New Hybrid Runs on Batteries

Daimler brings lithium ion battery to hybrid cars.

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MUNICH, Germany — In its first serial hybrid car model, Daimler AG will use a lithium ion battery as the central electrical energy storage device. The batteries will be produced by Continental AG.

In order to secure constant power level of the battery type that hitherto only was used in consumer electronics devices, the temperature of the battery has to be maintained at a range between 15 and 35 degrees Celsius. Thus, the Daimler engineers included the battery into the air-conditioning control loop.

The battery will sport a power density of 1.9 kw per liter of volume. Being the central energy store of the manufacturer's first hybrid drive car to be available in 2009, it will enable the luxury car manufacturer to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emission in its vehicles. According to the vendor, its S400 BlueHybrid will offer a fuel consumption of 7.9 liters per 100 km (29.9 miles per gallon). Despite its modest thirst, the car's thrust will be up to the standards of its class: The combination of fuel and electrical engine will provide 299 horsepower (220 kw), and the speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h.

Lithium ion batteries are considered a key technology for the success of hybrid-driven vehicles. Compared to conventional NiMH batteries, they offer higher energy density at lower weight, which translates into higher cruising range.

Besides the battery, Continental also will produce the inverter and the DC/DC converter for Daimler's hybrid car. The inverter controls the energy flow between electric motor and the hybrid battery while the DC/DC converter couples the hybrid battery to the overall power supply system. Thus, it is the technical requirement to omit the standard generator.