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Lithium Technology Corporation Introduces New High-Energy Lithium-Ion Battery Line; Targeting EVs and Commercial Vehicles

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A frame from a newscast showing the LTC GAIA battery in the prototype Project Better Place EV sedan. Click to enlarge.

Lithium Technology Corporation (LTC) has introduced a new line of high energy density lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) cells, the largest cells of their kind in the world. This product line is targeted at consumer and commercial electric vehicles (EV) and some plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) markets. As an example of the target market, an earlier version of the new LTC battery is in operation with the first Project Better Place prototype electric sedan. (Earlier post.)

The new high-energy line offers cells ranging from 8 Ah to 40 Ah, with nominal voltage of 3.2V. The specific energy is about 90 Wh/kg, and the volumetric density is approximately 220 Wh/L, according to Dr. Klaus Brandt, LTC’s CEO. Internal resistance will be in the range of 3-4 milliOhms.

Last year, LTC introduced a new high-power line offering cells ranging from 6 Ah to 35 Ah, targeted at hybrid (HEV) and PHEV vehicles. LTC built a 7 kWh conversion pack and converted a Prius to a PHEV to demonstrate its capabilities. (Earlier post.)

To deliver a higher-energy battery, LTC worked on thickening the cathode material of the high-energy battery delivered in 2007.

LTC has focused solely on the development and production of large-format lithium-ion batteries. The 40 Ah high-energy cell is 232mm in height and 60mm in diameter.

The large-format technology allows for the development of safer battery systems with a significantly lower number of cells. The weight of the battery is decreased while performance and safety monitoring capabilities are increased, according to LTC. The battery management system (BMS) precisely monitors fewer cells, keeping them in balance for best performance and preventing damage to the battery due to over voltage, under voltage, over temperature and short circuit.

We developed this product to power the new breed of EVs and for the fleet EV market that has been promoted recently all over the world.

—Dr. Klaus Brandt,CEO

LTC cells use LiFePO4 licensed technology, developed by Prof. John Goodenough with the University of Texas and supplied by Phostech, in which German chemical major Süd-Chemie has a majority holding. LTC has been working closely with Süd-Chemie and Phostech, the patent owners of the iron-phosphate technology, to further improve electrode materials.

LTC had been working with T/J Technologies on advanced electrode materials. However, in January 2006, T/J technologies became a wholly owned subsidiary of A123 Systems, Inc. At that point, according to Amir Elbaz, CFO & EVP for LTC, Süd-Chemie approached and proposed working together. Süd-Chemie had taken an interest in Phostech in 2005 and then acquired the majority holding.

We have been working with them very closely for the past year and a half. A year ago in May, we launched the first high-power product. Since then, we have been developing the high-energy line, which is aimed at some PHEV, but mostly electric vehicles.

—Amir Elbaz

LTC hopes, in collaboration with Phostech, to improve the energy density to above 100 Wh/kg. But the company positions the iron phosphate chemistry, even with its lower voltage, as being the most appropriate for consumer applications due to its inherent safety and resistance to abuse.

In addition to focusing on consumer markets such as represented by Project Better Place in Israel, LTC is in discussions with a commercial electric vehicle manufacturer in the UK.

We have realized that there is a sizeable market now on the commercial vehicle side, with companies that are already producing these [electric] commercial vehicles.

—Klaus Brandt

Comments

John Taylor

The European Li batteries are more costly than the "cheap" Chinese ones, and those are still priced at double what the BEV needs to succeed as a viable future technology.

Still, as Israel is putting in an infrastructure for them, the BEV has a future, and will become a reality.

Herm

so are these essentially very large A123 cells? the internal resistance of 3-4 mohms seems very large for such large cells so perhaps they are not exact duplicates of A123 cells. Very interesting, would like to know what the cost is.

Tim

I guess the UK commercial vehicle manufacturer might be Modec. Anyone know?

sjc

This looks encouraging. Larger format cells seem preferable to smaller ones. How the larger cells are safer, I am not sure.
Safety will be a big issue in view of the fact that lithium laptop batteries have had problems. Car manufacturers try to avoid recalls and safety problems in general.

Neil

I wonder how long it will take to educate the general population on the difference between lithium with cobalt and lithium with iron phosphate.

Ben

Lithium with sulfur is probably the future (350Wh/kg)

At these prices and EV could exceed economically... in the high priced luxury car market.

Siegfried C. Messner

When will these batteries become available to purchase in the Us?

bevfarmer

very well done blog entry, this little company could see astounding growth with it's connections, parternerships and technology.

these are not large a123 cells, a123 cells are small gaia cells.

david

I think it is time to buy shares in this company as they are selling at 6 cents a share. use the quote LTHU. Let us make this thing happen as we have to be energy independent and free from using oil money to sponsor terrorism

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