Smart battery works even when cold

Today’s cars consume between 800 W and 1,500 W of power. But from 2002 onwards, the power consumption may rise to as much as 4 to 8 kW. Some forecasters are even saying that cars might require as much as 12 kW. Fortunately, a new battery technology may h

In the future, cars will no longer have power steering pumps and air conditioning compressors that are driven by the engine’s V belts, but will be equipped with efficient electric motors to power these systems.

Electrical actuators will take over the tasks of steering and braking from today’s steering rack and hydraulic systems. And electrically heated catalytic converters will considerably improve the waste gas emission during the warm-up phase after the engine is started. The result is that power consumption will increase enormously.

To solve the problem, cars will be fitted with a 42-V network instead of the 12 V network used today. In this way, manufacturers will gain higher levels of electrical power with smaller cable cross-sections.

Despite this fact, the battery, which supplies the automobile with energy and which is responsible for the car moving in the first place, is still the weakest link in the system. The regularly published breakdown statistics of the German motoring organization ADAC shows the same thing every year: the battery is by far the number one source of breakdowns.

Now, a German manufacturer, 1Q power Technology, has come up with a solution. Together with its German engineering subsidiary iQ Battery Research & Development GmbH, the company has developed an ‘intelligent car battery’ that uses a temperature control system to ensure that the battery cells are operating in an optimum condition at all times.

Claimed to be 40 percent lighter than other car batteries while supplying the same power, it can communicate with the computer in the car and with diagnostic systems. The electronics and the software in the system allow accurate information to be conveyed to the driver, such as the SOC (state of charge) and the SOH (state of health) of the battery. In addition, the microprocessor in the battery controls and monitors the electrochemical process in the lead/acid battery, while sensors record the physical ambient and operating conditions.

A solid case made of polypropylene foam provides thermal insulation for the battery and protects it against vibration. A sophisticated mixing system ensures that the acid concentration in the battery cells is always at an optimum level,

Results have shown that at low temperatures, the loading capacity of the battery increases by 600 percent. The battery will start an engine reliably even in extreme temperatures of -40 degrees Celsius (-36 degrees Fahrenheit). What is more, the cold-cranking capability increases dramatically. Better yet, the battery requires 30 percent less lead and, depending on the size of the battery, it can weigh between 40 and 50 percent less than a normal battery.

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