The United States Advanced Battery Consortium LLC, an advanced research collaboration among Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co., announced $15.6 million in advanced battery development and technology assessment contracts to three firms.

The competitively bid contract awards are co-funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and include a 50 percent cost-share from each of the contracted companies.

USABC awarded the contracts to develop and assess advanced energy storage technologies for a lower-energy energy storage system for power-assist hybrid-electric vehicles and high-energy density battery cells and battery packs for electric vehicle applications. The companies receiving advanced battery development contracts are:

* Cobasys LLC of Orion Township, a subsidiary of SB LiMotive,  awarded a three-year, $8.36 million contract for the development of high-energy lithium-ion cells for use in EV applications. The contract will include the design, development, delivery and validation of conforming design-intent cells, and through the design, development, delivery and verification of a 40-kilowatt-hour technology demonstration battery pack.

* Maxwell Technologies Inc. of San Diego, Calif., awarded $7.01 million for a two-year ultracapacitor program to help develop technology that will double existing capacitor power density from 10 to 20 kilowatts per kilogram and double existing energy density from 15 to 30 watt-hours per kilogram. The advanced ultracapacitors then will be integrated into modules that will be evaluated against the USABC goals for LEESS applications.

* In addition, SK Energy Co. LTD of Seoul, South Korea, was awarded $195,149 for a one-year technology assessment of the performance, cycle life and accelerated calendar life of the company’s EV batteries against USABC goals.

Said Steve Zimmer, executive director of USCAR: “These programs are essential to advance the technology needed to meet both near- and long-term goals that will enable a broad spectrum of vehicle electrification.”

USABC is a subsidiary of the United States Council for Automotive Research LLC. Enabled by a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), USABC’s mission is to develop electrochemical energy storage technologies that support commercialization of electric, hybrid electric and fuel cell vehicles.

“We are proud to be participating in this forward-thinking collaboration to develop advanced technologies for the U.S. automotive market,” said Reinhardt Peper, CEO of Cobasys. “USABC’s commitment to this project is evident through its clearly delineated project timeline and deliverables.” 

The focus of the Cobasys project is to produce high-energy density cells and packs for electric vehicle applications to increase the current state-of-the-art battery-pack density by 50 percent in a three-year period.

“The work we are doing with USABC allows us to align our development with the requirements of North American automakers in the pre-competitive development stage to ensure we deliver the highest quality and safety in battery technology,” said Peper. “Our work on electric vehicle projects demonstrates our ability to align our developments with our customer’s expectations, and thus deliver innovative, cost effective products.”

Cobasys, with sites in Orion Township and Springboro, Ohio, was acquired by SB LiMotive in 2009. SB LiMotive was established in September 2008 as a joint venture between Germany’s Bosch and Korea’s Samsung SDI. The objective of the alliance is to adapt lithium-ion battery technology to the requirements of automobiles, and thus explore the market for hybrid and electric vehicles. Together, the companies will have invested approximately $500 million in the joint venture by 2013.

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