Saturday, April 23, 2011

Plan To Evolve Better Batteries For Electric Cars And Trucks

European Consortium Get EU Funding
Shipping News Feature

EUROPE – A group of nine partners have formed a consortium and, with the aid of research funds from the EU, intend to improve every aspect of the next generation of batteries for use in cars, vans and small trucks. Such vehicles (EV’s) are becoming more common for urban freight deliveries as evidenced by our many previous *stories.

The consortium, known as SmartBatt, aims to dramatically reduce the weight, volume and cost of batteries in electric and hybrid vehicles and the programme is part of a framework agreement to develop the ‘Smart and Safe Integration of Batteries in Electric Vehicles’ which aims to improve battery integration into vehicle structures by significantly reducing battery weight, volume and cost without changing the actual cells.

Targets for a 20kWh battery pack (25% more powerful than the standard 16kWh packs found currently in many plug-in hybrids and electric cars and small vans) include a weight reduction of 10 – 15%, reduction in size between 20 -30% and a price reduction of up to 10% with completion by the end of 2012.

The consortium is led by the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology Mobility Department (Business Units Electric Drive Technologies and Light Metals Technologies Ranshofen) and eight other partners: the Fraunhofer Institute Light Metals Division & Joining Technology Division, Impact Design, Ricardo UK Ltd, SP Technical Consulting, Technical University Graz and Volkswagen plus Axeon, Europe’s largest independent lithium-ion automotive battery systems supplier.

Currently Axeon’s EV batteries give a range of up to 140 miles from a single charge, with stored capacity ranging from 5 kWh to 180 kWh. Lawrence Berns, Axeon CEO, said: " This project provides an opportunity to explore how we can shift the current constrictions in battery integration and ultimately provide new solutions for vehicle manufacturers."

*To see former developments simply type the word electric into the news search box at the head of the page.