• Apr 5th 2011 at 2:49PM
  • 40
DBM Energy's Audi A2 conversion – Click above to watch video after the jump

When DBM Energy made its record-breaking drive from Munich to Berlin, Germany on a single charge of the KOLIBRI Alpha Polymer battery, there was a lot of skepticism expressed. Even more so when the technology platform, an Audi A2 conversion, was lost to a mysterious fire. Undaunted, the company has moved forward and submitted cells for testing by the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM). It has also had the German certification organization DEKRA conduct a range test on the latest converted Audi A2.

The results? The cells stood up to BAM's physical tests – which included burning, high altitude simulation, short circuits and other distresses – quite well. We're talking gold star, A+, definite pass. The range tests results however were not quite as revealing. The pack size in this vehicle was 62.928 kWh (as opposed to the 98 kWhs of the original) and following the ECE-R 101 guidelines was found to be capable of running the A2 on the rollers for 454.83 km (282.62 miles). Extrapolating, they found that if the battery was the original was installed, they would have achieved 714 km (443.7 miles) Not bad, right? Hit the jump for more...

[Source: DBM Energy]

Unfortunately none of this testing tells us the number we most want to know – exactly how many watt hours per kilogram the KOLIBRI cells hold. The bigger this number, the more energy the pack can hold and the farther a vehicle can go. For example, it's said the batteries in the Tesla Model S Signature (300-mile version) will hold 240 wh/kg while the cells in the Rolls Royce 102EX hold 230 wh/kg. Some had estimated the density of the original KOLIBRI pack to be over 300 wh/kg – which would be amazing – but from the information available now, the exact figure is frustratingly elusive.

Of course, energy density isn't the only thing a good battery needs. Volumetric density is also important as are things like safety, cycle life and price. We don't have pricing yet, of course, but the other characteristics certainly seem promising. DBM claims a 5,000x cycle life, which means the battery would outlast most vehicles.

The facts will eventually come out. DBM plans on conducting a full assortment of field tests this year which we hope will be more revealing. If you want to check out this latest Audi A2 conversion with its KOLIBRI Alpha Polymer battery, it's on display now until the 8th at DBM Energy's booth in Hall 2 at the Hannover Messe Industrie trade fair and expo. Check out the full official press release below as well as a subtitled video featuring the tests performed by BAM. Thanks to everbody who sent this in.

Show full PR text
Press Release

DBM Energy's KOLIBRI technology passes safety and performance tests with flying colors

LMP lithium-metal-polymer battery cells (KOLIBRI) pass comprehensive safety tests

Independent range test confirms performance and range of KOLIBRI batteries

Full-scale field trial scheduled for 2011

Berlin, Germany – 1. April 2011 – For over a year the KOLIBRI battery cells developed by DBM Energy have been performing reliably in electrically powered logistics vehicles. In October 2010, as part of a demonstration project, this innovative battery technology powered a conventional passenger car converted to electrical power over a distance exceeding 600
km, setting a worldwide record. 5,000 charging cycles document the range and longevity of the KOLIBRI LMP lithium-metal-polymer battery technology. Independent studies now also confirm the safety and performance of the KOLIBRI technology.

On 17 January 2011, the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM - Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und –prüfung) initiated a comprehensive test program to evaluate the safety aspects of the innovative LMP lithium-metal-polymer battery technology (KOLIBRI) developed by DBM Energy GmbH. The recently completed tests on individual battery cells confirm that the KOLIBRI technology used on the world record-setting drive on 26 October 2010 meets the required safety standards for use in stationary applications as well as in passenger and commercial vehicles.

The safety tests were conducted in accordance with the protocols established in the 5th edition of the UN Transport Test Manual for the Transport of Dangerous Goods published in 2009. The recommended testing methods for lithium batteries serve as an international standard. In eight exhaustive tests series, the KOLIBRI technology was examined to establish its safety when subjected to extreme climate and pressure variations, electrical short-circuiting, overload or inversed polarity as well as strong mechanical forces such as vibrations, show and heavy impact.DMB's LMP cells easily passed the entire range of tests.

"The LMP cells we tested stand out by their high degree of technical safety," said Prof. Schröder in explaining the results of the tests, which had been repeated a number of times. The LMP lithium-metal-polymer battery systems met all the standards set in the UN test series. The cells exhibited no leaks, did not generate heat exceeding 170 degrees Celsius, did not decompose or ignite, and maintained in excess of 90% of electrical tension.

In addition to the UN tests, the battery cells were also tested for fire risks. The LMP cells proved absolutely fire and explosion proof when exposed to direct fire. The BAM's Prof. Schröder concludes: "Overall it can be stated that the KOLIBRI cells completely fulfill all safety requirements for this type of technology."

Besides BAM's safety tests, the KOLIBRI technology was subjected to an independent range test by German certification institute DEKRA at its test center at the Lausitz EuroSpeedway racetrack in Klettwitz, Germany. The range of the LMP battery system on the Audi A2 test vehicle platform was determined following the procedures set down in the currently applicable
ECE-R 101 directive for measuring the range of vehicles equipped with an electric drive. The tests were conducted in facilities and with equipment that fully complied with testing protocol requirements.

At the time of determining testing parameters prior to commencing the test, the vehicle weight – empty weight not including driver – was measured below the approved total mass of 1,500 kilograms. The maximum energy delivered by the LMP battery was measured at 62.928 kWh. By comparison, the battery capacity registered at the time of the world record in October 2010 was 98 kWh. The lower capacity, however, proved sufficient for the range tests as per ECE-R 101, which require that a distance of at least 300 km be covered.

All test results of the KOLIBRI technology were subsequently verified and validated by DEKRA. This includes the initial battery charge after handing over the vehicle, recharging the battery over charging period of 12 hours, discharging the battery over a distance of 100 km at a constant speed of 70 km/h as well as determining the vehicle's driving resistance. The peak speed measurement during the 30-minute maximum speed segment was 100 km/h. The required condition of covering a distance of 300 km within 7 days was met in one session on a roller dynamometer, indicating a range of 454.83 kilometers with the 62,928 kWh LMP battery. Adjusted for the battery capacity of 98 kWh at the time of the worldwide
range record, the range would have been 714 km. The efficiency of the LMP battery was determined to be at 97%.

The test vehicle equipped with the KOLIBRI battery technology will be on
display on the BMWi (Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology)
stand in Hall 2 at the Hannover Messe Industrie trade fair and expo from 4
to 8 April 2011.

About DBM Energy
DBM Energy GmbH , founded in 2009 and based in Berlin, Germany,
manufactures high-performance energy storage systems. DBM Energy has
developed an innovative battery technology: KOLIBRI. This lithium-based
intelligent energy storage system is monitored, controlled and optimized via
integrated controllers to ensure optimum efficiency. The KOLIBRI technology finds
universal application as an energy storage system for stationary equipment,
electric passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles in the logistics and
manufacturing industries. As part of a demonstration project, an everyday vehcole
modified for electric power and equipped with the KOLIBRI technology covered a
distance exceeding 600 km with a single charge in October 2010, setting a
worldwide record

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      This battery remains as good a dream as ESSTOR hyper-capacitor on the old days. Same secrecy, many doubts, very partial meaningfull informations to make our own judgement, ....., but here the German government backing is a "plus" to give it a little more credibility.

      And since this is the type of features we absolutely need to build a future for our EVs dreams but also for many other things for which Electrical Energy storage is a critical step (like Solar and Wind alternative energies that without large scale energy storage are almost useless today), we're ready to believe this is truely real and it is comming.

      But back to these tests I'm not sure what they are testing here is compelling or not....
      My German is not good enough to understand if the cells tested are FULLY CHARGED or not, and why they are just testing the individual cells and not a full battery pack. Beyond natural risks with Lythium, the main risk at this level of Energy Density, is a short circuit withing a battery pack (different levels and reasons for that occurance need to be tested), that would dischange a fully changed battery in seconds, melting the entire battery assembly, firing the entire car, and burning the passengers.

      For me Cells testings, not clearly fully charged here, is a very partial test to cover for that. No ?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Carl,

        I see what you mean. But put yourself in the place of the small technology innovator, he needs to publicise his developments to attract funding, but also must keep the technology secret to stop the IP being stolen.

        Difficult situation, as credibility is always going to be crucial.

        The big corporations have the luxury of being able to announce new technology only when it's fully developed and in production.

      • 4 Years Ago
      This is very promising for future EV development.

      If only Audi would actually those this equipment in their upcoming EV.

      It is good to read an independent party has backed up their claim.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lets face it , its about time we saw some of this famous
      German engineering going down the electric route !

      Good to see the A2 being used as a donor car , ultra light
      and also very strong due to its aluminium frame construction.
      • 4 Years Ago
      We do have some comparison figures, which shed some light, if not on Wh/kg since we simply do not have weight data.
      This gets 283 miles on a 63kwh battery on the ECE R 101 cycle, whilst the Tesla Roadster gets 211 miles on it's 50kwh pack
      So the Tesla gets around 4.2 miles/kwh, and the A2 4.4 miles kwh.
      So we can tell from this both that they have not made any great advances in efficiency, and Tesla owners will instantly know how realistic the range estimates are for normal driving.
      Pretty good, I believe.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Whoops! Just checked, the Tesla battery pack is 53kwh, which puts performance at 4 miles/kwh.
        If the test cycle sticks to recommended DOD's then possibly these batteries can cope with deeper discharge than the commodity batteries on the Tesla - if they are using 90% instead of 80% that would cover the difference.
        I have no idea if the test cycle does take this into account, and really am not motivated enough to dig deep to find out.
        • 4 Years Ago
        • 4 Years Ago
        I doubt that they could get any fiddles past either BAM or DEKRA, so it would appear that they have a genuine product, which they have previously given the weight for and hence by implication the energy density at around 340Wh/kg. See our earlier discussions at:

        Since the range claim is now substantiated the energy density deserves the benefit of the doubt.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well, what we know SO FAR sounds good. But the lack of straight forward information on the energy density still leaves it as a total unknown. We will have to see what we're dealing with at price too.

      But I admit that I'm surprised they even have this much. I was pretty sure this was total scam city when the mysterious fire happened. Still don't trust it because it sounds too good to be true and they still haven't released any other detailed info besides safety.

      If it is real...then I'll gladly eat my words.
        • 4 Years Ago

        I think you have made a very pertinent point, in relation to the price. A great many wonderful 'breakthroughs' are never heard from again due to the high cost of putting to product into production.

        In my experience, most inventors who utalise to legitimate testing facilities are genuine. However to promoters have little experience in large scale manufacturing, or the product's raw materials are just to expensive.

        Often expensively produced models, and prototypes never make it into production because of unforeseen real world dynamics that were not countenanced in the lab.

        This is how conspiracy theories arise.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wait....they said the original pack was NOT destroyed by the fire, because it was somewhere else.

      Why did they make a 2nd, smaller pack then?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Who knows?

        But why not ask DBM Energy? If you are in Europe, you can attend the trade fair, if not simply write to the website query contact.
      • 4 Years Ago
      In the following german article Mirko Hannemann said his main focus is on floor-borne vehicles (forklifts) and stationary storage. He also said the company plan to produce up to 50 MWh of batteries in the fist year in Berlin.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Great. That leaves only price and production issues to be solved before plug-ins come to dominate the auto market.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Interesting, very interesting!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well, the energy seems powerful. http://www.lxt-group.com/02/en Lithium-ion Battery
      • 4 Years Ago
      A very distinct lack of any mention of pack weight makes accurate pack density calculations impossible. If it was anything to be proud of I'm not sure why they would hide it. So it's hard to tell if it's any significant advance.

      Anyways you can still get a rough estimate (making a very big assumption that the engine/transmission/motor swap didn't result in huge weight increase already) given the 1500kg (3307lbs) total weight. The official curb weight of the 2005 A2 is 900kg, that gives 600kg for the pack weight or ~1323lbs.

      That gives a pack density of 62.928 kWh/600kg = 105Wh/kg. The Roadster pack is 53kWh/450kg = 118Wh/kg, so it's pretty close. Tesla's battery chart shows its better than most, close to the MINI-E and Focus EV.

      But definitely not even close to the 300 mile Model S's pack, which is 3100mAh cells vs 2200mAh cells in the Roadster. That translates to 141% of the current density with negligible increase in cell weight (45.5g-44g = 1.5g or 3.4% per cell) or about 160Wh/kg pack density.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The 1500kgs total weight given is not the actual weight, just what it had to be less than to be tested by DEKRA.
        They have already given what they say is the pack weight here:
        If that is right energy density comes out to around 350wh/kg

        I suppose it could be some sort of scam where the batteries tested by BAM and DEKRA are much heavier than that but that seems increasingly unlikely.
        The only thing which seems completely off the wall is their supposed tiny cost.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @David Martin
        I take any numbers from that NY article with a huge grain of salt. It mentions "Upon arrival, its 115-kWh pack was only around 80 percent depleted, implying a total range of more than 400 miles from a pack weighing just 770 pounds". That doesn't match the 98.8kWh number given by the manufacturer in this article. I have no reason to believe the 770lbs is even accurate. I haven't seen another source that have also come up with that number independently (a source that didn't just get their info from that same article).

        I would much rather see the manufacturer give a cell data sheet instead (like most battery manufacturers do). This would have the voltage, capacity, cycle/charging characteristics, as well as the dimensions and weight. Leaves out all of the guess work and a potential customer can easily see if it matches their needs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Another thing is why did the pack size shrink to 63kWh? Why couldn't they build another 98 kWh pack like they allegedly did for the original?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Me too!
      • 4 Years Ago
      What does "hit the jump for more..." mean? Where do I hit the jump?

      Also, I'm having some trouble with the "it's said" in

      "For example, it's said the batteries in the Tesla Model S Signature (300-mile version) will hold 240 wh/kg while the cells in the Rolls Royce 102EX hold 230 wh/kg. Some had estimated the density of the original KOLIBRI pack to be over 300 wh/kg – which would be amazing – but from the information available now, the exact figure is frustratingly elusive."

      because it reads as if the Tesla and Rolls Royce battery packs might be no more reliably known than the KOLIBRI. What was said by whom? Is specific information about the Tesla and Rolls Royce as elusive as the with KOLIBRI?
        • 4 Years Ago
        > What does "hit the jump for more..." mean? Where do I hit the jump?

        The only way, is to get in one of those German super cars, with their mega super battery pack, and hit that jump at speed, and you have to do in Germany of course.
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