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Lithium-ion Integrated Fuel Cell Car


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The integrated fuel cell power system may be the ultimate auto answer for an eco-friendly alternative-energy vehicle. The system allows for continuous, uninterrupted use, since at least one fuel supply unit is removable, and the system can operate from another supply unit while the removable unit is being replaced.


Advances in lithium-ion battery technology and a shift in the mindset of auto manufacturers, have made hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs) a viable alternative to traditional fuel-powered automotives for the near future, according to officials at Lithium Technology Corp, (LTC). LTC has focused solely on the development and production of large format lithium-ion batteries for more than twenty years and offers solutions today to drive the future.


In the early days, developers felt that lithium batteries stored too much energy to be made safely in large sizes. and that they could never be designed to provide high power. It was only in the last few years that the technically challenge of building large, high energy and powerfull Lithium Ion batteries has been met. To understand the relationship of energy and power, consider the analogy of an automobile. The gas tank is analogous to the energy, the larger it is, the farther the car can drive. The motor is analogous to the power, the larger it is, the faster the car can accelerate and the faster it can drive. To be able to compare different battery systems irrespective of their sizes, energy and power are normalized per unit weight and volume (specific energy/power and energy/power density).


“There has been a change of mindset within the car industry over the past two years triggered by the success the Japanese have had with the HEV,” said Dr. Klaus Brandt, executive vice president of LTC and managing director of LTC subsidiary GAIA Akkumulatorenwerke (GAIA). “Large lithium-ion solutions have proven to be a technical reality for passenger cars and have achieved respectable performance.”


LTC has powered a project in conjunction with Innosys Engineering in which a four passenger Daihatsu Cuore was converted into an electric car using the lithium-ion batteries and a three-phase asynchronous electric motor. The battery, built with cells manufactured by LTC subsidiary GAIA, has a capacity of 25 kWh and an approximate highway range of 100 to 125 miles at 56 to 60 mph).


“The technology is here today. LTC has it, and we’ve demonstrated it,” says Dr. Brandt. “Price is the biggest factor holding back the production of these more environmentally friendly, fuel efficient vehicles. By committing to work together, the auto manufactures and battery companies can bring the cost down and make cars like the Volt an affordable reality for the consumer.”


The lithium-ion battery has the same capacity as the original metal hydride battery but with half the weight. The battery can be charged by either the internal combustion engine (ICE) or a standard AC household electrical socket and can drive over 40 miles on the overnight electrical charge. The converted vehicle has a fuel economy of 36 mpg in the city, and 38 mpg on the highway, as compared to the original Chevy Equinox range of 19 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.


LTC launched a new product line of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO(4)) cells in May 2007, offering the largest cells of their kind in the world. Further demonstrating its commitment, the Company unveiled a Toyota Prius retrofitted with its breakthrough technology demonstrating an achievement of 125 + miles per gallon.

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