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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'll start a thread on this story that was featured as a breaking news item on GM-VOLT.com

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/feedarticle/7569163

I don't think they have an order yet, "ready to supply" means nothing. I'm sure A123 is also "ready to supply".

Also, in the story:

DECISION EXPECTED SOON
GM, which is showing the production-ready Volt design to focus groups this weekend, has said it will unveil the final version of the car soon. Patil said he expected an announcement on the closely watched battery contract to come "fairly soon."

Anyway, LG Chem was up 3.5% overnight, on speculation. FWIW

http://uk.reuters.com/business/quotes/quote?symbol=051910.KS

http://www.lgchem.co.kr/lgcci.homepi.ircenter.cmd.ircenter.laf?queryBoardId=51&pageInfo=homepi&disMenu=1&disMenu1=1

http://www.compactpower.com/

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A123 has private funding.

"A123 Systems has quickly become one of the world’s leading suppliers of high power Lithium Ion batteries. The company has received a total capital investment exceeding $148M from leading investors including:"

http://www.a123systems.com/#/company/investors/

http://uk.reuters.com/article/companyNews/idUKN0842428420080509?symbol=051910.KS
 

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What's the main differences of the batteries from A123 and LG-Chem?
Life Span?
Capacity?
Cost?
Safety?
Availability for production?
 

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What's the main differences of the batteries from A123 and LG-Chem?
Life Span?
Capacity?
Cost?
Safety?
Availability for production?
Nobody knows. The performance of the two battery packs has been kept secret. My guess is that LG can more reliably produce large quantities of batteries than A123 and have better facilities to do so.
 

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On one of the tables of comparison from LG-Chem, the lifespan of their battery is >1,000 cycles compared to ordinary Lithium Ion of >500 cycles.

Whereas, that of A123, from Technical Review Magazine, posted the life span as >150,000 cycles.

What I interpret this to be is that the LG-Chem has a "guaranteed" minimum life span of 1,000 cycles while A123 has a guaranteed minimum life span of 150,000 cycles.

And from the pictures shown by TR magazine, a crushed A123 battery is very convincing while LG-Chem has only a statement that it is safe due to one reason or another.

Would GM really want 1,000 cycles because the company can deliver first? I would love them to do that for their first vehicles to reach the market and not award the whole contract to LG-Chem, no exclusivity. Then when A123 has mass production, switch over the newer models of Volt to use those battery pack.

Or better yet, have them design switchable battery packs so that consumer can select in the future.

But would really appreciate it if we can have hard data from LG-Chem. At least there is a good review of A123 form Technology Review. But hard data that are gathered in the same context of application from both would be nice.
 

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What I interpret this to be is that the LG-Chem has a "guaranteed" minimum life span of 1,000 cycles while A123 has a guaranteed minimum life span of 150,000 cycles.
I think the 150k cycles is for power degradation. Discharge capacity (energy degradation) is shown in this chart - they're saying 7,000 cycles before losing 20% of the original capacity. Furthermore, these are deep discharge cycles - 100% to 0% SOC, and the Volt only goes 80% to 30%.

http://www.a123systems.com/#/technology/life/lchart1/
 

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Technology specs are important, but ...

GM has a vast experience in working with, and assessing, potential parts suppliers. Often, they will select a company with a product that has “inferior” technological specifications, but has a better ability to supply the volume and also, most importantly, meet GM’s schedule requirements. GM can easily lose $1M/day if parts don’t arrive on time.

Oh, I almost forgot one of the most important non-technological factors, cost.
 

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GM has a vast experience in working with, and assessing, potential parts suppliers. Often, they will select a company with a product that has “inferior” technological specifications, but has a better ability to supply the volume and also, most importantly, meet GM’s schedule requirements. GM can easily lose $1M/day if parts don’t arrive on time.
I for one will be less likely to buy the Volt if they don't choose A123, because as far as I can tell, they're the only game in town for extended life.
 

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Another sales strategy.

There have been rumblings in the media about GM leasing the batteries, in which case reliability is not a cost to the car buyer. I like the idea of leasing because then the sticker price may be back in the realm of low $30Ks. I think this would increase market penetration significantly, all of which would bring down next generation costs.
 

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CPI (LG) vs. A123

Nobody knows. The performance of the two battery packs has been kept secret. My guess is that LG can more reliably produce large quantities of batteries than A123 and have better facilities to do so.
This is the $64,000 question. It is easy to find out about the A123 chemistry by visiting their website, Lithium Iron Phosphate (Phosphorus and Oxygen). They claim Nano Phosphate because they use nano tech to create their cathode. Lithium Iron Phosphate is more stable in that it doesn't go exothermic at temperatures less than 800 degrees C.

Does anyone know about CPI chemistry? They seem to be more secretive (engineers vs. marketers?).

It is interesting to ponder if you consider what Lutz said about risk. What risk is he referring to:

  • Too expensive
    Too short a battery life
    Too likely to cause an exothermic meltdown
    Too likely to be in short supply because of production problems
    Too uncertain as to delivering on power density requirements
In any case, it appears CPI is in the lead, although GM seems to be denying it. Could GM be negotiating with A123 for an equity position or an exclusive? Is A123 playing hard ball and risking it all?
 

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This is the $64,000 question. It is easy to find out about the A123 chemistry by visiting their website, Lithium Iron Phosphate (Phosphorus and Oxygen). They claim Nano Phosphate because they use nano tech to create their cathode. Lithium Iron Phosphate is more stable in that it doesn't go exothermic at temperatures less than 800 degrees C.

Does anyone know about CPI chemistry? They seem to be more secretive (engineers vs. marketers?).
This is what I'm saying. People go to some website and try to interpret what they're giving you for information, but really no body here knows how the two battery packs actually performed in GM's labs and on the road. We can speculate all we want using questionable data, but in the end it's just us amusing ourselves and passing the time.
 

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Battery Supplier Selection

I would hope that GM does not eliminate either of the two suppliers unless they are convinced that one is incapable. I believe both of these suppliers have something to offer. I have seen companies commit to one technology because they are just a bit further down the road only to see the other competitor catch up and produce a more cost effective product just a few months later. In my opinion GM should keep both suppleirs viable at least until well into the road testing phase of the program.
 
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