A consortium proposing the use of a lead-acid battery as a cheaper, more effective alternative to vehicle hybridization is showing off its Volkswagen Passat demonstration vehicle in Austria this week.

The Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC), along with Controlled Power Technologies (CPT), says the lead-acid powered "micro-mild hybrid" system powering its LC Super Hybrid can deliver fuel-economy boosts similar to conventional hybrids but at just a 25-percent cost increase compared to standard gas-powered vehicles.

The group previously showed off a 12-volt version of its demonstration vehicle that allowed the 1.4-liter Passat to get 42 miles per gallon. The current system, using 48 volts, will boost that fuel economy by as much as another eight percent while delivering the performance of a 2-liter-engined vehicle. That car is being demonstrated this week at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC) Strasbourg, Austria. Check out the ALABC's press release below.
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48V LC Super Hybrid to showcase breakthrough lead-carbon battery technology at Advanced Automotive Battery Conference

The Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) is paving the way for a new generation of affordable and cost-effective micro-mild hybrid cars with its low CO2 emission vehicle demonstration programme known as the low cost lead carbon LC Super Hybrid conceived in association with Controlled Power Technologies (CPT). Its latest 48 volt technology demonstrator will take centre stage this week at a major international battery conference in France focused on the activities of European carmakers, where its preceding 12 volt demonstrator will be available for carmakers to ride and drive.

Following its world debut at the International Vienna Motor Symposium in April, the 48 volt LC Super Hybrid demonstrator is taking another break from its preparatory build and test programme in Germany, which is being handled by systems integrator AVL, and in the UK by CPT, to be further showcased this week at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC) being held at the Palais des Congrès in Strasbourg from 24-28 June.

"The LC Super Hybrid programme was conceived by the ALABC and CPT to show that without destroying the power, torque and acceleration - and hence spritely performance with all the fun and enjoyment of driving a car - significant CO2 reduction can be achieved through electric hybridisation at low voltages below 60 volts supported by the latest lead-carbon batteries," says Allan Cooper European project coordinator ALABC. "Most significantly the high performance and low fuel consumption of this new breed of micro-mild hybrid cars can be achieved at a quarter of the add-on costs associated with more expensive high voltage mild, full, plug-in and range extended hybrids and battery electric vehicles. Moreover, the low voltage electrification of the powertrain deploying nominal 12, 24 and 48 volt grids keeps it below the critical 60 volt high voltage safety threshold."

Allan Cooper will deliver a technical presentation at the AABC symposium on the innovative lead-carbon battery technology applied to the LC Super Hybrid and other ALABC technology demonstrators during the Advanced Automotive Battery Technology, Application and Market (AABTAM) session on 'Energy Storage for Low-Voltage Hybrids' to be held at the Palais des Congrès on the morning of Thursday 27 June. The session will be chaired by Dr Eckhard Karden a technical expert in micro-hybridisation and battery energy storage technology at Ford's Corporate Research and Advanced Engineering Centre at Aachen in Germany.

Allan Cooper is an independent consultant and European coordinator of the ALABC program working closely with the International Lead Association, which is headquartered in London, and with companies including AVL, CPT and Ricardo for developing low CO2 emission vehicles. In 2008 he was awarded the International Lead Medal for exceptional contributions to the industry in the areas of lead metallurgy, production technology and lead-acid battery development, particularly in the field of electric and hybrid electric vehicles. He graduated from the University of Cambridge.

Allan Cooper will be accompanied to the conference by Nick Pascoe chief executive officer and Paul Bloore senior engineer for powertrain integration at Controlled Power Technologies. They will be joined by David Wilson president and Boris Monahov program manager of the ALABC.

"The lead-carbon battery is an important breakthrough for hybrid electric vehicles," says Monahov. "It is a lead-acid battery with special types of carbon added to the negative plates. It's taken many years of hard work for the members of the ALABC to achieve this advance in lead-acid batteries for HEV applications. Lead-carbon batteries retain all the advantages of 'regular' lead-acid batteries: low cost, high specific power, outstanding cranking ability at very low, moderate and high temperatures, and can be fully recycled using existing technologies and equipment."

"The big benefit of lead-carbon batteries is their long cycle life in HEV applications – well above 100,000 road miles – comparable to the life of the vehicle. Utilising the combination of Faradaic and capacitive processes in the negative plates with added carbon, lead-carbon batteries have been shown to tolerate the relentless high current charging and discharging required in micro-mild hybrids, which are forecast to dominate the automotive market over the coming 10-15 years. This new breed of micro-mild hybrid vehicles, developed by ALABC, CPT, Ricardo, Valeo and AVL working closely with leading carmakers, is expected to be on the roads from 2015 onwards."

After years of fundamental battery research, Monahov has spent more than a decade in product development and technology optimisation of advanced lead-acid and lead-carbon batteries. Previously an associate professor at Professor Pavlov's lab in the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences at Sofia in Bulgaria, he is currently managing the ALABC international research program which is supported by the International Lead Zinc Research Organization (ILZRO) based at Research Triangle Park at Durham in North Carolina.

"We have achieved a high level of readiness for meeting the needs of the world's leading carmakers and their global Tier 1 suppliers," adds David Wilson president of the ALABC. "We've spent 20 years developing this new battery chemistry while CPT has similarly spent more than 10 years applying itself to the refinement of highly complementary switched reluctance motor-generator technology for low voltage automotive applications."

"The introduction of this technology from 2015 onwards is a realistic timeframe," says Nick Pascoe chief executive Controlled Power Technologies, "particularly as we're now seeing rapidly maturing definitions of nominal 48 volt architectures by leading carmakers, supported by the global tier 1 supply base, and increasingly diverse powertrain and vehicle applications being primed for series production. Besides, 2015 is when carmakers have to meet European CO2 emission levels of 130g/km reducing to 95g/km by 2020."

Based on identical basic specification 1.4 litre VW Passat family sized saloons, the production-ready LC Super Hybrid technology at 12 volts has already been widely demonstrated to carmakers in Europe and the US following its debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. It offers the potential of a mass market, petrol-powered, large family car with superb drivability, impressive performance and excellent fuel economy of 50 miles per imperial gallon (42mpg US or 5.6l/100km) and 130g/km on the NEDC New European Drive Cycle.

At a nominal 48 volts a further improvement of 4-8 per cent is anticipated - and at both voltages significantly more miles per gallon and comparably fewer litres per 100 kilometres in real world driving - while delivering the performance and driveability of a 2-litre class vehicle. This is achieved at substantially lower cost than an equivalent diesel model. The low voltage technology enables aggressive yet near-term down-sizing and down-speeding of existing gasoline engine families.

The more powerful 48 volt demonstrator offers significant additional functionality including torque assist to the petrol engine for launch and low speed transient acceleration, optimised motorway cruise conditions with electric assist 'load point moving' and a leaner fuel calibration, in-gear coast-down and the ability to harvest significantly more kinetic energy from regenerative braking. It cleverly combines cost effective, advanced lead-carbon batteries with CPT's production ready, versatile SpeedStart® motor-generator system, which has been recently validated for 1.2 million stop-starts compared with 150,000 to 300,000 for first generation micro-hybrids.

The vehicle also includes production-ready electric boosting technology sold by CPT to the major tier 1 supplier Valeo based in France. Other international companies involved are powertrain developer AVL based in Germany, drive belt specialist Mubea also from Germany, and Provector, a leading expert in battery management systems, based near Cambridge in the UK.

For more than a year now the 12V LC Super Hybrid vehicle has been thoroughly tested and driven by many vehicle OEMs and automotive journalists both in Europe and in the US with enthusiastic responses. ALABC and CPT expect to release comprehensive performance data regarding the 48V vehicle fuel economy and energy management later in the year, after which both vehicles will be available for evaluation and back-to-back comparisons.

Further details on the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference in Strasbourg are available at http://www.advancedautobat.com/conferences/automotive-battery-conference-Europe- 2013/index.html

Notes to editors

The ALABC and CPT have been jointly recognised for their affordable low cost LC Super Hybrid technology breakthrough with a prestigious award presented by the UK's Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP). The award was co-presented in the category for 'Low Carbon Innovation by an SME' – an award open to small and medium sized enterprises such as CPT and academic institutions such as the ALABC research consortium.

The LowCVP announced the winners of its 'Low Carbon Champions Awards' in January 2013 at its London headquarters in Westminster also home to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), a supporter of the awards, which celebrate outstanding and innovative practice in accelerating the shift to lower carbon vehicles and fuels and reducing road transport emissions.

About the ALABC
The Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium is an international research cooperative comprised of lead producers and smelters, battery manufacturers, equipment and carbon suppliers and research facilities organised to enhance the performance of lead-acid batteries for a variety of markets, including hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) applications and various energy storage systems.

Founded in 1992, the Consortium pools the resources of its global membership to perform specific research on advanced lead-acid batteries and develop new technologies and battery concepts (over 110 successful projects) that otherwise would not be possible by any single entity.

The ALABC is a program of the International Lead Zinc Research Organization (ILZRO) based in North Carolina, and is managed by the International Lead Association (ILA) headquartered in London. For more information about the ALABC and its accomplishments, visit www.alabc.org.

About Controlled Power Technologies

Controlled Power Technologies is an independent, clean-tech UK company, based at Laindon in Essex and Coventry in the West Midlands, specialising in the development of cost-effective CO2 reduction measures for the global automotive industry that avoid major redesign of the powertrain or vehicle electrical system. Its core competencies include low voltage power electronics, advanced control software and the application of low voltage electrical machines to gasoline and diesel powertrains.

CPT gained significant prominence and credibility in the automotive industry when it sold its production ready VTES electric supercharger business in December 2011 to Valeo for £30 million. A select team of advanced powertrain development engineers, originally established in the UK by Ford then Visteon, had worked on the technology for more than 10 years following careful research and selection of switched-reluctance machines as the best technology for low voltage micro-mild hybrid vehicle applications.

CPT is similarly focused on bringing its closely related Cobra, SpeedStart and Tigers technology to mass market readiness. Cobra is a water cooled electric supercharger for commercial vehicle and off highway applications. The Tigers unit is a water cooled turbine integrated gas energy recovery system that will soon be making its first appearance in the Technology Strategy Board co-funded Vipers technology demonstrator programme led by Jaguar Land-Rover supported by CPT. The Vipers consortium members also include Ford, IAV, BP, University of Nottingham and Imperial College London.

CPT's technology development partner is Nidec Corporation of Japan, one of the world's leading suppliers of electric motors. CPT was established in 2007 as a management buy-in funded by venture capital to acquire Visteon's advanced powertrain business. It comprises a highly experienced team of automotive engineers and is backed by a number of prominent investors specialising in the energy and environmental sectors including Turquoise Associates. The company is currently recruiting more high calibre engineers. Further information on CPT is available at www.cpowert.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 31 Comments
      William
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow. There's a serious lack of knowledge indicated in these comments about lead acid batteries. And yet by their excessive level of confidence in their condescension you might initially think they were correct. But they aren't.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @William
        Allright. Prove all of us wrong and show us this super awesome lead acid battery.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @William
        Says the person who called lithium an 'exceedingly rare element'. Dude, it is the third element on the periodic table. It is one of only 3 elements formed during the big bang. We could literally just filter the ocean for near endless supplies of lithium. But why do that when all we have to do is scoop it up from dried lake beds.
        brotherkenny4
        • 1 Year Ago
        @William
        But you have no content in your comment. Say something and defend it. You say nothing. We can't even tell which comments you take umbridge with.
      DaveMart
      • 1 Year Ago
      It really helps to have some reasonable level of reading comprehension if you write articles. The cost is not at a 25 percent INCREASE COMPARED to conventional vehicles as the article says, but as the press release says it is a claimed 25% of the EXTRA COST of hybridisation by other means: 'Most significantly the high performance and low fuel consumption of this new breed of micro-mild hybrid cars can be achieved at a quarter of the add-on costs associated with more expensive high voltage mild, full, plug-in and range extended hybrids and battery electric vehicles. '
      ffforte
      • 1 Year Ago
      The implementation looks like the mild hybrid system that GM has been using in their cars. Most of the savings vs a full hybrid is a simpler drive train, so I would think the total cost difference by using a lead battery shouldn't be all that much.
      carney373
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have railed on these forums against a misguided focus on getting more efficient while remaining locked in to oil. Rolling a bit further down the road on planet-wrecking, economy-crashing, war-triggering, nuke program enabling, terrorism-funding jihad juice is not the answer. In the first place, even the most draconian efficiency gains do not cause a reduction in consumption. From 1976 to 1990, our national fleet average MPG went from 13 to 20, a whopping increase proportionately, yet despite being able to go the same distance on much less fuel our annual gasoline consumption did NOT go down; it went UP from 89 to 103 billion gallons. Population growth, economic growth, and human nature produce irresistible upward pressure on energy demand. In the second place, even if we DID consume less oil, OPEC could just cut production to spike up the price further, so we'd end up paying the same amount for less oil for our efficient cars as we used to pay for more oil for our fuel-guzzlers. The petro-tyrannies' mischief budget remains unaffected but we end up paying out more for hybrid capability, or sacrificing speed / size / safety for nothing. The only way out of the oil trap is to BREAK FREE FROM OIL.
      Ryan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Driving around parking lots, coasting towards stop lights, stuck in stop and go traffic, and sitting at stop lights are all good uses for something like this paired with stop-start. It shouldn't increase costs very much, but will increase city mpg.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      Brought to you by the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium ? LOL http://www.alabc.org/publications/lc-technology-has-the-obvious-been-overlooked Read their paper on the subject. If you know *anything* about lithium batteries, you'd know that this thing is chock full of lies. entertaining bits: "Lead carbon batteries are produced and sold at costs below the $150-200/kWh range, much lower than batteries made with other chemistries such as Li-Ion or NiMH in the $650/kWh and above range. " ( i can buy li-ion batteries in the $300/kw-hr range as a hobbyist right now.. various brands.. you can too.. so can the OEMs.. ) "It is a fact that the “gravimetric energy density” of lithium cells can exceed that of lead-carbon by a factor of 3 to 10, but this advantage is normally offset by the added weight of electronic controls, cooling and other packaging required to assure safe operation of lithium battery systems." ( Let's do some math. A kw-hr of 150whr/kg lithium cells is about 15 pounds. 15 times 24 = 360lbs for a 24kw-hr pack. A typical lead acid battery is about 33whr/kg. That's 4.5 times heavier per capacity. The resulting lead acid battery pack would be 1,636 pounds. Does a lithium battery really have a 1,276lb battery management and cooling system? nnnope.... The Nissan Leaf 24kw-hr battery is 660lbs. This is a pants-on-fire-lie! ) "A recent paper issued by the U.S. Department of Energy states: "...the current cost of (lithium) EV batteries is about $650/kWh, which is much greater than an estimated target of $125/KWh of usable energy for widespread implementation.1" ( if you look over the funding request doc from our govt ( http://www.floridaenergy.ufl.edu/wp-content/uploads/DE-FOA-0000559.pdf ), you will see that this is a figure for not just the cells, but the interconnects, thermal management system, electronics, and packaging for a 300 mile range EV.. fair comparison? ) The 'summary utility psoc cycle-life' graph shows a 10% DOD discharge graph - really? that's the kind of test that you would put a starter battery through, but not anything like a hybrid/plugin/full ev. They cut the lithium battery graph off early. Each battery is tested at different C rates. Some batteries are tested at multiple C rates in one graph line. Not scientific whatsoever! I could go on, but you get the idea. It sounds like these batteries are the same gigantic heavy lead acids you know and hate, but their cycle life is longer.. ok... does anyone still want a car that drives like a boat anchor?
        DaveMart
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        2WM: Are you feeling OK? Sourced and referenced data in your critique! Line by line analysis! What are you doing, man! That is not like you! :-0
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Year Ago
          @DaveMart
          Sorry about that guys, my account got hacked... ;D
          Dave D
          • 1 Year Ago
          @DaveMart
          LOL He REALLY got tired of someone lying this time!
      Smoking_dude
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Problem is that the industry focused on cheap starter batteries that only have to last for a few years and have to supply only short bursts of power. Most manufaturers became lazy and did no research. No regulation, no balancing, six 2Volt cells until one goes bad. But there are strong and reliable alternatives. Like AGM batteries, especially the spiralcell types. they contain pure lead and have a high energy an power desity. Here a ac propulsion t zero http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Acp_tzero_dsc00309.jpg So stop ranting and look Closely. The 12V system uses two spiralcell AGM batteries. The second Picture shows seven 6 Volt Batteries. so a nice and modular setup. Imagine high quality lead acid (AGM) 2V cells, like with single lithium cells. there are specialised, manufacturers that offer them. with an BMS it could be a ceap alternative. for 20 years carmakers prodly announced 42 volts. Never really made it. because the big players just can't do it. they know 12 Volts and everything beyond is magic and like a miracle they are scared. never tried and never got any experience. 42 volts would feature lots of benefits. thinner cables, less amperage, less emv. 20 years ago I saw such a seup even nicer than pictured above. integrated in the flywheel with a savy diesel. but the techbnician told me he is woking for the bin :(
      paulwesterberg
      • 1 Year Ago
      Too little too late. Lead Acid you had your chance.
      Levine Levine
      • 1 Year Ago
      another desperate attempt to resuscitate the imminent death of lead-acid battery before NiMH or even Li-ion becomes the standard.
        William
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Levine Levine
        How many cubic miles of earth have to be excavated to obtain enough Lithium for a Li-ion car battery cluster? Its an exceedingly rare element.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @William
          William, that has to be the dumbest comments I've read. Lithium is hugely abundant.
          brotherkenny4
          • 1 Year Ago
          @William
          False. Not rare. Lithium production is done by pumping brines to the surface and evaporating the water to concentrate the salts. It's not a traditional mining technology. No mines really. So how cubic miles of earth? It's zero. Zero miles of earth need to be removed.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Year Ago
          @William
          Hahahahaha rare element!! I can take a shovel and pick you up some from the nearby salt lake.. you can have it for "only" 100 dollars a pound... what do you say? ;D
      George Krpan
      • 1 Year Ago
      A very useful development.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      Advanced Lead Acid Battery sounds like such an oxymoron. OK, I appreciate that they are making lead-acid batteries last much longer. But it is still lead-acid. It is going to have a terrible energy density not matter what because lead is lead.
        Joseph Brody
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        "Advanced lead acid" is like "clean diesel"
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joseph Brody
          Axion? Oh. I get it now. Axion, home of the pump & dump artist John Peterson. It all makes sense now.
          William
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joseph Brody
          Again...Look at the Axion Power battery.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        Maybe we should bring back the abacus too. It had a retina display, excellent tactile feedback, was invulnerable to remote attacks and never got viruses. It was also very affordable and easily made here in the USA. Sounds great, right?
          Levine Levine
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          Don't knock the abacus; it is still in use today, despite Window 8.
      David Murray
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sorry, I just don't buy it. GM tried lead-acid batteries in some of their early hybrids. They failed constantly. They can't handle regenerative braking current, which is required if you want to be a real hybrid. Also lead-acid batteries have a lifespan of between 3 and 6 years even when used gently. Despite initial worries when hybrids came out, the NiMh batteries seem to last the life of the vehicle in most cases. Who wants to replace a hybrid pack every 5 years?
        William
        • 1 Year Ago
        @David Murray
        Look at Axion Power's battery.
        MTN RANGER
        • 1 Year Ago
        @David Murray
        If you are talking about the EV1, yes, the later NIMH versions were clearly superior to the lead acid batteries.
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