First to Market With a Lithium Ion Battery is... Not Toyota or GM? ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: First to Market With a Lithium Ion Battery is... Not Toyota or GM?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

First to Market With a Lithium Ion Battery is... Not Toyota or GM?

With all the emphasis on Toyota and GM and when they are going to get a lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery operated hybrid, it seems no one was expecting anyone else to play. But Mercedes-Benz is looking to make history by being the first to use Li-Ion batteries in their new mild hybrid S-class sedan, the S 400, in 2009.

The mild hybrid will use the Li-Ion battery to power the electric motor, which will assist the gas engine in powering the vehicle (boost the acceleration, for instance). The electric motor (20 hp) will not be able to power the vehicle on its own and is being set in between the (279 hp V-6) gas engine and the transmision. The mild system was co-developed by Daimler and BMW.

The battery will be recharged through regenerative braking and the gas motor.

The battery will be produced by Johnson Controls-Saft. The batteries are designed to last the life of the vehicle, according to CEO Mary Ann Wright.

Its unknown when such a vehicle will make it to the US.

Toyota has the Vitz, a non hybrid, which utilizes lithium-ion batteries (I've never heard of this vehicle?)

Despite being able to offer greater power for less (they are lighter than equivalent nickel metal hydride batteries used in current hybrids), Li-Ion batteries are considered dangerous to use at this point. They have a tendency to overheat and catch fire (see Sony recall on laptops). For a car company to overcome these difficulties would be a huge step in attaining the next generation hybrids.

Source: Mercedes hybrid vehicle will be first to use lithium ion batteries - Automotive News

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