Maxwell To Develop Energy Storage Module for Hybrids

USABC approves development of a compact, low-cost, high-performance, 48-volt ultracapacitor-based electrical energy storage module for applications in passenger vehicles.

Published: 10-Mar-2005

Maxwell Technologies, Inc.(Nasdaq: MXWL) announced today that it has received approval from the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) to commence development of a compact, low-cost, high-performance, 48-volt ultracapacitor-based electrical energy storage module for applications in passenger vehicles.

USABC operates under the auspices of the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), an umbrella organization formed by DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General Motors to strengthen the technology base of the domestic auto industry through cooperative research.  Maxwell is eligible for more than $3 million in matching funds for the module development program from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) through the FreedomCAR initiative that DOE and USCAR established in 2002 to promote new technologies to reduce passenger vehicles' dependence on petroleum.

Dr. Richard Balanson, Maxwell's president and chief executive officer, said that the company views this auto industry-sponsored module development program as an opportunity to further accelerate acceptance of ultracapacitors as a standard building block for energy storage and power delivery solutions for the transportation industry.

"Maxwell has supplied several thousand BOOSTCAP(R) ultracapacitor cells for integration into gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrains for public transit buses over the past year, and we expect that application to continue growing in 2005," Balanson said.  "We won those orders by delivering robust energy storage components that provide safe, maintenance-free, performance for the life of the vehicle.  This opportunity with USABC to develop an auto-specific module will enable us to strengthen our credentials as a supplier of mainstream energy storage systems."

Under the terms of the 24-month USABC development contract, Maxwell will deliver fully integrated multi-cell modules for testing by DOE's Sandia National Laboratories and Idaho National Laboratory against rigorous auto industry standards for energy capacity, pulse power, abuse-tolerance, calendar life and cycle life.

"With more than 50 million automobiles produced each year around the world, automotive applications represent an enormous market opportunity for ultracapacitors, so it would be difficult to overstate the strategic significance of this program for Maxwell," Balanson said.

Management will conduct a conference call and simultaneous webcast at 8 a.m. (PST) tomorrow, March 10, 2005, to discuss the program and answer questions.  Speakers will include Dr. Balanson, Richard Smith, Maxwell's executive vice president for strategic business development, and Dr. John Miller, former head of Ford Motor Company's electric drivetrain engineering group, who is now a prominent auto industry consultant and author of Propulsion Systems for Hybrid Vehicles, published in 2004.  The call may be accessed by dialing toll-free, (800) 905-0392 from the U.S. and Canada, or (785) 832-0201 for international callers.  The webcast and subsequent replay may be accessed at the company's web site via the following link: http://www.maxwell.com/investors/presentations.html.

About USABC FreedomCAR is a partnership between the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) representing DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors Corporation.  This partnership is focused on funding high-reward/ high-risk research that promises improvements in critical components needed for more fuel efficient, cleaner vehicles.  USABC operates under the auspices of USCAR.  The mission of USABC is to pursue research and development of advanced energy storage systems for automotive applications.

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