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A123 Systems Announces New Lithium Ion Technology

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On: Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 11:28AM | By: Chris Weiss

A123 Systems Announces New Lithium Ion Technology

It seems advisable for A123 Systems to focus on fine-tuning its current generation battery technology (read: make sure it works), but it's already looking ahead to the next generation of lithium-ion technology. The battery company that supplies packs to automakers including Fisker and Chevy says that its Nanophosphate EXT will improve operation in extreme temperature ranges.

Outside of more electric range, one of the first 'must haves' for electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid consumers would certainly have to be lower prices. A123 Systems implies that Nanophosphate EXT can give them just that by eliminating expensive thermal management hardware.

Nanophosphate EXT enables long cycle life at high temperatures and high power at low temperatures, helping to eliminate performance decreases due to temperature extremes. According to research cited by the manufacturer, the battery can maintain up to 90 percent of initial capacity after 2,000 charge cycles at 113 F. A123 also believes it can provide a 20 percent power increase at temperatures as low as -22 F, improving the cold-cranking capabilities of its 12V lithium-ion starter battery.

"Based on our analysis, the performance of A123's new Nanophosphate EXT at high temperatures is unlike anything we've ever seen from lead acid, lithium ion or any other battery technology," says Dr. Yann Guezennec, senior fellow at Ohio State University's Center for Automotive Research (CAR), which has both been involved with testing. "Nanophosphate EXT maintains impressive cycle life even at extreme high temperatures without sacrificing storage or energy capabilities, especially as compared with the competitive leading lithium ion technology that we used on our head-to-head testing. If our testing also validates the low-temperature power capabilities that A123's data is showing, we believe Nanophosphate EXT could be a game-changing battery breakthrough for the electrification of transportation, including the emerging micro hybrid vehicle segment."

If the technology is effective at eliminating the need to equip vehicles with battery cooling systems, it could help to bring down the costs of electric vehicles. A123 doesn't say so specifically, but by eliminating hardware (weight) and stabilizing battery reliability and performance, it seems the technology could also have a positive (though possibly negligible) impact on electric driving ranges.

A123 plans to implement the technology into its battery line next year, and we'll have to watch to see if any automakers pick it up.


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