Better Battery Management Could Halve Size of Hybrid Batteries

Goal of Eaton and NREL collaboration is to make a usable state-of-charge of 20 to 80% without reducing battery life.

Published: 11-Sep-2012

The size of the battery in hybrid vehicles could be cut in half with no change in range or performance if a new ARPA-E effort comes to fruition.

Researchers at Eaton Corp.'s Innovation Center in Southfield, Mich. will work with a team from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on the project which is getting part of its $2.5 million funding from Dept. of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E).

"Battery management today uses the notion of state-of-charge and might let the battery range from 40 to 60% charged," says Eaton Manager of Intelligent Truck Vehicle Technology and Innovation Ben Saltsman. "The battery might have a large capacity but its usable energy is much smaller than its capacity." Currently vehicle makers must limit the amount of recharge current to the battery in the interest of prolonging battery life -- large charging currents heat up the battery and shorten its life. And battery life is an issue when replacements can cost car owners several thousand dollars.

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