193: Hybrid Batteries – An Old New Idea for EVS


Matt and Sean talk about a new model of hybrid electric vehicle batteries, and revisit how Undecided gets made.

Watch the Undecided with Matt Ferrell episode How This Battery Is Revolutionizing Energy Storage https://youtu.be/NWdZtS3tVV8?list=PLnTSM-ORSgi7uzySCXq8VXhodHB5B5OiQ

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On today’s episode of Still To Be Determined, we’re going to be talking about hybrid batteries, power usage questions still lurk in the comments, and how the sausage gets made. Hey everybody. As usual, I’m Sean Ferrell. I’m a writer. I write some sci fi. I write some stuff for kids, including Plug Plug, my most recent, The Sinister Secrets of Singe, which is available in bookstores now, and I’m just generally curious about technology.

Luckily for me, My brother is that man from Undecided with Matt Ferrell, which takes a look at emerging tech and its impact on our lives. And Matt, how are you doing today?

I’m doing great. How about you?

I’m doing okay. Some eagle eyed viewers may recognize that I have changed locations yet again. Again?

Yes. And I’m back to the old digs where I, I, we’ve recorded, and I was usually set up here in our living room slash office slash basement space. And I moved into my son’s vacated room as he moved to college because it was a little more private. I had the door I could shut. I would be out of the way a little bit more, but I had to return here today for one reason and one reason alone.

And I’ll sum it up in one little word, the frigging New York city marathon. I’m a writer. You can trust me that that’s one word. My brother, my, uh, my son’s room faces the avenue that we live on and the avenue that we live on is a major thoroughfare of the New York City Marathon. So right now there are thousands of people in front of my building screaming at people they don’t know to keep on running and they do.

But enough about the marathon and me and I have other stories about the marathon that I won’t share here because they’re not. Related to the podcast. They’re also a little off color, but we’ll leave that to another time. And we’ll get into some commentary on some previous episodes, like this comment from episode 190, in which Matt and I discussed new models of wind turbines and Faustino jumped in just to like, I’m perfectly.

In sync with Faustino who wrote, I mean, rotating mandlebrot turbines on top of the blades of bigger turbines. Sounds awesome. Also dangerous and stupid, which makes it even more awesome somehow. . Yes, yes, yes. Faustino. That’s of course a reference to the turbine designs, which look like. I mean, let’s be honest.

They almost look like a joke. It’s like taking a turbine, putting other little turbines on that big turbine and replacing those turbines with more turbines and so on and so on and so on. And eventually it’s just turtles all the way down. There was also some commentary in a previous episode and every now and then this kind of comment catches my eye.

So I just wanted to give you Matt an opportunity to restate something that you do state in almost every video. But I think it’s maybe worth a little bit of a bigger conversation. Somebody saying in the comments, Oh, this is just one giant advert with a lot of little details sprinkled in. So I am going to start this off by saying in no way, shape or form, have I been compensated for anything that we talk about.

We talk about a lot of different companies and there’s no payday on my behalf. And in almost every video that Matt produces, I love the fact that this comment came in when Matt’s videos usually start with this video is brought to you by company X and then there’s a commercial for company X embedded in the video.

Nobody else is paying you anything.

No, it’s, this is something that comes up a lot and it’s this, uh, skepticism taken to an extreme. Like the view that kind of everybody’s out to get you. And everybody’s lying on social media. And so ergo, Matt’s lying too. And this content creator is lying too. I don’t get paid by these companies.

I’m using these companies as. Um, an example of something I think that’s really interesting. Um, when I talk about technologies that are in the research phase, I get hit with, Oh, that’s never going to happen. Then if I talk about a company that’s just starting to bring something to the markets actually doing it while you’re paid by that company, it’s like, no matter what I do, it’s like, if I talk about something too early, I get criticized.

If I talk about something that’s a company’s actually doing, I get criticized for being on the take 99 percent of the time. I’m reaching out to companies for information. They’re not reaching out to me, uh, for these companies, for these kinds of videos. In this video specifically, like the one that this probably came up in, I did not have any contact with this company.

So no money changed hands, nothing like that. And I always, always, always have, always will state clearly in every video, if I received a product for free, You know, like something gave me something to check out. I will always state that if I got paid actual money by a company, I will always state that.

That’s why I say at the beginning of every video, this video is brought to you by Surfshark. It’s like because they paid me to say that. So I am stating that they’re a sponsor. I will never, ever not state that. So it’s like a canary in the coal mine kind of a thing. If it hasn’t been stated, you can assume no money or compensation or anything has changed hands.

Yeah. So I am not, uh, a paid sponsor of those companies. Yeah. Um, I just find it very kind of amusing that this happens. It’s not just my channel. I see it all the time on other people’s channels. Yeah. People just take that skepticism to a really, really high level. Yeah. And there,

there’s, I mean, even if all you do is watch the channel big picture, like over time, you would have to start to see.

How would there be, how would that be sustainable for you to be getting money from every single topic that you’re talking about? Like if that amount of money was flowing into YouTubers, you’d see a million channels like yours all talking about the exact same product because they’d all be getting like the fact that you in some cases are talking to researchers.

Like long form interviews where you talk to somebody for an hour from NASA. You know, like NASA is not paying Matt to talk

about, I mean, it’s

just, it’s, it’s something that comes up in the, in the comments occasionally. And it, and it always makes me scratch my head. Um, and then last week we talked about your context and your power usage versus other people.

And. You and I talked about that here, and then here’s just me asking our listeners and our viewers to keep putting word of mouth out there. Get your friends, get other people to listen to this podcast, because our conversation about that topic didn’t reach the ears of people who in just the past 24 hours left more comments.

on your last video saying, what the hell are you doing with all this power? How are you using that much electricity? Including one commenter who said. And I absolutely love this. How are you using that much electricity? In my small one bedroom apartment, I’m only using this much.


just answered your own question

there, sir. And I was like, how do you type that out and not realize? And not see. My small one bedroom apartment uses a lot less electricity than your multi bedroom house that you run a business out of. Yes. Yeah. All that is to say… This is the cycle of YouTube, this is the cycle of media content, and this is the sort of commentary that comes back.

So, I’m bringing that up not because I’m trying to put out a fire, but because I’m trying to put into the conversation the fact that neither Matt or I are benefiting. Financially, from naming a specific company, talking about a specific tech. That’s not what the point of this is. And also. We’re not going to keep you talking.

Yes. We’re not going to keep you talking. You know, lord, help me. Like how I would love somebody to bring a wind turbine and plant it in the backyard right here, and I could just start pumping out my own electricity.

It, in, in defense of the people that have that view that I’m on the take and I’m getting paid by company X and company Y, I can understand why it’s happening.

Because there are. People in social media that do exactly that, they are nefarious, they do have ill intent, they are trying to get rich and profit off of people. Um, there’s a channel called CoffeeZilla that’s fantastic that goes into deep dives on scams with, around cryptocurrency scams on social media.

Uh, like Logan Paul is, he’s done some horrible stuff. And so it’s like you see people like Logan Paul who are abusing his audience and selling He’s, he’s selling stuff and profiting off of the loss of his, his audience. Um, it’s really gross. And you, you see that, so you assume everybody else is doing it.

It’s like, but no, not everybody else is doing that. It’s like, for the part of, basically the way it all works out is most people The majority of people are not doing that, but it’s the few that are that are kind of like casting this shadow that make a lot of people think that it’s this commonplace.

Right. On now to our conversation about Matt’s most recent episode, which was from October 31st, 2023, how this battery is revolutionizing energy storage. And it’s a really, I mean, you, you multiple times in the conversation that you have in the video, uh, point out this seems obvious. And in fact, it’s so obvious that it has in fact been done hybrid vehicles exist and various merging of different things, even from a large scale perspective to say like, well, energy creation from wind turbines and solar feeding into the same power grid is effectively a form of hybridization of power generation.

So this is not new, but it’s new in the sense that this is now making a leap. Potentially, and in the short term, by which I mean a few years, what was it, BMW that signed a deal with one Yep. To bring this model of, of end of next year. Yeah. So, yeah, just a brief bit of speculation on your part. What is it going to do for BMW to be are, is it, are we just going to be seeing commercials, not this coming Super Bowl, but the following one saying now on the market, the SUV, the electric SUV with the longest range.

Is that potentially what we’re looking at?

Potentially. Um, the one thing I, I, I, this is me putting my user experience cap on again, is from an end user’s point of view, they should not care what the battery is inside their car. Period. Full stop. It’s like… You don’t care if your car has mobile gasoline or shell gasoline or gulf gasoline.

It’s kind of like it’s what’s under the hood doesn’t matter if the car goes when you push the pedal and it stops when you push the other pedal and it gets, and if it’s advertised to go 300 miles and it goes 300 miles, that’s all you really do care about as a user. Um, so I think what the ultimate thing for BMW is going to be.

I’m curious to see how they’re going to do this. If they’re going to sell it as the longest range EV on the market, or if they’re just going to try to come out with a car with a similar range to what everybody else is doing, but because their battery is potentially cheaper to manufacture and put in there, they’re going to help their profit margins, which means they can sell a car at a very competitive price.

So it’s like, I’m not sure exactly what they’re going to do here. It’s like, I’m really curious to see which way they’re going to go. They

could conceivably go both as well. Yes. That’s what I was about to say. You could put a car out on the market that has the longest range and make it like a family, very family friendly SUV vehicle.

And then also have a smaller midsize that could just be 3, 000 less than any of the other cars of similar size on the market.

Well, a lot of EVs, it’s like, this is what’s weird. It’s like with a gas car, you go out to buy a gas car and it’s like, you’re not saying, I want to get the 500 mile range version.

It’s like, nobody does that. Yeah. But with EVs you do. So oftentimes you’ll have an EV and they sell two models of the Model 3 or the three models where you can get the long range or the short range version. And it’s like, I wouldn’t be surprised if BMW does that where they have the affordable one, which is a similar range as everybody else.

And then they have a top tier model that has some bananas range of, you know, 600 miles that just blows your mind. So they could have the bragging rights, but also still offer a very, uh, competitive priced

SUV as well. Is BMW also one of the companies that is big in manufacturing, um, large trucks? Rig trucks for hauling.

I don’t, I don’t know. , I dunno what

they, it. ’cause this, it strikes me as we’re con as we’re talking, uh, is this potentially going to have the largest impact? Maybe not on the car side, but on the large hauling rig side where if you have a batteries that could effectively be the right size and weight that that industry has been looking for, but get longer range.

That is what they, that is what they need. So, yes. Uh. It’s interesting to think in those terms too. Does this not necessarily become the biggest impact on the car market, but on the future of hauling and shipping across, across large distances? It very much could.

Yeah. That’s a, that’s a good point. I was curious


Your conversation, your focus of your video was very heavily in the, um, vehicle side of it. But there’s another aspect of this and it was brought to my mind by this comment from Quickened who wrote, this looks very promising. Finally, someone putting technology to work. Can’t wait to see further advancement.

I bet the motorcycle industry is licking its chops. That was another aspect of this that was interesting to think of like, okay, if you scale it down to motorcycle. Size or moped size, even how dependent is this on scale? Could this be scaled down potentially to that smaller vehicle size or even smaller?

Is this something you mentioned potentially a home battery, home storage? In the form of, you know, tombstone sized thing in your garage that just helps, you know, your, your home usage. And it’s very easy to see that in the short term spike energy usage, quick energy usage side versus the long term slow build, slow to release side, that does mesh beautifully with a home’s use.

Case scenario during the day and certain peak times versus overnight and just background use. So I’m curious how, how small scale are they looking? Is this potentially something that could go down to the size of a moped or a motorbike or even smaller?

Well, for everything we saw on this company, they’re squarely focused on solving that user experience around electric vehicles.

Stop, full stop. So I don’t know if they’re looking at small motorcycle sized stuff or truck sized stuff like you just brought up, but there’s nothing about this tech that would say it wouldn’t work for those two small electric vehicles and large electric vehicles. It absolutely could work in those, but I think what they’re doing is they’re focusing on the most lucrative part of the market, which is, you know, those passenger vehicles going in there first.

But it wouldn’t surprise me if they branch out to those other things. But technologically, there’s no reason why not. On the home battery side though, you’d think that a home would hammer a battery in a harder way than a vehicle. But it really depends on what you are looking at. It’s like how it’s hammering it.

Like an electric vehicle is a high voltage Like when you’re hitting that pedal and it needs to pump out those electrons, it is really hammering the battery hard. Where a home, you kind of have a fixed voltage. It’s like, you know, it might be 240 volts or, you know, 120 or something like that. So it’s not a high voltage impact like it is in an electric vehicle.

So it’s, it’s, it’s very different. So a home is not going to be as grueling on a battery as an electric vehicle is. So this technology may not make the most sense for a home battery in that case. And for a motorcycle, a lot of people brought this up in the comments on this video. We’re asking like, why couldn’t you do this with super capacitors?

So you have a lithium ion phosphate battery with a super capacitor. Um, and you absolutely could, um, the reason I don’t think we’ve seen that in like electric vehicles is there’s not enough storage in that supercapacitor and the cost might make it not worth it. But for a motorcycle, small little engine, small little bike, it’s like a supercapacitor with a battery might be a better combo than what, um, Gemini is doing.

Um, so it, it, it all comes down to the use case. That’s the thing that really attracted me to this topic was specifically. They’re not trying to create a battery that’s going to rule them all. It’s like, here’s a very specific use case. What do electric vehicles need? Okay. What they need is X, Y, and Z. Let’s design a hybrid battery that hits that square in the head.

Um, so it may not, uh, be the most appropriate battery for all these other use cases. Um, like for homes, but it could definitely be scaled up and down.

As you were talking, it occurred to me that, yeah, me turning on my TV or turning on a computer is not quite the same as pressing the pedal, trying to get it up to 60 miles an hour when the light turns green.

The energy usage and the, and the spike of need is. Very different. And the usage in the home tends to probably be a lot more plateaus. Energy usage goes up and then stays up for hours and then goes down and then goes back up and stays up for hours as opposed to the zigzag of I’m driving, I’m braking, I’m driving, I’m braking.


a home also then also has the thing where you’re like charging that battery up to 100 percent and then draining it almost down to zero day after day. So it’s hammering a battery in a different way than an electric car is doing. So it’s… They both, this is where it’s like, they both have different use cases and where different battery technologies might be more appropriate for one over the other.

Have a two for one from Dave Etchells who built two questions into his comments. So we’ll visit them one at a time. The first one was just his commentary saying, super interesting and well presented likewise and as always, great job discussing potential gotchas. I’m curious why they don’t tap both the LFP and the anodeless pack at the same time.

During driving, draw from the anodeless at whatever rate it can provide, get the rest from the LFP. That’d be both extending the LFP range and reduce the number of charge cycles. There must be some reason why they don’t do this, and I’d be interested to know why. Do you follow his thinking and his question?

Yes. Do you

have the ability to jump in? I don’t have specific answer to.

I don’t, yeah, I don’t have the specific answer to that. It’s a really good question. I would need to talk to them specifically. And what’s funny is after I put this video out, I have been in contact with the company . So it’s, um, I hadn’t contacted ’em before the video, but I, I’ve been in contact with ’em since.

Um, I can try to find the answer to that question and figure out why they’re doing what they’re doing. Mm-Hmm. , um, and the pros and cons to it. Uh, so there might be an update in the future. So I would say stay tuned on that. I think this

is a topic that would be really fascinating to hear from them if they were able to talk in one of the long form conversations.

Yeah. If that’s an option, I’d be very interested in that. So. I’ll keep my fingers crossed on your behalf. The second question that Dave asks is more of a comment, and I actually, this jumped out at me because I really had the same thought. I really like the hexagon, hexagonal strength weakness diagrams. It would be interesting to see what conventional lithium ion looks like on those charts.

I understand that these were just what the company had on their website though. But it is, it was a very useful visual. To say like, here are the aspects of a battery, here’s what you can do with them. And saying, sometimes you get half the pie and you have to figure out, well, how do we get the other half?

And it really seems it was a very helpful visual for, uh, the purposes of the video. So if it’s something in the future that could be pulled from some other resource, maybe not this company website. It is. It is. These

do exist for all these different kind of battery chemistries. There are some great resources.

I’m blanking on the name of the website right now. There’s um, it’s like Battery Academy or something like that. There’s this website that has all this kind of information about batteries and they have these great graphs about all the different chemistries and they look very similar to that. And it’s really helpful to kind of help wrap your head around.

Why that chemistry makes sense for cars and this one doesn’t, and you can kind of very quickly start to understand the basics of the benefits. It’s really kind of a cool, uh, cool diagram, pretty

helpful. Finally, I wanted to share this comment from somebody called Ticker Symbol You, who wrote, when you’re watching one of your favorite tech channels and they give you a shout out, it made my month.

Awesome breakdown of this cool hybrid battery. Design, its benefits and its pitfalls. So I pulled that out, of course, as a joke, because Matt called out Ticker Symbol You in his video.

I was just talking to him before we recorded today. So, yes.

So thanks for the comment, Ticker Symbol, and thank you, everybody else for all, for all of your comments.

As you can tell, they really do drive the content of this program and have an impact on the mothership, which is of course, undecided with Matt Ferrell. If you’d like to support the show, please do consider reviewing us on YouTube, Apple, Spotify, wherever it was you found this. Go back there, leave a review, don’t forget to subscribe, and please do tell your friends.

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