Apparently, even a battery company can hedge its bets on future automotive powertrain technology. Such is the case with Ener1, which held its first quarter earnings call yesterday. We've regularly covered updates from Ener1's lithium ion battery subsidiary, EnerDel, which just last week announced a deal to possibly supply packs to Fisker Automotive in addition to its existing supply deal with Th!nk.
Another of Ener1's subsidiaries is EnerFuel, a company focused on fuel cells. CEO Charles Gassenheimer said on the call that EnerFuel is making significant progress in development of its high temperature fuel cell. The stack is being developed primarily for use as a range extender. Several automakers have shown and tested concepts based on fuel cell extended range EVs, including General Motors and Ford.

Daniel Betts, EnerFuel's Principle Engineer, said on the call that the company's stack has been installed into an ER-EV and has been tested since December 2008. The complete fuel cell system consisting of stack, hydrogen storage and electronics weighs 176 pounds and adds 20 kWh of energy to the existing battery system. Using the fuel cell as a range extender for a plug-in vehicle allows it to be run at constant output, greatly increasing its efficiency as compared to using it as the primary power source. The EnerFuel stacks are being developed for an output of 3-15 kW, enough to maintain and extend battery range.

[Source: Ener1]


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