European lithium-ion automotive battery manufacturer Axeon has been awarded €3.32 million ($4.72 U.S. at the current exchange rate) to fund research aimed at reducing the weight, volume and cost of batteries that power electric and hybrid vehicles.
The funds were issued as part of a consortium called SmartBatt, which targets improved battery integration into vehicle structures by way of significantly reducing battery weight, volume and cost without altering the performance of the actual cells. SmartBatt is shooting for the following reductions for a 20 kWh li-ion battery pack:
  • Weight: 10-15 percent
  • Volume: 20-30 percent
  • Cost: 5-10 percent
Axeon will utilize the funds to develop concept battery packs, conduct feasibility studies, perform risk assessment testing and design and develop a prototype pack that meets the consortium's guidelines. The SmartBatt project is scheduled to commence now and end in late 2012.

[Source: Axeon]
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Axeon to reduce size, weight and cost of EV & Hybrid vehicle batteries

Axeon, Europe's largest independent lithium-ion automotive battery systems supplier, has been awarded research funding from the EU to dramatically reduce the weight, volume and cost of batteries in electric and hybrid vehicles as part of a consortium programme called SmartBatt.

The consortium is led by the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology Mobility Department (Business Units Electric Drive Technologies and Light Metals Technologies Ranshofen) and eight other partners: the Fraunhofer Institute Light Metals Division & Joining Technology Division, Impact Design, Ricardo UK Ltd, SP Technical Consulting, Technical University Graz and Volkswagen.

The programme is part of the seventh framework agreement to develop the 'Smart and Safe Integration of Batteries in Electric Vehicles' and will aim to improve battery integration into vehicle structures by significantly reducing battery weight, volume and cost without changing the actual cells. Targets for a 20kWh battery pack (larger than the 16kWh packs in many plug-in hybrids and electric cars including the Vauxhall Ampera and Citroen C1 ev'ie) include:

1 Reduction of battery pack weight by 10%-15%
2 Reduction of battery pack volume by 20-30%
3 Reduction in battery pack cost by 5%-10%

Axeon will support with the specification analysis and requirements stage and will be particularly involved in the concepts and feasibility study, risk assessment, design and development and final assessment phases.

Lawrence Berns, Axeon CEO, said: "Axeon is proud to be working with this consortium of multinational, well-established and highly-respected organisations on improving the integration of batteries in hybrid and electric vehicles. This project provides an opportunity to explore how we can shift the current constrictions in battery integration and ultimately provide new solutions for vehicle manufacturers. Our involvement in SmartBatt underlines our proven capability, experience and importantly our success in developing and integrating advanced automotive battery systems."

The SmartBatt project is scheduled to last 24 months up until the end of 2012.

Axeon is one of Europe's foremost producers of Li-ion battery systems for electric vehicles (EVs) and Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). Axeon's battery and charger systems are designed and manufactured to full automotive standards, incorporating all the exacting requirements of packaging design, cooling and electronics and vehicle integration. Axeon works with many of the world's most advanced cell manufacturers. Currently Axeon's EV batteries give a range of up to 140 miles from a single charge, with stored capacity ranging from 5 kWh to 180 kWh. Axeon's Battery Management System is a market-leading technology for managing lithium-ion batteries, delivering safe, durable performance.

Axeon's mainland European business designs and manufactures batteries and battery management systems for portable power tools and innovative mobile power solutions.

Axeon is fully owned by AG Holding Ltd, which is backed by funds managed by Ironshield Capital Management LLP.

About the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology Mobility Department

The AIT Mobility Department has become a recognised development and testing centre for electric drive concepts, helping both manufacturers and suppliers adapt to the electric era by using sophisticated simulation methods and providing excellent laboratory infrastructure.

Within the SmartBatt project the Electric Drive Technologies team is responsible for the project management due to its experience in handling international scientific projects. Furthermore its expertise in energy storage systems and long term experience on the various risk issues that come with lithium batteries are sought.

The Light Metals Technologies team will support the design concepts regarding material selection, manufacturing issues, joining technologies and assembly. Moreover it will analyse the crash-worthiness of critical areas of the housing using sophisticated simulation tools as well as supporting the build-up of test articles from Aluminum and Magnesium alloys by casting, forming, foaming or joining.

The AIT Mobility Department will be responsible for testing and validation of the batteries and their bodies.

For more information, please see http://www.ait.ac.at/mobility

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