Sodium–nickel chloride (Zebra) battery
Workhorse Group Incorporated is an American manufacturing company based in Cincinnati, Ohio, currently focused on manufacturing electrically powered delivery and utility vehicles.
The company was founded in 1998 by investors who took over the production of General Motors’ P30/P32 series stepvan and motorhome chassis. By 2005, they were taken over by Navistar International, which had been selling them diesel engines. Navistar then shuttered the plant in 2012 to cut costs after having suffered heavy losses.
In March 2015, AMP Electric Vehicles took over Workhorse Custom Chassis, changing the company name to Workhorse Group Incorporated, and began offering a range of electrically powered delivery vans.
The eStar was an all-electric van. Production began in March 2010 and first deliveries began two months later via its Workhorse Group division. The technology used in eStar was licensed to Navistar in 2009 in a joint venture with Modec and Navistar bought the intellectual property rights from the Modec’s bankruptcy administrators in 2011. The introduction of the eStar was supported by a US$39.2 million U.S. Department of Energy stimulus grant under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The eStar had a 5,100 lb (2,300 kg) payload capacity available with a 14- or 16-foot cargo box. The vehicle was powered by a 70 kW 102 hp electric motor powered by an 80kWhr lithium-ion battery pack supplied by A123 Systems, and also used regenerative braking. The electric van had a range of 100 mi (160 km), and a full charge took between 6 and 8 hours. By May 2010 the eStar had received U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and CARB certifications. The eStar also met all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).
The first vans were delivered in May 2010 to FedEx Express for use in Los Angeles. Other customers included Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), The Coca-Cola Company, and Canada Post. The eStar had a price of US$150,000.
Navistar discontinued the eStar van in March 2013, as part of a corporate restructuring plan to focus on current profitability
A lower-temperature variant of NaS batteries was the development of the ZEBRA (originally, “Zeolite Battery Research Africa”; later, the “Zero Emissions Batteries Research Activity”) battery in 1985, originally developed for electric vehicle applications. The battery uses NaAlCl4 with Na±beta-alumina ceramic electrolyte.
2 battery operates at 245 °C (473 °F) and uses molten sodium tetrachloroaluminate (NaAlCl
4), which has a melting point of 157 °C (315 °F), as the electrolyte. The negative electrode is molten sodium. The positive electrode is nickel in the discharged state and nickel chloride in the charged state. Because nickel and nickel chloride are nearly insoluble in neutral and basic melts, contact is allowed, providing little resistance to charge transfer. Since both NaAlCl
4 and Na are liquid at the operating temperature, a sodium-conducting β-alumina ceramic is used to separate the liquid sodium from the molten NaAlCl
4. The primary elements used in the manufacture of these batteries have much higher worldwide reserves and annual production than lithium.
Modec was an electric vehicle manufacturer in Coventry, in the United Kingdom, specialising in Commercial vehicles in the N2 category. It unveiled its first model in April 2006 and announced its intention to commence series production in March 2007, with the first production vehicles destined for Tesco. Following a long-term decline in sales, it entered administration in March 2011, with all remaining assets and intellectual property sold to Navistar International.
The only product of the Modec company was the Modec EV commercial vehicle. It was produced in three versions; a chassis cab, box van and a dropside. All three shared a common wheelbase of 141.7 in (3.60 m) and a steel ladder frame chassis. The Modec has a kerb weight of 3.3 tonnes and a max gross capacity of 6.05 tonnes.
The vehicles use an 102 bhp (76 kW; 103 PS) motor with 221 lb⋅ft (300 N⋅m) of torque and an exchangeable lead-acid battery which is charged from an external charger than requires a 32amp 3-phase supply to charge the vehicle for 6 hours, it also has options for Lithium-Ion Phosphate or Sodium Nickel chloride batteries.
It has a 100-mile (160 km) range and a 50 mph (80 km/h) top speed
Following a long-term decline in sales with a total production of around 400 vehicles, and following the failure of a rescue deal with Navistar, Modec entered administration in March 2011 with debts of over £40m. Navistar subsequently bought the intellectual property rights from administrators Zolfo Cooper.
Following the closure of the business and sale of the assets, Liberty Electric Cars hired the entire Modec engineering team and set up a new subsidiary “Liberty E-Tech”. After failing in January 2011 to agree a deal with Navistar to buy the brand, in July 2011 Liberty launched a service called “e-Care” to service and maintain Modec vehicles, which presently covers the UK, France, Germany and Dubai.
It was invented in 1985 by the Zeolite Battery Research Africa Project (ZEBRA) group at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria, South Africa. It can be assembled in the discharged state, using NaCl, Al, nickel and iron powder. The positive electrode is composed mostly of materials in the solid state, which reduces the likelihood of corrosion, improving safety. Its specific energy is 90 Wh/kg; specific power is 150 W/kg. The β-alumina solid ceramic is unreactive to sodium metal and sodium aluminum chloride. Lifetimes of over 1,500 cycles and five years have been demonstrated with full-sized batteries, and over 3,000 cycles and eight years with 10- and 20-cell modules. For comparison, LiFePO4 lithium iron phosphate batteries store 90–110 Wh/kg, and the more common LiCoO2 lithium-ion batteries store 150–200 Wh/kg. A nano lithium-titanate battery stores 72 Wh/kg and can provide power of 760 W/kg.
The ZEBRA’s liquid electrolyte freezes at 157 °C (315 °F), and the normal operating temperature range is 270–350 °C (520–660 °F). Adding iron to the cell increases its power response. ZEBRA batteries are currently manufactured by FIAMM Sonick and are used in the Modec Electric Van