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Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions. Proverbs 18:2
In March 2002, due to a shift in corporate policy, the Toyota RAV4-EV was made available for sale to the general public, but only 328 of them sold. No one knows for certain what prompted Toyota to change their position on the RAV4-EV, since they had long since fulfilled their obligations under the MOA with the California Air Resources Board's zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandate via its fleet lease program. The MSRP was USD 42,000; but in California, ZIP-grant rebates of USD 9,000, decreasing in 2003 to USD 5,000, and a USD 4,000 credit from the Internal Revenue Service brought the price down to a more palatable USD 29,000 (USD 33,000 for some 2003 deliveries), including the home charger. By November 2002, the 328 RAV4-EV’s Toyota had committed to were sold, yet demand was continuing to build. Toyota was caught off-guard by the extent of the demand because the vehicle's retail buyers had outsold the projections far faster than the vehicles could be supplied to market - despite very little advertising, and very little public awareness of the product. There was certainly a market for these vehicles, because many GM EV1, Ford Ranger EV and Honda EV Plus drivers had been reluctantly forced to surrender their cars – in some cases to the crusher – and had become disillusioned with the carmakers. Potential buyers were encouraged by the perception that Toyota was finally playing fair. As it turned out, there were more RAV4-EVs sold than there were cars available. It is noteworthy that Toyota did, in fact, play fair and filled every last order despite the fact that the last few dozen vehicles had to be painstakingly assembled from spare parts due to a shortfall of production components. This unexpected development caused deliveries to trickle on into September 2003. It also caused variations in the vehicles such as heated seats, retractable antennae, mats, etc. Once the last of the 328 EVs was sold in November 2002, the website disappeared and the EV program was unceremoniously scrapped. No additional cars could be bought because Toyota didn’t have anything to sell. The RAV4-EV was based on the 1996-2000 gasoline powered RAV4, which had become obsolete. Production of additional vehicles would only be possible under one of two different scenarios. The first would be if the RAV4-EV was redesigned to fit the 2003 RAV4, and the second would be if production of the 1996 version was resumed. Toyota claimed that tens of thousands of orders would have been necessary for them to resume or continue production, and development time would have been a major obstacle. Whether or not Toyota wanted to continue production, it was unlikely to be able to do so because the EV-95 battery was no longer available. Chevron had inherited control of the worldwide patent rights for the NiMH EV-95 battery when it merged with Texaco, which had purchased them from General Motors. Chevron's unit won a USD 30,000,000 settlement from Toyota and Panasonic, and the production line for the large NiMH batteries was closed down and dismantled. This case was settled in the ICC International Court of Arbitration, and not publicised due to a gag order placed on all parties involved. Only smaller NiMH batteries, incapable of powering an electric vehicle or plugging in, are currently allowed by Chevron-Texaco. So for those seven months in 2002 a full-sized production electric car was available for sale to the general public for the first time in decades. Buying one wasn't easy, however; just one special sales person at only a dozen dealers - and only in California - was authorized to sell the Toyota RAV4-EV. If an individual wasn't already aware of the car, they were generally unable to buy (or even see) one. Many would-be purchasers were steered instead to Toyota's Prius gasoline electric hybrid vehicle, despite having asked about the plug-in car. This info came from Wikipedia
Proverbs 23:9 Do not speak to a fool, for he will scorn the wisdom of your words.
Pressure Obama and the government to exercisee Compulsory Licensing over NiMH battery patents CREATED JULY 2, 2009, AT 12:16 PM BY 2CENTSBOOK A new website, dcmonitor (dot) com, was just created with the purpose of helping citizens put pressure on the government to exercise either eminent domain or compulsory licensing for the NiMH battery technology currently owned by Chevron. Please show your support by visiting it. A little backstory (From the book "Two Cents per Mile" by Nevres Cefo): GM destroyed the GM EV-1, an advanced electric vehicle (EV), as soon as they managed to get the Chairman of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Alan Lloyd, to push for the end of the zero-emissions vehicles mandate (ZEV). Shortly thereafter, GM sold the patents to the incredibly efficient NiMH batteries to ChevronTexaco, who successfully mothballed the large capacity and more powerful models necessary for full electric vehicles. In the mid-1990s, before Rick Wagoner became CEO, GM acquired the patent rights for the NiMH battery from Ovonics, a company founded by the battery’s inventor, Stanford R. Ovshinsky. This purchase appeared to be a smart investment move in response to California’s 1990 ZEV mandate that forced GM and other automakers to produce zero emission, battery-powered electric cars such as the GM EV-1. But General Motors’Vice President of Government Relations, Andy Card (President George W. Bush’s soon to be Chief of Staff), who had actively opposed electric cars for years, soon revealed GM’s true intentions. On October 10, 2000, GM sold their control of the EV batteries to Texaco. Less than a week later, on October 16, 2000, only days after Texaco acquired control of the batteries, Chevron (formerly Standard Oil of California) bought Texaco in a $100 billion merger. The battery patents are now owned by Cobasys, a company that is 70% controlled by Chevron. Shortly thereafter, the Toyota-Panasonic EV-95 product line of proven NiMH batteries (still running today in the Toyota RAV4¬EVs) was shut down when Cobasys and Chevron sued Toyota and Panasonic for patent right infringements. Cobasys (Chevron) prevailed to the tune of $30 million—even though Panasonic claimed vital differences in the battery that advanced the thermo-electrical properties, longevity, and performance of the batteries. Although Panasonic had to pay licensing fees to Cobasys as a result of the lawsuit, Cobasys and Chevron have carefully excluded the right to produce batteries capable of powering EVs. Cobasys/Chevron will only make 8-10 Amh batteries available to the public and limits the licensing of hybrid batteries to auto manufacturers, controlling the scale in which improvements are made to this technology and who can use it. Chevron also maintains veto power over any sale or licensing of NiMH technology. In addition, Chevron maintains the right to seize all of Cobasys’ intellectual property rights in the event that ECD Ovonics (Energy Conversion Devices Ovonics) does not fulfill its contractual obligations. Without access to the more powerful NiMH batteries, Toyota was forced to cancel the production of RAV4-EV vehicles. Unlike GM’s EV-1, Toyota had actually sold the vehicles—not leased them—so they are a living testimony to the incredible technology in this battery. The legacy of this battery cannot be rounded up and crushed in the middle of a desert, as GM did with all its EV-1 vehicles in an effort to hide the successful battery technology in them. Cobasys/Chevron can limit access to new or replacement batteries only. The batteries cannot be sold or imported into the USA, according to one Toyota spokesperson. Only a few used Toyota-Panasonic EV-95 NiMH battery packs, salvaged from crushed vehicles, are available, and those are only for warranty replacements on existing RAV4-EVs. Unfortunately, for Cobasys/ Chevron, the NiMH battery keeps on ticking like an infernal Energizer bunny. With some owners clocking more than 100,000 miles and most with more than a decade of use, hundreds of RAV4¬EVs are still going strong—much to the consternation of GM and the other automakers who contradict this reality with their claims of not having a viable battery.
By Paul M. Rybski Auto manufacturers interested in producing plug-in hybrid or battery-powered vehicles are facing two problems. First, they are determined to use Li Ion battery technology that remains unproven for automobile traction applications. Why are they not using the long-proven NiMH traction batteries that are still in use today? Secondly, these auto manufacturers will be buying their batteries from foreign manufacturers because there are no domestic manufacturers. In our rush to develop vehicles that will free us from petroleum acquired from foreign countries, are we not swapping one foreign dependence for another? Let’s examine both of these issues. Every hybrid automobile in production today uses NiMH batteries, all of which are produced outside of the United States. As pointed out in a recent Union of Concerned Scientists newsletter, these NiMH batteries have been performing extremely well, even though most are far smaller in capacity than drivers would like. However, nearly every auto manufacturer that has announced future production of a plug-in hybrid or fully electric automobile claim their vehicles must run on Li Ion batteries. With the exception of the Tesla and AC Propulsion limited implementations, Li Ion batteries have no track record in traction applications. Yet the Panasonic EV-95 NiMH battery packs used in fully electric Toyota RAV4 EV mini-SUV’s have demonstrated lifetimes in excess of nine years and average vehicle miles in excess of 100,000 miles. Some technologists anticipate only a 50,000-mile lifetime for Li Ion batteries. If NiMH batteries are being used so successfully, why are American manufacturers fixated on Li Ion batteries? Part of the reason is that petroleum company Chevron owns the patent for the Ovonics NiMH traction battery. Under the ruse of saying they have not had sufficiently convincing proposals brought to them, Chevron continues to deny licenses to any company proposing to manufacture new NiMH traction batteries. Equally aggravating is Chevron’s having filed suit against Toyota in 2003 after Chevron had acquired the Ovonics patent. Part of the settlement reached in this suit enjoined Toyota-Panasonic from manufacturing any additional EV-95 batteries. So every RAV4 EV on the road today (about 320 in private hands and an unknown number of fleet use) is running on its original NiMH battery pack. There were some NiMH battery companies “grandfathered in” at the time of the Chevron/Toyota settlement, but their products are either too small to use in place of the EV-95 or they are inferior in performance. Surprisingly, Chevron’s legal constraints on NiMH traction battery manufacture are never mentioned as reasons for American manufacturers’ choice of Li Ion chemistry for their batteries. For example, GM has argued that NiMH batteries are substantially heavier per kilowatt-hour than Li Ion batteries. While this claim is true, such weight had not been a barrier to using NiMH batteries to power the more than 500 Toyota RAV4 EV’s currently on the road for more than 110 miles per charge and for a fleet-average use of over 80,000 miles. Nor was it a barrier when they powered about 400 EV-1’s for more than 110 miles between charges before 2003. Ironically, the Li Ion traction pack proposed by GM for the VOLT will weigh more than an equivalently performing EV-95 battery pack because GM has derated the Li Ion pack’s state-of-charge range compared to that used by Toyota for the EV-95. Finally, regardless of technological base, there are no NiMH or Li Ion batteries manufactured in the United States. One of the reasons many people are pushing for the manufacture of plug-in hybrid and fully-electric vehicles is to reduce the United States’ dependence on foreign oil. With such advocacy, are we not merely switching problems here: from dependence on oil extracted from Middle Eastern countries, whose populations are hostile to Western countries, to dependence on batteries manufactured in the volatile economies of the Asia? SEA should lead the much-needed discussion of how we can obtain an adequate supply of NiMH or Li Ion batteries from American, not foreign, manufacturers for our hoped-for next generation of automobiles. SEA and other “green” organizations, interested in bringing to market as quickly as possible the next generation of hybrid and electric automobiles, should be holding Chevron’s feet to the fire over Chevron’s deliberately blocking the licensing of Ovonics-derivative NiMH technology. They should also be advocating federal subsidies to encourage American industries, such as Johnson Controls and Ovonics, to develop the battery manufacturing plants needed to supply the traction batteries for this next generation of vehicles. The sooner this advocacy begins and stakeholders are engaged, the sooner plug-in hybrid and battery-powered vehicles will appear in auto dealer show rooms. Paul M. Rybski is an associate professor in and former chair of the Department of Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He joined UW-Whitewater in 1987 after having been a research scientist at Yerkes Observatory of the University of Chicago.
Byline: Harry Stoffer Fred Webber says he won't change things much now that he is the permanent head of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. But there's one notable exception. Webber says he will step up efforts to expand the membership of automakers' main Washington lobby. He confirms that Hyundai Motor America and Nissan North America Inc. are the principal targets, calling the Asian companies "critical components'' of the U.S. industry.
Thank you SJC for a much needed post. Some people are not intelligent enough to recognize a polite suggestion.
"You should never have purchased a larger car than you needed. Don’t feel alone, many young people cling to the childish idea that it is always others (like evil big business) that are at fault, not them." ToppaTom Your problem is that you think people on this site actually want to read your emotional slanted views on our young people. Why don't you give us a break and take your emotions to another site. Maybe then some of the more technical EE will come back to this site.