Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Tesla Milky Way Car

A car using updated lead acid technology
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Lead acid batteries have been around for decades. They used to power things call 'milk floats' in the UK which were basically very large golf buggies carrying fresh milk to be delivered daily according to a subscription service. So even over 50 years ago there was a viable electric transport technology that used cheap reusable lead acid batteries as opposed to the not recyclable and fire hazard of lithium iron batteries.

The new drive technology in Tesla cars is pretty nifty, but its the batteries that cost the money, and those batteries are going to be hell for the fire brigade and environment.

Clearly what we need is the 'Tesla Milky Way'. Slightly up-rated but still infinitely repairable lead acid batteries, a Tesla drive system and some nice new Tesla styling. Ok. Scratch the Tesla styling unless we want an angular interstellar milk float. Get an Italian designer like Senior Bucatini who is past a tendency to make poor design choices by indulging his ego.

Obviously the range wouldn't be that good, but if designed correctly a battery pod could be swapped over at a refueling station like is done with some electric scooters rather than wait for a recharge.

I'm beginning to think that governments are not going to roll out charging points along every street because they realise making electric cars and charging points would cost way too much CO2 and require so much rare earth metal resources as to just be a non-starter. Not to mention the huge pile of prematurely junked petrol cars which have an encapsulated CO2 saving (you don't need to make second hand cars).

bigsleep, May 01 2021

Reconditioning a lead acid battery https://www.youtube...watch?v=9I0IAwOIwXo
[bigsleep, May 01 2021]

Tesla’s approach to recycling https://medium.com/...uction-5af99b62aa0e
[a1, May 01 2021]

Battery comparisons https://news.energy...ead-acid-batteries/
[a1, May 01 2021]

Red Beastie http://evalbum.com/037
120 mile range with lead-acid [scad mientist, May 02 2021]

Mazda Miata with golf cart batteries http://evalbum.com/4918
[scad mientist, May 02 2021]

A fun to drive electric MR-2 with better batteries http://evalbum.com/102
[scad mientist, May 02 2021]

White Zombie Datsun http://www.plasmabo...zombie2005late.html
An example of a fast car using high power lead acid batteries. This racer does pushes them a bit hard and sometimes makes them explode, so I'd keep it out of plaid mode if I used a Tesla drive. [scad mientist, May 02 2021]

Smart https://www.smart.com/int/en/home
Tiny electrics - not a lead battery in the lineup [a1, May 02 2021]

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       Multi-dimensional complexity could possibly throw up an advantage. I am imagining* gyroid plates with new coatings, using micro-pumps to pressure pattern the electrolyte solutions and tiny electromagnets to do field patterning inside the battery.   

       * disclaimer -imagining is still dreaming.
wjt, May 01 2021

       Compared to lithium ion batteries, lead-acid batteries have lower energy density (by both weight and volume), shorter life spans, and poor low temperature performance.   

       Do you HAVE some “updated” lead acid technology to get around those limitations?
a1, May 01 2021

       //shorter life spans//   

       But very easy to recycle or rebuild. [link]
bigsleep, May 01 2021

       Recycling - great. Tesla has that addressed for lithium batteries - and the rest of the car as well <link>. Got a anything for lead-ass battery lower energy density and poor cold weather performance?
a1, May 01 2021

       Depends on how much energy the recycling costs.   

       From your [link] //"Lithium modules are frozen with liquid nitrogen to prevent further chemical reactions"//   

       So that's how you put out a Tesla car fire.
bigsleep, May 01 2021

       If you ever directly answer a question instead of saying “but look over there!” I might die of shock. Maybe that’s an incentive for you?   

       Again: Lead batteries will not be practical for personal automobiles until they can compete with lithium on energy density (volume & weight) as well cold weather performance.   

       Do you have a solution for that?
a1, May 01 2021

       //as well cold weather performance.//   

       All batteries suffer from cold weather.   

       //energy density//   

       It's not particularly important. In the future the important factor will be the total energy cost per kWh for a full recycle round trip. I found a page saying lead acid was 6 times as expensive per kWh round trip, but that was based on chucking the car batteries each time and buying new.   

       The cost of energy *will* go up and then easily refurbished, repaired or recyclable products will have increasing market appeal. I give you -   

       The humble lead acid battery.
bigsleep, May 01 2021

       // All batteries suffer from cold weather performance // To varying degrees depending on the type. Enough to make lead unusable in conditions where lithium still works.   

       // energy density … not particularly important // Unless you take range and driv@bility into account.   

       If you’re willing stipulate most people don’t need any better performance or range than a golf cart, the humble lead acid battery may be an option. And you might be able to make that case! In the USA most private car trips are very short, carrying only a single passenger.   

       But will most of the car buying public buy that?
a1, May 01 2021

       //But will most of the car buying public buy that?//   

       Spiced up with a Tesla drive train and some go faster stripes, sure.
bigsleep, May 01 2021

       The Tesla drive train won't work with lead acid batteries. It’s dependent on the how rapidly and efficiently power can get in and out of the cells - another area where lead-ass batteries lag.
a1, May 01 2021

       //dependent on the how rapidly and efficiently power can get in and out of the cells//   

       'Internal resistance' is the phrase you're looking for. I'm not sure all lead acid are the same. I think golf buggy batteries are designed for fast charge i.e. low internal resistance.
bigsleep, May 01 2021

       You’re still incapable of holding two concepts in that tiny dinosaur brain of yours, eh? Try getting the one in your tail to help. Internal resistance AND power density AND cold weather performance…   

       A golf cart power train and a Tesla power train are not the same and you can’t make a Tesla with golf cart batteries. You can probably make a sporty *looking* golf cart with lead acid batteries. but it may have a top speed of 30 MPH, take 30 seconds to get up to that speed from a stop, and have a range of 30 miles.*. You can cal it the 30-30-30.   

       And in reality that would probably satisfy the REAL needs of most drivers - but it won’t sell.   

       * RayfordSteele may not be in the mood to argue today, but I’d like his opinion on my numbers. I made them up, of course…
a1, May 01 2021

       [A1] While I'm not saying that lithium based batteries haven't made lead-acid basically obsolete, lead acid batteries aren't quite as bad as you think. Using golf cart batteries people have made some quite usable vehicles. One example (link) was the Red Beastie with a range of 120 miles that managed to tow a trailer containing a second EV pickup on the freeway for 50 miles. Of course that was a bit of an extreme example since nearly half the total weight was batteries. A more typical was golf cart battery based system would be a Mazda Miata (link) with a range of 30 miles and top speed of 65mph. Neither of those would have had good acceleration, but could probably get to 60 mph in 30 seconds. Of course flooded golf cart batteries are pretty low power. For a bit of acceleration (and less maintenance) in exchange for a little range and some $$ people used AGM (absorbed glass mat) lead acid batteries. In the late 90's those were the battery of choice for cars in the National Electric Drag Race Association. A few of those managed to beat Dodge Vipers in the 1/4 mile.
scad mientist, May 02 2021

       [scad_mientist] of course lead acid batteries still have their uses. But they aren’t a good choice for passenger cars. Each of your special cases, though showing some impressive capability in one area, fails in others.   

       For now, lithium batteries offer the best combination of qualities for electric cars. That could change with new battery technologies based on other chemistries. Maybe even some advanced lead battery chemistry that does not as yet exist.   

       But even though bigsleep’s opening line mentions “updated lead acid technology” - he never said what that might be, even when I asked directly in my first anno. Kinda deflates the idea if it depends on a non-existent technology and doesn’t even hint at how it might come to be.   

       Would you call that magical thinking or bad science?
a1, May 02 2021

       I don't know if we should make cars carry round little molten hearts or not.
wjt, May 02 2021

       In general the idea is pitched to a level of technology that doesn't rely on stupidly complex manufacturing techniques that require special machinery. I guess since lead acid batteries have been around for a while, golf buggy batteries are probably the pinnacle of lead acid technology. The first link is almost a post-apocalyptic how-to for making a lead acid battery.
bigsleep, May 02 2021

       Still waiting to hear about the “updated technology” you mentioned to make lead acid batteries practical for passenger cars. If you think golf carts represent the pinnacle of lead batteries, your idea would only succeed if the car buying public will accept golf cart and milk float acceleration, range, and temperature constraints.   

       You willing to go for that yourself? What are you driving these days?
a1, May 02 2021

       [a1] I've covered all your points. Mostly you're just flinging muck and hoping it sticks, so I'm just ignoring that.
bigsleep, May 02 2021

       //if the car buying public will accept golf cart and milk float acceleration, range, and temperature constraints// in a few decades that will be the luxury end of the market.
pocmloc, May 02 2021

       I did solar car racing in the 90’s. By race rules we used 8 or 9 lead-acid batteries which were charged and drained every day by the race, which was typically 100 to 120 miles per day.   

       The race took most of the day. Each car would average 25-30 mph until their batteries were done. Cars typically weighed 800 lbs to 1100 lbs.   

       These were deep-cycle GM research-grade batteries that were made to be abused. By the end of the 9 day race, they were spent and would not hold a charge.   

       To lug 3 or 4 people around in an all-electric vehicle for a decent trip, you would need to lug around a trailer of batteries.
RayfordSteele, May 02 2021

       // I've covered all your points // No, you haven’t.   

       None of your replies address how you would make lead acid batteries suitable for passengers cars, at least to any performance level greater than a gold cart or milk float.
a1, May 02 2021

       [RayfordSteele]! thanks for shining a light on state of the art 20-30 years ago. Has there been much improvement in lead battery technology since then?
a1, May 02 2021

       // (golf carts and milk floats) …in a few decades that will be the luxury end of the market. //   

       [pocmloc] You may be right. I already mentioned that such cars could handle the objective needs of most drivers, at least in the USA. A little old lady driving to the store for a bag of groceries doesn’t “need” anything bigger than a Smart* or similar. But tiny cars have always been a tiny market niche here - people just don’t buy many of them. Smart has even left the US market. Maybe future economic pressures will force the issue.   

       * which use lithium batteries, just sayin’ <link>
a1, May 02 2021

       Not much that’s going to make a staggering difference. The chemistry is what it is. You can improve the shapes of the electrodes and improve the catalyst electrochemical properties to try and make the battery recharge less spongy, but the technology is pretty mature.
RayfordSteele, May 02 2021

       //in a few decades that will be the luxury end of the market//   

       Absolutely. I should have made clear the idea was kind of pitched to a post-apocalyptic / high energy cost world.   

       I was going to suggest using a supercapacitor or Lion battery to give increased initial acceleration, but that's cheating. Instead we just add a regenerative flywheel that can be spun up to speed by the battery. Imagine a Prius drive with an electric motor / flywheel combo.   

       I'm all for clever electrode topology. Even the guy in the first link could make some kind of waffle cut plate. The battery wouldn't last as long, but the capacity would be greater and have lower internal resistance with the large electrode surface area. The reduced lifetime is easily compensated by swapping packs in and out. See 1st [link] for how insanely cheap it is to recondition lead acid batteries.   

       //I did solar car racing in the 90’s. By race rules we used 8 or 9 lead-acid batteries which were charged and drained every day by the race//   

       I'm guessing this 'solar' car race allowed precharging of the batteries - bit cheaty ?   

       //but the technology is pretty mature//   

       What has changed in the last 5 years is a new type of electric motor and dynamic drive as used in the Tesla. That would definitely add to even a golf cart.
bigsleep, May 02 2021

       Yes, the batteries were at full charge to start.   

       Electric motors are at 95% plus efficiency already. That last 5 % isn't going to make any difference.   

       You still need to lug around a heavy trailer of batteries to go anywhere, especially if that anywhere involves going at all uphill.   

       Even if you get 15 12-volt lead-acid batteries in some kind of rental-recycle swap-for-charged program every 100 miles they would still cost much more than several tanks of gas and you wouldn't be assured of their range.
RayfordSteele, May 03 2021

       What's the average use of a car these days? Does everyone really need 0-60 in under 3 secs to go to the dairy(corner store)?
wjt, May 08 2021

       //Even if you get 15 12-volt lead-acid batteries in some kind of rental-recycle swap-for-charged program every 100 miles they would still cost much more than several tanks of gas and you wouldn't be assured of their range.//   

       Now compare Lion batteries to gas.   

       //Does everyone really need 0-60 in under 3 secs//   

       With regenerative braking, the stop/starts don't mean that much so there's a higher budget for acceleration. The bigger issue is range and there are many technologies that will get you to the corner shop and back (50km range) including compressed air motors.
bigsleep, May 08 2021


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