Hyundai to offer Lipos to augment gasoline car sales

Gotcha!

But it’s not an April Fool’s joke: Lipo is Lithium Polymer, a battery created by LG Chem, the same Seoul, South Korean company that is working with General Motors on their battery for the Chevy Volt.

Krafcik sat down with Warren Brown of Washington Post fame, and myself in Las Vegas, NV. Krafcik talked about the alternative energies and the goals set by Hyundai.

The goals, according to Krafcik, are still the same they were when announce at the 2008 Los Angeles auto show:

“Hyundai aims to be the most fuel-efficient automaker on the planet,” said John Krafcik, vice president, Product Development and Strategic Planning, Hyundai Motor America. “Were aligning our global R&D resources in Michigan, California, Nam Yang, and Frankfurt to develop the Blue Drive technologies we need to achieve our goal “ a 35 mpg U.S. fleet average by 2015.”

Blue Drive At-a-Glance
· Hyundai plans to lead all automotive brands in the U.S. in fuel economy by achieving a fleet average of 35 miles per gallon by 2015, five years ahead of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations (NHTSA) deadline, powered by the Hyundai Blue Drive global product strategy.
· Hyundai will begin building a gas-electric full hybrid edition of the next-generation Sonata for the North American market in 2010. This Sonata will use a parallel hybrid drive system and lithium polymer battery technology “ leapfrogging competitive in-market nickel-metal hydride and planned lithium-ion applications.
· Near-term, high mileage “Blue” editions of Accent and Elantra will join the Hyundai Blue Drive family in 2009.
· An all-new crossover, shown in concept form with a 2.0-liter Theta turbocharged GDI four-cylinder engine, is green lighted for the U.S. market. The engine will appear in various Hyundai models in the future.
· Long-term, the Hyundai Blue Drive family will be expanded to include Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV).
11/19/2008 Hyundai Motor America announced today the launch of Blue Drive an environmental initiative which will bring to market a family of eco-friendly Blue Drive products and establish Hyundai as an environmental leader. With Blue Drive products and technologies, Hyundai will be able to achieve a fleet average of 35 miles per gallon by 2015, five years ahead of government requirements. During a news conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the company revealed plans for it’s first U.S.-market gas-electric full hybrid (to be offered in the next-generation Sonata), introduced a sleek crossover concept powered by a turbocharged gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine, and announced future high-mileage editions of the Accent and Elantra, underscoring it’s global commitment to sustainable transportation.

Hybrid Blue Drive is made up of nine major components:
1. An efficient 30kW electric motor delivering 205 N-m of torque
2. A regenerative braking system
3. An integrated starter generator that enables the engine to turn off at stops and restart automatically under acceleration
4. A breakthrough lithium polymer battery package, with 5.3 Ah of capacity at 270 volts
5. Optimized Theta II 2.4-liter engine
6. 6-speed automatic transmission with an improved efficiency electric oil pump
7. Weight-efficient architecture coupled with a low drag coefficient
8. Electric air conditioning compressor
9. Hybrid power control unit

LITHIUM POLYMER BATTERY TECHNOLOGY

Hyundais hybrid system stores it’s electrical charge in a 270V lithium polymer rechargeable battery (5.3Ah/270V) that surpasses existing nickel-metal hydride and pending lithium-ion applications. Lithium polymer batteries are more durable and space-efficient than other hybrid batteries.

Lithium Polymer Batteries vs. Nickel-Metal Hydride Batteries

Compared with nickel-metal hydride batteries, lithium polymer batteries deliver the same power with 30 percent less weight, 50 percent less volume and 10 percent greater efficiency over the nickel-metal hydride batteries found in all of todays hybrids. Lithium polymer batteries offer more than twice the energy density of nickel-metal hydride batteries, and 175 percent greater volumetric energy density, meaning Hyundai engineers can devote less space and weight to the battery pack. Lithium polymer batteries also hold their charge 20 times longer. Lithium polymer batteries also are more resistant to changes in temperature, which improves cycle life. And lithium polymers self-discharge rate is less than a third of a nickel-metal hydride battery.

Lithium Polymer Batteries vs. Lithium-ion Batteries

Lithium-polymer has significant advantages over lithium-ion batteries, including higher energy density and lower manufacturing costs. Lithium polymer is more resistant to physical damage and can handle more charge-discharge cycles before storage capacity begins to degrade. Lithium polymer technology also offers significant advantages in thermal robustness and safety compared with typical lithium-ion batteries.

A key difference between traditional lithium ion batteries and Hyundais lithium polymer battery solution is the overall packaging of the cell “ the anode, the cathode, the electrolyte, and the encasement material. Traditional lithium-ion batteries, like those found in laptops, use whats known as the 18650 cell format. In this format each mass-produced cell is 18 mm. in diameter and 65 mm. tall, which is a bit larger than a AA battery. Each of these small metal cylinders is filled with a liquid electrolyte which facilitates the movement of lithium ions across anode and cathode, creating the battery current.

Traditional lithium-ion batteries are easy to handle, can withstand mild internal pressures, and have been around in various forms since 1991. That means a manufacturing infrastructure is in place, and scale economies are reasonably high. Howe’ver, they do have several disadvantages. For example, their cylindrical shape reduces packaging efficiency and they are surprisingly complicated to manufacture since they have so many small parts. These small parts make them robust to thermal fluctuations and add significant cost and weight to the overall battery system. Cell-to-cell consistency also is extremely critical in a vehicle battery package, since the pack is only as robust as it’s weakest cell. Traditional lithium-ion batteries have considerable cell-to-cell variation, while Hyundais lithium polymer batteries deliver outstanding cell-to-cell consistency.

Lithium polymer technology uses a completely different approach. Rather than using a liquid electrolyte, which requires a robust metal casing, lithium polymer batteries use a polymer gel as the electrolyte, which allows the use of a thinner and lighter aluminum-walled encasement, or pouch. Inside each lithium polymer cell the cathode, separator, and anode are laminated together, enabling much simpler and more reliable manufacturing. This allows the battery pack to be about 20 percent smaller than a lithium-ion battery pack, making it much easier to change the cell footprint to fit the nooks and crannies of available vehicle space.

Hyundai has spent hundreds of hours testing Hybrid Blue Drives lithium polymer battery system with it’s battery supplier, LG Chem. This testing has proven that Hyundais lithium polymer technology has greater thermal and mechanical stability than existing systems, meaning better safety.

Another key engineering challenge for Hybrid Blue Drive has been assuring maintenance-free battery operation over the vehicles life “ at least 10 years, and 150,000 miles “ in all weather conditions. Heat is the enemy of battery cycle life. Hyundais thermal imaging testing shows how much cooler a lithium polymer battery is compared to todays nickel-metal hydride battery or a conventional lithium-ion battery. Consumers will notice these advantages in improved useful life and lower maintenance costs.

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.