Will 2008 see production of automotive lithium ion batteries?

Sam Abuelsamid has some potentially big news for the first of the year. Continental plans to start series production of LiIon batteries in 2008.

According to an interview in German Magazine Auto Motor und Sport, Continental CEO Manfred Wennemer announced the company would start series production of automotive lithium ion battery packs in 2008. The article doesn’t say who the cell supplier is or what customer the packs are intended for.”

It appears Continental Automotive may be the first major company to start series production of automotive lithium ion batteries.

Continental is partnering with A123 Systems as one of two supplier teams producing prototype battery packs for the Chevy Volt program.

Under some real world testing their cells have demonstrated the best performance curves, and A123 Systems engineers have developed proprietary algorithms that can precisely monitor their battery technology’s voltage and state of charge. The battery management system matters in how fast a lithium-ion battery can be re-charged without being overcharged and damaging the battery pack that requires a very expensive investment.

Thus, the announcement may mean that Continental has worked out to their satisfaction a battery pack for traction applications. GCC commentator Henrik is hopeful. More than any other announcement, apart from the one by Smith’s vehicles, this may mean that A123 cells will be for sale for cars and / or buses in 2008!

As Denise Gray, director of Hybrid Vehicle Energy Storage Systems for General Motors, evasively explained in an ABG interview1 last year, as her battery lab began to receive battery packs from CPI and some additional packs from Continental:

There are many kinds of things, there are tricks that we have and there are different kinds of models to allow us to get better resolution of that to use different parameters in order to get a better feel for what that flat spot of that curve is.

ABG interviewer: When you have got a flatter curve, like with the iron phosphate, would you do things like for example, factoring in the time? If you have charged it, factor in how long it has been running?

DG: Well, if I tell you I will have to kill you.

ABG: I guess that is a little bit too much to ask.

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1Denise Gray talks batteries, state of charge and more

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