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Charge in 5 minutes, Drive 500 miles? 319

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the shocking-discoveries dept.
ctroutwi writes "In the wake of rising gasoline costs there have been plenty of alternatives seen on the horizon. Including Hybrids, Biofuels, fuel cells and battery powered all electric cars. CNN has recently posted a story about a company (EEStor) that plans on offering Ultra-Capacitor storage products. The claim being that you charge the ultra-capacitor in 5 minutes, with approximately 9$ (~$.45 a gallon) of electricity and then drive 500 miles."
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Charge in 5 minutes, Drive 500 miles?

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  • by adam (1231) * on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @07:35AM (#16197301)
    I emailed the on-duty editor (regarding this being a dupe), like any good little /. subscriber. Unfortunately my e-mail bounced pretty much immediately. Normally I would resist the temptation to join in the /. circle-jerk that is shouting "OMG DUPE DUPE DUPE!!" but I wanted someone (ScuttleMonkey, etc) to note that the 'daddypants' email link is bouncing.
    ( ERROR: Use of uninitialized value in concatenation (.) or string at... Line 126 ) ..ScuttleMonkey, if you want the full error, feel free to let me know where to e-mail it.

    On a sidenote, what seems odd to me is that not only is this a dupe that is currently visible on the index [slashdot.org] of slashdot, but that the article summary is almost identical to the earlier submission, and is even from the same submitter. Insert Matrix deja-vu quote here.

    Mods, try to be on the lookout for copy and paste karma whores (man, plagiarism annoys me). Unfortunately with 700+ comments on the last discussion, this may not be easy, haha.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jginspace (678908)

      On a sidenote, what seems odd to me is that not only is this a dupe that is currently visible on the index [slashdot.org] of slashdot, but that the article summary is almost identical to the earlier submission, and is even from the same submitter.

      Yup:

      500 Miles on a 5-Minute Recharge?

      "In the wake of rising gasoline costs there have been plenty of alternatives seen on the horizon. Including Hybrids, Biofuels, fuel cells and battery powered all electric cars. CNN has recently posted a story about a com

    • by JaJ_D (652372) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @07:56AM (#16197477)
      Just to clarify.....

      I emailed the on-duty editor (regarding this being a dupe), like any good little /. subscriber. Unfortunately my e-mail bounced pretty much immediately. Normally I would resist the temptation to join in the /. circle-jerk that is shouting "OMG DUPE DUPE DUPE!!" but I wanted someone (ScuttleMonkey, etc) to note that the 'daddypants' email link is bouncing.
      ( ERROR: Use of uninitialized value in concatenation (.) or string at... Line 126 ) ..ScuttleMonkey, if you want the full error, feel free to let me know where to e-mail it.

      On a sidenote, what seems odd to me is that not only is this a dupe that is currently visible on the index [slashdot.org] of slashdot, but that the article summary is almost identical to the earlier submission, and is even from the same submitter. Insert Matrix deja-vu quote here.

      ;-]

      Sorry couldn't resist

      Jaj
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by NekoXP (67564)
        Neo: Whoa. Deja vu.
        Trinity: What did you just say?
        Neo: Nothing. Just had a little deja vu.
        Trinity: What happened? What did you see?
        Neo: A Slashdot article was on the index, and then I saw another that looked just like it.
        Trinity: How much like it? Was it the same article?
        Neo: It might have been. I'm not sure. What is it?
        Trinity: A deja vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when the editors are lazy.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by amliebsch (724858)
          Boniface: Good evening. Tonight on "It's the Mind", we examine the phenomenon of déjà vu. That strange feeling we sometimes get that we've lived through something before, that what is happening now has already happened. Tonight on "It's the Mind" we examine the phenomenon of déjà vu, that strange feeling we sometimes get that we've ... (looks puzzled fir a moment) Anyway, tonight on "It's the Mind" we examine the phenomenon of déjà vu, that strange...
          • by NekoXP (67564)
            That reminds me of the Amnesia sketch from the Little Britain radio show..
        • by justkarl (775856) *
          that's really funny....
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by maxwell demon (590494)
        Matrix?
        Battery reloaded!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by morie (227571)
      There is a difference: Someone introduced the cost/gallon

      Cost/gallon of electricity is a new and fascinating unit!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by conigs (866121)

        I still have several gallons of electricity from before the y2k scare. They're stocked up in a storage closet in the basement. Luckily, I bought it at $.27/gallon before the price was driven up.

        Hmmm... I wonder what the shelf life of a gallon of electricity is. Maybe I should divide them into quarts or pints. Maybe even sell it off at $.45/gallon and make a profit!

    • But to be fair... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jerf (17166)
      But to be fair, is it just me or have they been doing a lot better lately? Certainly I've noticed fewer, and I've appreciated it.

      I know it's more fun to bitch about people, but you ought to hand out some kudos every once in a while too. We could do with a bit more of that on the Intarweb.
      • by Dun Malg (230075)
        But to be fair, is it just me or have they been doing a lot better lately? Certainly I've noticed fewer, and I've appreciated it. I know it's more fun to bitch about people, but you ought to hand out some kudos every once in a while too. We could do with a bit more of that on the Intarweb.
        Doing the bare minimum at your job is not a praiseable accomplishment. The reward for not being lousy at your job should be continued employment.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jerf (17166)

          Doing the bare minimum at your job is not a praiseable accomplishment.

          Improvement is.

          If you emit nothing but negative feedback, if even improvement is met with negative feedback because the improvement doesn't make it to "perfection" or some other standard, the psychological result is as predictable as the sun rising tomorrow: Lack of interest in continuing to try and ever diminishing performance. It's a bit odd that anybody thinks relentless negativity can have any other effect. (But there are entire major

    • On a sidenote, what seems odd to me is that not only is this a dupe that is currently visible on the index of slashdot, but that the article summary is almost identical to the earlier submission, and is even from the same submitter.

      Personally, I would consider this a sackable offense. The occasional dupe will slip through, paticularly when a lot of time has passed since the original story. The odd one may slip in if two different submitters submit substantially different summaries. But this isn't the case.

      S

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rogerborg (306625)
        Meh, they serve as many ads to people ranting about the dupe as they do to people reading the original. It's all good.
      • I do not think it means what you think it means (at least here at Slashdot, anyway) :-)

        More like "automated poster of random articles, without the application of any thought whatsoever." Seriously, a well-trained rat could hit the "Publish" button and accomplish pretty much 99% of what /. apparently pays "editors" for. At the least they should change the job title to "button clicker" or something more accurate.

        I swear you could write a script to spellcheck article submissions and post some random subset and
  • by bky1701 (979071) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @07:40AM (#16197347) Homepage
    I just hope they don't farm out making the batteries to the same company that makes them for Apple and Dell. A tank full of combustible liquide seems good compared to that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      They are using capacitors not batteries.....
      • by bky1701 (979071)
        Yeah, but with all the dupe posts... I couldn't think of a better joke. So sue me. :P
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by stienman (51024)
        Energy is energy.

        Have you ever seen a capacitor explode? Have you ever seen a large capacitor blow up a screwdriver that shorted across its terminals?

        It doesn't matter if it's gasoline, Li-Poly, Li-Ion, Hydrogen, etc. We use it because it's easy to extract energy from it. It's easy to extract energy from it because it's very reactive. There are many ways to blow up a fuel tank - but we've had a century of design information and now they rarely go up like they could (except in movies). When we ha
  • Energy density (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @07:43AM (#16197371) Homepage Journal

    This time around I have thought of something to say.

    As we strive for higher energy density in our laptop computers, electric cars, mobile phones, etc; we are creating devices which can potentially release much of their stored energy in a short space of time. It doesn't have to be a chemical explosion. I have in my workshop a melted bicycle tail light and four cooked NiCD batteries from cycle commuting years past when I put two batteries in the wrong way and created a short circuit.

    So IMHO battery/capacitor explosions are the way of the future, certainly much more than the backyard LPG explosions we get from time to time here in Australia (LPG is a cheap substitute for petrol, but a bit volatile.)

    How is Alan Cox going with his hair? Is it growing back yet.

    • it will charge up in five minutes and provide enough energy to drive 500 miles on about $9 worth of electricity. At today's gas prices, covering that distance can cost $60 or more;

      Gas prices seem to be about $2.50 [bakersfieldgasprices.com] per gallon, so this is charging with the same energy as 24 gallons.
      Equivalent to 5 gallons of gas per minute.

      • What if it accidentally discharges at the same rate or faster, releasing the same heat as burning this gas?
      • What if charging is less than 100% efficient, again producing a lot of heat?
  • Yeah, I expect there are a bunch of comments to this effect about the dupe.

    What I'm wondering is why these guys call themselves editors. I'm frustrated that ad revenue and subscription fees go to these people who totally disregard all semblance of professionalism. I wish I had a cushy job like that, where I could sit back, press 'Accept' once in a while without even reading the blurb or the front page, and get paid for it.

  • stupid editors... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by scharkalvin (72228)
    I've submitted a few stories over the last few years, none of which
    were ever accepted. (Ok maybe your standards are higher than mine?)
    But THIS? For crying out loud this story is such a DUPE it appears
    TWICE on the same web page!!!!! This proves the /. editors are
    smoking bananas!
  • by TRRosen (720617)
    now all they need to do is create something to supply the 900KW it would take to charge it.
    • > now all they need to do is create something to supply the 900KW it would take to charge it.

      It takes 900KW to charge the Slashdot Dupe Engine?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AK Marc (707885)
      Why does everyone get all stuck on what it would take to charge it? That's the easy part. What we are missing for electric cars is exactly this type of storage. Cost was never a problem (except for replacement, which this fixes). The issue was weight, range, and recharge time. Lead acid sucked for mobile applications. Lead isn't light, and neither is water. The batteries for the EV-1 were somewhere around half the weight of the car. Take the 1000+ lbs of batteries and change them to 100 lbs of capac
  • Batteries and such (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gx5000 (863863) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @08:06AM (#16197547)
    How long until they're bought out and run to ground ? Last time we had a chance at EV cars, GM bought controlling share of the batterie technology and used their Delco crap. The higher performance batteries never really made it in the cars, just a few got the first line issues. And when GM got out of the EV business, they sold that controlling share to Texaco/Mobile, or was it exxon ? They want us to go Hydrogen and Biodeiesel next. The Electric car won't see the light of day until the Big Oil Profiteers get UberUber Mega Rich... Sad that we let them supplant technology and lie to us... Watch the film "Who killed the Electric car"...and the rest.. Cheers
    • by khallow (566160)
      Getting bought out and run into the ground is a common fate of companies in the US and elsewhere. For example, GM is notorious for its incompetence in this area. In particular, it's not conspiracy in itself.

      Having said that, the energy density of gasoline or diesel is still far better than that for electric storage. That more than anything else is why electric vehicles still haven't taken off. In addition to the obvious performance issues, you also can't cram as many power consuming options (air condition

    • Nice theory and all. It may even have validity. But this time around, we are talking about numerous other companies and VCs. It is most likely these companies are going to do the ICE what ICE did to buggy whip manufacturers.
  • by ctroutwi (248214) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @08:07AM (#16197557)
    well... I thought it was an interesting article when I posted it the first (and only) time yesterday... However, I had nothing to do with the encore!!!... This is only the 2nd story I've ever submitted, and the only one to ever get accepted... (albeit twice)..

  • What is a gallon of electricity?
    Really. I'm curious.
  • But there is a car that takes 5 minutes to charge and it will go for 500 miles!
  • by realnowhereman (263389) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (snikrapydna)> on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @08:41AM (#16197821)
    I meant to write this the first time the article appeared :-) I had originally thought that it wasn't going to work out; but getting to the end, it turned out they did. Oh well - now I've done it, you might be interested... for your viewing pleasure...

    Supposition: 500 miles on a 5 minute charge, with $9 worth of electricity.

    $9 worth of electricity = 100kWh
    100kWh = 360 megajoules
    500 miles = 804 kilometres

    Force = Energy / distance
        = 360e6 / 804e3
        = 447 Newtons

    (of course the above is only the average force available for that journey)

    F_drag = 1/2 * Drag_Coefficient * Cross_Section * AirDensity * Velocity^2

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drag_coefficient [wikipedia.org] gives Drag as around 0.3 for an average car. Cross-section is probably about 3 square metres.

    F_drag = 0.5 * 0.3 * 3 * 1.29 * v^2
        = 0.581 v^2

    55 mph = 24 m/s

    F_drag_55 = 334 Newtons

    Which is well within the average 447 available; and gives scope for losses. So; it turns out it's not crazy to suggest you can get 500 miles on $9 worth of electricity.

    I wonder how far my house would travel a month...
    • by ab762 (138582)
      The charging numbers are impressive, though:

      500 kWh in 9 minutes is 3333 kW
      at 115 volts nominal, looks like 28985 amps!

      Electrical code allows 20 amps in 12 gauge wire, 12 gauge is 3.3 mm**2 cross section, we need over 3300 mm**2 cross section - call it sqrt(1000) mm.

      That charging cable's in the neigborhood of a foot in diameter! OR the voltage must be much, much higher.

      So, sounds like you still need a "gas station", or rather "charging station", with a substantial infrastructure. Or, you put a dupli

  • More details.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by stoney27 (36372) * on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @08:42AM (#16197829) Homepage
    There are some good details on this technology on Energy blog

    http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/energy/2006/01/ eestor_ultracap.html [typepad.com]

    A breif run down:

    • It is a parallel plate capacitor with barium titanate as the dielectric.
    • It claims that it can make a battery at half the cost per kilowatt-hour and one-tenth the weight of lead-acid batteries.
    • As of last year selling price would start at $3,200 and fall to $2,100 in high-volume production
    • The product weighs 400 pounds and delivers 52 kilowatt-hours.
    • The batteries fully charge in minutes as opposed to hours.
    • The EEStor technology has been tested up to a million cycles with no material degradation compared to lead acid batteries that optimistically have 500 to 700 recharge cycles,
    • Because it's a solid state battery rather than a chemical battery, such being the case for lithium ion technology, there would be no overheating and thus safety concerns with using it in a vehicle.
    • With volume manufacturing it's expected to be cost-competitive with lead-acid technology.
    • As of last year, EEStor planned to build its own assembly line to prove the battery can work and then license the technology to manufacturers for volume production
    • EEStor's technology could be used in more than low-speed electric vehicles. The company envisions using it for full-speed pure electric vehicles, hybrid-electrics (including plug-ins), military applications, backup power and even large-scale utility storage for intermittent renewable power sources such as wind and solar.
    • They have an exclusive agreement with Feel Good Cars, a Canadian manufacturer of the ZENN, a low speed electric car, to to purchase high-power-density ceramic ultra capacitors called Electrical Storage Units (ESU). FGC's exclusive worldwide right is for all personal transportation uses under 15 KW drive systems (equivalent to 100 peak horse power) and for vehicles with a curb weight of under 1200 kilograms not including batteries.


    -S
    • by smithmc (451373) *

        The product weighs 400 pounds and delivers 52 kilowatt-hours.

      And how is that supposed to be enough to drive 500 miles? A typical car requires something like 25 hp to maintain 60 mi/hr, IIRC. (That's about 34 kW to maintain 97 km/hr.) So, then 52 kWh is enough for just over 1.5 hours, or less than 150 km. That's more than a little shy of 500 miles, ain't it?

    • by Software (179033)
      FGC's exclusive worldwide right is for all personal transportation uses under 15 KW drive systems (equivalent to 100 peak horse power)
      15 kilowatts is about 20 horsepower [google.com], not 100. Or maybe the blog author was referring to continuous vs. peak power. In this case, switching methods and units of measurement at the same time is rather sloppy.
  • Er, Um, all these comments, and nobody tried doing the math?

    A capacitor bank to store that much charge (100 to 200 KwH) is going to cost, retail, at today's prices, oh, about $220,000 to $440,000 AND take up most of the space inside a minivan. . It's unlikely these folks have made that much of an improvement in cost and density.

    That much energy stored in a capacitor bank will make Jerry Brukheimer really envious-- every such car out there will explode on impact.

    Most houses are only wired for 100 to

  • Stop Press.

    Slashdot does 500 discussions on a single news item. In just two days.!!!!!

  • Soon, anyone with minimal technical skill will have their own quartershrinker.
  • and that's an appropriate word for Slashdot.
  • VC backer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by citro (940077)
    I was quite skeptic initially, but I took notice at the VC firm backing the project.
    Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers [wikipedia.org] were early investors in Amazon, America Online, Compaq, Electronic Arts, Google, Macromedia, Netscape, Quantum, Segway, Sun Microsystems (just to name a few). Looks like it is more serious than virgin snake oil.
    • Not that their support is a bad indication, but I bet they funded a few companies that didn't pan out so well too.
  • ... but this dupe is showing in the RSS feed as well. The worst part is, that it can't be unintentional, because the headline is different !
    Have a gander [headru.sh].
  • OK, but... (Score:5, Funny)

    by caudron (466327) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @09:27AM (#16198249) Homepage
    ...now that you've explained how many gallons of electricity it is, could also please give us the equivalent Libraries of Congress of electricity? It seems useful somehow. ;-)

    Tom Caudron
    http://tom.digitalelite.com/ [digitalelite.com]
  • If it works as it's supposed to, it will charge up in five minutes and provide enough energy to drive 500 miles on about $9 worth of electricity. At today's gas prices, covering that distance can cost $60 or more; the EEStor device would power a car for the equivalent of about 45 cents a gallon.

    My father is fond of the acronym "TANSTAFL" to describe situations like this. There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. I don't care how hard you squeeze your eyes shut and wish for this, there is no way in hell y
  • EEStor is tight-lipped about its device and how it manages to pack such a punch.
    Perhaps it involves a 100 mpg carburetor and some magic beans.
  • In the last 20 years high capacity capacitors, called 'dime caps' have become widely available. These capacitors typically range from 2V to 30V and have capacities of up to several Farads. I started using them years ago instead of lithium batteries for static ram backup. The capacitors use a thin-film technology. One capacitor the size of five dimes stacked on top of each other could be 'unfolded' into an area the size of a tennis court.

    So it is certainly possible to envision a capacitor-driven car, b

  • The claim being that you charge the ultra-capacitor in 5 minutes, with approximately 9$ (~$.45 a gallon) of electricity

    $0.45 / gallon of electricity?? Huh? Could I get that in kilo-watts of gasoline, just so I have a better frame of reference?

  • Okay, so you're using a huge capacitor to store enough energy to push a one-ton car approximately five hundred miles.

    So how wide is the blast radius when it short circuits?
  • If you've ever read the RiverWorld series by Philip Jose Farmer you would see a lot of simmularities between this and the batacitor that powered the Not For Hire. I'm surprised this wasn't a topic, on another note where are they going to find grail stones to charge them?

It is the quality rather than the quantity that matters. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C. - A.D. 65)

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