Batteries for hybrids

Ricardo and Qinetiq have embarked on a project to dramatically reduce the cost of Lithium-Ion batteries for hybrid vehicles.

Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery technology shows significant promise for hybrid and electric vehicle applications in terms of its comparatively high power and energy density and ability to retain charge for extended periods. However, commercial challenges remain in terms of both cost and weight.

Now, Ricardo and Qinetiq have embarked on a two-year collaborative project which aims to dramatically reduce the cost of Lithium-Ion batteries for hybrid vehicles.

The specific objective of the so-called ‘Reduced cost Li-Ion (RED-LION)’ project is to demonstrate the application of new Li-Ion cell chemistry in a hybrid vehicle battery with an estimated production cost one-third that of conventional battery technologies and around half the weight.  If successful, the technology could make hybrid and electric vehicles commercially more attractive and hence make a significant impact on CO2 emissions.

In June 2006 Ricardo, Qinetiq and PSA Peugeot-Citroën unveiled their 100g/km CO2 Efficient-C full hybrid diesel demonstrator vehicle based on a Citroën Berlingo Multispace. While this vehicle provided a superior performance compared with the equivalent current production turbo-diesel model, the project partners estimated that its incremental manufacturing cost needed to be reduced by around 50 per cent (to approximately €2,000) for the technology to become fully commercially viable.

The battery system represents around one-third of the incremental manufacturing cost of a typical hybrid vehicle as well as a considerable addition to the vehicle mass. If successful, the RED-LION project will demonstrate commercially viable technologies that are capable of delivering sub-100g/km CO2 emissions with superior performance compared to equivalent current production vehicles.

The RED-LION project is part-funded by the Energy Saving Trust’s Low Carbon R&D Programme on behalf of the UK government’s Department for Transport, with contributions made by the participating companies. The Energy Saving Trust is a non-profit organisation, funded both by government and the private sector. It is one of the UK’s leading organisations set up to address the damaging effects of climate change and its aim is to cut emissions of CO2 by promoting the sustainable and efficient use of energy.