Search 4,000 EV News articles

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Red Li-on project develops low cost EV battery

Engineering firm QinetiQ, transport technology company Ricardo and the UK government-backed Energy Saving Trust, today announced that after two years of collaboration they have demonstrated a new type of lithium-ion cell chemistry and battery management system that promises to cut the cost of electric vehicle batteries by about a third.

The cost of battery technology is one of the main reasons that hybrid and electric cars boast a price premium compared with conventional vehicles, and as a result the aim of the reduced cost Li-Ion (RED-LION) project was to help bolster the commercial viability of electric cars by identifying alternative battery systems that can be manufactured at lower cost.

The new batteries are based on an alternative lithium ion sulphide that enjoys lower raw material costs than the lithium cobalt oxide cells used in most electric vehicles. The company also argued that manufacturing processes for the new cells would prove more energy efficient than existing processes, further lowering costs.

"The fundamental material we used in the cells has higher levels of energy than the cobalt oxide cells," explained Steve Farmer, sales manager for transportable power at QinetiQ. "We started from that first principle and looked at ways of making it work in new transport applications."

He added that because of the higher energy density, the battery also promised significantly improved performance compared with conventional lithium-ion batteries.

The pilot project produced a battery that was the same size as a small conventional lithium-ion battery that would deliver a 2km range in a standard electric vehicle. Farmer said that the new cell delivered five times more power and was 20 per cent lighter, although he advised that this scale of improvement would not necessarily translate into such a large increase in vehicle range as it would be dependent on how the cell was configured in the vehicle.

"You wouldn't get a five times increase in range as we tend to limit the energy output to extend the battery's life," he explained, before adding that significant increases in range were still expected.

Mark Roberts, strategic market team director for energy and environment at QinetiQ, said that the company was now looking to extend the project. "We weren't able to demonstrate a vehicle being powered by the cell, so the next step is to put the technology in a reference vehicle," he said.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

No comments:

Post a Comment