Former Honda Engineer Says Li-Ion Is Perfect For Hybrids But Not the Answer For EVs

The Hymotion kit not only fits under the load deck, it also complies with the same rear-crash and emissions standards as any new car.

The Hymotion kit not only fits under the load deck, it also complies with the same rear-crash and emissions standards as any new car.

Enlarge Photo

Are lithium ion batteries the key to the future of EVs?  According to John German, author of "Hybrid Powered Vehicles" published by the SAE and former Honda engineer, the answer is no.  But li-ion will have a place in the field of advanced vehicles.  As German told in an interview, li-ion is not the answer for full EVs, but the technology does offer a perfect solution for hybrid vehicles.

According to German, li-ion is not really a suitable solution for EVs because the technology does not offer additional energy at full capacity.  Lithium offers benefits over other types of batteries such as quick recharging capability and lower weight, but according to German, increasing range via lithium technology is unlikely.

However, hybrid vehicles could benefit from lithium.  as German says, the quick discharge and recharge of li-ion suits hybrids and plug-in hybrids perfectly.   Hybrid will make financial sense to buyers soon and li-ion offers lower weight and quicker charging through regenerative braking than other battery types.  Additionally, plug-in times for PHEVs are shorter when equipped with li-ion batteries.

But what about costs?  As we all know li-ion doesn't come cheap.  It's more expensive than some competing battery technologies and consumer dislike having to pay a higher amount for hybrids.  German explains that within 10 to 15 years lithium-ion batteries will decrease in cost to the point where a mainstream buyer will consider a hybrid vehicle.  As German says in the interview with, " In another 10 to 15 years, we should be at the point where the mainstream customer, the average customer, will accept the cost of a hybrid system at $1,000 to $1,500 more. There's enough benefit for mainstream customers to accept it."

So if li-ion doesn't hold the key to the future of EVs, what does?  We are eagerly awaiting that next key breakthrough in battery technology that will drive electric vehicles into the future.

Source:  Hybrid

Posted in:
Follow Us

Comments (9)
  1. Hey remember last year when EESTOR came out with that product that was going to be great for EVs......... Oh! wait, that never happened.

  2. Just a variation on the Naysayer routine. If you 'claim' this or that won't work, you're just a Naysayer unless you make a constructive suggestion.
    Aside from the fact Nissan are already working on lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide cathode with double the energy density of current li-ion, IBM will devote about five years and 50 to 100 people to develop Lithium metal-air batteries can store more than 5,000 watt-hours per kilogram. (A123 M1 cells are around 120 wh/kg)

  3. I don't think this German guy got the memo that about a dozen auto makers are already planning to make EVs based on Li Ion. Really NiMH are probably a better fit for hybrids because they can cycle tens of thousands of time and are usually less than 1kwh which means an extra 20 pounds of weight and 1-2 liters of volume makes no difference.

  4. German may be former Honda but he sounds still pretty loyal to his former masters. Honda's competitiveness is in it's cutting edge ICE technology so it stands to reason that they despise anything that hasn't got one of those in it. The fact that Honda is an ardent promoter of the Hydrogen fuel cell hype says it all. Nothing says "we'll stick to our ICE technology until the oil runs out" than supporting that dead end technology. He's not completely wrong though. Present Li-ion technology isn't quite there yet for mainstream appeal. It's good enough though for a decent BEV production run and it looks like Nissan will fill in that niche nicely. Luckily the world doesn't depend on the likes of Honda to make the first move...

  5. so what is the difference to the batteries made by honda and these batteries from nissan? and how do the hydrogen engines work?

  6. A key to EVs that many folks don't get - some even at tech leadership levels - is that they don't have to be the exact equivalent of a gas car. A Leaf that starts each day with 100+ mi range is ripe for good chunks of the market. Conventional wisdom has been to design for unrealistic, burdensome range targets like 300 mi. Poor use of an expensive component. Lithium is great for realistic EVs. No need to wait for a breakthrough.

  7. Ricky Bobby - we watching you. Maybe we call your boss and tell him you playing games on Internets! Maybe we call you wife tell him you been looking at naked pictures of little puppies! Maybe when Eestore come out you are on list that say "no EESU for Ricky Bobby" how you like that? very funnies - hahahaha you laugh now, but wait till you have no eesu!

  8. Hi, I just watched a great video of a professor at Carnegie Mellon talking about this, and he is suggesting using a small supercapacitor in conjunction with a battery (of whatever sort) which handles regenerative braking much better. In city driving, they found that it allows the battery to see up to 40% less load; because the supercap is caching power. Here's the video -- if you are interested even just a little bit in EV's, I hope you can watch it:
    Sincerely, Neil

  9. No need to wait for a breakthrough in technology. NiMH batteries, the kind used in all hybrids currently on the road such as the Prius, DOES offer additional energy at full capacity, unlike Li-ion. The large capacity format of NiMH batteries has been around since the '90s and has over 12 years' proof of its success in the Toyota RAV4-EV. So why aren't pure electric cars being made with these great NiMH batteries today? Chevron is holding on to these patents because the NiMH large capacity battery technology poses a huge threat to the oil company. Find out how you can help end NiMH battery suppression at

Commenting is closed for old articles.

Get FREE Dealer Quotes

From dealers near you

Find Green Cars


© 2015 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by izmo, Inc.