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We conclude 2011 with one of the most gruesome video edits we’ve ever done and a show that is two hours and 45 minutes in length. I suppose the question must come up, WHY.

Some of our viewers want more detail. And the A123 cell thing turns out to be a pretty big deal.

I should hate these cells and I very much want to detest them quite thoroughly. The company they come from, their actions, their attitude, their web site, their history, their dependence on gubbmint munny, almost everything about these people is anathema to me. That they are currently failing actually DOES give me satisfaction if not a bit of New Year’s joy.

And so there is nothing I would like better than to finally receive some of their cells and slaughter them publicly for your entertainment and my personal satisfaction.

And truly it does puzzle me why they would make a 19 Ah cell and title it a 21 Ah cell. What would be DIFFERENT in putting a few more foils in it and making it a 21 Ah cells and calling it a 20 Ah cell????

In truth you cannot purchase these cells form the company anyway, and by the time they wake up to what’s happening and sell them to you directly, they will of course then ask something stupid like $50 per cell for cells you can get from China for $20.

Ultimately, I don’t know of course what the price of these cells is. They are made in an Asian factory. A123 doesn’t need as many as they thought they did. And they are available. How much do they cost the factory to produce? Probably 60 cents per AH. For everyone to get their little piece, we are probably there at $1 or $0.90, But the factory is not going to just shut down as long as sales can be made.

And indeed A123 has actually licensed OTHER Asian companies to use the cells out of the same factories or to produce their own – mostly Japanese.

So my best guess is they ARE going to be available, and the price will slowly fall.

We have been doing some testing. This week we formalized that a bit. How much power WILL these cells put out and how much CAPACITY do they actually have.

It appears that most DO have a capacity somewhere between 18.5 and 19 Ah. And we actually have CONFIRMED output at 23C. That is, I have watched two separate and independent meters indicate currents of 475 amps twice from a single series of 3 cells starting at 10.00v. Their claim of 360 Amps or 18C is a LOCK.

And so a block of six cells, analogous to a 100Ah prismatic, can really do 1800 amps no sweat and we have actually seen a 2300 amp level with two meters twice.

What THAT means is I could actually drive the EleScalade with TWO 1000 Amp EVnetics Soliton controllers and two 11 inch Netgain motors at 2000 amps with a single string of 100Ah modules of these cells. That would be 57 x 6 or 342 cells. It would cost $9576 delivered. And it would be 19200 wH in size.
Compare this to our current 76kWh pack at about $25,000.

Now we would probably have a range of about 20 to 25 miles with the A123 pack and I think we’ll be close to 100 miles with the pack we have. But we’re over 1700 lbs in battery and box at the moment. The A123 pack would weigh more like 450 lbs all assembled in a box.

I have to admit that life won’t’ change much for us. Other than some demonstration projects, we would almost always go for the larger prismatic cells. That tough plastic case is just bullet proof. And I like my cars to go 100 miles. I see no sense in all the OTHER expenditures it makes to have a Cadillac Elescalade and then scrimp on battery costs – cropping the range.

But I think a lot of people noodling an EV, will find this attractive. Here’s why.

Let’s say it takes $17,000 to do the average conversion including batteries at $8500. If I can cut that to $4500 in batteries, that gets me down to $13,500. The car works. It runs. And I can always add ANOTHER $4500 in these cells later for more range.

I think they will get people into the game that just were not going to go there at the higher price.

I could pick up a Speedster for $20K on eBay, sell the engine for $2500, do the conversion for $13,500 and have a nice little sports car with 40 mile range for $30.5K smooth. That works for most people.

The other obvious application is racing. Low weight, high power, and don’t worry about the range we’re only going 1/4 mile. No brainer.

We did somethings with multiple cameras and closeup cameras that Final Cut X really doesn’t want to do. So I wound up in editing hell. But in this episode, we actually show detailed step by step on how to build a little clamp terminal for these push cells, and then tested the cells.

See what you think.

We’re hoping to find SOME economic reason to HAVE EVTV in 2012. Waiting eternally for the EV industry to grow up sufficiently to need an advertising medium insn’t in my playbook at age 56. But I’m hopeful it will all come together this year.

Jack Rickard