European Consortium Completes Hybrid-electric Tests with Lead-Acid Battery

Project Rholab hopes to demonstrate that valve-regulated lead acid batteries can be a viable alternative to the more expensive nickel-metal hydride in hybrid applications.

Published: 10-Feb-2004

The planned 50,000-mile test of a valve-regulated lead acid battery in a Honda Insight hybrid-electric car at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire will mark the culmination of a three-year European Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium project called Rholab, to adapt traditional lead acid technology for use in hybrid-electric cars.

Rholab hopes to demonstrate that valve-regulated lead acid batteries can be a viable alternative to the more expensive nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) power packs used in the first generation hybrids from Honda and Toyota.

Rholab partners include Hawker Batteries, vehicle electronics specialist Provector and the universities of Warwick and Sheffield. The Rholab project operated as part of the DTI-funded Foresight Vehicle Programme. A successor project to Rholab, called Isolab, is underway to build on the Rholab developments. Lead acid batteries’ disadvantages compared to nickel-metal hydride batteries (which are some six times as expensive) include extra weight, and their rapid decline of capacity in the partially charged state which is a feature of auxiliary power in hybrid vehicles. The various Rholab partners have developed a range of solutions to these and other potential limitations of the lead acid battery, including new types of individual cell and a battery management system designed by Provector with the help of Warwick Manufacturing Group. (Source: e4engineering.com)

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