The Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) said it is paving the way for a new generation of affordable and cost-effective micro-mild hybrid cars. It is doing so with its low CO2 emission vehicle demonstration program known as the low cost lead carbon LC Super Hybrid, which was conceived in association with Controlled Power Technologies (CPT).

ALABC said 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 program in Germany. The concept is to be further showcased this week at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC) being held at the Palais des Congrès in Strasbourg, France, between June 24 and 28.

“The LC Super Hybrid program was conceived by the ALABC and CPT to show that without destroying the power, torque and acceleration – and hence performance with all the fun and enjoyment of driving a car – significant CO2 reduction can be achieved through electric hybridisation at 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.

ALABC_48_Volt_Hyb_Battery-668“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.  Utilizing 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 optimization 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.

“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 liter 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, gasoline-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.

ALABC said that at a nominal 48 volts a further improvement of 4 to 8 percent is anticipated – and at both voltages significantly more miles per gallon and comparably fewer liters per 100 kilometers in real world driving – while delivering the performance and driveability of a 2-liter 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 is said to offer significant additional functionality including torque assist to the petrol engine for launch and low speed transient acceleration, optimized highway 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 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.