A more powerful and lightweight lithium-ion battery is being rolled out by Hitachi for testing in hybrid vehicle applications this fall. The Japan-based firm said the new design will generate 1.7 times the energy output of its current lithium-ion products.
Hitachi Vehicle Energy, Ltd. -- a subsidiary of Hitachi that develops and manufactures lithium-ion batteries for automotive applications -- said the advanced design offers a power density of 4,500 watts per kilogram (W/kg), using a new manganese cathode and thinner electrodes, among other modifications. Sampling of the new battery by domestic and overseas car manufacturers will start in the fall, the company added.
Hitachi pointed out that this new battery is considered a "fourth-generation" lithium-ion design. Its third-generation product -- with a power density of 3,000 W/kg -- is going into mass production in 2010.
For the same energy density, a lithium-ion battery has about half the volume and weight of a nickel hydrogen battery, and about one-third the volume and weight of a lead-acid battery -- making it attractive to both hybrid and electric vehicles manufacturers, Hitachi said.