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Mild-Hybrid Vehicles Cheaper and Just as Efficient?

Milk-Hybrid Vehicles Featuring Low-Voltage Lead-Acid Batteries
Milk-Hybrid Vehicles Featuring Low-Voltage Lead-Acid Batteries

The typical hybrid vehicle is a few thousand dollars more expensive than its conventional sister, but what if it could be cheaper and still just as efficient?

According to the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium [ALABC] and Controlled Power Technologies [CPT], mild-hybrid vehicles with lead-acid battery packs can deliver fuel economy gains similar to an equivalent full-hybrid vehicle while, at the same time, costing just 25% over a conventional vehicle. ALABC’s previous demonstration vehicle used a 12V light-hybrid setup to help a 1.4ℓ Volkswagen Passat achieve 42mpg. Their current demonstration technology, using a 48V battery pack, could achieve a little better than 45mpg and the performance of a 2.0ℓ.

Another excellent feature of this technology is the price of the batteries and light-hybrid vehicle technology, which adds just 25% of the cost of a similar full-hybrid vehicle. Part of the savings is due to smaller electric motors, but the biggest savings come from utilizing lead-acid batteries that are already ubiquitous in the automotive field. This will be a boon to consumers who are looking to get into vehicles with better fuel economy but don’t have the extra few thousand dollars to spend on a full-hybrid vehicle.

Finally, because the ALABC mild-hybrid system runs at just 48V, it falls well below the 60V high-voltage danger that exists in typical full-hybrid vehicles, some of which run as high as 700V in operation and 300V when static. Automobile technicians, roadside assistance technicians, and emergency responders need special training and equipment to avoid personal injury or death when they handle full-hybrid vehicles, but ALABC’s mild-hybrid vehicles would require no such special considerations.

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