Can lead acid accumulators be used for electric vehicles?

| Transport

According to one US battery maker, 48V lead acid batteries continue to have a future as an alternative to Lithium for electric vehicles.

More evidence that lead battery technology has a major role to play in the future of automobiles comes this week at the Battery show in Novi, Michigan, where East Penn, a US battery maker, is showcasing the Kia Optima Hybrid 48-Volt system demonstration car.

The vehicle features a 48-volt Belt-Driven Starter-Generator system in conjunction with an electric supercharger, with electric energy stored in UltraBattery modules, which were designed and manufactured by East Penn.

Ultrabatteries use an innovative lead-carbon hybrid battery technology first supported in development by the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium more than a decade ago. It offers greater cycle life with general performance improvements over conventional lead batteries. In the Kia vehicle on show, CO 2 emissions have been shown to be reduced by 16%, in combination with an increase in engine power of 23%.

Dr Alistair Davidson, Director of Products and Sustainability at ILA said: “With an abundance of news out this summer from automotive manufacturers announcing that they plan to phase out combustion engine technology in less than 20 years, this presentation by East Penn, in Association with Kia, shows what can be achieved now by integrating existing lead battery technology in a very cost-effective and fuel-efficient way.

“48V systems are one of the favoured intermediate approaches as manufacturers move forward to a pure electric future. Lead-based battery systems are the lowest cost, fully recycled, ubiquitous and safest means of storing electrical energy — which is at the heart of all EV and hybrid vehicle development.”

East Penn’s project partners Hyundai, ALABC, Valeo and AVL all played key roles in this successful demonstration with very impressive results of 16% reduction in CO2 emissions and a 23% increase in engine power.

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