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Battery Development: US Energy Dept: $14M; Nissan/NEC joint venture: $4M
Apr 24, 2007 (From the CalCars-News archive)
This posting originally appeared at CalCars-News, our newsletter of breaking CalCars and plug-in hybrid news. View the original posting here.
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Two new recent developments in batteries announce programs that, while small, indicate growing interest in battery development. Both reports are from Green Car Congress, and both include comments by readers.

The US government's Department of Energy $14M needs to be compared to recent funding of over $200M for ethanol development, and vastly larger sums for hydrogen, coal and nuclear research programs.

The Nissan/NEC joint venture, while starting small, could be significant as the auto-maker moves into electric transportation, starts designing hybrids that are not using technology licensed from Toyota, and begins to compete with the Toyota-Panasonic battery joint venture.

DOE to Provide up to $14 Million to Develop Advanced Batteries for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles 6 April 2007­2007/­04/­doe_to_provide_.html

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will provide up to $14 million in funding for a $28 million cost-shared solicitation by the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) battery development.

This research aims to find solutions to improving battery performance so vehicles can deliver up to 40 miles of electric range without recharging. This would include most roundtrip daily commutes.

DOE and USABC seek to identify electrochemical storage technologies capable of meeting or approaching USABC's criteria for performance, weight, life-cycle, and cost. Other considerations include the potential to commercialize proposed battery technologies and bring them to market quickly.

In March, USABC issued Request for Proposals (RFPs) for ultracapacitor technology, high energy batteries, and high power batteries.

DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Vehicle Technologies Program is leading the Department's efforts to bring PHEVs to market. The development of a lower cost, high-energy battery has been identified as a critical pathway toward commercialization of PHEVs.

USABC is a consortium of the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), the umbrella organization for collaborative research among DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation. Supported by a cooperative agreement with the DOE, USABC's mission is to develop electrochemical energy storage technologies that support commercialization of fuel cell, hybrid, and electric vehicles.

*USABC Ultracapacitor RFP
*USABC High Energy Battery RFP
*USABC High Power Battery RFP

Nissan and NEC To Form Joint Venture To Develop Automotive Li-Ion Batteries 13 April 2007­2007/­04/­nissan_and_nec_.html

Nissan Motor, NEC Corporation, and NEC TOKIN Corporation, have signed an agreement to establish a joint-venture company-Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC)-to develop and market lithium-ion batteries for wide-scale automotive application by 2009, including applications such as hybrids, plug-in hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and electric vehicles.

Nissan and NEC Group will invest 490 million (US$4.1 million) in the partnership. AESC is expected to begin operations by the end of April, 2007, and will operate as an independent company.

The new company will focus on the development and marketing of advanced lithium-ion batteries, designed to power future generations of electric-powered vehicles. After one year, the partnership will be expanded to include mass production and sales. The new joint venture will market its lithium-ion batteries to other potential customers in the auto industry.

NEC and NEC TOKIN bring expertise in cell technology and battery manufacturing while Nissan will focus on the battery pack for real-world application in electric-powered vehicles.

Together, Nissan and NEC's engineers have addressed the key challenges of cost, performance, safety and reliability-we believe that we have a breakthrough technology in the lithium-ion battery product we will produce. Through AESC, this battery will be made available to all automakers, and we expect this could further accelerate the development of future generations of eco-friendly vehicles. -Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice President of Nissan

Nissan's Nissan Green Program 2010 (NGP 2010) calls for, among other things, launching an electric vehicle early in the next decade; developing Nissan's original hybrid vehicle-not the Altima hybrid using Toyota technology-targeted for launch in FY2010; an accelerating the development of plug-in hybrid technology. (Earlier post.)

A partnership between Nissan and NEC was rumored late last year. (Earlier post.) NEC group had been working with Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. to develop lithium-ion automotive batteries through a joint-venture: NEC Lamilion Energy Ltd. This partnership was dissolved in March 2006 when Fuji Heavy, the maker of Subaru vehicles, moved under Toyota's umbrella.

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