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Ford and Samsung researching lithium-ion tech for ICE cars


June 5, 2014

Ford and Samsung are researching the possibility of a dual-battery system

Ford and Samsung are researching the possibility of a dual-battery system

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Lithium-ion batteries are an industry standard for plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, and Ford is convinced that they will be useful in cars without electric drive motors, too. The automaker is working with Samsung to research a dual-battery system that increases gas vehicle fuel economy.

Ford and Samsung SDI, an affiliate of Samsung Group, announced their research efforts this week. The result of 10 years of research, the dual-battery system detailed pairs a traditional 12-volt lead-acid car battery with a lithium-ion battery.

The purpose of the supplementary battery is to take advantage of the li-ion battery's quicker recharge-discharge speeds for regenerative braking in non-hybrid vehicles. The dual-battery system powers vehicle systems and accessories in place of the engine when Ford's Auto Start-Stop system kicks in during braking. Meanwhile, the regenerative system captures and stores up to 95 percent of the energy otherwise lost during braking.

"We are currently expanding our Auto Start-Stop technology across 70 percent of our lineup, and this dual-battery system has the potential to bring even more levels of hybridization to our vehicles for greater energy savings across the board,” explains Ted Miller, Ford senior manager for energy storage strategy and research. "Although still in research, this type of battery could provide a near-term solution for greater reduction of carbon dioxide."

Miller says that the dual-battery system could be put into production in the "fairly near term."

The dual-battery systems uses lithium-ion technology to augment the regular car battery, but Ford believes it has the potential to one day replace it. A second part of its joint research is an ultra-lightweight li-ion unit that could serve in place of the 12-volt lead-acid battery, providing traditional starting capabilities as well as regenerative braking functions.

"Lithium-ion batteries are typically used in consumer electronics because they are lighter and more energy-dense than other types of batteries, which also make them ideal for the vehicle," states Mike O’Sullivan, Samsung SDI North America's vice president for automotive battery systems. "Battery technology is advancing rapidly and lithium-ion could one day completely replace traditional 12-volt lead-acid batteries, providing better fuel efficiency for drivers."

Ford says that the ultralight lithium-ion battery could be used in conjunction with other weight-cutting strategies to make future vehicles even lighter. The battery technology is a longer term research project that won't be ready for production for years.

Source: Ford

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

Search HyBoost autoblog to find out more and see a video, this is pretty impressive and looks like it can be incorporated quickly at a fairly low cost!

Gary Richardson

Ahhh right drop 30+ lbs just on the battery.

Leonard Foster

As with all schemes to modernize and save fuel, this one will have to pass the practicality test: will it cost more than it saves? IF the lead-acid battery can be eliminated and IF the lithium-ion battery has a reasonably long life, it may be a good deal. OTOH, regenerative braking is technologically complex, therefore expensive to build into a vehicle and possibly expensive to repair. I like technology, but I'm leery of what it can cost.


"Battery technology is advancing rapidly and lithium-ion could one day completely replace traditional 12-volt lead-acid batteries, providing better fuel efficiency for drivers."

Um no .Battery tech hasn't changed for decades. Lithium ion is old news. Im sure such a large battery will cost near $1000, at least

Brian Mcc

I think Mazda is doing something like this with their Skyactiv platform. They are pretty much gradually bringing in hybrid technology a couple pieces at a time: http://www.mazda.com/technology/skyactiv/img/vis_img_02.gif

I've read that even air conditioning can tax gas mileage by 10% or so so I assume the combination of engine start/stop and powering electronics in the car off regenerative braking is probably a mileage improvement. Whatever gets them closer to Hybrid and EV is probably a good thing.


Solar panel on roof of any car could save on fuel? Less load on alternator means less fuel used to charge batteries.

Haykey Kaariainen

Beats me why it takes so long for a reasonably simple concept to be researched and still not being ready to put into use. Anyone with minimal technical knowledge could install a dual battery system in his/her car. The regenerative braking charge system is already in use on many, many cars. If it takes so long and so many man hours to get a fairly simple concept designed and manufacture, don't do it! The cost that has to be recouped from customers makes the idea prohibitively expensive. Forget it Ford, for at least a 150 years, by then probably don't even have private cars, the Chinese dictator will forbid it in the entire World, which he will rule by then.


battery tech. is changing so quickly now I'm surprised any Auto manufacturer wants to release a vehicle that will be outdated before it leaves the factory floor

Gavin Roe
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