A North Caolina-based group is trying to prove that lead-carbon batteries are viable for hybrid vehicles.
As developments in lithium-ion battery technology continues at a slow pace, the Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) has taken matters into its own hands by testing a lead-carbon “UltraBattery.”
Outfitting a Honda Civic Hybrid with its UltraBattery, ALABC has recorded over 100,000 miles of courier duty in the Phoenix, Ariz. area. According to ALABC, the vehicle was first retrofitted and put into fleet duty in November 2011 and continues to run smoothly, getting comparable MPG performance as a NiMH-powered Civic Hybrid.
The UltraBattery technology was developed by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and Furukawa Battery of Japan. The project was backed by the U.S. Department of Energy in hopes of further progressing hybrid vehicles. The unique battery design uses a traditional lead-acid battery with a carbon-enhanced supercapacitor in one singular and highly-effective component.
ALABC will continue putting its Civic Hybrid to the test to see how long the batteries will last while seeking additional research and development projects to see how the batteries can be applied elsewhere in the automotive and energy storage world.
“The UltraBattery is really a new spin on an old, but reliable technology,” said Karner. “If the OEMs are going to make significant reductions in the cost of producing hybrid electric vehicle batteries in the near term, they will need to take a closer look at the performance of these new lead-carbon batteries.”
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