Fraunhofer scientists are developing a high-performance battery for hybrid cars that is more resilient, reliable and less harmful to the environment.

Researchers are developing an energy-storage module based on lithium-polymer accumulator technology that is suitable for use in vehicles as part of a project dubbed ‘Electromobility Fleet Test’.

The pilot project was launched by Volkswagen and Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment together with seven other partners.

‘This module has to be able to withstand the harsh environmental conditions it will encounter in a hybrid vehicle, and above all it must guarantee high operational reliability and a long service life,’ said Dr Gerold Neumann, who coordinates Fraunhofer activities.

The researchers intend to use new electrode materials that are kinder to the environment and to develop a battery-management system that makes the energy-storage device more durable and reliable.

To keep the size of the unit small without compromising on power, the team will integrate mechanical and electrical components in a single module, incorporating systems for temperature control, performance data registration and high-voltage safety.

The development and configuration of the new energy-storage module is expected to be finished by mid-2010. Volkswagen will then carry out field trials to test its suitability for everyday use in the vehicles.