January 2012




Feature Article



Usable Energy: Key to Determining the True Cost of Advanced Lithium Ion Battery Systems for Electric Vehicles

Glenn Denomme Vice President of Engineering • A123 Systems, Inc.


The success of the passenger electric vehicle industry relies heavily on reducing cost. Wide-spread consumer adoption of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) is only a possibility when these cars offer both a competitive initial cost and lower total cost of ownership over the life of the vehicle. To sustain long-term cost-competitiveness, automakers and suppliers must focus on reducing manufacturing costs, starting with the lithium ion battery systems that power these vehicles. more











  Sponsored Announcement

Announcing Battery Power 2012

Battery PowerBattery Power 2012, the leading international conference highlighting the latest developments and technologies in the battery industry, will be held September 18-19 in Denver, Colorado.


This 10th annual event will feature more than 40 presentations on portable, stationary and automotive battery technology, as well as battery manufacturing, materials and research & development. Topics will include new battery designs, emerging technologies, power management, charging and testing systems, battery health, as well as the latest market trends affecting the industry.


Call for PresentationsExhibits & SponsorshipsRegistration


  New Products

Microchip Launches 8-Bit Microcontrollers With Configurable Logic in 6- to 20-pin Packages    
The PIC10F(LF)32X and PIC1XF(LF)150X MCUs each feature new peripherals, including Configurable Logic Cells (CLCs), Complementary Waveform Generators (CWGs) and Numerically Controlled Oscillators (NCOs), enabling functionality that was not possible before with low pin count MCUs. These general-purpose MCUs enable designers to enhance the functionality, reduce design size, and decrease the cost and power consumption in battery-powered applications.  


The CLC peripherals on the PIC10F(LF)32X and PIC1XF(LF)150X MCUs enable software control of combinational and sequential logic, which increases the on-chip interconnection of peripherals and I/Os, thereby reducing external components, saving code space and adding functionality. The CWG peripheral works with multiple peripherals to generate complementary waveforms with dead-band control and auto shutdown, which provides improved switching efficiencies. Additionally, the NCO peripheral enables linear frequency control and high resolution, which is required for applications such as lighting ballast, tone generation and other resonant control circuits.


The MCUs also feature low power consumption, with currents of less than 30 µA/MHz in active mode, and less than 20 nA in sleep; as well as an on-chip 16 MHz internal oscillator, ADC and up to four PWM peripherals. An integrated temperature-indicator module enables low-cost temperature measurements.


Renata Batteries Introduces Line of 3.7 Volt Lithium Polymer Rechargeable Cells and Packs
RenataProviding design engineers with a compact, lightweight and reliable power source for portable medical, industrial and consumer electronic devices, the Renata Batteries division of the Swatch Group (Switzerland) has introduced a comprehensive series of 3.7 V lithium ion polymer rechargeable batteries that combine a high energy density with a low-profile, flexible, prismatic package. Designated the ICP series, the batteries feature gel electrolyte technology, while optionally incorporating an internal safety circuit that provides fail-safe protection against over-charging or deep discharge.


“These new rechargeable lithium polymer batteries are up to 20 percent lighter than conventional cylindrical cell batteries, and the flexible packaging enables design engineers to utilize thinner batteries for many OEM applications,” said Sharon Rossi, OEM sales director at Renata Batteries North America. “By adding rechargeable lithium polymer cells to our battery portfolio, we have significantly expanded the range of applications we can support for our customers’ designs.” 


The ICP series lithium polymer batteries are available in approximately 25 UL listed standard cell sizes. They feature a nominal voltage of 3.7 V and are available with a built-in safety circuit and either AWG 30 wire, tab or connector contacts. Custom sizes are also available. 

400 Watt Chassis Mount DC/DC Converter
CalexCalex Mfg. Co., Inc. has announced the 400 W FCM Chassis Mount DC/DC converter series.  The FCM series features a wide 4:1 input range of 18 VDC to 75 VDC with output voltages of 5, 12, 24, 28 and 48 VDC. All models are isolated input to output and housed in a rugged, encapsulated enclosure with recessed barrier strips.  The operating temperature range of the FCM is -40°C to 100°C. Through holes are provided for backplane mounting or the attachment of a heatsink for extended temperature operation. The FCM is well suited for a variety of industrial and COTS military applications requiring screw terminal connectivity.


All models feature undervoltage lockout, pulse by pulse current limiting, over-temperature protection, output overvoltage protection, input reverse voltage protection and over-current protection. The output voltage accuracy for all output voltage options is +/- 1 percent.  Line and load regulation is 0.05 percent and 0.02 percent typical.  All models exhibit 0 percent turn-on overshoot. Efficiencies are up to 93 percent. Remote trim, sense and remote ON/OFF is available on all models. All models are available with RoHS or non-RoHS construction.

Concord Keystone Introduces Battery Pack for Micro-USB Smart Phones
Concord Keystone Trading has announced its Keystone ECO Booster  2.0, a slim and lightweight  2,000 mAh portable battery pack for Micro USB smart phones. The Keystone ECO Booster 2.0 has a built-in retractable Micro USB charging cable so it recharges the smart phones without the need to bring another loose cable.  The unit can be attached to the back of the phone using the adhesive gel pad concealed beneath a removable protective cover, which can be relocated to the back of the Booster 2.0 to be used as a horizontal or vertical viewing stand while charging.


The Keystone ECO Booster 2.0 portable battery pack, typically offers up to double the battery life for most Micro-USB smart phones and is fitted with a battery check button & LED status indicator to show the charge level of the Booster. The Booster can be recharged alone or with the phone together. To broaden the usage of the Keystone ECO Booster 2.0, the package also includes an iPod / iPhone connector as a bonus. Connect the retractable Micro USB cable with the connector and recharge the iPod or iPhone while on-the-go. Keystone ECO Booster 2.0 will be available March 2012.

Portable Sine-Wave Inverter with Built-In Battery and Charger
AbsopulseThe Absopulse Electronics CSI 100-24V-24AH-AA-PEL is a compact, portable sine-wave inverter with built-in battery bank and charger, designed for operation in heavy-duty field-environments. 

This 100 VA inverter provides a regulated pure sine-wave output voltage of 115 VAC continuous at 60 Hz. The built-in battery charger section operates from all typical AC voltages worldwide, and provides 27.6 V float voltage at 2 A current to charge the 24 V/24 Ah battery bank. The charger can be kept on standby mode indefinitely, ensuring that the battery is continuously maintained.  The battery bank, which contains two 12 V/24 Ah sealed lead acid batteries with fused terminals, provides a minimum of three hours backup power at full 100 VA output, and up to seven hours at reduced power. A depleted battery bank takes approximately 15 hours to reach full charge. 

Power can also be drawn directly from the battery at 6 A maximum to run other 24 VDC input equipment such as small motors, pumps and DC-input instruments. 

The CSI 100-24V-24AH-AA-PEL is heavily ruggedized and conformal coated, and housed in a splash proof Pelican top loader case with a sturdy handle for easy portability in the field.  It is convection cooled and operates over a 0°C to 50°C temperature range without de-rating.  Extended temperature ranges are available. 

This inverter system is filtered to meet EN55022 Class A EMI as a minimum.  It is designed to meet international safety standards including EN60950 and related UL and CSA requirements. Full electronic protection minimizes the possibility of failure due to abnormal operating conditions, including application errors. Generous design headroom and the use of designed-in components with established reliability result in a high MTBF and lower life cycle costs.

  Industry News

Global Market for Portable Battery-Powered Products to Reach $611 Billion by 2016
Portable Battery Powered Products: Global Markets, a new report from BCC Research, states the global market for portable battery-powered products was valued at nearly $480 billion in 2011 and is expected to reach more than $611 billion by 2016, yielding an overall compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5 percent.


The global market for portable battery-powered products can be divided into 12 segments: communication/multifunctional, computers, medical, cameras, toys and novelties, tools, entertainment, timepieces, scientific, lighting, navigation and military.


The communication or multifunctional segment accounts for more than a quarter of the market, totaling $141 billion in 2011. The segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.2 percent to reach nearly $182 billion in 2016.


The computers segment, accounting for nearly another quarter of the market, totaled $133 billion in 2011, and is expected to reach nearly $189 billion in 2016 after increasing at a CAGR of 7.2 percent.

Medical products make up the next-largest segment, which is expected to increase at a CAGR of 9.2 percent from $75 billion to nearly $117 billion from 2011 to 2016. Of note, the cameras, entertainment, and navigation segments are expected to have declining market segments, all with negative projected CAGRs.


The market for portable, battery-powered products has grown from a few well-established niches such as flashlights and wristwatches to a diverse, rapidly growing market that encompasses computing, communications, entertainment, photographic and publishing products; a variety of cordless tools; and entirely new classes of military and medical products. This diversity has been accomplished because of a unique synergy between the products themselves, the batteries they employ, and the battery chargers and power-management systems that recharge the batteries.


After spectacular growth, the portable battery-powered product market is retrenching. Overall sales for some market sectors are level. In other cases, whole new classes of products are proliferating at the expense of once-popular lines. Technical advances and a realignment of product, battery and charger industry players must be matched by new marketing attitudes. Alternately, battery designers and battery charger designers must continue to cooperate to meet more demanding design requirements.

GM Announces Enhancements to Chevrolet Volt
GMGeneral Motors has announced enhancements to the vehicle structure and battery coolant system in the Chevrolet Volt that would further protect the battery from the possibility of an electrical fire occurring days or weeks after a severe crash. The enhancements come in response to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Preliminary Evaluation to examine post-severe crash battery performance. 


NHTSA opened its Preliminary Evaluation following a severe-impact lab test on a battery pack that resulted in an electrical fire six days later. The test was conducted to reproduce a coolant leak that occurred in a full-scale vehicle crash test last May that resulted in an electrical fire three weeks later.  


GM will conduct a Customer Satisfaction Program to further protect the Volt battery from the possibility of an electrical fire occurring days or weeks after a severe side crash. Modifications will: strengthen an existing portion of the Volt’s vehicle safety structure to further protect the battery pack in a severe side collision; add a sensor in the reservoir of the battery coolant system to monitor coolant levels; and add a tamper-resistant bracket to the top of the battery coolant reservoir to help prevent potential coolant overfill.


GM conducted four successful crash tests between Dec. 9 and 21, 2011 of Volts with the structural enhancement. The enhancement performed as intended. There was no intrusion into the battery pack and no coolant leakage in any of the tests.


Volt customers will be individually notified when the modifications are available for their vehicles. The enhancements are being incorporated into the Volt manufacturing process as production resumes this month.

Axion Power Chosen for Battery Mini Power Cube in Zero Energy Building in Washington DC Naval Yard
Axion Power International, Inc., a developer of advanced lead­carbon PbC batteries and energy storage systems, was awarded a purchase order from SilTek, Inc., confirming their participation in a Zero Energy Building in the Washington DC Naval Yard. Axion will be providing an array of its PbC batteries, system electronics and battery management system that together will serve as an example of Axion’s “mini-Cube” concept based on the scalability, up or down, of its primary PowerCube.


The mini-Cube, which will provide demand response energy storage that will be grid network tied, will be linked to a 32 kW solar panel array and will supply standby power service for this Zero Energy Administration Building. The project is underwritten by the US Navy, and the purchase order calls for Axion’s work to begin in January with the full 36 PbC battery mini-PowerCube system to be completed in the first quarter of 2012. The principal contractor for the project is Herndon VA-based SilTek, Inc.


Axion Power Chairman & CEO Thomas Granville said, “Because of our PbC battery’s extended cycle life, high rate of charge acceptance and fast re-charging capability, Axion is able to offer metrics that make economic sense, especially when compared to other more exotic chemistries that are currently in the marketplace.”


PbC technology is proprietary to Axion Power. Basically, activated carbon is substituted for lead in the negative electrode in an otherwise traditionally constructed ‘lead-acid’ battery.  But when compared to traditional, AGM, advanced lead-acid batteries or even lead-acid with carbon additives, the new PbC lead/carbon chemistry creates a longer lifespan (three to four times), much greater charge acceptance in partial state of charge applications (10 to 20 times more depending on the “state” of the battery), as well as faster re-charging capabilities.

Powermat Technologies and Leyden Energy Announce Partnership to Develop High-Density, Heat-Resilient, Wirelessly Chargeable Batteries
Leyden Energy, Inc., a manufacturer of advanced lithium-imide batteries, announced an agreement with Powermat Technologies, a provider in wireless charging technology for smartphones and other consumer electronics, to develop high-density, heat-resilient Li-imide battery cells and packs with embedded wireless charging functionality that will provide consumers with a high quality mobile experience.


As part of the collaboration, Leyden Energy will supply Powermat Technologies with a battery thin enough to embed Powermat Technologies’ wireless charging technology onto the battery cell itself without compromising the cell’s original battery capacity. The technology is expected to have a distinctive set of technological advantages, namely embedded wireless charging technology, enabling tethering-free charging of the phone and the battery by itself, longer battery warranty due to higher cycle and calendar life rating and higher temperature resilience, stemming directly from Leyden Energy’s patented, Li-imide chemistry platform.


The integration of embedded wireless charging functionality requires a thinner battery to allow space for the new technology layer that enables charging; typically, using standard Li-Ion batteries with their heat-sensitive LiPF6 (lithium hexafluorophosphate) electrolyte, this reduction in battery size would mean sacrificing battery capacity and compromising on charging speeds. With its Li-imide chemistry platform, Leyden Energy can produce thinner batteries that deliver equal or higher energy density in a smaller volume than other batteries without sacrificing cycle life or calendar life.



Event Listings



APEC 2012
February 5-9
Orlando, Fla.


Make your plans to attend APEC 2012, Feb. 5-to-9, in Orlando, Florida.  APEC 2012 continues the longstanding tradition of addressing issues of immediate and long-term interest to the practicing power electronics engineer.  Outstanding technical content is provided at one of the lowest registration costs of any IEEE conference. APEC 2012 will provide:

  • The best power electronics exposition.

  • Professional development courses taught by world-class experts.

  • Presentations of peer-reviewed technical papers covering a wide range of topics.

  • Time to network and enjoy the company of fellow power electronics professionals in a beautiful setting.

February 20-24
Las Vegas, Nev.


You've all heard the buzz words – LTE, 700 MHz, narrowbanding, P25, broadband, mobile data, VoIP, smart grid, and more...

At IWCE 2012, get the real information. Learn from other cities, other colleagues, other agencies, other enterprises and the experts in communications technology systems.


At IWCE, see an exhibit hall packed with over 330 leading suppliers showcasing the latest products and services in the communications technology marketplace.  Touch the most innovative technology that will help you do your job more efficiently and effectively. Connect with colleagues from around the world, and attend an expansive conference program of training, workshops and sessions on specific technologies and applications.


Join the global connection at IWCE 2012, the pre-eminent communications technology systems event for the working world. Visit for more information.

BCIDon’t miss the world’s leading lead-acid battery event of 2012Every Encounter is an Opportunity

Battery Council International’s 124th Convention & Power Mart Trade Fair
April 29 – May 2, 2012
Talking Stick Resort
Scottsdale, Arizona


A coffee break, an evening gathering, a committee presentation. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet the industry’s key players in one setting. BCI represents 250 worldwide members involved in all aspects of the lead-acid battery life cycle, from manufacturers and recyclers, marketers and retailers, to suppliers of raw materials and equipment, and industry consultants.


Reserve your place today!


Visit for online registration and updates on housing, speakers and exhibitors.



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