Chinese lead-acid battery company Camel Group has filed a statement to Shanghai Stock Exchange announcing that they are setting up an electric car battery company in conjunction with smelters Wanyang Group.
German technology firm Bosch has entered into a joint venture to double the average lithium-ion automotive battery before 2020.
The Lithium Energy and Power joint venture sees the company team up with Japanese battery company GS Yuasa and Mitsubishi.
As lead pressure groups, including International Lead Association (ILA) and Eurobat, lobby for an extension of the usage of lead-acid battery technology beyond 2020 in Europe, one of the world’s largest lead-acid battery makers has unveiled a lithium-based starter system for start-stop vehicles at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It will be in production by 2018, the company says.
The lithium titanate battery, made in conjunction with Toshiba, will power advanced start-stop vehicles.
"Johnson Controls is pursuing opportunities to develop evolutionary low-voltage energy storage systems that will help our customers meet increasing fuel regulations at a lower cost than a hybrid or electric vehicle," said Lisa Bahash, group vice president and general manager Original Equipment, Johnson Controls Power Solutions. "In partnership with Toshiba, we are expanding our lithium-ion product offerings to support the needs of our global customers."
The lithium titanate chemistry is effective at quickly recharging, works well in a wide range of temperatures and can be easily integrated into a vehicle's 12-volt electrical system. Toshiba, with its SCiB technology, is the established market leader for lithium Titanate.
"Toshiba is pleased to work with Johnson Controls to supply SCiB cells for this application," said Shun Egusa, general manager of Toshiba's automotive business. "The opportunity to support global automakers with their goal of improving vehicle efficiency is an important part of our strategy and vision."
An Advanced Start-Stop system has two batteries. A 12V Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) or Enhanced Flooded Battery (EFB), which will start the engine and supply power to accessories such as lights, navigation systems and radios. The 12V lithium titanate battery will primarily accept and store regenerative braking energy during vehicle deceleration, enabling greater power and load management capabilities.
However, the hybrid battery system as currently configured, paves the way for eventual elimination of lead-acid technology, perhaps substitution the lead acid component with a supercapacitor, experts told BEST magazine
"With an Advanced Start-Stop system, drivers could save up to 8 percent every time they fill up their gas tank as the batteries enable the engine to shut off more frequently and for longer periods of time," said Bahash. "This is also a great solution for our customers because the technology allows for greater fuel savings without major changes to the existing powertrain and electrical systems."
ILA Managing Director, Dr Andy Bush, said: “The announcement of this new type of 12V battery by JCI further demonstrates that alternative battery technologies require a lead-based battery to work alongside them in start-stop and mild hybrid electric vehicles. The essential nature of lead-based batteries was one of the points that was made to the EU Commission by the European, Japanese and Korean automotive associations, along with EUROBAT and ILA, in their submissions to the review of the End-of-Life-Vehicle (ELV) Directive calling for a further exemption for lead-based batteries within the wider ban on lead in light-duty vehicles.”
The 12V battery systems will be produced starting in 2018.
UK-based fuel cell developer ACAL Energy is close to completing a £15m ($25m) funding round to commercialise its low-platinum fuel cell for automotive and stationary use.
When closed, the funding round will enable ACAL to bring the redox liquid-based catalyst system to production-level ready for licencing to automotive OEMs. ACAL has a number of OEMs interested in the product because of the lower costs and longer lifetime than competitors.
Brendan Bilton, ACAL’s chief commercial officer, said: “Automotive companies want fuel cells to cost $40kW but none of the normal fuel cells can achieve this. We could get to 20% lower than that.”
Major automotive companies that have announced fuel cell electric vehicle designs require a lifecycle of more than 5,000 hours with less than 10% degradation to match an ICE vehicle. The catalyst of ACAL’s fuel cell is based on polyoxometalates rather than platinum which allows it to run for 10,000 hours with no degradation. The platinum is the point of degradation in regular fuel cells so removing 80% of it makes ACAL's cells more durable.
Bilton said the technology will be licenced to OEMs who could potentially have them in cars four years after licencing: “Many companies are looking at having first generation fuel cell vehicles on the road by 2020. We are aiming for second generation,” he explained.
The fuel cells have the potential to be used as a source of power generation as well as for automotive use, which could turn a person’s car into their generator also. This idea is attracting interest in regions that suffer frequent power outages such as Japan.
The commercialisation funding round is being finalised to allow the licensing of the technology in the next two months.
Menahem Anderman’s latest iteration of the XEv insider report, issued this week, confidently predicts the global lithium-ion xEV business will reach US$3.8bn in 2015 and US$9.2bn in 2020. Anderman’s in-depth report is based on on-site interviews with senior battery technologists and business development executives at 18 major automakers and 20 battery-system suppliers on three continents.
US demand for primary and secondary batteries is expected to increase 4.2% per year to US$17.1bn in 2017. The motor vehicle market will post the largest increases in dollar terms as motor vehicle production continues to rise following an extended period of decline.