|The Li-ion-based PHEV Apollo racer. Click to enlarge.|
Following the performance of their plug-in hybrid electric race car concept at the Nürburgring 24 hour race (ADAC Zurich 24h-Rennen) in May (earlier post), Lithium Technology Corporation (LTC) and Hybrid Racing AG have entered into an agreement to market specialized lithium-ion batteries to power advanced vehicles for the motor sports industry. The applications will include batteries for cars, boats and planes to be used in consumer and professional racing vehicles.
LTC supplied a 9 kWh GAIA battery pack comprising 90 high power 27 Ah cells connected in series for the Apollo/HHF Hybrid race car (HHCC). The battery was charged prior to the race and recouped energy from braking during the race. Current electric range of the vehicle is 50 kilometers.
The HHCC is equipped with a 3.3-liter V8 bi-turbo gasoline engine augmented with a 100 kW electric motor. The engine has rated power of 382 kW (520 hp) at 7,000 rpm, and maximum torque of 580 Nm (428 lb-ft) at 4,000 rpm. The motor delivers torque of 220 Nm (162 lb-ft) Total available power from the hybrid is 630 hp (470 kW). Maximum speed is 300 kph (186 mph).
The battery pack was sized to allow the car to do a lap on the Nürburgring (25 km) relying on electrical power only. Hybrid Racing raced the car with the battery at a medium charge level, providing about 4-5 kWh of battery capacity.
This meant that if we had transmission problems at the beginning of a lap, we would be forced/able to return to the pit stop at a very low speed of < 50 kph. If this happened 6-8 km before the end of a lap then it was possible to reach the pit stop under full electric power going at up to 130 kph.—Heinz-Harald Frentzen, President of Hybrid Racing AG
At the Nürburgring 24, the HHCC did suffer technical problems with its conventional powertrain, and finished the race solely propelled by the electric motor.
You can look at the results from one of two perspectives: Firstly, that we had problems with the transmission in the conventional system, and secondly, that the concept of reclaiming energy when braking was more successful than we expected.—Heinz-Harald Frentzen
The large-format 3.6V, 27 Ah GAIA cells in the HHCC pack have a specific energy of 100 Wh/kg and energy density of 264 Wh/L; with specific power (30 s pulse discharge) of 950 W/kg and a power density (30 s pulse discharge) of 2,100 W/L. Cycle life at 20°C and 100% DOD is 400 cycles to 80% nominal capacity.
During test runs on the Nürburgring under observation of DMSB/FIA, the battery temperatures stayed below 60°C. Every braking operation was recovered and the recovered energy released again during acceleration.
With several more months experience with the battery technology, Frentzen, an ex-Formula One (F1) racer and 1997 vice world champion, decided that there was an immediate need for LTC’s products in the advanced motor sports world.
We are confident with [LTC’s] power and energy solutions and are excited to form an extended partnership with a company that will not only meet our battery needs, but will help motor sports to regain its position in the forefront of technical development and push the advancements of cars outside of the racetrack to be more energy efficient. We are going to promote and market LTC’s batteries to all vehicles that require advanced batteries that are light weight and powerful for improved performance.—Heinz-Harald Frentzen
LTC manufactures a range of cells with two different types of chemistries, iron-phosphate and nickel-cobalt.