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4kg of lithium in every Nissan electric car battery!

prawn_86

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There was actually a story about this on Sky News last week.

The salt flats in Bolivia contain about 25% of the Worlds known lithium reserves, and the Bolivian gov is building a 'mine' there. It was called the Saudi Arabia of lithium. Seems like everywhere is the Saudi Arabia of something or other... (ie Aus for Uranium etc)
 
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Is lithium going to be a repeat? Well, the numbers aren’t too encouraging. According to local lithium leaders such as Galaxy Resources, the world currently uses 110,000 tonnes of lithium a year, likely to rise to 300,000t in 10 years.

Salar de Atacama, a single salt flat in Chile, is estimated to contain a resource of between 7.5 million and 35.7 million tonnes of lithium.

Described as “the Saudi Arabia of lithium”, that lower number of 7.5Mt represents 68 years of supply at today’s rate of consumption, and 25 years at the forecast rate of demand in 10 years time.

At the upper resource estimate Salar de Atacama contains 324 years of current demand and 119 years of forecast demand in 10 years.
source: http://www.miningnews.net/storyview.asp?storyid=1033278&sectionsource=s88&highlight='lithium
 
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...after the Gorgon deal we're the Saudi Arabia of natural gas as well.

Re: the evolution of cars, electric will only win over hydrogen if they can get the time to charge a car battery on par with how long it takes to fill up at the petrol bowser.
 
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...after the Gorgon deal we're the Saudi Arabia of natural gas as well.
We're more like the Mexico of gas I'd say. Pump hard and fast and watch the whole lot disappear in less than a generation.

I wonder how many Australians, especially those in the eastern states, realise that WA business is already being strangled by scarcity of natural gas now that practically the whole lot is committed to export? Even the power industry is going back to coal for that reason.
 

white_crane

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Re: the evolution of cars, electric will only win over hydrogen if they can get the time to charge a car battery on par with how long it takes to fill up at the petrol bowser.
I remember reading a story about a company that was trying to set up a network of service stations where you could just swap your flat battery for a fully charged one.
 
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I remember reading a story about a company that was trying to set up a network of service stations where you could just swap your flat battery for a fully charged one.
I’d love to see them ‘hot swap’ the batteries used on todays electric cars…bit bigger than the standard car battery used. ;-)

Also, I have a feeling they’ll be spending more time charging than actually swapping…anywhere from 8-24 hours to charge a battery to full, but running capacity anywhere from 2-5 hours? Will mean a lot of cars off the road.

As with mobile and notebook lithium batteries, the more you charge them the less reliable they get – imagine getting a battery swap from one of these service stations that discharges in half the time you thought it would, and you’re stranded on the highway in peak hour.

We’ve all heard of the exploding mobile and notebook battery…imagine that happening in your lithium powered car!

I guess the emphasise was on this company “trying” to set this up…as I doubt it’s achievable.

There are a few scientists at MIT & a couple of start-up companies working on the ability to quickly charge up lithium batteries…if they can pull it off, not only in the lab but in the real world, then they’re on a winner…so too the start-up company shareholders!

How green though is the mining of lithium? I recall hearing the mine in Canada is an environmental hazard. Again, our attempts to go green come with baggage ;-)

We're more like the Mexico of gas I'd say. Pump hard and fast and watch the whole lot disappear in less than a generation.
…or Latin America in general ;-) As the oil fields of Bolivia, Venezuela, and Brasil spring to mind!

I wonder how many Australians, especially those in the eastern states, realise that WA business is already being strangled by scarcity of natural gas now that practically the whole lot is committed to export? Even the power industry is going back to coal for that reason.
I guess no different to what is happening in Gladstone, QLD with CSG/LNG. Originally marked to be used for the domestic market, until Bligh and co. discovered the appetite the Asians have for it,.and so the rush is on to move them trains to the far-east. Not to forget that little venture APLNG that Origin has going with partner ConocoPhilips with most likely all the gas earmarked for Malaysia.

And while the energy companies and state governments in the West of continent (WA and NT) squabble over which state the gas should be piped to and then exported from, we’ll stick with coal and ‘carbon’ tax…any wonder then the term ‘lucky country’ was originally coined in sarcasm.

…still, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em and watch the stock price rise of the CSG players ;-)
 
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I remember reading a story about a company that was trying to set up a network of service stations where you could just swap your flat battery for a fully charged one.
Yes, it's happening as we speak. The company "Better Place" has formed a pertnership with AGL and Macquarie to set up battery exchange & charging infrastructure in Australia. Evan Thornley (anyone recall that name?) is the CEO of Better Place Australia. First rollout will be Canberra (wouldn't you have guessed that one) and I think its due to be on stream around 2011 or 2012. If you want more info on this go to http://australia.betterplace.com/


By the way, I have no involvement with this company.
 
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Lithium salts were used during the 19th century to treat gout. Lithium salts such as lithium carbonate (Li2CO3), lithium citrate, and lithium orotate are mood stabilizers. They are used in the treatment of bipolar disorder since, unlike most other mood altering drugs, they counteract both mania and depression. Lithium can also be used to augment antidepressants. Because of Lithium's nephrogenic diabetes insipidus effects, it can be used to help treat the syndrome of inappropriate diuretic hormone (SIADH). It was also sometimes prescribed as a preventive treatment for migraine disease and cluster headaches. Gotta love Wikepedia.

So therefore when your electric car runs out of go go juice all ya gotta do is pop a bit of lithium in your mouth to stop the onslaught of a migraine. OR have some to treat your bipolar disorder prior to buying one of these electric cars. :D
 

prawn_86

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Despite what TR says i think the idea has merit. We live in an inner city apartment, have one car between us, and drive that car a few times a week and each trip is only about 10k's round trip. Only do about 50ks a week. A car like this would be perfect for us.
 
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Public transport would be cheaper than buying an electric car plus the energy (probably coal fired) required to recharge the damn thing. :)
 

prawn_86

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Public transport would be cheaper than buying an electric car plus the energy (probably coal fired) required to recharge the damn thing. :)
Public transport is the reason we never drive our car in the first place. But its handy to have a car to do shopping, or late at night when public transport is crap.

i agree the costs at this stage would be prohibitive for us, but in the future if they became commonplace and you could pick them up cheap 2nd hand, just like normal cars these days, then it would suit people with our lifestyle.
 
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Public transport is the reason we never drive our car in the first place. But its handy to have a car to do shopping, or late at night when public transport is crap.

i agree the costs at this stage would be prohibitive for us, but in the future if they became commonplace and you could pick them up cheap 2nd hand, just like normal cars these days, then it would suit people with our lifestyle.
Isn't there already a Daihatsu Charade (diesel version I think) that does 54 mpg? Seems logical to me rather than going down the electric path due to exorbitant manufacturing costs of said vehicle plus the mining requirements PLUS the electricity required to recharge etc etc ad infinitum? The green alternative to transport does not seem that Green to me if it necesarry to rip a hole in the ground the size of a football field just to make one battery?
 
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Hey Datsun, GM did it themselves at the demo of their own electric car that was lucky to travel a few feet without stalling!

What about legalities – such as exchanged battery explodes or other issues – watch the blame game between third-party battery producers and the electric car manufacturers, or will these service station be stocking batteries for every known car manufacturer as you void your warranty if you swap in some cheap Taiwanese battery over a genuine manufacturer recommended battery.

@Prawn, the idea has merit for city dwellers who as you say travel short distances – but spare a thought for those in sales and the transport industries, who do more than 50km a week. Which begs the question, would you, if you were a entrepreneur invest in such service stations that appear on the surface profitable and feasible in inner cities only, and most car driving commuters live outside the CBD.

@Trainspotter, re: public transport, there was an experiment being trailed in one of the Nordic countries – Finland or Sweden (I think) where buses were filled up via a bowser – something everyone is already familiar with – with hydrogen and the only by-product being water!
 
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Hey guys, don't knock the lithium iron battry too much. They actually do work. Really, have a look at http://australia.betterplace.com/

These guys are serious, with some serious money behind them, and they are already established in the USA and are setting up demonstrations in a number of countries, Australia being one of them. My gut feel is that this is going to work, but of course time will tell.

I am sure they will have looked at all the issues, including the safety/legal issues. I dont really see this is a big problem. All they will have to do is to only exchange certified batteries. It's not a lot different to the exchange system used for gas bottles. By the way, the time to exchange a battery will be significantly less than the time it takes to fill up your petrol tank, and they will probably set up electronic systems so that you dont even have to get out of you car to pay.

And I dont think anyone is saying that electric vehicles will 100% replace liquid fuel vehicles, such as those required to travel medium to large distances or are required to tranport loads. At least in the short to medium term anyway. Electric vehicles will, for the foreseeable future, probably only be used for city commuting. Depnding on how you drive them, they will normally have a range of 50-150km per charge.

IMO the biggest issue right now, apart from the infrastructure setup, is the initial cost of the vehicle, and the cost of the electricy being used to recharge the battery. Until the cost of the vehicle comes down to a reasonable premium above current vehicle cost, I cant see them becomming widespread. Although king krudds new tax will increase the cost of current vehicles, so he is artifically reducing the cost differential, but that's a different issue/argument.



I have no involvement with this company Better Place.
 
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I have converted my mountain bike to electric with one of the kits from china ( see e-bay) It uses a 36 volt lithium battery weighing 3kgs; charges in 6 hours then lasts for 18km with no pedalling or around 40km if you pedal.
Achieves 35km/hr and is great fun.(No rego or insurance required.)
IMHO a practical lithium battery powered car is unlikely in near future (or ever) BUT I can see lots of us on lithium bikes and trikes in my childrens lifetime. (I'm old)
 
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