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Old 10-14-2014, 03:25 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Yeah, the blue one. Very sad ending to that car..



I love my diesel, hopefully overhauling+modding the engine will improve the MPG back to the level it was when I bought it 2 years ago.
For some reason, the speed hardly seems to matter, anything from 90 to 140 km/h all pretty much results around 19 km/l. I think theres an issue with the injectors or injection pump, I'll be replacing both very soon.


A few months ago, on my Europe roadtrip.


This is what it looks like now.


And this is what it looked like when I bought it, summer 2012.

I'm really stuck on the idea of buying a hybrid, add batteries, and drive it for a large part as a plug in EV. My driving includes lots of low-speed stop-start/crawling/inner city (gridlock traffic, unsynchronised traffic lights) and short trips (anywhere from 10 to 40 km round trip).

The battery problem I did solve, I'll take a tried and tested road, and start salvaging laptop batteries for 18650 cells. even if a substantial portion of them is fried or half-worn, its still a lot cheaper than new cells. Its just a lot of work.

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Old 10-14-2014, 04:24 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I like the idea of a plugin hybrid. So much so that I want to do that too.
No doubt you've seen what Planetaire has done to his Prius.

Unlike the Prius my Insight won't be able to do prolonged 85 km/h runs in EV mode; it will restart the engine within 3 km no matter what. It will reduce fuel consumption considerably, increase boost etc. It will be more fun to drive.

Be cautious on the 18650 Lithium cell route. There is a big fire hazard if you overcharge or overheat them; they should not be combined in large packs unless very closely monitored and very well ventilated.
Several DIY PHEV hybrids have gone up in flames already.
(LiFePO4 cells are slightly heavier for the same capacity but much safer. Though even those need careful monitoring.)

OTOH they can be had very cheaply, like these: USD $ 18.99 - ICR 5000mAh 18650 Li-ion Rechargeable Battery(10pcs), Free Shipping On All Gadgets!
I'm toying with the idea to buy a bunch of those for a proof-of-concept test pack.
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Last edited by RedDevil; 10-14-2014 at 04:30 PM..
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Old 10-14-2014, 05:13 PM   #13 (permalink)
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White AX, reminds me of my old one :P

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Old 10-15-2014, 03:43 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedDevil View Post
I like the idea of a plugin hybrid. So much so that I want to do that too.
No doubt you've seen what Planetaire has done to his Prius.
Yes, I did. = Even if I don't get nearly the range, I do want something like that. Turns out the Prius is an excellent candidate for modding too, lots of info online.

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Originally Posted by RedDevil View Post
Unlike the Prius my Insight won't be able to do prolonged 85 km/h runs in EV mode; it will restart the engine within 3 km no matter what. It will reduce fuel consumption considerably, increase boost etc. It will be more fun to drive.
Ah, too bad. Well, I don't "need" 85 km/h (it would be neat to do my work commute full EV if the pack would support it, but I don't "need" to, I mostly want to do the first/last section of the trip, where I get stuck in traffic, to be plug-in electric, instead of idling my engine for no reason.. If theres enough spare capacity to boost the fuel efficiency while on longer trips the freeway, thats a nice bonus for me. The first battery pack I'll add "should" have a range of 10-20 km to satisfy most of my EV needs, if I can get it to 40+ I could do the work commute full EV.

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Originally Posted by RedDevil View Post
Be cautious on the 18650 Lithium cell route. There is a big fire hazard if you overcharge or overheat them; they should not be combined in large packs unless very closely monitored and very well ventilated.
I know, I've worked with lithium batteries before. They'll be mounted in a sturdy, well-ventilated fashion, get a BMS, and some cooling fans.
I won't discharge them too hard, I guess somewhere between 1 and 2 amps per cell, shouldn't be a problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedDevil View Post
Several DIY PHEV hybrids have gone up in flames already.
Oh, thats no good. I should add a fire supression system to the list, and some way to quick connect/disconnect the pack, so I can charge it outside the car.

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Originally Posted by RedDevil View Post
(LiFePO4 cells are slightly heavier for the same capacity but much safer. Though even those need careful monitoring.)
Li-ion is already safer than lipo, and I've never had a problem with those either. The problem is that good batteries are expensive new, and almost none are sold second hand..

Used 18650 batteries are easy to source from "dead" laptop packs (where the BMS in the pack is either broken or 1 or 2 cells out of 6 are dead and as a result, it has almost 0 usable capacity in a laptop, and is considered "dead".
Even if you count a generous portion of the cells as dead, you probably still end up well below $2/cell foor good quality but slightly worn cells. Who cares if they're "only" 2000~2300 mAh from their original 2500~2800, if they're quality cells from an OEM pack, they'll still last a pretty long time before they become so bad they have to be replaced.

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OTOH they can be had very cheaply, like these: USD $ 18.99 - ICR 5000mAh 18650 Li-ion Rechargeable Battery(10pcs), Free Shipping On All Gadgets!
I'm toying with the idea to buy a bunch of those for a proof-of-concept test pack.
Yeah, well.. no.
1: 5000 mAh 18650 cells don't exist, they just put a very optimistic label on a crap battery.
2: cheap 18650 batteries are usually pretty crap quality, high internal resistance, low capacity, short lifespan, or all of the above.
3: for the same (or lower) price, you can get the good cells out of "dead" laptop packs, they'll be high-quality cells, even if they're a little worn, and you have to sort the dead ones out from the good.
4: I should talk to the local recycling company to see if they can provide me with free laptop batteries. (They probably won't, but who knows.) Buying them overseas from ebay seems like a silly thing to do, even if they're cheap enough to be worth the effort.
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Old 10-15-2014, 05:45 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by AlexanderB View Post
Li-ion is already safer than lipo, and I've never had a problem with those either. The problem is that good batteries are expensive new, and almost none are sold second hand..
Do you know these guys? Lots of interesting stuff (cells, BMS, chargers, etc) there, and not that expensive too. Just don't know anyone who dealt with them.
I was talking LiFePO4 not LiPO btw.

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Originally Posted by AlexanderB View Post
Yeah, well.. no.
1: 5000 mAh 18650 cells don't exist, they just put a very optimistic label on a crap battery.
2: cheap 18650 batteries are usually pretty crap quality, high internal resistance, low capacity, short lifespan, or all of the above.
3: for the same (or lower) price, you can get the good cells out of "dead" laptop packs, they'll be high-quality cells, even if they're a little worn, and you have to sort the dead ones out from the good.
4: I should talk to the local recycling company to see if they can provide me with free laptop batteries. (They probably won't, but who knows.) Buying them overseas from ebay seems like a silly thing to do, even if they're cheap enough to be worth the effort.
I thought so, miniinthebox is dodgy in the reliability of data, if not the stuff itself. But I got some good cheap LED grids off them.
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"In hindsight, I should have placed a bet on the horse that won the race"
"In hindsight, I should have bet more on that horse"
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Old 10-15-2014, 06:13 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedDevil View Post
I was talking LiFePO4 not LiPO btw.
I know you meant LiFePO4, I just meant to say Li-ion is already a step up from LiPO, and LiFePO4 is another step up.
Currently, none of the three chemistries is really affordable for me, if a battery pack is (far) above $1k per kwh (excluding BMS, Charger), the write-off alone is far more expensive than our already ridiculously taxed fossil fuel.

Recycled 18650's from ebay packs should be around $300-400/kwh (after discarding the bad and weakest cells), that puts it firmly in the realm of affordability.
It can be done even cheaper if you could source them local at scrap price, saving shipping halfway around the planet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedDevil View Post
Do you know these guys? Lots of interesting stuff (cells, BMS, chargers, etc) there, and not that expensive too. Just don't know anyone who dealt with them.
Never heard of them before, but looks interesting. Those 12V LiFePO4 blocks are about $460/kWh, thats a good deal, I think.

Last edited by AlexanderB; 10-15-2014 at 06:36 AM..
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Old 11-01-2014, 04:07 PM   #17 (permalink)
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If all goes well, I just bought 95 laptop batteries for €20.

To get them here, I paid €80 for courier shipping, as none of the normal shipping companies want to touch a 34 kg box full of li-ion with a 10 ft pole, unless they're packed in an extremely specific way, which they aren't.

Anyway, "5kwh" worth of used laptop batteries, with a bit of luck, some 2.5-3kwh of useable cells, for €100. thats cheap.
The goal is to assemble a plug-in pack and then buy a hybrid car to put it in. If I can get it big enough to do all the range I want (15 or more kwh), I might even go full EV for almost all my driving.

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