Blended Battery System For Better Electric Cars

Indy Power Systems technology allows vehicles to run on a combination of fuel cells, ultracapacitors, and old-fashioned lead-acid batteries.

Published: 26-Jan-2009

The race is on to find the ideal battery chemistry for plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles, but a startup in Indiana believes that a combination of different storage technologies might be the best way to improve vehicle performance and reduce cost. The company's technology allows vehicles to run on a combination of fuel cells, ultracapacitors, and old-fashioned lead-acid batteries.

Noblesville-based Indy Power Systems has developed an energy management system for vehicles that can quickly switch between two or more energy sources, even when their voltages are different. "It's basically a switch that directs energy in any amount and any direction," says Steve Tolen, chief executive officer and founder of Indy Power, which operates out of Purdue Research Park. "The hardware handles the switching, and the software handles the timing and amounts."

Tolen says that the power electronics package--called the Multi-Flex Energy Management System--is only slightly larger than a laptop computer. He describes it as a custom, software-controlled, DC-to-DC converter that's bidirectional and variable.

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