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5772Re: Electric Forklift Design Expertise, ... Any Applicability To PHEV Prototypin

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  • Forbes Bagatelle-Black
    Dec 1, 2005
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      I just spent several days with an Electro Energy board member. I can
      assure you that they have every intention of scaling up production to
      commercial levels ASAP. Keep in mind that many of the same people are
      involved as were involved with EverCell, the Nickel Zinc company that
      tried to go big time a few years ago. EverCell built an impressive
      factory in CT and formed a partnership with another big factory in
      China. Their problem was the product and product marketing. They
      tried to sell a ridiculously expensive battery pack for trolling
      motors for small fishing boats. It cost too much and nobody needed
      it, so it flopped.

      Electro Engergy's bi-polar NiMH battery is going to get
      commericialized as a BEV/PHEV battery. This is a much better target
      market. Auto companies have much deeper pockets than trolling motor
      companies, so they can afford the upfront NRE/R&D costs. They can
      also wait a bit longer for return on their investments. And, most
      importantly, the potential market for PHEVs is HUGE.

      As to working with low tech battery companies... I do that every day
      of my working life. It is an important and often overlooked aspect of
      EV development. At AeroVironment, our primary EV business right now
      is charging forklifts and other industrial vehicles. These are
      low-voltage, low-tech vehicles using 100 year old battery technology,
      but we are continuously improving our fast charging technology to make
      these vehicles more and more competitive with ICE-powered vehicles.
      The progress we are making in battery charging is directly applicable
      to fast-charging "more advanced" batteries as well, and our R&D
      division takes our products and modifies them to use with on-road EVs.

      Another important element regarding working with electric forklifts is
      cost reduction. I've said it before; I'll say it again. We have
      decreased the manufacturing cost of our EV chargers by roughly an
      order of magnitude since I started working for AeroVironment in 1998.
      We've gotten our chargers down to a price where your average
      customer could afford to have one installed in their garage without
      feeling much of a financial pinch (assuming we had demand for on-road
      chargers). And we continue to drive our costs down. So, when BEVs or
      PHEVs are ready for mass-production, we will have affordable fast
      chargers ready and waiting.

      Yours,

      Forbes Bagatelle-Black
      Santa Clarita, CA
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