A123 Systems Outs New Breakthrough in Lithium-Ion Battery Technology
June 13, 2012 9:31 AM
New battery tech might eliminate the need for cooling systems
A123 Systems has announced what it's calling a new breakthrough in lithium-ion battery technology for optimizing battery performance in extreme temperatures. Typically, in extreme temperatures, the performance of lithium-ion batteries is degraded. That means that in an electric vehicle, a person living in Texas during the summer will typically get a shorter driving range and someone living in California where the temperatures are more moderate.
A123 Systems calls the new battery technology Nanophosphate EXT. The company says the new battery technology is capable of operating at extreme temperatures without requiring thermal management. That means the technology is designed to significantly reduce or eliminate the need for heating or cooling systems for optimal performance.
The cooling systems typical lithium-ion batteries require add significantly to the weight of an electric vehicle. Being able to greatly reduce the size or eliminate this cooling system would mean the vehicle could be lighter, leading to longer driving distances. The extra space could potentially be packed with more batteries as well.
"We believe Nanophosphate EXT is a game-changing breakthrough that overcomes one of the key limitations of lead acid, standard lithium ion and other advanced batteries,” said David Vieau, CEO of A123 Systems. “By delivering high power, energy and cycle life capabilities over a wider temperature range, we believe Nanophosphate EXT can reduce or even eliminate the need for costly thermal management systems, which we expect will dramatically enhance the business case for deploying A123's lithium ion battery solutions for a significant number of applications.”
The Nanophosphate EXT technology is designed to maintain a long cycle life at extreme high temperatures and to deliver high-power at extreme low temperatures as well. Research conducted by Ohio State University's Center for Automotive Research found low observed rate of aging for cells within the A123 Nanophosphate EXT batteries. Specifically, the University discovered that the battery was capable of retaining more than 90% of the initial charge capacity after 2,000 full charge-discharge cycles at 45°C. Cold weather testing also found that the battery delivers 20% more power at temperatures as low as -30°C compared to existing technology.
The new battery technology is also being considered as a replacement for the lead acid batteries used for telecommunication systems backup. A123 says that its Nanophosphate EXT battery tech is scheduled to enter volume production during the first half of 2013. The company is considering the ability to offer the technology across its entire portfolio battery cells.
A123 Systems is also the company that had to replace
$55 million in batteries
inside the Fisker Karma EV.
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