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USA: A123’s new battery tech goes to extremes

WASHINGTON – Battery specialist A123 Systems said Tuesday (June 12) it has developed a battery technology advance that enables lithium ion batteries to operate more efficiently in extreme temperatures without costly and heavy heating and cooling systems.

The performance of traditional batteries is degraded at extreme temperatures, meaning they deliver less cranking power at low and reduced cycle life at high temperatures. The MIT spinoff’s Nanophosphate EXT (Extreme Temperature) technology is billed as delivering improved performance at extreme temperatures while eliminating the need for active, liquid cooling systems that have meant higher battery costs for applications like micro-hybrid vehicles.

High battery costs have dampened consumer enthusiasm for electric vehicles. A123 Systems (Waltham, Mass.) did not provide specifics on the total cost savings delivered by its nanophosphate battery technology, but did claim it would eliminate the need for a replacement battery over the average eight-year lifespan of a micro-hybrid vehicle.

The company also said reducing or eliminating the need for a thermal management system could reduce “total cost of ownership” over the life of a battery in applications like transportation and telecommunications
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