The International Rechargeable Battery Expo 2013

Batteries compete with capacitors in micro-HV markets



 The following is a summary of the exhibition at the 4th International Rechargeable Battery Expo held at Tokyo Big Sight on February 27 to March 1, 2013, focusing on the automotive products.

 Among Japanese lithium-ion battery manufacturers, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and IHI/A123 Systems, exhibited their products at the Expo.

 Continued progress is seen in the application of lead-acid batteries in vehicles with start-stop systems and in hybrid vehicles (HVs). Manufacturers are leveraging on the cost and safety advantages of lead-acid batteries and exhibited their lead-acid batteries of improved charge acceptance and extended life in partial charge state conditions.

 As for capacitors, Mazda and PSA are already using electric double-layer capacitors (EDLC) on their cars. It appears capacitor manufacturers are evaluating their prototypes, including the lithium-ion capacitors, jointly with automakers.

 Lithium-ion battery has been used as the 12V engine starter battery for some time. For instance, the lithium-ion starter battery has been available on certain Porsche models since 2010 while A123 Systems is supplying its lithium-ion starter batteries to three automakers in Europe including McLaren and Mercedes-Benz. They have great advantages such as light weight, long life and brake energy regenerative power, while the cost is very high. A123 Systems plans to expand sales especially to automakers of luxury cars.

 Introduction of increasingly strict regulations on fuel economy is likely to expand the market of micro-hybrid vehicles which have start-stop systems and regenerative brake systems (to 39 million vehicles fitted with such features in the world in 2017 according to some forecasts). The lead-acid batteries are dominating this market at present but the manufacturers of EDLC and lithium-ion capacitors (LIC), and of lithium-ion batteries as well, are now appealing the benefits of their respective products in the same market.

Related report: The International Rechargeable Battery Expo 2012 (posted in April 2012)

* Click on the photo for a larger image.