Electric trucks.

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Northern_Brewer

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I would disagree. If governments can legislate for car designs to be made to include headlights, taillights, turn signals, seat belts, speedometers, safety glass, airbags, catalytic converters, less polluting engines, and reduce injury when they hit a pedestrian, then they can legislate that batteries should be of a certain size, weight and easily removed for swapping out.
I agree it's unlikely - as I said above, imposing yet more design constraints such as modular batteries will add weight and reduce efficiency of cars, and it's debatable whether "society" gains from imposing that constraint. If there's a real economic benefit, then the market will hopefully figure it out without being pushed.

Going back on topic to trucks, a German journalist has tested a Volvo FH Electric and reckons it has a range of 345km at a gross combination weight of 40 tonnes, on a test route designed to simulate typical use. Due to enter production later this year with a 540 kWh battery and 490 kW output power for an energy consumption of 1.1kWh per km, half the energy consumption of an equivalent diesel. Volvo Trucks are aiming to have half their sales in electrics by 2030.

 

trummy

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There are modular battery designs for scooters. I read that Honda and a couple of other motorcycle manufactures are exploring the feasibility of using a common exchangeable battery, so collaboration is possible even without government intervention.

Re mobile phone batteries - wish they had to have a modular battery, it would have saved me having to get a new one (there are no identical battery available for my old one)
 

Awfers

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I agree it's unlikely - as I said above, imposing yet more design constraints such as modular batteries will add weight and reduce efficiency of cars, and it's debatable whether "society" gains from imposing that constraint. If there's a real economic benefit, then the market will hopefully figure it out without being pushed.
How would doing that add weight and reduce efficiency of cars?
 

gyurmaember

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I have to admit, I didn't read the whole thread, but most of the trucks working in distribution are double, triple shifted, there's no such a downtime which would allow to recharge.
 

Awfers

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I have to admit, I didn't read the whole thread, but most of the trucks working in distribution are double, triple shifted, there's no such a downtime which would allow to recharge.
Not to mention any that are going "long haul". I know for a fact that many Polish drivers will be two per truck, one sleeping while the other drives, so they never have to make a long stop / overrun their allowed hours. Having to stop for many hours to recharge would mean delays in delivery, which would cost the shipping company a lot of money. Not to mention if this is a Reefer (refrigerated / frozen lorry). Normally those are separate motors running on diesel for the compressor/refrigeration. If we want to go full-electric, that will have to change. Hence why having rest stops / petrol stations with a large battery charging / swapping infrastructure would make a lot of sense.

That, or go over to a tether / net above the autoroute (like with dodgems). I remember seeing a report on German television that they are testing this idea of recharging the trucks as they drive on the Autobahn (tethered to wires above much like a train or tram does). When they exit the Autobahn for a delivery they then switch to internal battery power.
 

Eskimo John

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A couple of points to consider:
The design of modern vehicles has evolved around the internal combustion engine, its drive train and fuel system. This criticality involves its weight distribution. The evolution of electric vehicles will be different and so where that goes will have a different set of parameters. If you look at early electric vehicles, and I mean vehicles built in the 1930s, their design was quite different to their petrol cousin's and if they had dominated then modern cars would be very different.
The second point is that the development of future electric cars will depend on decisions made by corporate giants. Their actions can have unseen consequences. When greedy companies try to corner a market through copyrighting their designs, although superior, can wither on the vine as competing companies are forced to use an alternative design that sends development along another path.
So who knows where it will end up.
For me hydrogen is a non starter as is volatile and has to be pressurised. The pressure angle is a nightmare in its own right. You can't take an LPG vehicle through the channel tunnel for this reason.
Replacable batteries? Great idea but it has its problems. They have to be designed into the vehicle so that they can be easily accessible for changing. They have to have a standard interface, preferably across manufacturers. They have to have a standard "cartridge" size, again across manufacturers. They will have to be rechargeable both in and out of the vehicle to cover the possibility of a replacement not being available.
I could go on.
One thing is for sure, driving as we know it is on the cusp of a dramatic change. Its going to be an interesting ride. (Pun intended). 🙂
 

Awfers

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Replacable batteries? Great idea but it has its problems. They have to be designed into the vehicle so that they can be easily accessible for changing. They have to have a standard interface, preferably across manufacturers. They have to have a standard "cartridge" size, again across manufacturers. They will have to be rechargeable both in and out of the vehicle to cover the possibility of a replacement not being available.
Sort of how they sorted the problems of diesel, petrol, LPG and Hydrogen being available at petrol stations. If the will is there, it will happen.

Indeed, some (likely German or French) company will have to come up with a workable solution.


One thing is for sure, driving as we know it is on the cusp of a dramatic change.
It doesn't have to be it if is done intelligently. One of the largest problems I see here locally that goes against wholesale adoption of electric cars is range anxiety and lack of charging facilities. Get rid of that (with swap-able batteries) and then (almost) no one has a reason not to switch from ICE to Electric.
 

trummy

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I often have a smile about a friends 3 wheeler bond car now long gone. It was powered by a Villiers 2 stroke engine mounted on top of the front drive wheel. It could turn in its own circle but had no reverse. Totally unreliable, had 4 seats and was as light as a feather.
An electric motor instead of the engine, batteries running each side of the inner wing (loads of space inside the bonnet) and I reckon you could have a useful runabout with a decent range.
The Citron Ami is about to hit our shores, will small low tech cars once again become common ? If it had a bit more range and another 10 -20 mph top speed it would do us fine, apparently China make several such vehicles so it may not belong before we see them on our roads I wonder.

Sorry off topic
 

Northern_Brewer

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How would doing that add weight and reduce efficiency of cars?
It's effectively the reverse of what happened with phones going from "standard", removable batteries to custom, built-in batteries, which allowed them to become slimmer and smaller because the battery was exactly shaped to the phone and - because it was not intended to be removed - it could be buried inside the phone with thinner, less robust connectors. Whereas cars are taking that one step further - Tesla are just moving to "structural" batteries that which they claim allow them to use 370 fewer parts, reducing the weight of the car by 10%, and increasing range by 14%.

So modular batteries come with a cost, in weight and range - and it will be up to the consumer whether they are prepared to pay that cost. As I suggested above, it could work for trucks, but I suspect probably not for most cars.

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Northern_Brewer

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As another indicator of where things are going for heavy vehicles, the city of Montpellier in France had bought into the vision of hydrogen buses, and had planned to buy 51 hydrogen buses along with a 800 kg/day electrolysis hydrogen production station, a 2.8 MWp photovoltaic power plant, hydrogen storage and distribution stations. But they've now looked more closely at the operating costs, and claim that hydrogen will be 6x the cost of electric buses.

 

Awfers

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It's effectively the reverse of what happened with phones going from "standard", removable batteries to custom, built-in batteries, which allowed them to become slimmer and smaller because the battery was exactly shaped to the phone and - because it was not intended to be removed - it could be buried inside the phone with thinner, less robust connectors. Whereas cars are taking that one step further - Tesla are just moving to "structural" batteries that which they claim allow them to use 370 fewer parts, reducing the weight of the car by 10%, and increasing range by 14%.

So modular batteries come with a cost, in weight and range - and it will be up to the consumer whether they are prepared to pay that cost. As I suggested above, it could work for trucks, but I suspect probably not for most cars.
Structural batteries have several extreme downsides.

One is that you cannot change it yourself, meaning you are at the mercy of the manufacturer to offer you the service to replace it.

Two, they can charge you an astronomical fee to do so. As previously mentioned, try pricing the swapping of batteries on a current Tesla (+/- USD 16'000.. ouch!)

Three, it shortens the life of the product (good for Tesla, not so good for the consumer). Look at how Apple fought in court to not have to offer a battery swapping service for the iPhone. When they were forced to, they made the service so bloody expensive that you would likely simply buy a new iPhone. Now they are even putting sensors in the phone to detect if you had the screen or battery replaced with a non-Apple item, and are refusing to supply parts outside of their own Apple Service Centres.

So would strucutral batteries be good for:

Tesla's revenue stream? Yes.
Good for the customer? No.
Even remotely good for the environment? No.

So, no, structural batteries are not a good solution.

Whereas swap-able batteries mean more freedom, a longer product lifecycle and a better ROI for the User / Owner in the short, medium and long term (rather than for the manufacturer).
 

Eskimo John

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It the end it will come down to customers voting with their wallets.
The idea of spending hours recharging batteries with a commercial vehicle idle whilst that happens or a 5 min battery change and maximising the vehicle being back on the road earning income seems like a no brainer to me.
 

Nicks90

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Structural batteries have several extreme downsides.

One is that you cannot change it yourself, meaning you are at the mercy of the manufacturer to offer you the service to replace it.

Two, they can charge you an astronomical fee to do so. As previously mentioned, try pricing the swapping of batteries on a current Tesla (+/- USD 16'000.. ouch!)

Three, it shortens the life of the product (good for Tesla, not so good for the consumer). Look at how Apple fought in court to not have to offer a battery swapping service for the iPhone. When they were forced to, they made the service so bloody expensive that you would likely simply buy a new iPhone. Now they are even putting sensors in the phone to detect if you had the screen or battery replaced with a non-Apple item, and are refusing to supply parts outside of their own Apple Service Centres.

So would strucutral batteries be good for:

Tesla's revenue stream? Yes.
Good for the customer? No.
Even remotely good for the environment? No.

So, no, structural batteries are not a good solution.

Whereas swap-able batteries mean more freedom, a longer product lifecycle and a better ROI for the User / Owner in the short, medium and long term (rather than for the manufacturer).
You are missing one important factor in your argument. Manufacturers don't care about their vehicles once its outside the lease hire / company car lease / warranty period. As its ceases to earn them revenue. What does interest them is marketing to generate more sales, simplicity in manufacturing leading to higher margins and cross model platform sharing to again increase manufacturing efficiency and profits.
Having a structural battery does that in spades.

Just look at VAG, or ford/volvo or jaguar/Landrover. Basic vehicles are the same, just stretched or shortened and a different frock stuck over the top to suit the demographic being targeted.
 

Awfers

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You are missing one important factor in your argument. Manufacturers don't care about their vehicles once its outside the lease hire / company car lease / warranty period. As its ceases to earn them revenue. What does interest them is marketing to generate more sales, simplicity in manufacturing leading to higher margins and cross model platform sharing to again increase manufacturing efficiency and profits.
Having a structural battery does that in spades.

Just look at VAG, or ford/volvo or jaguar/Landrover. Basic vehicles are the same, just stretched or shortened and a different frock stuck over the top to suit the demographic being targeted.
I am wondering where you get the idea that once a car is sold and out of lease/warranty it ceases to earn the manufacturer any revenue. In fact it is quite the opposite. Car manufacturers make a large portion of their revenue out of the sale of spare parts and repairs, not out of the sale of the vehicle itself. This is why OEM parts are so expensive compared to aftermarket (even if the aftermarket part is made by the same manufacturer to the same tolerances).

Platform sharing is indeed a money saving manufacturing process used by automobile manufacturers to lower costs. Indeed, the underpinnings and modular chassis / sub-frames allow a single subframe to be manufacturered, which can then be attached to many different sized automotive platforms (up until a point).

However, your claiming structural batteries will aid in this does not hold water. Swapable can just as easily be placed into a frame or sub-frame as structural can.
 

Nicks90

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However, your claiming structural batteries will aid in this does not hold water. Swapable can just as easily be placed into a frame or sub-frame as structural can.
Sorry but you are wrong.
Suppose we do go down a modular common battery for passenger cars, where do you put it?
It has to be a) easily accessible b) can attach a crane, lifting or locking slide mechanism to it for swapping out c) be the same size across all vehicles.
So where do you put it?
In front? So you are forcing every manufacturer to ditch front wheel drive electric motors and more powerful motors that require cooling systems and instead place a x00kg battery pack in a removable non structural subframe - attached to the existing front subframe hding the suspension and body together. That means small city cars or mpvs with no real 'front' aren't feasible, or those wanting handling dynamics by placing the weight low and central can't be done. You are also dictating front body size and suspension geometry by placing a removable subframe up front.
Place it under the the car between the wheels? Practicalities of having to lift the car to remove the battery. Not feasible in reality. Also a battery pack in a subframe attached to a chassis won't be 'slim'. So you are dictating floor pan height and seating arrangement and minimum wheel base and car width to accommodate the underfloor subframe. Or do you have it slide out from the side, meaning the floor will have to be suv in height at a minimum to fit it all in. I Hate suvs. HATE. would rather poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick than drive a cross over/b segment lifesyle vehicle. You're also ruining handling by making everyone drive top heavy wobble boxes.
Place it in the back? You lose load space, make estates a thing of the past and also slinging x00kg battery pack on a removable subframe makes your car a bit tail waggy! As for the front you are also dictacting not having rear wheel electric motors /4wd and dictating body shape.
You. Are also dictating maximum motor power and range by forcing manufacturers to have to conform to a replaceable battery.

It's a lovely idea and would definitely be possible on flat bed style vans - long flat wheel base with flat floor pan - and trucks (can go anywhere).... But cars? No chance

We can't even get all the countries of the world to agree the world is exploding and we should be green, never mind get them all to legislate for a common design and get on board every car manufacturer to adopt this strategy of common platform sharing for batteries

USB v iPhone charger? Ring a bell? And that's just sodding phones....
 
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