The 2nd EV & HEV Drive System Technology Expo (Report 2)

Batteries and Chargers

2011/03/07

Summary

 Below is a report on the products and technologies regarding rechargeable batteries, next-generation batteries, chargers, and related parts and materials exhibited by 19 manufacturers at the 2nd EV & HEV Drive System Technology Expo ("EV Japan 2011") held in Tokyo Big Site on January 19-21, 2011.

 This year's EV Japan saw a decrease in the number of battery-related exhibits and a significant increase in the number of exhibits by charger manufacturers, than last year, reflecting the official introduction of CHAdeMO (CHArge de MOve), a global industry standard of Japanese origin for quick charging methods for battery electric vehicles. The CHAdeMO-compatible quick chargers are gradually being installed also in the United States as Nissan's LEAF was released for sale there. The new standard is likely to penetrate the U.S. market as a new standard governing 440V direct current quick chargers.

 Exhibits of drive systems, motors (parts, materials, winders) and machining technologies are introduced in Report 1.

Category Manufacturer Product/Technology
Rechargeable batteries,
next-generation batteries
 Toray Industries, Inc.  Lithium-ion battery films
 Dow Corning Toray Co., Ltd.  Heat sink and anode materials for lithium-ion batteries
 Beat-Sonic, Inc.  PLUGS 40+: Prius PHEV modification kit
Quick chargers  Nichicon Corp.  On-board charger, rapid charger
 JFE Engineering Corp.  Super-rapid charging system
 Fuji Electric Systems Co., Ltd.  Quick chargers, IGBT modules
 Hasetec Corp.  Quick- and medium-quick chargers
 Takaoka Electric Mfg. Co., Ltd.  Quick chargers
 Kikusui Electronics Corp.  Quick chargers
 ULVAC, Inc.  Quick chargers
 Yaskawa Electric Corp.  Quick chargers
 ITT Canon Co., Ltd.  Charge couplers
 Yazaki Corp.  Quick-charge and regular-speed charge connectors
Related parts and materials  Toray Engineering Co., Ltd.  Plastic fiber optics for on-vehicle LAN systems
 Oki Electric Cable Co., Ltd.  Power cables, charging cables
 DuPont  Engineering plastics and films
 Taiyo Wire Cloth Co., Ltd.  Metal mesh
 Rogers Japan, Inc.  AlSiC (Aluminum Silicon Carbide) thermolytic materials
 Wakai & Co., Ltd.  Hands-free fasteners for unreachable spots

(Note) Click the images below for enlarged views.



Rechargeable batteries, next-generation batteries

Toray (Li-ion battery films)

 Toray exhibited insulation tape base film for lithium-ion batteries, external film and other film backing materials. These included TORAYFAN, biaxially-oriented polypropylene film, Lumirror, biaxially-oriented polyester [PET] films, and Torelina, polyphenylene sulfide film. All these film products by Toray are important basic materials for making batteries although separators and anode materials are often highlighted for Toray Group as a whole.

   
Film products for Li-ion batteries TORAYFAN BO sample for making Li-ion batteries

Dow Corning Toray (Heat sink and anode materials for Li-ion batteries)  http://www.dowcorning.co.jp (in Japanese)

 Dow Corning Toray, specialized in silicone (Si) and high-molecular chemistry, exhibited Si material having high-heat dissipation capacity and high-capacity anode material having Si content for making rechargeable Li-ion batteries. The newly-developed Si-content anode material is manufactured at the company's Yamakita plant (Kanagawa Prefecture) and is currently being evaluated by automakers and battery manufacturers. It has more than twice the electric power capacity than the existing graphite material and has achieved 20% suppression of volumetric change of the anode material associated with the charge and discharge cycle which is one of the major drawbacks of Si-based anode material.

Characteristics of heat sink and anode materials
for Li-ion batteries
Samples of heat sink and anode materials
for Li-ion batteries

Beat-Sonic (PLUGS 40+: Prius PHEV modification kit)   http://www.beatsonic.co.jp/plug_in/ (in Japanese)

 Beat-Sonic, specialized in manufacture and sales of automotive parts, exhibited a vehicle modification kit for replacing the drive battery on a Toyota Prius with its "PLUGS 40+" and charging it from a 100V home outlet for running approximately 40km per charge on the electric motor alone (at a cruising speed of 56km/h). The "PLUGS 40+" comprises high-capacity NiMH (GP battery supplied by GP Batteries International of Singapore), devoted charger, charger for auxiliary units etc., and is designed exclusively for the second-generation Prius. The kit costs 1,449,000 yen plus installation charge of approximately 150,000 yen.

   
Characteristics of PLUGS 40+ NiMH battery for PLUGS 40+

 



Charging systems

Nichicon (on-board chargers, rapid chargers)

 Nichicon, a leading manufacturer of power semiconductors, is expanding business from devices to modular parts. At this year's show, the company exhibited its on-board chargers for EVs, on-board charger-integrated DC/DC converters for EV, and a solar-powered and grid-connected dual rate EV charger with high and regular speed steps equipped with a power storage bank. The on-board charger for EV is used in the Nissan LEAF and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the DC/DC converter module is used in the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Subaru Plug-in Stella, and the inverter module is used in the Subaru Plug-in Stella. The dual rate EV charger with high and regular speed steps is in use (since July 2010) at the Kyoto Prefectural Office. The system is capable of charging an EV in quick mode and two EVs in the regular-speed mode (3 EVs in total concurrently). (Press release in Japanese)

Characteristics of an on-board charger for EVs
(Nissan LEAF)
Characteristics of an on-board charger- integrated
DC/DC converters for EVs
(Mitsubishi i-MiEV)
 
Solar-powered and grid-connected dual rate EV
charger with high and regular speed steps equipped
with a power storage bank
 

JFE Engineering (Super-rapid charging system)

 On June 1, 2010, after having succeeded in the development of super-rapid charging technology (50% charge in three minutes at a rated output of 24kW), JFE Engineering formed a "super-rapid charger project team" eyeing the commercialization of such chargers. The team has already commercialized RAPIDAS (a CHAdeMO-compliant system) for 80% charge in 30 minutes (50-500VDC) without changing the existing low-voltage power supply contract with the power company (3-phased 200VAC). The team is now proposing SUPER RAPIDAS (super-rapid mode for 50% charge in 3 minutes). It is not CHAdeMO-compliant and thus requires the modification of the control software programs on the EV etc. (Press release)

Mechanism of super-rapid charging
(50% charge in 3 minutes)
RAPIDAS rapid-charging system
(80% charge in 30 minutes)

Fuji Electric Systems (Quick chargers, IGBT modules)

 Fuji Electric Systems' central appeal was directed to the line-up enhancement of the FRC series of rapid chargers for EVs (CHAdeMO-compliant) (Press release in Japanese) and to the IGBT module, a key part in an inverter module or power control unit (PCU). IGBT (insulated gate bipolar transistor) is a high voltage-resistant semiconductor for high-current application and requires only low power to drive a high power device. The product conventionally comprises an IGBT module and a drive circuit. The newly-developed product, IGBT IPM (Intelligent Power Module), contains the drive circuit, protective circuit and brake circuit and has led to downsizing and functional enhancement of the inverters and PCU.

Outline of directly water-cooled IGBT module for EV/HEV Outline of IGBT IPM (Intelligent Power Module) for EV/HEV
 
Cutaway model of Denso's PCU featuring IGBT-IPM for HEV  

Hasetec Corp. (Quick- and medium-quick chargers)   http://www.hasetec.co.jp (in Japanese)

 Hasetec, having initiated a joint study project on quick chargers for EV with Tokyo Electric Power Company in as early as 2005, is expanding its lineup of chargers (CHAdeMO compliant) to form the company's core business. The company exhibited new quick chargers (rated output 50kW) reflecting a 30% downsizing from Hasetec's previous model, medium-speed chargers (rated output 30kW) and medium-speed chargers (rated output 12.6kW).

Takaoka Electric Mfg. (Quick chargers)   http://www.takaoka.co.jp/product/ev/index.html (in Japanese)

 Takaoka Electric Mfg., specialized in electric power equipment, is promoting its quick charger (CHAdeMO compliant) business since July 2009, and exhibited its 50kW quick charger at the show. In April 2010, the company agreed to a technical partnership with Eaton Corp., a U.S. corporation, regarding the quick chargers for EV. The U.S. company will manufacture CHAdeMO-compliant quick chargers and sell them in the United States, Canada and Mexico. This will pave the way to promote the CHAdeMO standard in the United States.

Kikusui Electronics (Quick chargers)

 Kikusui Electronics, a manufacturer of industrial power supplies and electronic measuring instruments, has developed Milla-E50 quick chargers (50kW rated output and CHAdeMO compliant) for EVs with a clear intention to enter the EV market. The system has the stand and the power supply unit integrated into a single structure that requires the smallest footprint in the industry to install (Kikusui's data as of December 2010).

ULVAC (Quick chargers)

 ULVAC, a pioneer of vacuum technology and semiconductor manufacturing equipment, exhibited its new quick chargers (80% charge in 25 minutes) and solar-powered quick-charging system for electric vehicles. The solar powered system has won the company the First Kanagawa Prefectural Award for the Prevention of Global Warming in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Technology Development Category in February 2011. The first unit was installed in Chigasaki city parking facility in March 2010. The award was presented as it was the first outcome of development of solar powered quick charging systems for electric vehicles in the prefecture and is already contributing to the charging infrastructure that is essential to the popular use of electric vehicles and to the market penetration of renewable energies. (Press release)

Yaskawa Electric (Quick chargers)

 The company's inverter division has commercialized the CHAdeMO-compliant quick chargers for electric vehicles as an offspring of its inverter business, and exhibited a new model, Enewell-CEV, at the EV Japan this year (not exhibited last year). The product comprises a stand and a power supply unit and up to two stands may be served by a single power supply unit. (Press release in Japanese)

ITT Cannon (Charge couplers)   http://www.ittcannon.jp (in Japanese)

 ITT Cannon, specializing in electric connectors, is expanding its product line-up to charging connectors. This year, the company exhibited its quick-charger connector for electric vehicles (JEVS G 105-compliant on-board connector inlet) and regular-speed charging connector (SAE J 1772-compliant on-board inlet and stand-end coupler). Both connectors are certified under UL2251.

Yazaki Corp. (Quick-charge and regular-speed charge connectors)

 Yazaki Corp., manufacturing charging connectors since the early 1990s, exhibited its latest models of DC quick-charging connector (CHAdeMO-compliant) for EV and AC regular-speed charging connector (SAE J 1772-compliant) for EV/PHV, both designed for use in Japan, the U.S. and Europe. The ergonomically designed connectors (couplers) are easy to grip and the handles have a right-tilt angle for the effortless ease of insert and exit.

The AC charge coupler (first in Japan)
sporting a new design
The lightweight DC charge coupler
for use in the U.S.

 



Parts and materials

Toray Engineering (Plastic fiber optics for on-vehicle LAN systems)

 Toray Engineering, having expanded its line of business from plant construction to solar cells and Li-ion battery manufacturing equipment, appealed plastic fiber optics (product name: RAYTELA) for on-board LAN systems to the automotive industry. The product is compatible with both MOST/IDB1394 (information line) and FlexRay (control line).

   
Outline of plastic fiber optics for the on-board LAN system Samples of plastic fiber optics for the on-board LAN system

Oki Electric Cable Co., Ltd. (Power cables, charging cables)

 Oki Electric Cable had reference displays of "ecoSurge EV" (a cable containing a wire capable of suppressing the micro surge that causes motor damage or noise in motor drive systems that use inverters), "EneSave" (a low power consumption drive cable for inverters, jointly developed with Tokyo Metropolitan University, that achieves 10% reduction of power loss compared to conventional cables of identical diameter), and "rapid-charger cable" (new rapid-charger cables for electric vehicles). The EneSave is based on the company's original cable technology (patent pending, featuring a significant variation-free reduction of the effective dielectric constant between core wires in the cable from the conventional VCT cables). (Press release in Japanese)

DuPont (Engineering plastics and films)

 DuPont, a resin manufacturer, appealed Zytel HTN and Crastin PBT used in Toyota's third-generation Prius. Zytel HTN is a high performance polyamide resin compound containing semi-aromatic nylon resin which is composed of aliphatic amine and aromatic acid, with the additions of glass-fibers and other ingredients used to enhance the product's mechanical strength. It is designed for use in place of metal or thermosetting resin, or for use in demanding environmental conditions. Crastin PBT is a thermoplastic polyester resin product based on polybutylene terephthalate.

Characteristics of Zytel HTN Characteristics of Crastin PBT
Power cable connector for HEVs etc., made from
Zytel HTN (used in Toyota's third-generation Prius)
High-voltage bus bars in inverters for HEVs made from
Crastin PBT (used in Toyota's third-generation Prius)

Taiyo Wire Cloth Co., Ltd. (Metal mesh)

 Taiyo Wire Cloth, a technical trading company specialized in metal mesh and cloth products, appealed "fine expanded metal" (a precision expanded metal that the company invented for energy application as in power collectors in rechargeable batteries) and "FM mesh" (a special metal mesh woven by a stocking stitch method). The fine expanded metal, made from a ductile metal or resin in a scrap-free process, is used in the electrode fuel cells. The FM mesh is lightweight and offers high EMI shielding effect. The product is drawing attention for use as cable shields, porous metal structures and heat-resisting gaskets.

Outline of FM mesh (1)
(Source) Taiyo Wire Cloth's catalog
for new energy-related products
Outline of FM mesh (2)

Rogers Japan, Inc. (AlSiC thermolytic materials)   http://www.rogersjapan.com (in Japanese)

 Rogers Japan, wholly owned by Rogers Corporation of the United States, exhibited "RO-LINX®" (high-voltage bus bar) and "HEATWAVE®" (aluminum silicon carbide thermolytic material). Both products are used to make power module components, among others, that are subjected to high temperatures due to high voltages.

 
Samples of HEATWAVE®
(aluminum silicon carbide thermolytic material)
 

Wakai & Co., Ltd. (Hands-free fasteners for unreachable spots)

 Wakai & Co., founded in Higashi Osaka City and currently in the course of multifaceted business expansion, is proposing a new industrial fastener having a hollow structure to the automotive industry. Called "Omoshiro (fun) nuts", the fasteners are inserted in hollow boxes or pipes that are unreachable by the worker's hand and tightened without the help of tools. They fasten to a sufficient strength and are cost saving. The MarkLines reporter tested them and they really fastened in a matter of seconds. The hands-free fasteners may prove to be useful in vehicle repair or EV converting operations.

   
Outline of "Turn nut" hands-free fastener
(Source) Wakai & Co.'s brochure
Outline of "In-pull nut" hands-free fastener
(Source) Wakai & Co.'s brochure

<Automotive Industry Portal MarkLines>