Honda Insight Forum banner

Will a consumer friendly lithium option EVER be available?

  • Definitely

    Votes: 12 21.4%
  • Probably

    Votes: 10 17.9%
  • Maybe

    Votes: 20 35.7%
  • Never

    Votes: 14 25.0%

  • Total voters
    56
21 - 40 of 72 Posts

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
8,145 Posts
I vote yes.
Thanks, we needed a little encouragement for the Lithium camp. Even though the current state-of-art isn't drop in, the LTO option is very promising and not really very complicated. The heavy lifting electrically was done by insightbuyer and Peter. What remains is a bit of mechanical fabrication which gets increasingly refined each week or month.:)

The cost of a really fine functioning prototype capability built around the LTO cell can be had for less than the cost of a 5 year warranty NiMH. In a sense, Lithium has arrived for those with just a bit of mechanical fabrication skills.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,885 Posts
Of course, the LTO packs currently being employed are used, have limited supply and will not have follow-up production. So that supply isn't optimum
LTO can be bought new any time .. My test cell for example was a new cell , not a used cell from a wrecked car .. I anticipate this will continue for the foreseeable future.

Of course there is a large advantage of exploiting OEM economies of scale when possible .. and as they say .. reduce / reuse / recycle .. so reusing a used one from a junk yard is often environmentally beneficial .. and financially beneficial helps too .. Whatever the details of the particular chemistry used.

The % of HEVs, PHEVs, BEVs .. in junk yards continues to grow .. whatever chemistry they happen to be .. that continues to grow .. and be a more and more readily available resource.

Some consumer markets are slow to update .. but .. Long term .. 20+ years or so .. I think the stationary systems will start to move to LTO-ish like batteries .. Leaving PbA has been very slow for that market .. but they are slowly moving over to Li .. it's lower self discharge .. and higher cycle efficiency are benefits that add up considerably over long operational time frames 10-20 years ... an LTO-ish like battery with lower wh/kg might not be as attractive to automotive OEMs for the kg part of that .. but stationary applications the kg part has far less impact , and the vastly increased cycle / service life become a much larger than weight factor .. Tesla will not give a 25+ year warranty on their current generation of power wall style battery systems , the battery cells they are using in them just degrade far faster than that .. sure they are expanding their energy storage business now .. but .. slowly over time .. eventually .. I anticipate it is only a question of time before those .. or at least something similarly performing .. will grow to dominate in that market segment .. Tesla will change to embrace it or be replaced in that market segment .. but don't worry about the 'results' .. whatever they happen to be .. just enjoy the journey along the way ;)

I think you will see quite a bit of progress in the next couple of years..
Way ahead of the historically glacier slow progress NiMH replacement pack option did.

I for one have greatly enjoyed seeing all the progress , tinkering , experimenting , etc .. by you and others .. I thank all such contributors.

I know I've let this community down in regards to releasing Linsight in a timely manner.
With all do respect .. I disagree.

I don't see you haven't let anybody down .. you contributed allot .. you made lots of progress .. We as a community are already better off for your contributions and such.

You have added positively and beneficially to the journey :D

Life happens .. loved ones , family , jobs , house stuff , etc .. take it from this turtle .. enjoy the journey .. it takes as long as it takes.

---

However, I'll concede that eventually ONLY enthusiasts will own these cars... :)
Sounds Chicken / Egg to me .. which is the cause and which is the effect:

Getting one causes owner to become enthusiast:
I know one guy I work with got an Insight because it was a cheap commuter .. for the ~$2,000 he spent the MPG could be beat with a stick .. then once he had one .. he started to become more 'enthusiast' .. started reading about and tinkering with small battery packs .. then when he eventually did get an error code , rebuilding his own .. then over time took what he learned to help rebuild 1-2 for some other people .. then he convinced 2 other people at work to buy one too.

Become enthusiast causes person to become owner:
I for one really liked the Insight even before I ever owned it .. Even with all the cars on the road today .. it is still in my own person top 3 vehicles of all time (at any price) ..then after getting it I've been me .. I turtle along .. I tinker .. and such .. it's been lots of fun.

----

Technically if I wanted to split hairs .. all 4 of the initial requirements in 1st post is and has been here for some time .. several years at least .. it just currently cost more than people want it to be .. or people want it to do more .. etc.

Peter has already made devices that allow for the car interface .. Fooler,Interceptor, IMA-C&C .. batteries are available .. BMSs are available .. chargers are available .. instrumentation is available .. there are shops that do conversions for people .. all the way up to full BEVs if you want to spend the $$$$ for that professional's time to do all the fabrication and install for you.

Honda paid Panasonic to build the NiMH IMA battery for them .. there are companies that will do that kind of thing for you as well with Li batteries .. you just have to pay them to do it.

Today anybody willing to write a big enough check .. can just have it done for them .. But as Eric has mentioned before about dealing with some of his HEV & BEV customers .. allot of people just don't want to pay for the amount of labor time it would take for some projects.

The continued work people are doing .. technically that continues to make it easier for the DIY .. and cheaper/easier for the installer / fabricator to do it for the non-DIYer .. it also adds more features / abilities / etc .. and continuing to lower the barrier to entry .. but technically .. if there is no $$$ limit put on it .. drop in .. has already been here for several years now.
 

·
Linsight Designer
Joined
·
1,877 Posts
50 weeks per year x 40 hours per week = ~2000 work hours per employee per year
For reference, I've spent ~600 hours in R&D working on the Linsight project.
That time includes:
-building a "bench car" that I could modify any signal going to/from the BCM+MCM, and;
-reverse engineering every single wire in the IMA bay, and;
-building a crude working prototype proof-of-concept, and;
-designing a pin-compatible PCB that replaces both the BCM and MCM using the existing wire harness, and;
-mocking up lithium battery solutions, and;
-designing a plug-and-forget hybrid charging solution, and;

...and then I ran out of time. But as Ian mentioned, that ~600 hour time is much less than an "official" R&D team would have spent getting to where I am now, and more importantly (to me), it shows that if I can carve out ~2 hours a day to Linsight, then maybe I can finish it without making it my #1 priority... so now I just need to conjure that 2 hours from the aether.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
11,586 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,885 Posts
I'd offer to help, but by the 2nd or 3rd line of technical stuff, you have me drooling and mouth breathing.
Although this is common .. learning this .. It's easier than learning things like the piano , or a 2nd language .. etc.

Don't worry about the 'goal post' .. or trying to be the next Newton in 1 week .. if someone wants to learn more about these sort of things .. then they need to spend their time learning about it .. at least 10 minutes every day , and I have no doubt they will make plenty of progress in less than 1 year.

Just like I've told other DIY people who wanted to do their own Li IMA .. don't scare yourself out of doing anything , by trying to do everything all at once .. take your time and invest your time .. just a little time (a few minutes) each day .. it doesn't matter how small a particular tiny turtle step might be .. just enjoy the journey along the way .. keep taking those tiny turtle steps .. and you can do it .. I've found most people will be surprised how far they come in just a few months when they stop psyching themselves out , and just keep taking one tiny turtle step each day.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
649 Posts
I think the fallacy of this thread is the assumption that the stock ima battery being replaced with another stock ima battery is as easy and consumer friendly as putting a AA in the remote control and thus not DIY
while a lithium battery replacement is much harder thus is DIY and not consumer friendly.

I think the target audience of either are not arm chair slobs with a hogie in one hand and a beer in the other watching Jerry Springer

Sort of like saying an engine replacement is consumer work versus the harder head gasket replacement which is diy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
437 Posts
Not completely related to this topic, but is in the DIY/learning things bit by bit.

3 years ago (or so) I was tasked with replacing the clutch master and slave cylinder on my car, something I'd consider simple and fairly trivial now, but not then. It took me over a day to do. I barely knew how to do more than change the oil on a car, in fact I didn't even understand how a clutch worked or really what I was even replacing. But what I did have was a determination to learn and maybe a bit of an ego in that I tend to think "well if they could do it, so can I (with a bit of research and hard work)."

Unfortunately I actually got interested in all this IMA stuff once it was too late (had made an irreversible decision to go ICE only). If I could, I would be trying to build a pack now. It's all over my head, but I bet with some determination and time learning I could do it.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I think a drop in solution like buying a bumblebee pack is likely never going to happen, but I think a general DIY solution with maybe a few standardized parts and a little instruction could go a long ways, but people (not developing, but looking to buy a solution) also need to be willing to put their nose to the grindstone a bit and do some learning of their own and be willing to have a solution that isn't quite as simple as 'unbolt this, bolt this in, plug this in, drive and forget it'.
 

·
Premium Member
2001 5S "Turbo"
Joined
·
10,576 Posts
Sooner or later, the batt. mfg's will offer a drop in replacement but not in my life span.
 

·
Premium Member
Southern California
Joined
·
791 Posts
I think the fallacy of this thread is the assumption that the stock ima battery being replaced with another stock ima battery is as easy and consumer friendly as putting a AA in the remote control and thus not DIY
while a lithium battery replacement is much harder thus is DIY and not consumer friendly.

I think the target audience of either are not arm chair slobs with a hogie in one hand and a beer in the other watching Jerry Springer

Sort of like saying an engine replacement is consumer work versus the harder head gasket replacement which is diy
I think the intent was that "consumer friendly" meant "doable by anybody that could replace the IMA battery". Which can be done by anybody that can turn a wrench and follow instructions!

A consumer-friendly lithium battery, in this context, assumes the consumer was going to be replacing the IMA battery themselves (or having somebody do it for them), and the procedure would be just the same as installing a NiMH pack.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,766 Posts
I think the intent was that "consumer friendly" meant "doable by anybody that could replace the IMA battery". Which can be done by anybody that can turn a wrench and follow instructions!

A consumer-friendly lithium battery, in this context, assumes the consumer was going to be replacing the IMA battery themselves (or having somebody do it for them), and the procedure would be just the same as installing a NiMH pack.
Exactly, a standardized drop in.

Scott
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,611 Posts
Would a super capacitor IMA replacement be any easier to make?

I'm thinking one with considerably less energy storage than an IMA, enough to handle the start/stop and some of the boost/regen, but not necessarily enough to help much getting up a hill. Seems like it would have less potential for going up in flames than lithium, and the existing controllers might be able to handle it if a little device fed fake "stick" data to them. Supercapacitors are rated for many more cycles than are any batteries, so while it might not have much oomph, it might last until the car rusts away.
"Considerably" is the key word here. To my understanding, one major difference between capacitors and batteries is that when you put capacitors in a series, you start dividing the amp hours, whereas with batteries you don't.

Let's say you wanted 144v out of 2.0-3.8v cells, be they caps or batteries. With 50x 2.9v batteries whose cells can hold 7Ah, you'd have 2.9v x 50 = 145v, then 145v x 7Ah = 1015 watt hours of energy. This is roughly what aftermarket Insight packs have.

Capacitors work differently.

If two or more capacitors are connected in series, the overall effect is that of a single (equivalent) capacitor having the sum total of the plate spacings of the individual capacitors. ... When capacitors are connected in parallel, the total capacitance is the sum of the individual capacitors' capacitances.
Or in other words, although a single 3000F capacitor can store in the ballpark of one amp hour of usable energy (which is roughly 3 watt hours in the 2.0-3.8v range), putting 50 of them in series does not result in a 145v 1 amp hour pack. Instead, you end up with a 145v 0.2 amp hour pack (29 watt hours), because the energy storage is divided by the number of capacitors in series.

Put another way, with 100 amps of assist, you'd deplete a pack made of 50x 3000F supercapacitors in series, in 0.7 seconds.

If you wanted to have 1/7 the capacity of the Insight's normal pack (1Ah vs 7Ah) you would need a 50S50P grid of 3000F capacitors - 2500 capacitors. Each of these really needs a balancing circuit. Each one costs around $75 from Mouser, or $20 + shipping from Alibaba. So, $50,000 in capacitors if they're Chinese sourced.

Each one is approximately the size of a tall boy. Here's a pack of 6 in series on my desk:




2,500 of these would take up a volume of approximately 45 cubic feet, if packed super tightly. For 35 seconds of full assist from full to empty.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,611 Posts
On a more related topic, how do LTO packs do in subzero weather?

I understand that most lithium-based EVs heat their batteries to keep them above freezing, even when parked. I would think this would also be required from an Insight's pack in a climate like Vermont's, lest you destroy the pack the first time you press the brakes on a cold day.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
8,145 Posts
I think the intent was that "consumer friendly" meant "doable by anybody that could replace the IMA battery". Which can be done by anybody that can turn a wrench and follow instructions!
If this is the standard, I think we are getting very close. But I think the "drop-in" term is a bit of a red herring. It will definitely discourage anyone who wants to convert regardless of the lack of difficulty.

This is probably as close as the community gets anytime soon. AND the LTO conversion is much more user friendly than any previous conversions because of the very user friendly packaging of the the three required packs and the performance tolerance of the chemistry.

These positive points are offered:
1. We have a years worth of positive experience with the LTO conversion, running without BCM.
2. The LTO packs are very user friendly in the way they are packaged. They come in groups of 24 cells, well packaged and well insulated from shorts.
3. The two required electronic "foolers" are already available and tested from Peter. No programming is required for the initial configuration. Anyone who could have installed Mike D. grid charger can install thes two devices. The BCM fooler requires only a sacrificial "tap" harness. The BCM interceptor can be bought preprogrammed, as I did, so no programming is required -NONE!
4. The pack seems to run right in the sweet spot in the G1. If the pack is initially charged to around 170V with a grid charger, It will regen and assist in a very normal fashion. The beauty of this "straight" conversion is that it assists seemingly forever.
6. Version 2 of the mounting plate is in design. The goals, likely achievable, are:
-MCM & BCM will be mounted on edge, largely above the plate(edge in rectangular opening),
-All electrical wiring and plugs above the mounting plate,
-BCM fooler and BCM interceptor above the mounting plate,
-Fitment of mounting plate without modification of the IPU case,
-The IPU compartment is largely unmolested. Backtracking is possible,
-A closed and well fastened IPU cover.

My fear is that those who want a conversion and are willing to expend a slight amount of effort are going to miss the opportunity. The supply of the LTO packs is finite and Insight users aren't the only competition. When they are gone, there won't be any others.

As someone else mentioned, the development process isn't finished with this interim capability. Further improvements are likely to evolve particularly in the electrical/electronic area. Even now, Peter is working on an improved BCM which will likely smooth the operation of the system and provide more monitoring capabilities.

Negatives:
1. The current capability runs without BCM. insightbuyer has shown that after 1 year of operation, the LTO cells have remained matched. By drilling small monitoring holes in the plastic pack covers, the balance of the pack can be checked manually in just a few minutes. Any rebalancing can easily be done manually.
2. Cooling is pretty much undeveloped at the moment. Folks in the deep southwest, if they want the capability, might secure the packs and wait for developments in this area,
3. It may be necessary to take precautionary measures on interior heat buildup during the summer, such as window film or shades.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
8,145 Posts
On a more related topic, how do LTO packs do in subzero weather?

I understand that most lithium-based EVs heat their batteries to keep them above freezing. I would think this would also be required from an Insight's pack in a climate like Vermont's, lest you destroy the pack the first time you press the brakes on a cold day.
The advertised operating range is -30C to +55C (-22F to +131F). They do fine in the cold in most places, LTO being fairly unique in that regard, but the top end must be watched a bit closely in some locations. Thermal runaway is not a threat, but degradation might be.

The stock car limits regeneration in cold weather. I am pretty sure that this capability is retained by the interim setup, but Peter should speak to this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,611 Posts
The advertised operating range is -30C to +55C (-22F to +131F). They do fine in the cold in most places, LTO being fairly unique in that regard, but the top end must be watched a bit closely in some locations. Thermal runaway is not a threat, but degradation might be.
Cool. It's rare in the valley to have more than a night or two per year where it dips below -22F and I imagine the battery's thermal mass would carry it through safely. In the mountains here though, it's not rare to have a few nights that hit 40 below. But I guess this is not a common climate.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,885 Posts
A consumer-friendly lithium battery, in this context, assumes the consumer was going to be replacing the IMA battery themselves (or having somebody do it for them), and the procedure would be just the same as installing a NiMH pack.
Once you include the 'have someone do it for them' .. that version has already been here and available for several years now.

I know of some Li-IMA conversions that were done just like that .. someone was willing to spend the $$ for someone else to do it for them.

---

I think it is more accurate to describe this as .. dissatisfaction .. as :
#1> DIY group wants the DIY option to be easier than it is today.

and

#2> The people who would pay $$ for someone else to do it for them , they want that to be less $$ than it is today.

Both of those are happening little by little :
DIY version has been steadily improving and getting easier.
Pay someone else has also steadily been improving and getting cheaper.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,747 Posts
I was between "never" and "maybe" before reading some of the posts. Seeing Peter say "probably" makes me reconsider... In general, I don't think the drop-in replacement as described will ever happen - say, a replacement lithium pack sold by Dorman or Bumblebee or whomever, the same as NiMH replacements are sold today. There just aren't enough Insights to justify the investments, and that number is shrinking. But something a little more DIY than existing NiMH replacements, yet more standardized than the hodge-podge of lithium options in play today, will probably come around/are coming around... I don't think it will ever be "consumer friendly," though - it will be expensive and remain a niche, enthusiast product.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
11,586 Posts
"Considerably" is the key word here. To my understanding, one major difference between capacitors and batteries is that when you put capacitors in a series, you start dividing the amp hours, whereas with batteries you don't.

Let's say you wanted 144v out of 2.0-3.8v cells, be they caps or batteries. With 50x 2.9v batteries whose cells can hold 7Ah, you'd have 2.9v x 50 = 145v, then 145v x 7Ah = 1015 watt hours of energy. This is roughly what aftermarket Insight packs have.

Capacitors work differently.

My 50S1P x 2200F supercaps IMA pack had a working capacity of 0.8ah approx which was enough for about 30 seconds of 100A assist... It is linked a few posts back..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,611 Posts
My 50S1P x 2200F supercaps IMA pack had a working capacity of 0.8ah approx which was enough for about 30 seconds of 100A assist... It is linked a few posts back..
I'll have to read that thread very thoroughly, and color me surprised. I actually found out about this property of supercaps (where you have to divide the original farads by the number of caps in a series) experimentally, when a pack of "400F" caps wouldn't start my car, even though 400F was way more than enough on paper.

50x 2200F caps in series makes a 44 farad pack, which is 2/3 the capacity of the pack I was using to run my 12v starter.
 
21 - 40 of 72 Posts
Top