the "6 minute charge" scenario is something you'd do at a specialized facility. Nobody wants to twiddle their thumbs for an hour at the gas station, so a fast charge is highly desirable, even if it requires some sort of scary automated conductor tentacle and a direct substation connection.

If you are just hanging out at home, trickle-charging at much easier rates becomes more viable.

Until I can buy one it doesnt exist (1, Insightful)

grapeape (137008) | more than 4 years ago | (#34058966)

Definitely sounds intriguing, capable of highway speeds, incredibly short charge time (real gas station on the go type charging a reality) and amazing mileage between charges. I can't help but think that this will never develop into anything that will actually be a consumer ready product. The science may be there but something tells me that other interests will prevent this from going anywhere. I really think the only way we will ever see competitive advancements in alternative energies beyond research and press blurbs is if we really get conclusive proof that fossil fuels are running out.

Re:Until I can buy one it doesnt exist (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059068)

There are many things you cant buy, that never the less exist.

Re:Until I can buy one it doesnt exist (4, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059100)

The science may be there but something tells me that other interests will prevent this from going anywhere.

The science probably isn't there, so the Great Petroleum Conspiracy can probably sleep well tonight. What they're describing doesn't violate any laws of physics per se, but the amount of power transferred in the time they're claiming is highly suspicious. The waste heat alone would be enormous unless their secret is room-temperature superconductors, in which case the electric car market is small potatoes, and someone is going to get a Nobel for this.

I'm not going to call bullshit on this story, but I will note that the article makes extraordinary claims without providing the requisite extraordinary evidence. At this point, it's just another startup making unsubstantiated claims. I hope it's true, but I am definitely not holding my breath.

Well - let's hope! (1)

SimonInOz (579741) | more than 4 years ago | (#34058980)

If this is a real product, than it could indeed change the game.

I admit to a suspicion of a slight whiff of snake oil, but heck, let's dream for once!

Re:Well - let's hope! (3, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059000)

slight? that is more than range than my Mazda 3 gets out of a tank. So figure the energy density of around 10 US gallons of gasoline....
That is a lot of energy to put into a battery in a very short amount of time.
I want a lot more info.

Charging station? (2, Informative)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#34058992)

What does the charging station use? Is it ultracapacitors?

Also, last time I checked both Germany, Japan and pretty much the rest of the planet used the metric system, so:

We all know that battery packs are the weakest link in electric vehicles. Not only are they heavy and expensive, but they take a long time to recharge and on average can only provide around 160 km per charge. A German-based company has changed all that with a new vehicle capable of driving up to 600 km at moderate highway speeds. ... It doesn't end there. The company responsible for the battery pack, DBM Energy, claims a battery pack efficiency of 97 percent and a recharge time of around 6 minutes when charged from a direct current source. Unlike the small Daihatsu which was heavily modified by a team in Japan earlier this year that achieved a massive 1000 km on a charge at around 43 km/h, the Audi A2 modified by DBM Energy was able to achieve its 600 km range at an average speed of 88 km/h.

Re:Charging station? (5, Informative)

srjh (1316705) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059114)

What does the charging station use? Is it ultracapacitors?

Also, last time I checked both Germany, Japan and pretty much the rest of the planet used the metric system, so:

Oh, come on, now you're being unfair. It's not the rest of the planet, Liberia and Myanmar [wikipedia.org] are also yet to adopt the metric system. Sheesh.

Place yer bets... (1)

wcspxyx (120207) | more than 4 years ago | (#34058996)

...on which oil or car company will buy these guys so this technology never makes it to market.

I'm skeptical (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059022)

I need lots more detail to believe this is even remotely feasible. If this was a small American company I would be sure it's a scam designed to extract money from gullible investors. For some reason, the fact that it's German gives me a little more credulity -- but not enough.

I notice a lot of suspicion (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059042)

Let's be practical. Fossil fuels won't last forever and neither will nuclear. Ultimately you are either going to run your cars on pure electric from an alternate source or biofuels and at the current rate of growth you can't grow enough biofuels. Solar roadways with roof top solar and some wind can easily replace the missing fossil fuels without having to worry about storing waste until we evolve into another species, tens of thousands to in some cases millions of years. Ultimately some form of ultracapacitor will run the majority of cars. The odds of most cars being electric in a 100 years is a 100%. The odds of most using some form of electric motors in the next 25 years is extremely high. Everyone in the Slashdot world practically worships nuclear but even it would be electric. If you want either nuclear or solar to take over you'd better embrace electric cars or you'll eventually end up on horses again and then we'll all be debating hay prices.

Re:I notice a lot of suspicion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059274)

WTS several bales of hay, by AH in IF

Re:I notice a lot of suspicion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059304)

(Different AC here.)

Further, I find it odd that so many of the early posts to this article essentially read "The charger is gonna be as expensive as the car! How could I possibly charge this thing at home? This thing's bullshit vaporware!"

The most interesting thing about this article is that it takes 6 minutes to fill up a vehicle for 375 miles of travel. Sounds like the same thing I did on the way home when I stopped at the Sunoco station. That means after a little retrofitting, that the existing paradigm of going to a gas station to fill up won't change, and frankly that's what most drivers want. Home charging stations means that you're on a tether to your home, albeit one that is in this case 375 miles long. This gives more flexibility, and a true fill-'er-up and go experience that Americans in particular are used to. Further, it means that current owners of gas stations, many of which are still independently owned and operated, can continue doing business essentially in the same way they have for years. And it's a good model. They price the commodity as low as possible, and charge $1.25 for 20 ounces of soda in the convenience store to make a profit. The model works for businessmen and for consumers both.

It has been discussed on Slashdot before that the best way to switch from one technology to another is to keep the experience for all stakeholders as similar as possible to the original tech. Keeping the experience of "gassing" up a car means that for everyone involved with the actual implementation of electric power, there is familiarity for them. That means buy-in from consumers and buy-in from retailers, and those buy-ins are key to a successful switch from the current gasoline-based infrastructure.

(P.S. I find it fitting my captcha was 'refuel')

Re:I notice a lot of suspicion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059328)

solar isn't energy dense enough. The mining of fissionable materials in space is the future.

55 mph deathtrap (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059108)

If this car can't get to 75 mph in 10 seconds or less, the last 370 miles won't matter. I'll already have been run over or run off the road in the metroplex.

Re:55 mph deathtrap (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059166)

If this car can't get to 75 mph in 10 seconds or less, the last 370 miles won't matter. I'll already have been run over or run off the road in the metroplex.

WTF is a "metroplex"? Is this something specific to where you live? My bicycle can't get anywhere near 75 mph in 10 or 1000 seconds yet I don't seem to share your issues.

Re:55 mph deathtrap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059300)

One of the largest Autobot transformers....duh!? Thousands could live inside him and I am sure his other-wordly power source could charge a fleet of these cars in 0.1 seconds

Re:55 mph deathtrap (1)

Polumna (1141165) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059378)

Obviously he's referring to this guy [nocookie.net] , who will get sick of tailgaiting in about five miles, but luckily has a top speed of 70mph.

Re:55 mph deathtrap (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059402)

The Metroplex is the city centre complex in the city called Metropolis.

Re:55 mph deathtrap (1)

MtHuurne (602934) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059282)

This article [carsforstars.net] has some more info: They got 55 mph average speed, not top speed. The test run was on a highway, from Munich to Berlin. It doesn't say though what limited the average speed: the driver choosing not to go faster, the congestion on the road or speed limits. Since both the start and finish were inside a city, the first and last stretch will have been slow.

Re:55 mph deathtrap (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059384)

Those are average speeds, not top speeds. And even if that battey type is better suited as an "endurance battery", it could then be fitted alongside a "strength battery".
Sure, you'd have to fit smaller batteries to fit both, but at some point you're going to have to make a tradeoff, no matter how you look at it.

nigEga (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059156)

you to join the comprehensi7e than a fraction is wiped off and And mortifying the accounting

More info (4, Informative)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059180)

It's a lithium-polymer battery dubbed "Hummingbird", and it's already in-use in warehouse forklifts. There's more info at dbm-energy.com [dbm-energy.com] and lekker-mobil.com [lekker-mobil.com] (both in German). Still pretty light on details though.

I'd post the link to the FAQ directly, but Slashdot still won't let me paste the URL (yep, Chrome user), and it's way too long to type by hand.

Who Cares? (0, Troll)

zippo01 (688802) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059194)

Electric cars are lame So lame

oh crap (0, Troll)

mevets (322601) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059208)

Does this mean we have to bomb Germany?

Re:oh crap (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059382)

Again?

House Battery Swapping (5, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059220)

battery pack efficiency of 97 percent and a recharge time of around 6 minutes when charged from a direct current source

Solar photovoltaic and fuel cells generate direct current. Usually they go through an inverter, that loses 10-25% of the energy (as heat, and burns out the part for replacement about every 5 years). A battery like this would mean keeping that energy without losing it. Leaving a battery charging at home while driving the car around, then swapping it into the car when the car returns home - or reverse the positions for batteries charging at work or at whatever daytime destination. That battery can also power household devices, like the many devices that really consume DC, which waste power running from wall current into rectifiers.

This kind of device could improve not only transit energy, but also residential (and commercial sites that reverse the locations).

Just imagine where we'd be if (1)

CityZen (464761) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059256)

the Model T were electric.

Though I must admit: the rate of improvement of many technologies does seem to have increased much in recent years. Even gas engines, which have been around since long before the Model T, seem to be getting much more powerful (per liter) recently compared to when I started driving. Still, I wonder where we'd be now if we'd started with electric instead of gas. Heck, where would we be if GM hadn't killed the EV1, for that matter?

Infrastructure (2, Insightful)

Palmsie (1550787) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059264)

I understand why increasing electronic car's battery life is important but when the second generation of cars were coming out of Ford, no one was complaining about larger gas tanks. They built infrastructure to compensate for the lack of a 200 gallon tank and the complaint, "well how am I supposed to drive across the state on one tank!? You mean I have to wait, fill it, and pump it myself!?" No, they built infrastructure. When battery life is about equal to gasoline cars, build infrastructure to support them. One suggestion at a TED talk was a station that replaces empty batteries with new charged ones. Imagine a car wash that you drive into, pay for your new battery, the machine lifts up the hood, pops out the empty or half-full cell and pops in a new one. But wait, that's MY battery, how do I know if I'm getting a good battery? Well how do you know you're getting gasoline and not apple juice? You set standards, charge limits and you pay by some standardized metric (gallons of oil to X in electric batteries). This creates new jobs for mechanics and technicians to build these stations, replaces gasoline cars with environmentally friendly electronic cells, and practically eliminates the "range anxiety" problem. Once you can travel a few hundred miles on a charge, it won't be a problem because you can pull over to a station and pay for a full cell. If you want to wait, you can drive home and plug in your car for a few hours. Infrastructure support is the answer, not the ultimate electronic battery. It doesn't need to exist for this technology to work (that isn't to say that the technology doesn't need to improve, of course it does).

stolen from the comments of TFA (5, Informative)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059270)

Translated from this page: http://adacemobility.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/das-wunder-von-berlin/#more-744 [wordpress.com]
"Technical Data Audi A2 DBM *
* Subject
Empty weight (including driver) 1260 kg
Perm. Total weight 1600 kg
Battery lithium-iron-polymer (260 Ah/380 V) cell voltage of 3.8 volts
Battery weight about 300 kg
Charging time about 4 hours due to mains phase current in the household (380)
battery requires 6 minutes (future solution)
Life time 2500 charge cycles (without loss of capacity)
= Service life target: 500,000 km
Top speed 160 km / h
5-speed sequential gearbox (race gear: shifting without the clutch)
E-motor 300 Nm torque"
So, the 6 minute charge is future/theoretical limits of the battery. The actual time is 4 hours; which is still very impressive.
Sincerely, Neil

100 miles per charge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34059310)

We all know that battery packs are the weakest link in electric vehicles. Not only are they heavy and expensive, but they take a long time to recharge and on average can only provide around 100 miles per charge.

I call BS!

The chemistries and capacities of batteries chosen by car makers can only provide around 100 miles per charge. We all know that they choose to do this because market research indicates that most users won't regularly drive more than 100 miles in a single sitting and car manufacturers are trying to produce as cheap a product as possible.

Current battery technologies, as demonstrated by the linked article, can easily exceed 100 miles per charge, can be lighter and can be recharged more quickly than overnight.

Some numbers (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#34059412)

Some numbers from their YouTube video slide show. [youtube.com] (That's a bad sign. I'd much rather see a technical paper.) Here's what they claim:

  • "300 Wh/Kg"
  • "2500 charge cycles with no degradation".
  • "6 minute charge time for 100KWh."

Those are impressive numbers, if real. 2500 charge cycles at 500 Km per charge is 750,000 Km. Typical car life today is around 250,000 Km, so the battery will outlast the car.

300 Wh/Kg is very high, but not unheard of. They say it's a lithium chemistry. Lithium tetrachloroaluminate batteries get numbers like that. Unfortunately, it has hazard problems. [yardney.com] "Reacts violently with water or humid air to give off corrosive fumes of hydrocloric acid and sulfur oxide." (A basic problem with battery chemistry is that the further you go out on the electromotive series, the higher the cell voltage, but the more reactive the material. Sodium-sulfur batteries have very good energy density, but sodium burns on contact with water.)

It's possible that this battery does everything they say. But they never mention safety or flammability.

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