Sunday, January 27, 2013

Boeing suffer battery could short circuit electric cars

Paul A. Eisenstein, the Detroit Bureau

At 4: 05 pm ET updated: The ongoing investigations of faulty lithium-ion power packs on the new 787 Dreamliner would have implications far beyond the aviation and aerospace industry, some observers to worry that Boeing battery could the emerging market for plug-in, hybrid and other electrified automobile short circuit.

Investigators in the United States and Japan have a spotlight on the lithium used to link the emergency power supply systems on the new Boeing Jet, parked the technology with several recent cases, including a fire at one of the Dreamliner at a gate at Boston Logan field. Some observers point to a series of fires involving Volt and the Fisker Karma uses the batteries in various electric vehicles, including the Chevrolet.

With Boeing history, getting a lot of airplay, "This is definitely a problem," Joe Phillippi, AutoTrends consulting said. "This could be especially bad timing," warned analysts given the push-to-battery-based vehicles to increase in the coming years.

All 50 new jets, which Boeing had so far delivered have been grounded and investigators yesterday visited GS Yuasa, the Japanese manufacturer of lithium batteries on the 787. While some aircraft have used the technology before, Boeing is the most advanced and comprehensive. One of the latest incidents in Dreamliner involved two batteries shows signs of having overwhelmed was, although the others do not, according to investigators.

"We are in the middle of the collection of information, so that if a problem or does not exist has not yet been determined" said Tatsuyuki Shimazu, engineer the Chief worthiness Japan Civil Aviation Bureau Aviation Safety Department.

In connection with lithium-ion batteries in automotive applications, fire involved several investigations were conducted. These include a fire, which destroyed a Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid parked in a garage, Texas last year, and another with Fisker's last year were caught in the water during the Superstorm Sandy in the autumn. Several other battery based vehicles, including a Toyota Prius, also much storage in a port outside Newark (New Jersey) caught fire and it seems their electrical systems shorted salt water.

The Chevrolet Volt, the plug-in hybrid if the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that a battery pack was caught weeks fire, after a volt crash was also a target of the investigators tested in 2011. A second battery later started smoking after it has been tested.

Finally completed, investigators, the Volt problem was mainly the result of the NHTSA test procedure. Yet made General Motors then substantial changes, the likelihood that problems continue to reduce after a crash.

Separately, Fisker announced changes to its battery system design after a fire in connection with a fan cooling system. And the California startup had to recall of the early versions of karma as a design battery supplier A123 was discovered.

Fisker has clearly knocked off initial expectations to contend with revenues. Chevy, suffered the first report of the fire a short-term decline, however, after a test center for NHTSA. Demand soon recovered, however. Sales of the plug-in the last year compared with the level of 2011 - more than tripled, but was still barely half of the GM 45,000 initial target for the American market.

«No questions, such headlines (around the Boeing batteries) do not want to help, battery vehicle sales» for Analyst main source River and others.

Even without such concerns, the auto industry has struggled to increase the demand for high performance technology. Also Nissan or BEV, last week announced that it would introduce below the price tag of the 2012 model coming in $6,000 to a new version of fight to the expectations for the battery-electric vehicle leaf. With various State and federal incentives of the manufacturer announces the blade for less than $20,000 could purchase some buyers.

As for the Volt, consist company which is currently the best-selling "extended drive" vehicle to the American market, officials, that they are satisfied with the way that record sales. Fight against the skeptics, mark Reuss, GM's President of North American operations told reporters "The electric car is not dead."

He is not the only hope is the case. From different manufacturers have begun to roll-out new electrified products from conventional hybrids on the full battery-electric offerings. This includes the new Ford Fusion Energi, the Toyota RAV4-EV, and a plug-in version of the Honda Accord.

The two Japanese makers prefer previously less advanced nickel-metal hydride batteries, officials express concerns about possible problems with lithium technology use. The problem of the Boeing highlights such concerns, although the battery-technology advocates hope that the problem will soon be solved.

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