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PHOTO CAPTION: Indy Power Systems Multi-Flex Energy Management System

Indy Power Develops Blended Energy Control System

The system's hardware platform uses embedded software that manages the flow of energy between multiple types of power units

Published: 10-Feb-2009

Indy Power System's Multi-Flex™ Energy Management System could potentially reduce the cost of batteries – the most expensive component in electric cars – by more than 50 percent per vehicle according to internal company tests that combined power from lithium-ion batteries and lead-acid batteries. The system's hardware platform uses embedded software that manages the flow of energy between multiple types of power units – including different types of rechargeable batteries and fuel cells – and optimizes the price and performance characteristics of each.

"Savings could well exceed $10,000 per highway vehicle given price and performance characteristics of batteries today," said Steve Tolen, president and CEO of Indy Power Systems, a Purdue Research Park company. As a Purdue Research Park company, Indy Power Systems officials have access to resources including a company profile on the Park's Web site and marketing assistance.

The system can combine power units of different voltages to meet a consumer's cost and performance needs. It also allows for future power unit upgrades using the existing hardware.

"If a consumer starts with low-cost lead-acid batteries and then wishes to add lithium-ion batteries to the system, it is possible to do that," Tolen said. "If a consumer wants to add more lithium-ion batteries, they can be added. And if a new energy storage technology emerges, it can be added with only a software upgrade."

By making hybrid and electric vehicle batteries more cost-efficient, Multi-Flex can accelerate the adoption of electric propulsion.

"It is clear from the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit that automakers want to develop more electric vehicles," Tolen said.

Officials from several major automakers – including Ford and General Motors – announced at the North American International Auto Show that they plan to develop more electric vehicles. GM officials announced at the show on Monday (January 12) that the company would open a plant in the United States exclusively to build batteries for the company's extended-range electric vehicles. The company also will open a 30,000-square-foot battery research center.

"By shifting to electric propulsion, companies like Indy Power Systems could become leaders in the emerging electric propulsion market," Tolen said. "This will mean new industries and new jobs just as the development of the computer microchip led to the development of a new industry and brought with it new jobs."

Indy Power Systems' technology has been demonstrated in golf carts, and company officials are upscaling it to power a highway electric vehicle. They are also in discussions with a plug-in hybrid vehicle manufacturer and a battery electric vehicle manufacturer for further development.

About Indy Power Systems

Created in 2007, Indy Power Systems has developed the Multi-FlexTM Energy Management System, a proprietary hardware and software energy management system that is used in the management of electrical power in the transportation, electrical device and electric utility grid industries. Director Bill Wylam retired from General Motors, where he was responsible for the development of the propulsion system for the GM EV1 electric vehicle and for development of advanced lead-acid, nickel-zinc and lithium-ion battery systems. COO Bob Galyen developed the battery pack for the EV1 prototype and owns an independent battery testing laboratory. Senior Electrical Engineer Quentin Kramer served for a time as chief electrical engineer for the award-winning Rose-Hulman Solar Phantom VI.

About Purdue Research Park

The 725-acre Purdue Research Park (http://www.purdueresearchpark.com) has the largest university-affiliated business incubation complex in the country. The park is home to more than 157 companies. About 100 of these firms are technology-related and another 39 are incubator businesses. The park is owned and managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, a private, nonprofit foundation created to assist Purdue University in the area of economic development. The Foundation received three 2008 Excellence in Economic Development Awards from the International Economic Development Council in the categories of Entrepreneurship, Partnerships with Educational Institutions and Technology-Based Economic Development.

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