Genovation Cars is still kicking, although I did have to look them up because I’d never heard of them until now, and has partnered with University of Maryland to develop new hybrid electric-vehicle battery technology.
There are plenty of electric vehicle battery companies out there, working on the next best thing for electric vehicles. The main limitation of electric vehicles is weight, that is, you can only add so much weight for increased range, until the weight starts limiting performance and range. Battery energy density is the key phrase, and vehicles like the Tesla Model S 85kWh, with a range of up to 300 miles, use Panasonic 18650 cells, a lithium-ion rechargeable battery with an energy density of about 230Wh/kg. A Tesla Model S powered by the same weight in sealed lead-acid batteries would only have a range of 50 miles.
Recently, great strides have been made in supercapacitor and metal-air battery research, which could have interesting consequences for hybrid and electric vehicles. Volvo Car Group recently showed off some new technology, replacing body panels with supercapacitor-embedded panels, eliminating battery weight and maintaining the vehicle’s electrical systems. Tesla Motors recently acquired a patent for a hybrid lithium-ion and metal-air battery pack for increased range without the added weight.
Genovation Cars has been working closely with University of Maryland to develop a new electric vehicle battery system that combines high-density high-voltage Lithium-Iron-Phosphate [LiFePO4] batteries and a supercapacitor pack for increased power and range. Genovation is also developing lightweight, silicon-carbide-based [SiC] DC-DC converters and AC-DC inverters. These are absolutely necessary to convert 400V from the battery / supercapacitor packs for use by the vehicles internal 12VDC systems and the traction motors’ 400VAC requirements. The SiC converters and inverters are important innovations, reducing the weight these components occupy.
Image © Genovation