The purpose of the ALABC work is to demonstrate the feasibility of introducing a novel, low-cost, form of hybridization into future vehicles. The concept of increasing the performance of a smaller size engine to that of one with larger capacity involves the addition of relatively simple, bolt-on components to the engine. Also, it does not require the use of expensive, high-voltage, nickel‒metal-hydride (Ni‒MH) or lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries of the type that are generally used in current commercial hybrid vehicles.

Reduction in CO2 emissions of almost 20% has been achieved with a 12-V, 1.4-litre demonstration VW Passat compared with the standard 1.8-litre vehicle and, moreover, without loss in performance. The add-on cost of this type of hybridization can be equated to around €60 per percent of CO2 saved as against the €200 normally experienced in a conventional hybrid. Improved performance is expected at 48-V because of the ability to capture a larger amount of regenerative energy, which can then be used both to provide direct torque-assist to the crankshaft and to service other major power-consumers in the car such as oil and water pumps.

The carbon-enhanced lead‒acid batteries have exhibited acceptable dynamic charge-acceptance in vehicle use and, importantly, retain better low (and high) temperature performance over Li-ion alternatives. Electronic control at the cell level is not required and thermal management is also simplified in comparison with Li-ion requirements. Furthermore, the carbon-enhanced versions retain the traditional ability of lead‒acid to be recycled readily into new batteries ― a key advantage over both Ni‒MH and Li-ion chemistries. Thus, as well as cost, there are other good reasons for using carbon-enhanced lead‒batteries in micro-/mild-hybrid vehicles that are being planned to meet the increasingly tough legislation for the regulation of vehicle emissions.

Allan Cooper
Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium
European Projects Coordinator

Biography: Allan Cooper is European Project Coordinator for the ALABC. He graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1961. He retired from the lead industry in 1991 and became an independent consultant. In this capacity he has worked closely with the ALABC and with the International Lead Association in the UK.

In 2008 he received the International Lead Award in recognition of his exceptional service to the lead industry, lead metallurgy, production technology and battery development, notably in the field of electric and hybrid electric vehicles and in 2014 celebrated his 50 years in the industry.

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