[rant] If A123 cells are so great....

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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by mvly » Aug 07 2013 8:36pm

Stevil_Knevil wrote:Image

You mean these? Awkward time for American-made LiFePO4 cells...

..enter B456 :|

http://green.autoblog.com/2013/05/22/a1 ... ankruptcy/
Sounds reasonable. I totally forgot about this incident. Since they are liquidating, it makes sense for these dealers to pop up and sell these cells.

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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by wb9k » Aug 07 2013 8:39pm

What incident? I think you are confused.
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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by arkmundi » Aug 07 2013 9:34pm

http://www.a123systems.com/solutions-co ... -vacps.htm
Authorized Resellers
A123's only authorized online reseller of individual battery cells for direct purchase is buya123batteries.com.
wb9k wrote:Open and shut case--they are legit. I've already stated my opinion on the "B-grade" cells, and I stand by it, though it's always good to verify, and if I was in a position where I had to pay for these cells, I would contact them and ask. Apparently others would rather cast aspersion with no substantiation whatsoever.

If anyone does buy cells through this channel, please share your experiences here. I would hope the service is good, but like I said, I have no idea what people are behind it.
Hey, many thanks for your contributions on the ongoing A123 AMP20 prismatic cell dialog. FYI, I finally got my Thunder 1220 balance charger in and a balance harness installed on my 12S 36V battery pack. Tonight joined up with the Massachusetts Climate Summer cyclist as they pass through Worcester on their way to Cape Cod, the final leg of their Summer Heat tour. They were VERY interested in my "state of the art" battery, ebikes and the whole possibility of getting people out of their cars.

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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by wb9k » Aug 08 2013 8:04am

Hey Ark....I'm happy you find my posts useful. There are lots of great people out there who want us to succeed...and a very vocal minority who want us to fail.

I have to say something in light of all the "B456" stuff, which has been repeatedly reported in misleading or downright incorrect ways by multiple media outlets who apparently can't be bothered to check facts or deal with any kind of complexity whatsoever. The old company, A123 Systems Inc., went into bankruptcy toward the end of 2012. This was a long and convoluted process, but at the end of the day, Wanxiang Clean Energy USA (a subsidiary of Wanxiang, the largest non-government owned company in China) bought all of A123's material assets except that which pertained to US military contracts--that part of the company was bought by another interest based in the Chicago area. Wanxiang has organized the company into several basically autonomous groups, all under the umbrella of the entity A123 Systems, LLC.. For the purposes of winding down the legal and corporate matters of the old A123 Systems Inc. estate, the old entity still had (has) to exist for some period of time, and the terms of the bankruptcy stipulate that the old entity must change its name from A123 Systems to something else. Someone apparently had a sense of humor and dubbed the old shell "B456 Systems"...and ever since, there has been confusion about the name of A123 Systems, LLC, the company I still work for. By the time B456 had its new name, all of the old A123's assets had been transferred to Wanxiang (a tier 1 automotive supplier, not a car maker), including factories and their inventories of cells. A123 LLC is also dealing with the old scrap material. In short, "B456" has never had any cells to sell to anyone, nor any other kind of material inventory to liquidate because B456 is nothing more than a corporate shell that exists only for legal reasons following a bankruptcy.

Incredibly, the media immediately began reporting that A123 Systems had changed its name to B456 and multiple reports have stated that it's B456 that is presently making batteries for customers. Nothing could be further from the truth, but it apparently matters little because nobody else can be bothered to check facts either. My experience in the bankruptcy and watching the media (especially Fox and the right-wing blogosphere, who seemed perfectly happy to simply make stuff up) get the story wrong over and over really shook my faith in contemporary American journalism. I have a greatly elevated sense of skepticism about virtually all media after having been through that. By and large, the press just regurgitates whatever BS is fed to it--much like its audience who still presume the media are actually doing their jobs. They are generally not capable of parsing technical subjects and don't seem to try very hard either.

There, now you're better informed that 99% of the American public on what B456 really is.
dh
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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by footloose » Aug 08 2013 8:21am

Thanks! Great explanation. B456... Apparently there's a lawyer out there somewhere with a sense of humor. When we hang all the lawyers he'll have to go of course, but he can be at the back of the line :wink:

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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by agniusm » Aug 08 2013 4:30pm

Strange things happening on A123 official re-seller site. I checked yesterday when i posted the link and green ones were at 9.75USD, then Bigmoose posted the image and they went indeed to 5USD a piece. Little later they had 500 pcs in stock and the price went back up to 9.75USD. Looking today they have 4000pcs in stock and they are back at 5USD + DISCONTINUED ITEM.
Whats happening there? wb9k, do you have something to do with this as it fits the time frame, after you described what might indicate B grade, they changed it to discontinued item? Blind guess but perhaps you are a bit more up the ladder in A123 then you try to show us :)?

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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by wb9k » Aug 08 2013 4:37pm

I'm not high up in the company, but my boss is a director....not a lot of layers here. If my post had anything to do with any changes at the site, I am completely unaware of it. FWIW, the verbiage "discontinued item" was there from the very first time I saw the webpage. Are you sure you didn't look at their page for current "regular" 26650's, which have always been listed at $9.50 (to my knowledge), and then meander back to the page with the older cells? Numbers of items in stock changing shouldn't be a surprise...I can't really explain the rest if your account is accurate. Sorry I can't be more helpful.
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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by bigmoose » Aug 08 2013 4:47pm

Don't know if this helps or if I misunderstood your post... the $5 M1-A cells that I posted were off of the "clearance" link. The regular link for M1-B cells were $9.75 I think when I posted the screen shot.

On the topic of folks posting on the forum from relevant industries. I think we have upwards of 6 to perhaps a dozen under their chosen user names. I always thought if they wanted to further identify themselves it was up to them. I don't think we gain anything by "outing" them. Just my opinion. I would sure hate to loose any of the 6 to 12 folks that have helped us all so much by making their professional life difficult for them. Some companies support involvement, some don't. I know in my past job I could talk to anyone technically; but if a media representative called I couldn't say a word without a public relations person on the line or present for the interview and that was even after a week resident course in "interacting with the media".
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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by 999zip999 » Aug 08 2013 5:01pm

Wb9k your input is great and glad you do share what you can. Remember E.S. can scare off the best. So don't worry.
Last edited by 999zip999 on Aug 09 2013 1:11am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by agniusm » Aug 08 2013 5:08pm

Was a glitch on my side. Dont try to expose, just curiosity thing.

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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by wb9k » Aug 08 2013 9:29pm

My identity is easy to discern with everything you have right in front of you. I don't hide myself on the web, and I'm not about to start. I stand by my words. I think I manage to stay within the limits of what's proper to discuss here as far as anyone's intellectual property goes. Most of what I share here is already out there somewhere. The whole EV industry needs the crowd of experimenters and early adopters to have some successes too. If a bunch of really enthusiastic geeks can't make our stuff work, we're in trouble. I can't see any harm in helping people get what they should out of our cells. It's hard for me to imagine brass coming down on me for trying to facilitate that, especially since we are now apparently making cells available to the masses.

Anyway, it takes a lot more than anything I've seen here to scare me off a board.
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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by arkmundi » Aug 08 2013 9:48pm

A123 cells are great, so I'd be interesting to know other purchasing arrangements with A123 under the new org, towards: new guy looking for a great battery manufacturer to buy and large bulk cooperative purchasing. Whether possible and how. Again, many thanks.

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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by countermeasure » Aug 08 2013 10:46pm

Out of curiosity, I called the person behind the "authorized dealer" for A123 cells. His name is Erik.

This is what we talked about:
I asked about the B grade cells and what it means. He told me he just got the B grade cells from Maine. And honestly have no idea what that B grade is. He told me there is A grade. B grade. And scrap grade. Stuff you get from eBay is likely scrap grade. I don't know if this is true or not.

All cells are made in China. Especially cylindrical cells. I forgot to ask him where the primastic 20Ah cells are made.

The M1B cells can be purchased for $7/each. These are A grade cells.

The M1A cells, B grade, can be purchased $5 each.

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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by Toorbough ULL-Zeveigh » Aug 09 2013 3:27am

wb9k wrote:Incredible. Ignore button, here I come.

eww, now the button's all sticky.

you can't possibly be surprised since you were clearly warned in the thread's title that this is a [rant].
also seeing how he's the author of the thread, shouldn't you ignore his thread as well?


***mod chop chop ... Y. ( cleaning up one post and it's quotes.. there is no need for what was being spewed.. )



it's not that A123 are so great.
it's only because beggars can't be choosers.

there are no real alternatives out there available to us in large format cells (15Ah+) which isn't even all that large.
the consumer market is 3rd or even 4th tier when it comes to getting our hands on new technology.
top tier are black projects/groups (such as the american military manned space program), then regular military, then industrial users with us as the bottom feeders.

we get the hand-me-downs only after they've moved on to something better.
so LFP is absolutely correct when he says ferrophosphate is no longer state of the art but that's all us plebians are allowed to have.
even then we're supposed to slap our fins together in glee how lucky we are to pay thru the nose for a b-grade of an outdated battery technology.

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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by agniusm » Aug 09 2013 3:28am

whilechukwuzout wrote:This thread has totally gone to hell.
...and thats a good thing :)

Could wb9k comment on what means a grade, b grade cells?

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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by Spacey » Aug 09 2013 4:50am

http://www.custom-ebikes.com is my new Ebike company serving the Uk and Europe
Free Uk shipping over £49.99

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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by bigmoose » Aug 09 2013 7:12am

He already stated what he thought B grade was, just a few posts above!
wb9k wrote:Interesting. I have a hunch about those "B-grade" cylindrical cells. Notice that they also call them "discontinued items". You may or may not be aware that these cells have been through a revision lately that bumped their performance up a bit. For example, the latest 26650 cell has a nominal capacity of 2.5 Ah, up from 2.3 Ah in the old rev. Other characteristics are similarly enhanced with the newer cells. I suspect these are now B-grade only because there's a new A-grade in town. Maybe somebody at that site can answer--I honestly have no idea who runs that website. The "discontinued" note makes me think these are probably remaining stocks of the older chemistry. It's possible though, that these were B-grade cells even in their own time. I would recommend interested parties contact the vendor for clarification.
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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by Hillhater » Aug 09 2013 7:45am

Toorbough ULL-Zeveigh wrote: there are no real alternatives out there available to us in large format cells (15Ah+).
Well there is still EIG and Enerdel cells available..not cheap, but certainly available ! :wink:
This forum owes its existence to Justin of ebikes.ca

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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by agniusm » Aug 09 2013 9:43am

bigmoose wrote:He already stated what he thought B grade was, just a few posts above!
Well, i wasn't referring to exact situation and particular cell, i read posts usually, might skip some by accident!! I was asking regarding all cells that are passing QC and sorted to A grade and B grade. What determinate cell grade when QC. Simply why and what is worse on B grade cells compared to A grade, perhaps it is too much fuss about it in ordinary low-mid range applications?

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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by wb9k » Aug 09 2013 9:58am

It's a fair question, and it sounds like Erik isn't sure what exactly it means. I would ask for a guaranteed minimum capacity rating for the cells and a typical 2C discharge DCR. The answer will tell you if they're B-grade even among their own kind, or if they are simply older-style cells (the former is sounding more likely now, from the posts above). I'm still looking into what exactly is compromised with B-grade, but I'm sure it's mostly capacity, probably a slight impedance rise as well. If I ever get my hands on some B-grade pouches to sell, you can bet I'll have those answers before I start selling.
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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by wb9k » Aug 09 2013 10:06am

countermeasure wrote:Out of curiosity, I called the person behind the "authorized dealer" for A123 cells. His name is Erik.

This is what we talked about:
I asked about the B grade cells and what it means. He told me he just got the B grade cells from Maine. And honestly have no idea what that B grade is. He told me there is A grade. B grade. And scrap grade. Stuff you get from eBay is likely scrap grade. I don't know if this is true or not.

All cells are made in China. Especially cylindrical cells. I forgot to ask him where the primastic 20Ah cells are made.

The M1B cells can be purchased for $7/each. These are A grade cells.

The M1A cells, B grade, can be purchased $5 each.
Cylindrical mass-production has been in China for several years now. The pouch cell is presently built only in Livonia, MI to my knowledge. The Korean plant was shut down over a year ago.
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Toorbough ULL-Zeveigh   100 MW

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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by Toorbough ULL-Zeveigh » Aug 09 2013 11:24am

Hillhater wrote:
Toorbough ULL-Zeveigh wrote: there are no real alternatives out there available to us in large format cells (15Ah+).
Well there is still EIG and Enerdel cells available..not cheap, but certainly available ! :wink:
you make my point.
being forced to buy thousand lot at a time indicates that these are primarily aimed at the tier3 industrial users.
to me 'available' means i can go to some store & buy single lot but i would extend that to anything less than 100 lot.





Hillhater wrote: Hmm. ?...
Odd that all the cells on that site are listed as "Out of Stock"
Anf the prices ??/ ..$70 for the 20 Ahr pouch :shock:

you always could buy A123 products via their authorised distributor (Maivsen ?) ..but the cost was also a little hard to swallow compared to other options.

the money aspect in both the pricing & MOQ is the always the primary mechanism of control.
if i can't afford the minimum quantity just to get my hands on one then that's the same as being unavailable.


agnisium wrote:The prices are high therefore this thread perhaps should be about pricing not availability at this moment of time. looks like childish anger basically saying: They are (edit) frockers because i cant buy Bentley for the price of VW.
then lets talk about pricing.
why do we have to pay bentley prices but get old VW tech.
why do batteries cost what they do?

my simplistic way of looking at things is that in the manufacture of anything it's the raw cost of materials that represents a hard floor.
everything else like r&d, design, marketing, whatever gets divided evenly over the production run so their impact on unit cost gets ever smaller the larger the batch which approaches zero per unit as you approach infinity units.

the raw material of a cell is nothing more than a can full of chemicals not much different than a can of vegetable soup.
or in the case of a prismatic cell, a tin of sardines or maybe a dozen tins depending on the size.
so why is it that a 300ml can of soup or tin of sardines can be had for less than a dollar when a 35ml can almost one-tenth the size like a123's 26650 m1 cell is about $10.
sure the materials in the cell might be worth more but are they really 50 to 100 times more valuable?
"i doan thinn so lucy", lithium is supposed to be among the cheapest chemicals around.
so then what are we really paying for?
i've never heard a good answer to that.

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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by arkmundi » Aug 09 2013 11:29am

wb9k wrote:Cylindrical mass-production has been in China for several years now. The pouch cell is presently built only in Livonia, MI to my knowledge. The Korean plant was shut down over a year ago.
Explains why cellman is having difficulty sourcing cells for his packs, as he was getting them from Korea. I believe he may be switching to more reliable suppliers, not that A123 won't be improving soon, but he's got a business to run.

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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by whilechukwuzout » Aug 09 2013 7:09pm

why the hell do my posts keep getting deleted?

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Re: [rant] If A123 cells are so great....

Post by bowlofsalad » Aug 09 2013 7:18pm

Space ships with ever lasting life support, a robotic automation system for defense and repair and a cold fusion power supply is great, why don't you run down to wallyworld and pick us up each one?

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