In brief: A123 Systems has introduced a 12 volt lithium-ion nanophosphate engine start battery targeted towards stop-start/micro-hybrids.
The emerging stop-start/microhybrid market seems ripe for new battery technologies to accept the heavier workloads associated with their fuel-saving systems. A123 has introduced the AMP20, a 12V, 20Ah lithium-ion nanophosphate battery solution.
The battery has all of the control electronics built in, making it a plug-and-play solution for vehicle use. Since lithium offers better charge acceptance and lighter weight, they have distinct advantages over the common lead acid batteries used in cars today.
The batteries will also result in lower alternator loads as they retain more power and accept it faster than lead-acid.
The A123 goal was to produce a battery that is drop-in ready and can work for both cold starting as well as hot starts during stop-start applications. The company plans to offer batteries in the 60-80 amp hour ranges to fit most passenger vehicles.
The system has been tested in larger vehicles, namely buses, for about 3 years with good results. With the current wear patterns, those batteries are expected to show about six years of life whereas equivalent lead-acid (AGM) batteries in the same cycles are only lasting 18 months to 2 years. This longer expected lifespan will offset the higher cost of the lithium cells.
And so ...
Great approach and one that, eventually, may become the norm for batteries purchased in the premium market.
Photo credits: A123 Systems