A project developed at the Argonne National Laboratory for Science and Engineering Research could lead to better plug-in hybrids. The idea was to create a high power, high energy electrical storage system by mixing the best of two worlds: the high power density of ultracapacitors and the high energy storage of lithium-ion batteries. The project could also reduce the stress on and size of the battery pack. New strategies would need to be developed to control the state of charge (SOC) of capacitors. The battery components are also redesigned, aiming for cost reduction and more efficiency. For instance, thicker electrodes in battery cells could save $285 per kWh stored.

Auto parts makers and manufacturers collaborate and have shown interest in this project: ultracapacitors come from Maxwell Technologies and lithium batteries from Gold Peak USA. Magna Corp is currently testing a pilot pack on a prototype OEM EV targeted for 2012 California ZEV emissions, while Continental is working on a DC/DC converter. GM has said it will test the system in the Voltec system.

[Source: Green Car Congress]

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