Tesla-Toyota to revive production of RAV4-EV
Energy Conversion Devices (ECD), improving on Edison’s Nickel battery (some of which are still in use, a century later), developed Nickel-Metal-Hydride (NiMH) batteries, mostly for patent rights and as a prototype. NiMH, or Nickel batteries, became the standard and well-proven Electric car batteries.
Hundreds of NiMH Electric cars are owned and on the road, many with more than 100,000 miles of trouble-free driving after 7 years in the hands of happy owners, many of whom power their driving with rooftop solar PV.
Toyota, taking early promise seriously, improved and made robust the battery that ECD had patented.
In the words of one Ford guy, “We just can’t break them.” Toyota’s improved version of NiMH routinely delivers over 100 miles range, even on an SUV with 5 passengers and 1000 lbs. of tools, long after 100,000 miles.
All current EV promisers can only use Lithium batteries, which show some promise. But no one knows how long they last.
Nissan is already wiggling about how long they will warranty Lithium batteries in their promised LEAF-EV, probably wishing they could use much better NiMH — but they can’t. Nissan may be planning to lower the cost of Lithium by recycling spent Lithium batteries to make new Lithium batteries — without new mining! This is the path to lowering battery cost for all batteries.
The Nissan LEAF, which is still “promised”, is in limited production for the first 20,000 on the waiting list; it’s a great car, a real EV and handles as well or better than the HondaEV. Nissan seems serious about the LEAF, and you can sign up to be added to the waiting list. It’s a real EV, and can be used with your rooftop solar system to eliminate the use of gasoline for most driving!
Leaf-EV test drive at ALT CAR in Santa Monica (YouTube video)
Chevron still controls the worldwide exclusive patent rights for use of NiMH on plug-in Electric cars, until 2015, even though it sold some rights to Samsung/Bosch in 2009 for hybrids that can’t plug in.
Most likely, due to fear of costly Lithium failure, most Lithium EV makers will only warranty their for 36000 miles or 3 years.
How did Chevron get control of a technology that competes with its main product, oil? ECD, needing money, sold the rights to General Motors in 1994; GM, contrary to its representations, tried to avoid using NiMH, only bringing out the NiMH EV1 just a few months before GM sold the rights, on Oct. 10, 2000 … to Chevron!!
Chevron funded a lawsuit which won $30 million from Toyota and stopped production of RAV4-EV (using NiMH) to this day.
Now Toyota has announced it will build the RAV4-EV again, but using Lithium.
How can this be? How can Toyota, knowing that Lithium doesn’t last as long and costs more, commit to resumption of production of the RAV-EV?
Well, if you look at the promised time-line:
2010-2011: Tesla “tests” RAV4-EV, although, really, they’ve been running fine since Spring, 1997. Endless “testing” is a sign that they are marking time.
2012: RAV4-EV production resumes, with Lithium, cutting ECD OUT of the revenue stream.
No one knows if Lithium is now improved enough to last longer than 3 years.
2015: Lithium batteries may be better than NiMH; on the other hand, they may start to fail. But this is the year ECD’s patent rights expire, and Toyota is free to replace any failing Lithium with NiMH.
Now imagine the other path, if ECD really had tried to make money from NiMH…
IF ECD had, back in 1994, really been interested in making NiMH work, instead of making a quick buck, it might have sold NON-EXCLUSIVE NiMH rights to GM; then when GM tried to suppress it, in 1996, and Toyota improved it in 1997, ECD would have been able to LICENSE TOYOTA FOR NIMH PRODUCTION IN PLUG-IN CARS!!
Nissan LEAF-EV dwarfs VOLT-hoax at Santa Monica ALT CAR (youtube video)
There would have been no sale of NiMH to Chevron, and no lawsuit against Toyota; no quick buck, instead, Toyota would have been allowed to improve and develop NiMH, and hundreds of thousands of NiMH EVs would have been sold (starting in Spring, 2002, or maybe earlier, if ECD had licensed Toyota), and, as the batteries were improved, spread ubiquitously to the marketplace worldwide…Instead ECD took the quick buck, and gave away the farm.
Now, the end of ECD’s patent rights is coming up, in less than 5 years; ECD will have stopped EVs for 20 years, by its foolish sale of the rights to Chevron.
If Lithium works, ECD just gets consigned to the dustbin of history, forgotten as a footnote. But if Lithium fails, ECD’s patent rights expire, and ECD is forgotten, as the inventor of fiber-optics, a footnote in history.
In 1990, the Solectria Sunrise demonstrated over 200 miles all-electric range on NiMH batteries; by 1996, it was over 300 miles range.
Imagine if it had remained in production, instead of being crushed by:
An unholy cabal consisting of GM-CHEVRON-ECD.
Now imagine, if Toyota had been free to build the 400-mile-range EV by using the best NiMH, how many would be in production over the years?
CARB estimated, in 2000 (the Battery Technology Workshop) that NiMH battery pack, in production, would cost $7,000 (for 30 kWh, enough for 150 miles). But CARB was making up numbers, really, it might be much lower.
Now let’s say that ECD, wanting to nurture the technology, just had taken a sliding percentage, low for low production and higher when more were sold.
Let’s say NiMH, in production, cost no more than $200/kWh (and remember, after wearing out, after 100K or 200K miles, they can be remelted down cheaply into new batteries, lowering the cost).
Let’s say a royalty of $10 per kWh to ECD, as ECD helps improve and coordinate improvements on its battery instead of trying to kill it.
That’s $300 in ECD Revenues that would have been per RAV4-EV (and HondaEV, EV1, RangerEV, etc.).
More, much more, as other EVs had ramped up and improved ECD’s technology even MORE.
Now let’s see how much revenue ECD COULD have had, as EVs became hot items, people buying an EV and a rooftop solar system to power it:
100,000: $30,000,000 per year
1,000,000: $300,000,000 per year
10,000,000 worldwide: $3 billion in royalties alone per year.
Instead, ECD settled for PART of the $30 million, thirty piece of silver, Chevron won from Toyota by crushing production.
And the world was doomed to another generation, at least, of oil-fired cars, deepwater drilling, lung trouble, oil wars, and Big Oil control of the U.S. government.
It’s not the battery that’s the problem: it’s not the motor. The problem is that government and industry are sucking up to Big Oil, and afraid to produce the cars that will allow you to do most driving on power you make on your own rooftop.