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Israeli Microturbine-Based Range-Extended Electric Vehicle Startup Lands $12M Series A Round
25 April 2009
|Drawing of the proposed advanced microturbine. Source: ETVM Click to enlarge.|
ETV Motors Ltd. (ETVM), an Israeli start-up developing a range-extended electric vehicle (REEV) technology combining a novel dual-power micro-turbine and a new high-voltage lithium-ion battery chemistry, has closed a US$12-million Series A investment round. The round was led by The Quercus Trust of Newport Beach, California. New York-based 21Ventures LLC co-invested.
The investment enables ETVM to move ahead with a multi-year research and development program in which it is partnering with universities and development organizations.
We believe that REEVs are the optimal approach. Our micro-turbine on-board charger and 4.7V lithium-ion cathode chemistry will facilitate the coming generations of environmentally-friendly, cost-effective, light-weight and safe electric vehicles.—Dror Ben David, chief executive of ETVM
Microturbine. ETVM is developing its own microturbine. The ETV microturbine will operate on RQL (Rich-Quench-Lean) principles and will have the unique property of achieving optimum efficiency at two operating points. This “dual mode” property will provide a number of degrees of freedom when matching the microturbine to various drive cycles and vehicle categories. Other features of the ETV microturbine include:
Proprietary valving and duct design results in minimal pressure drops;
Advanced heat exchanger/recuperator resulting in ultra-high thermal efficiencies (>90%) with low pressure drops. (The combined hot and cold pressure drops will be less than 8.5% of maximum cycle pressure);
Advanced stator/rotor sealing techniques, resulting in high adiabatic efficiencies.
Implementation of ceramic regenerative heat exchanger and turbine enabling operation at higher turbine inlet temperatures.
In simulation exercises, ETVM found that the fuel costs for ICE-powered REEVs in typical urban environments will be up to 50% more expensive than those powered by microturbine on-board chargers.
ETVM estimates that its first prototype P1 turbine, with an efficiency that outperforms the present state of the art by approximately 30%, will be fully functional in Q2 2010.
|Targeted Characteristics of Prototype and Production ETV Microturbines|
|Power (dual mode)||kW||12/45||13/48||20/60|
|Turbine inlet temperature||°C||975||1,050||1,250-1,350|
|Ragone plot showing expected position of the ETV 4.7V and 3.2V cathode chemistries relative to the commercial Lithium-ion chemistries. Source: ETVM Click to enlarge.|
Battery. On the battery side, ETVM is working in collaboration with the electro-chemistry team at Bar Ilan University to develop a 4.7V Lithium Manganese Nickel Oxide (LMNO) cathode. The proprietary and patent-pending solutions demonstrated in the laboratory involve the following strategies:
- Ex-situ nano-scale sono coating of the LMNO raw materials
- Novel LMNO synthesis process
- In-situ coating of cathode with nanometric polymeric layers
The new material overcomes the problems with higher voltage spinel materials, according to ETVM, which include oxidation of the electrolyte solvent and partial dissolution of metal ions in the cathode and damage of the anode and cathode SEI structures.
The resultant LMNO cathode may be coupled with a range of anodes. ETV is working on two cell chemistries: LMNO/Graphite to form a 4.7V cell; and LMNO/LiTiO to form a 3.2V cell.
ETVM is building a proof-of-concept demonstrator REEV (Range-extended Electric Vehicle), based on a modified Prius, to serve as a test vehicle for the company’s ongoing development work. The company’s researchers and engineers will begin testing the proof-of-concept microturbine-based REEV towards the end of 2009 Q2 using commercially available components.
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