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USABC Awards Johnson Controls-Saft Contract for Li-Ion Batteries for Hybrid Vehicles

The United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) has awarded Johnson Controls-Saft Advanced Power Solutions (JCS) a 24-month contract to develop advanced lithium-ion batteries for hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs).

Engineers and scientists at JCS are to enhance lithium-ion battery technology for near-future HEVs. They will focus on accelerating Li-Ion technology development by improving battery power in low temperatures, and creating solutions that reduce battery system costs.

The USABC, an industry group, pursues research and development on advanced energy systems to boost the range and performance of future electric and hybrid electric vehicles. Members of the USABC include the United States Department of Energy along with DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General Motors.

We are extremely gratified to receive this technology-development contract. Our priorities are to work on cell performance, systems development and cost reduction for lithium-ion technology.

—Alan Mumby, Johnson Controls Vice President and General Manager

JCS and the United States Department of Energy are funding the project, and USABC is providing program support. JCS will supply cell modules that can be tested for abuse tolerance, pulse power, calendar life, and cycle life. A major goal is to meet the FreedomCAR USABC battery-performance requirements.

The FreedomCAR and Vehicle technologies Program of the Department of Energy has set a 2010 goal of developing an electric drivetrain energy storage system with 15-year life at 300 Wh, with discharge power of 25 kW for 18 seconds, and ay $20/kW. A draft goal is to reduce the cost of plug-in hybrid (PHEV) batteries to $300/kWh by 2014. (The latter goal would result in a cost of around $3,000 for the size of battery currently used for early PHEV retrofits.)

The FreedomCAR program office requested an additional $6.172 million increase in FY 2007 targeted at PHEV battery development. It will issue solicitations for research and development supported by this funding in Fall 2006 through USABC.

The JCS advanced battery hybrid systems team, located at the company’s headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, will direct the current HEV technology development program. Cell development efforts will be supported by JCS facilities in the United States and Europe.

In 2004, the USABC granted Johnson Controls an 18-month contract supporting the development of advanced, lithium-ion battery technology. That same year Saft was awarded a contract with the USABC of a similar nature. The Johnson Controls-Saft joint venture was officially launched in January 2006.




These objectives are great and I hope they can be achieved. However, we have the technology right now to produce electric vehicles that would satisfy the needs of most people. In the short term, we do not need electric vehicles with 400 mile ranges nor a 5 minute recharge.

I drive ~30 miles a day on average or about 11000 miles a year... an 80 - 100 mile range would suffice. Why won't someone build me a vehicle that I can plug in at night (or at work? For long trips I will rent a car.


Glad to see they're working on the cost. That's the biggest hurdle to PHEVs/EVs right now.

tom deplume

Does anyone know the cost of the materials for lithium-ions?

Robert Schwartz

Lot of stories in the news today about Li-ion batteries in computers bursting into flame, some calls for the FAA to ban them from airplanes.

What is going to happen when a car powered by Li-ion batteries gets in an accident?

allen Z

The car existed, it was called the EV-1. GM terminated the project. An updated version today would probably have a 200-300 mile range.
Robert Schwartz,
Batteries for vehicles are tested for specified and expected conditions. For vehicle batteries, this would include physical shock, thermal shock, thermal load/buildup, etc. They are also built/installed in ways to take into account crash damage, rollover, underbody impact, and other scenarios. You also have to take into account the fact that a conventional car has a tank, or tanks, of explosive and flowing liquid gasoline (or worse, ethanol oxygenated gasoline like E85 due to vapors). Compressed/liquid natural/petroleum gas (CNG, LNG, LPG) containers are another existing vehicle borne hazards. Same would go for diesel, though not biodiesel to various extents.

allen Z

Another possibility would be to use those virtually indestructible carbon fiber tanks designed for H2 storage and modify them protect Li-ion batteries. They are light, and the carbon matrix could be modified to conduct heat.


The 'next-gen' nano structured electrode lithium ion cells aren't prone to 'venting with flame' (exploding) when abused (over charged, over discharged or physically ruptured) so they won't require as much external technology to keep them safe. Current laptop and cellphone lithium ion cells are potentially dangerous and probably should be banned from airplanes.


From what I heard on the PBS Newshour, the laptop batteries had a manufacturing defect, some sort of "contaminant". If that caused an internal short which caused the heat and fire, then imagine what a 40kwh bank of these would do.

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