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The insight does not have cell level diagnostics or monitoring.

It uses ten voltage taps (measuring points) to measure differential voltages between groups of 12 cells in series.

So it can tell when a cell is empty but not which one exactly.
Ditto when full sort of..

If fitted with OEM ptc temperature sensing strips it can tell if a cell is seriously overheated but again not which one.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
I got pricing for LFP (1.4 kWh) and LTO (1 kWh) power packs, but before I order them to try, I'd like to make sure that the new power packs can be a drop-in replacement for the NMH pack, and that the original controller electronics can still be used. The BMS on the new power packs will prevent over-charging and discharging.
 

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OK, gives us a clue as to the pricing?

Drop in replacement? A few questions.

1) How will it fit/mount it securely in the car? Is that to be worked out later?
2) How will if connect to the IMA/car? HV points on the switch board?
3) How will your BMS prevent the car overcharging or over discharging the pack?
Does it have logic level high/low outputs?
4) How will you thermally manage the pack?

You can use basic Lithium with the oem electronics with a couple of mods.

1) BCM Fooler resistor matrix or 10x tap voltage connections spread at equal points in the Lithium pack.
2) BCM Interceptor serial data modifier to control the OEM soc, and if it can interface with your BMS (5v ttl high/low) then it can prevent overcharge or overdischarge..

We need a bit more substance and detail to help...
 

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Discussion Starter #24
The BMS is preset for a particular pack voltage (max and min), it will only charge the pack up to that voltage and not discharge below a certain voltage. Since each Li-ion chemistry and its sub-groups can have different charge/discharge current tolerance, the BMS will also make sure of those limits are not exceeded.

Naturally, I'd have to pull the old pack out to see how it is fastened to the frame to put in the appropriate connection points for the new pack. I can get the Li-ion pack case to be built according to available space, and determine the type of cooling for the pack. Cooling will be mainly for parking or driving under the Summer sun. These two chemistries will not heat up much from excessive charging or discharging.

One company gave a price higher than I expected, so I'll be contacting a couple of other companies we work with that build packs for our projects. For the LFP (LiFePO4) pack: 1.4kWh, 144V, roughly US$2,750, FOB China. It's initial dimensions of the metal case are 17.3" x 12.6" x 9.5", but that can change to accommodate the available space. The BMS is included inside. It's likely packed pretty tight inside, so it will have to open up more to allow air-cooling passages or active cooling pads. It'll weigh close to 85 lbs.

I've designed an all-season TC (thermal comfy) pad for Li-ion power packs that can operate from -50C to + 60C. Since I'm in the PNW, we don't have those extreme temperature issues.

The LTO pack is 1kWh, 192V, 55 lbs, 15.8" x 11.5" x 5.9" (initial rough sizing). Roughly, US$3,500, FOB China. Earlier when someone suggested 192V, I used that number, but I'm waiting for a 144V pack price. LTO is good to a minimum of 10,000 full-cycles at 10C, C/D rate. This price is also higher than I had expected, so, I've reached out to another company that we work with, but their cells are the large cylindricals; roughly 2" OD x 16"L.

When I said "drop-in" I was hoping the controlling electronics were not part of the NMH pack; so, that I can just install the Li-ion pack, and connect the power lines. I just haven't had time to read the hundreds of pages of postings to get educated on this. Once I have some preliminary ideas on how the Li-ion power pack needs to be built, then I can determine if this is going to be economically feasible for everyone to tolerate.

Thanks for everyone's patience and advice. Keep your thoughts and ideas coming. Once this power pack issue is resolved, I have some questions on how to stop water from coming into the vehicle and soaking my shoulder belt and rear deck.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
FOB = Freight On Board or shipping cost from China to here is extra. I'm guessing at least 50 power packs can fit in a crated pallet; which means the cost of shipping for each power pack could be as low as $25-35 each (incl. clearance costs, tariff, etc.) by ocean freight. Then the cost of port to warehouse might add another hefty amount, since in the U.S., UPS charges a premium for trucking Li-ion batteries.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Shipping just a few power packs can go the consolidated freight method. That's when the freight company combines your package with other smaller packages to fit into a pallet-size crate or into a small container (20'). The cost will be higher per lb, but much less than going by air. I'm guessing it might only cost around $50 per power pack by going ocean freight. I'm waiting on prices on that right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
So, if you fellas can take care of the electronics, such that I only need to supply a Li-ion power pack, then we can help the Gen-1 lovers to keep their EVs running for a long time.

I'm also looking into electric motors that have much higher specific-power (kW/kg) than what's in the Gen-1.

Finally, I'm also working on a supercharger for the 3-cyl engine. With a 1-1.4 kWh Li-ion power pack, there will be plenty of power for a supercharger driven by a BLDC (brushless DC) motor. Also looking into AC induction motors for this for faster acceleration and greater regen power back to the Li-ion power pack.

Most EVs today can only save up to about 20-25% of the regen energy. With this new power pack, I'm hoping it will store at least 50-75% of the regen energy. The electronic controller guys may have to make some mods to do this.
 

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Thoughts...

If you want to make this a commercial reality I think the best thing you can do is ...

1) Take your nimh pack out, split it from the switchboard on the end, and do some work on sizing, fitting, mounting and understanding the electrical connections and issues etc..
Get one from a breakers yard if you need your car.. Someone on here might donate or lend you one.

Note. You will have to retain the switchboard for use with your new pack..

Your new battery will have to be electrically configured so that it is split into two halves of roughly equal voltage, and can connect to the four oem HV connection points on the switch board.

Perhaps if you sent your suppliers/pack builders a nimh pack and switchboard then they would see what is required....

2) Buy yourself a prototype pack configured as above and then we can help you integrate it into the rest of the car systems using the BCM fooler and BCM Interceptor..

3) If you want to fully utilise the extra power/performance from your pack you might also want to investigate..

a) The Ima Boost device
b) IMAC&C P&P Manual IMA Control
c) Current Hacks.

The cost of shipping is going to be a lot to places like the UK/EU. We would also have to pay import duty and VAT on top, so that would likely add $1000 to a $3000 starting price.

Then we have the cost of the electronics on top and the time/labour to install it all.
I think the final install cost would easily be nearer $5000 here in UK for your $3000 pack...

What sort of warranty would you offer on these packs, backup, tech support, return shipping etc?
It's not really practicable to ship packs back to the US or China from the EU if they fail.
 

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Naturally, I'd have to pull the old pack out to see how it is fastened to the frame to put in the appropriate connection points for the new pack. I can get the Li-ion pack case to be built according to available space, and determine the type of cooling for the pack.
You are welcome to reinvent the wheel if you you like .. however .. you do not 'need' to pull the old pack of any of those dimensional details nor fastening to the car.

You can just use the work on such that Highwater has already done .. example attached.

You will still need to understand (to be able to mimic) the electrical side (as Peter described above).
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Thanks very much for the drawings. I need to remove my power pack anyway, because I would like to bring the frame to China for them to build their case exactly matching all connections (electrical and mechanical). Having done many engineering projects with the Chinese, things always go smoother when you have an actual 3D part to work with.

Does anyone know what the actual peak power this electric motor can go up to? 10kW is the rated max, but most electric motors can go at least 50% higher in kW for a short time (excessive heat problem), unless you have aggressive active cooling.
 

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The IMA motor can stand 20kw+ for short periods... It's very lively... ;)
However I would say 15-18kw is a more reasonable maximum to aim for.

~<1 minute with appropriate rest intervals/duty cycle.

You probably should not operate it at >5kw continuously either as
it has no temperature sensing or active cooling.

The OEM electronics won't drive it above 10kw without mods.
Current and voltage hacking would both be required to achieve 15-20kw.

No one knows where the actual hard limit is for the motor, but overheating could cause rotor demagnetization or stator burnout.
However as they never go wrong in normal use, IMA motors are ten a penny in scrapyards.

Have a look at this post for some rolling road data etc..

https://www.insightcentral.net/forums/183184-post188.html
 

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Discussion Starter #33
OK, it's good to know there is a limiter to prevent the motor to exceed 10kW, because the LFP power pack might start to get uncomfortable at continuous 15kW discharge for a long time. LTO will have no problems. LFP will have no problems at 10kW continuous discharge using 10Ah cells.

Got more shipping info on LFP and LTO power packs. One pallet is around 500 kg, and will cost around US$700 to ship from China to Seattle, WA, USA. Each 1.4kWh LFP pack is around 40 kg, so 12 packs will mean around US$58/pack ocean shipping. I'm going to guess to be around US$100/pack to the UK. I don't know the import duty or VAT yet. Warranty is from the mfr, and I'll get those details soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
I posted twice, but did not show up. Briefly, the latest trip to China convinced me to use the A123 26650 cells (1kWh pack) that can peak at 210A for about 5-seconds. I doubt I'll need that much current, ever. That's 30kW at 144V. Should be able to do this for less than US$1.5K, but I'll need help with modifying the factory BMS.
 

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My thoughts..

Some of this has been covered before, but to recap...
To make a lithium pack safe, commercially viable, fit physically and operate as easily as possible it should IMHO.

1) Fit in the oem pack space and use the same mounting points as the oem battery case.
(It can be bigger within the constraints of the ipu case as long as it does not impinge on the oem mount points, switch board position etc.)

2) It should use the oem switch board and four main pack electrical connections in the same position as the oem pack.
The switch board should mount on the end/side of the pack using the same bolts etc as the oem system.

3) It should have space on top of it for the MCM and BCM if possible to mount in their normal positions using the oem or similar aluminium mounting frame.
(This also secures the IMA cover and earths the BCM and MCM cases)

4) Forced air cooling should as far as possible use the same ducting and 12v fan setup as stock.
A higher cfm fan can be fitted if needed.

5) Provision should be made to reuse the 4 x OEM NTC 10k temperature sensors (and BCM connector) or the OEM Temperature BCM connector
connections should be provided for 4 x 10k NTC sensors installed in the pack (when built by your people) to plug directly into the OEM BCM or BCM Replacer.

6) Provision for a BCM 10 x voltage tap (5 cells per tap) connector should be provided as per the OEM so it can plug directly into the OEM BCM or BCM Replacer

(The two OEM BCM female connectors required are available commercially for items 5 & 6 above...)

Electrical changes and new pcb's etc can be made/fitted internally to the MCM and BCM to accommodate the lithium tech and make it electrically compatible with the car.
This means it would be P&P and an easy swap for battery suppliers and diyers to do.

I assume you will/have given a complete oem pack (including switch board, mcm, bcm, mounting bracket, fan duct etc etc) to your chosen pack supplier
so they can examine it/measure it, and duplicate the mount points, electrical connections etc..
We can cover exactly what is needed to make the lithium work later.

The pack design/build/spec needs to be right first.

I strongly recommend you use a 50S A123 26650 (3.3v nominal) pack or the low system voltage as the pack discharges will limit performance.
50s gives a higher voltage profile (lower current) and much better IMA performance.


50s also divides down between the 10x BCM voltage taps if you decided to use direct tap connection to the cells or my BCM replacer.
I can't support it if it doesn't match the basic BCM requirements..

There are various versions of the A123 26650 cells, exactly which one do you propose to use?
You should parallel as many as you can or the Insight 50A charge current will kill them if they do not share the current equally.

Don't try for a minimum spec (number of cells) or the system will perform poorly, individual cells will be more stressed and likely fail earlier.
Spread the parallel cell load between as many as you can fit in.
People won't or shouldn't realistically expect a new Lithium pack for $1500. I would have said 2.5-3.5k was much more sensible..
The electronic mods to the BCM/MCM to make it work will easily add another $500+ to the price anyway.
 

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I'll throw my 2 bit suggestions in as well.

A123 and many others in the Li family can do considerably higher discharge rates than they can charge rates .. As such the charging rate often becomes the bottle neck.

Also, the available charge rate goes down as the SoC/SoE goes up.

I would suggest .. When planning battery choice (type and chemistry) .. I would start with the lower/lowest point for the battery being considered .. include a 10% to 25% buffer .. and compare that to the harder/worst usage case .. also including a 10% to 25% buffer.

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For Insight purposes:
I'd say the high/worst usage case is about either:

Option#1> For the ~15kw [for those with the more power mods]
Then +25% for buffer = ~19kw for the possible use battery side.

Option#2> For the ~10kw (OEM-ish users)
Then +25% for buffer = ~13kw for the possible use battery side.

Unlike full BEVs .. The Insight HEV IMA system can push on the Regen (charging) side nearly as hard as it does on the Assist (Discharging) side .. ie. just a high discharge rate is not good enough, it has to be able to take the high charge rate side as well.

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As Peter wrote there are differences even in A123 26650 cells .. I am not certain which specific one Olympia-WA intends to use .. But .. looking at the attached version as one possible such example .. shows both the charge / discharge rate differences, and highlights the need for paralleling such as Peter mentioned.

Sure (the attached version) can do up around ~120A discharge bursts for up to about ~10seconds .. but only about ~10A on the charging side .. thus the significant difference between the two usage rates.

A ~25% buffer on the 120A (10second) discharge pulse is still about ~90Amps .. but a ~25% buffer on the 10A charging side brings that down to about ~7.5Amps.

If using the 50s for over all voltage Peter suggested .. that would be a roughly around ~163v (nominal) battery pack .. at around the ~13kw point that's a need for about ~80Amps .. at around that ~19kw point that's a need for about ~115Amps.

If using that type (attached) of 26650 A123 cell .. Although even as little as 1 in parallel could handle those 5-10 second bursts on the ~13kw side , and only 2 in parallel could do even the ~19kw side .. but the same type of cell would need around ~11p for the charging side ~80 Amps (the ~13kw) .. and about ~15p on the charging side for the ~19kw.

11p @ about ~2.2Ah each = ~24.2Ah pack .. 50s ~163v (nominal) .. = 550 cells and about ~3.9kwh total pack .. ~72g each cell x 550 cells = about ~40kg of cells + connections and case .. for the ~13kw (OEM-ish).

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Olympia-WA did write both ~1kwh total and 210A rates .. so that strongly suggests he is using a different A123-26650 cell than the spec sheet I attached .. but the core I was trying to get at is the difference on a given cell between the charge and discharge rates , and including a 10-25% buffer .. just because a cell can do ~210A on discharge , does not mean the same cell can take ~210A on charging.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
- I was thinking about mounting the Li-ion pack inside the OEM frame, but will confirm that after I get that done in China (depends on how many Ps you want).
- The A123 26650 cell calls itself the "Nanophosphate High Power Lithium-ion" and claims nom. 2.5Ah, 2.6kW/kg, 3.3V nom, max. cont. discharge at 50A, max. pulse discharge for 10-sec at 120A.
- US$2,500 sounds good for 50S3P, but how much more for the add'l electronics to mate up this LFP pack with the OEM side with min. headaches for the car owner with bare minimum skill sets (like me)?
- What is max regen charging seen in Gen-1? This A123 cell will not likely do 120A on a regular basis for too long (dendrite build up). Dedrites will build up faster at 120A than at 50A discharge/charge, as you may already know.
- If using 50S3P, you'd have 165V and 1.23kWh nom., capable of 150A cont. and 360A pulse.
- Cycle-life might be around 2,000+ if the car is not driven too hard on city streets and highways (not used at the track everyday). This is full-cycle (10%-99%-10% SOC), not small partial cycles such as accelerating from a stop, and regen to a stop. I might be able to get the urban/city cycle testing done for free or at a low cost once I start placing large orders.
- While I'm familiar with BMSs for Li-ion chemistries, but I do not know anything about the Gen-1 electronics. I can get it figured out working with the Chinese engineers, but will take some time. So, your patient advices will be much appreciated. I know, I have a lot of material to read (I've downloaded those available online from you guys). The 12-13 hours flights to China from Seattle are good to catch up on reading.
- Thanks for your patience.
 

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Olympia-WA, are you even reading what Peter and Ian are writing? Do you have ANY experience with Lithium? Do you not understand that even high-drain Lithium typically charges as a small fraction of its discharge rate?

Peter has already told you max regen - 50A

Per Ian, for some safety margin, you need to size for CHARGING AT 80A.

3P will permit 30A fast charging per the specs Ian linked.
 

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Please read carefully what we have already written.
It takes more than a few minutes to answer questions and give advice.
We don't want you to waste your time producing a dangerous pack that isn't suitable and can't be made to work in the car..

I would say if you don't use current hacking so max regen is limited to ~50A, then a 50S6P pack might just do it if all parallel cells share the current perfectly. 8P would be better.

If you insist on less parallel cells (i.e 3P) then regen current will have to be severely restricted perhaps by as much as 50%.. (25A max) That's not actually that easy to do with the stock electronics. Another gadget required..
 
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