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Old 04-07-2011, 10:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Chamber's Leaf/Focus article part 2

Continuing our look at Nick Chamber’s take on the Volt vs. Ford FE.

Third to be examined was Battery Technology. Here Nick concluded “This is an incredibly difficult call, but without considering price, Ford's active liquid cooling/heating looks like the best option.”

Um yeah. I don’t know who Nissan thinks they are fooling here. Putting in a fan and calling it done for thermal regulation is a rather surprising move for a manufacturer of Nissan’s caliber. Obviously that move saves money, but the performance and longevity of Nissan’s battery will take a hit. Cooling stuff with just a fan is not very effective, just ask anyone who has ever owned a vintage VW Beetle. Running a lithium battery hot will shorten its life.

Yet again it appears in an effort to get the thing out the door some corners were cut. Nissan has announced that for cars sold in Canada a winter package will be available, which would include liquid thermal regulation. So there we have it, tacit admission that the battery needs help in the cold.

It will be interesting to see if the Nissan/NEC collaboration can outperform LG Chem that is supplying GM, Ford et al.

Storage Space. Here Nick concludes the Leaf is the winner. No doubt. One advantage of designing the car to be electric from the ground up. This extra space is also attributable to the design of the rear of the Leaf. Exact dimensions for the cargo space of the Focus are not available. Frequently, pictures of the Focus cargo area are shown with the rear seats folded down.

Wait Times. When the article was written, Nick tipped the advantage to Nissan. The Tsunami may have evened things out on that measure. All of the Ford’s major components appear to be from North American sources.

Tomorrow… Displays and Price.



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Old 04-07-2011, 05:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Focus on the Leaf the comparison continues

The Tesla roadster spends a bunch of energy (from the battery itself, if necessary) on heating and cooling their battery pack because they are using a lithium battery chemistry that is sensitive to heat and cold. Do you happen to know if the Leaf Lithium battery technology is sensitive to heat and cold? Do you happen to know if the Ford Focus battery tech. is sensitive to heat/cold? I don't know, but I suspect it is.
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Old 04-08-2011, 12:29 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Focus on the Leaf the comparison continues

It is a good question. I have not seen anything with exact composition of the GM, Nissan or Ford batteries published. I would think the exact composition would be proprietary. Although GM is using cathode technology from the Argonne National Lab so that info might be out there.

Even if we knew the composition the question is, which is more or less sensitive to heat/cold? I suspect the Nissan and the Ford batteries will be comparable in that regard. That being the case, having a liquid thermal regulation would be important.

You know the manufacturers have tested the mess out of the batteries in labs, built for the purpose, and have tried to replicate long term use, but of course nothing replicates long term use like the real thing.



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Old 04-10-2011, 06:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Focus on the Leaf the comparison continues

Example of battery testing. Cool stuff.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W31Hkh2jv00
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Old 04-10-2011, 10:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Focus on the Leaf the comparison continues

@scottf200

Ah Ha, he does journey outside the realm of the gm-volt! I was wondering if we might be able lure you to the dark side.

But basically I think the Ford and GM battery cells should be about the same, both coming from LG Chem as they do?



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