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Ford and Samsung outline R&D efforts for next-generation non-hybrid battery technology; dual-battery systems and lightweight Li-ion

In an event in San Francisco, Ford Motor Company and Samsung SDI, an affiliate of Samsung Group, outlined several collaborative research efforts on next-generation battery technology for non-hybrid vehicles. For the near term, they have been working on a dual-battery combining a lithium-ion battery with a 12-volt lead-acid battery that could enable regenerative braking technology in non-hybrid vehicles for greater fuel savings. Ford suggested the dual battery system might go into production soon.

Ford and Samsung SDI said they are also are researching a longer-term (e.g., about 10 years) ultra-lightweight lithium-ion battery that could one day supplant lead-acid batteries. The research advances lithium-ion battery technology currently available on Ford’s electrified vehicles.

We are currently expanding our Auto Start-Stop technology across 70 percent of our lineup, and this dual-battery system has the potential to bring even more levels of hybridization to our vehicles for greater energy savings across the board. Although still in research, this type of battery could provide a near-term solution for greater reduction of carbon dioxide.

—Ted Miller, senior manager, Energy Storage Strategy and Research, Ford Motor Company

Lead-acid (left) and Li-ion battery (right). Click to enlarge.

One of the goals of replacing lead-acid batteries with lightweight Li-ion batteries would be to take advantage of the Li-ion system’s lower weight as part of an overall lightweighting strategy, Miller suggested.

The ultra-lightweight battery concept offers a weight reduction of up to 40%, or 12 pounds (5.4 kg). Combining the battery with other weight reduction solutions could lead to additional savings in size and weight of the overall vehicle, as well as increased efficiencies and performance.

EUROBAT study: dual batteries by 2025
A new European study, which provides a joint industry analysis of how different types of batteries are used in different automotive applications, reported that it is expected that by 2025, lithium-ion batteries will be implemented in some 48V dual-battery systems together with a 12V lead-based battery to further increase fuel-efficiency in advanced micro-hybrid and mild-hybrid vehicles.(Earlier post.)
Due to their cold-cranking ability, durability and low cost, 12V lead-based batteries remain the only battery technology tested for the mass market that satisfies the technical requirements for conventional vehicles, including start-stop and basic micro-hybrid vehicles, the report also found.
The study was published by associations representing the European, Japanese and Korean automotive industry (ACEA, JAMA and KAMA); EUROBAT (the Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers) and the International Lead Association (ILA)

Ford also unveiled its Lightweight Concept vehicle, which reduces the weight of a 2013 Fusion to that of a Ford Fiesta—a nearly 25% weight reduction.

Ford has supported battery research for 100 years, dating back to Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s work on electric vehicles employing nickel-iron batteries as a replacement for lead-acid batteries.

Last year, the company invested $135 million in design, engineering and production of key battery components, and doubled its battery testing capabilities. Ford accelerated its battery durability testing, with test batteries now accumulating the equivalent of 150,000 miles of use and 10 years’ life in roughly 10 months in a laboratory setting.

Ford has directly supported several energy storage companies in California in their technology development through the United States Advanced Battery Consortium. Further, Ford supports energy storage research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford. The company has provided significant support to, and been closely involved with, advanced energy storage technology development in California for several decades, with some technologies applicable for other uses, including grid-scale energy storage.


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