Tech Features

Wildcat Discovery Technologies’ new cathode materials

We first told you about Wildcat Discovery Technologies back in the October/November 2012 issue of Charged. It is a venture-backed start-up in Southern California that has developed proprietary methods for rapidly synthesizing energy-storage materials. The company boasts that one of its busy scientists can produce 400 to 500 different battery materials at the same time… Read more »

Parker Hannifin races into traction motors

After years of development, the company plans to launch a new line of traction motors this summer. Parker Hannifin is an industrial motion and control powerhouse. With over $13 billion in sales last year, its products range from hydraulics to pneumatics to electric motors. But until recently, the company’s selection of motors was solely targeted at… Read more »

In-wheel house: Protean Electric’s in-wheel drive system nears production

When Protean Electric begins production of its Protean Drive in-wheel electric drive system later this year, it could mark the stirring comeback of the wheel hub motor, a concept that’s been more than a century in the making.  Electric wheel-hub motors date all the way back to 1884, and none other than Ferdinand Porsche used… Read more »

A closer look at coulombic efficiency

Peter Ulrix and Stef Leemans of PEC explain how the very delicate process of measuring a cell’s coulombic efficiency could significantly speed up development times. In May, the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) put out its results for America’s biggest survey of plug-in drivers yet. More than 2,000 California EV owners responded, and while… Read more »

EVs: the Holy Grail of multiphysics

Sandeep Sovani on the evolution of computer-based engineering simulations. Before actually creating any physical prototypes, engineers build a three-dimensional virtual model of a component, and can use computer simulations to test how the design will perform in the real world. Computer-based engineering simulation early in the development process allows them to refine and validate designs… Read more »

Linear Technology’s new active cell balancer

Linear’s new addition to the battery pack systems family is what it calls a “high efficiency bidirectional multicell active balancer” (part number LTC3300). Have you heard the old adage – no two snowflakes are alike? Well, the same goes for cells in a battery pack. No matter how precise the manufacturing techniques, there will always… Read more »

OXIS Energy bets on lithium-sulfur

Though it may have a stinky reputation, sulfur could set EVs on the path to total ICE replacement if energy-dense, low-weight lithium-sulfur batteries become the norm. British-based OXIS Energy is banking its business on it. If American clean energy industries are to take full advantage of the emerging lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery chemistry, they just may… Read more »

Ultracapacitors creep into automotive

Maxwell looks to leverage its early ultracapacitor experience into a ubiquitous, low-cost, high-volume complement to batteries. Power sources like internal combustion engines and advanced battery packs work great as continuous suppliers of energy. But during the highest peak loads, both sacrifice efficiency attempting to meet the power delivery demands. And pushing these devices to their… Read more »

Erik Spek on battery abuse testing, improving safety, and developing standards

(This article originally appeared in Charged Issue 7 – MAR/APR 2013) Q&A with Erik Spek: The Chief Engineer at TÜV SÜD Canada on battery abuse testing, improving safety, and developing standards. When analyzing the current state of lithium-ion technology, it helps to look back at the development of the nickel metal hydride battery (NiMH). Some argued that hybrid automotive… Read more »

It’s in the details: Digatron Firing Circuits’ new stop-start testing rig

Digatron Firing Circuits’ new stop-start testing rig examines the limitations of lead-acid batteries and the inadequacy of traditional static tests. As the battery in a stop-start system ages, the fuel efficiency advantages are curtailed. It’s a real problem found in some first-generation systems, and has led many to question the methodology used in urban-efficiency tests…. Read more »