|The All Cell PHEV Escape.|
Illinois Institute of Technology’s (IIT) Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Project (earlier post), sponsored by Chicago-based All Cell Technologies in collaboration with the City of Chicago, MicroSun Technologies, and ComEd, has moved into its field testing phase.
The project is an effort to double the fuel efficiency and reduce emissions from the city’s fleet of hybrid vehicles.
IIT has delivered a converted Ford Escape Hybrid to the Chicago Department of Fleet Management (DFM), which will now will conduct four to six months of field testing of the vehicle under various conditions to evaluate the performance of the vehicle and improvement in fuel efficiency and emission reduction.
At the conclusion of the testing period, the city will evaluate the concept and its potential for mass implementation for plug-in conversion of other hybrid vehicles in the city’s fleet.
The vehicle’s li-ion battery pack utilizes an IIT patented technology with a passive thermal management system using phase change material (PCM).
According to All Cell, suitable phase change materials for use in li-ion battery applications will have a melting point in the range of between about 30° C and 60° C; a high latent heat per unit mass ratio; and a narrow melting temperature range.
All Cell is assembling the battery pack from commercially available 18650 cells integrated with the company’s PCM technology and control systems into 8-amp, 14.4-volt modules.
The project is envisioned in two phases. The first—which has the targeted outcome of doubling to fuel economy of the Escape hybrid—involves bypassing the OEM battery pack (not removing it) with an All Cell pack of approximately 10 kWh.
The PHEV battery will be working with the constraints of the original controller, thus limiting all-electric speeds to the original lower-speed range. Part of the first phase will be benchmarking the Escape hybrid to determine the required Wh per mile. Depending on the result of the benchmarking, All Cell believes that it might be able to reduce the size of the battery pack a bit and still meet the 2x target for fuel economy.
The second phase will entail replacing the OEM battery and original operating strategy of the controller to support a more robust all-electric range (AER).
All Cell, which is sponsoring the IIT PHEV Project, is an IIT-based technology transfer company located in University Technology Park At IIT (UTP), formed in 2001 by Professors Said Al-Hallaj and J. Robert Selman to commercialize lithium-ion batteries in military, medical, portable and transportation applications.