New LG Chem Battery Pack Combination Unveiled

ST’s battery-management chip is manufactured with the Company’s proprietary BCD (Bipolar-CMOS-DMOS) technology

Published: 26-Dec-2008

STMicroelectronics unveiled details of a new automotive battery pack that significantly extends the potential of electric and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), reducing both petrol consumption and CO2 emissions. The new battery pack combines LG Chem’s lithium ion (Li-ion) battery technology and with a state-of-the-art battery management chip manufactured by ST.

Hybrid electric vehicles, which combine a conventional petrol-fueled Internal Combustion Engine with an electric-motor powered by a rechargeable battery, are becoming an increasingly important part of the automotive market because they can deliver greater fuel efficiency and reduce atmospheric pollution. Typically, today’s HEVs use batteries based on Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) technology, which use simpler control circuits but are heavier and operate at lower voltages.

Li-ion batteries are widely used in portable consumer electronic equipment because they offer one of the best energy-to-weight ratios - more than twice that of NiMH batteries - with a very low self-discharge while not in use. However, their use in higher power applications has so far been limited because the charge/discharge cycle of Li-ion batteries must be carefully managed to protect the batteries from abuse condition. For this reason, Li-ion batteries must be combined with sophisticated and highly reliable electronic battery-management circuits in high-power applications.

The new Li-ion battery pack from LG Chem manages the charge/discharge cycle by incorporating an advanced battery-management chip, manufactured by ST, which enables safe and long-term reliability of Li-ion battery technology at affordable cost, even in applications as demanding as automotive powertrain systems.

ST’s battery-management chip is manufactured with the Company’s proprietary BCD (Bipolar-CMOS-DMOS) technology, which combines digital logic circuits, precise analog measurement circuits and power-handling transistors in one silicon chip. A Battery Management System with these chips accurately controls the charging and discharging cycles of the battery to ensure safe operation and long battery life. Each chip can handle up to ten Li-ion cells and also includes an interface for communicating with other ST battery-management chips in a system. With this communication capability, as many as 32 battery-management chips can be connected in cascade to manage batteries that deliver up to 1600V to the electric motors.

BCD, often called smart power, is a semiconductor technology that allows ST to manufacture three fundamental components of electronic circuits on a single low-cost chip:

  • Digital logic for high-speed computation.
  • Analog circuits for high-precision measurement and control.
  • Power transistors that manage the flow of high electric currents.

    The LG Chem/ST solution reduces the cost and weight and increases the reliability of the Li-ion battery pack, enabling Li-ion technology to address new applications from electric scooters and bicycles to heavy trucks

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    The battery system was developed by CSIRO in Australia, built by the Furukawa Battery Company of Japan and tested in the United Kingdom through the American-based Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium.

    The new batteries will make the GM Hybrid System nearly three times more powerful than the system it replaces. Pictured is 2009 Saturn Vue Green Line with Two-mode hybrid drive.

    Dramatic developments in stored-power technology make electric cars more viable than ever. Pictures is Th!nk Global's new Ox crossover vehicle.


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