Anyway, we set off across town at a very brisk pace (in China that is very fast..) weaving in and out of the dense traffic. Our driver did not speak a great deal of English but we learnt on arrival at the TS offices that the car was powered by TS batteries. In fact it was one of two cars that had been hand-built for Chairman Mao and had been bought by the company as demonstrators.(VIP treatment for backpackers in a futuristic ex-Chairman Mao limo - how surreal is that?! EVUK Ed.).
Richard's presentation was one of the best I can remember at the EAA-SV chapter meetings. He was very down to earth and well informed. I enjoyed his anecdote about getting to drive Chairman Mao's bomb-proof limo that had been converted to an EV by Thunder Sky! As Richard said, "It's not the best donor vehicle for an EV, but it certainly is unique!"
One of the main points I got from his presentation is that he wants to work with tinkerers and converters and can supply complete LiFePo systems that include a BMS system and charger. his quote for the Thunder Sky cells was $0.50/Watt hour (not including BMS). One of the EAA members (Warren) pointed out that Optima yellow tops sell for about $0.35 per Watt hour. Thunder Sky claims that with a proper BMS and charge/discharge cycles within spec, their cells are good for 2,000 cycles at 80% DoD, or 3,000 cycles at 70% DoD. Optimas are good for 200-500 cycles. worst case here you are getting four times the cycle life for less than 1.5 times the cost. Seems like this is a no-brainer, especially with the cost of lead going through the roof.
Another crucial point Richard made is that the Thunder Sky cells must be kept within spec for charge and discharge. Also they must be kept in compression while charging. If you treat the cells correctly they will function as advertised, BUT they do not tolerate abuse. This info jives with what I have read on the Thunder Sky Yahoo group. If you use a proper BMS and discharge within spec they are great, if you abuse them AT ALL they die.
All in all a great presentation. I plan on contacting Richard to see how much a 40Ahr pack at 48 volts would cost.