Hummingbird Battery Passes Tests

By Bill Moore

Posted: 06 Apr 2011

German EV World reader Rudolf Kraft alerted me to a couple of new reports in the German media about DBM-Energy, the 2009 start-up who claim to have driven a converted Audi A2 non-stop 374 miles (604 km) between Munich and Berlin on an experimental 99 kWh battery pack not much larger than the gasoline tank it replaced. Critics accused the company of fraud and then the car was destroyed in a warehouse fire. Herr Kraft provided me with a loose translation of the article that appeared in Zeit Online, as well as AutoBild. I took the liberty of cleaning it up a bit editorially and grammatically.

Test Clear Doubts About the World Record Car

In October last year, DBM-Energy set a new record for an electric car, driving from Munich to Berlin, Germany without recharging the installed KOLIBRI LMP (Lithium-Metal-Polymer) battery. Upon arrival in Berlin after having travelled 602 km (374 mi) there was 18 percent charge remaining in the battery.

Critics questioned the validity of the test drive, suggesting it was a hoax. In response, the German Ministry of Economy called for a thorough investigation, but before it could be held, the Audi A2 test vehicle burned in a suspiciously-timed warehouse fire in Berlian. As a result of the fire and continued criticism, DBM provided the government's Material Research and Testing lab (BAM) with test cells for validation. These were exposed to extreme climate and air pressure changes, electrical short circuits, overloading or incorrect polarity, and mechanical shock and impact. The cells passed BAM's tests.

In March, DEKRA, which had previously certified DBM's converted Audi A2 prior to its record drive, was provided with a 63kWh Kolibri ("Hummingbird" in German) battery similar to the 99 kWh pack in the now destroyed Audi A2. In accordance with ECE-R 101 guidelines, the tested battery was calculated to be capable of achieving an equivalent range of approximately 455 km (282 mi) in the Audi A2. On the basis of this calculation, the original Audi range was estimated to be 714 km (446 mi.). In short, the test results fully support all of DBM's previous claims.

DBM is engaged in further testing to prove its battery suitability for daily use and is open for negotiations with potential partners "if they are on an equal and fair basis." Next week, DBM will present the battery in another prototype test vehicle at the Hannover Fair.

DBM was founded in 2009 and according to the company, its batteries are presently being implemented in forklifts.

The German Government is striving to get 1 million electric vehicles on the streets in Germany by 2020. One handicap working against this scheme – range – seems to have been eliminated.

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