Chicago Ford Escape PHEV Project Gets Utility Partner + Funding
- We haven't reported on the earlier announcements
of this project. As the report from Green Car
Congress makes clear, they're doing a two-stage
process: first beefing up the battery pack of the
car (about the same size as EnergyCS's pack for
the much lighter Prius), then enabling
grid-charging. The project, run by a company
incubated and spun off by the Illinois Institute
of Technology, combines the support and resources
of the City of Chicago, angel investors, and
ComEd (formerly Commonwealth Edison). Below re
reproduce the original report, but not the blog comments.
ComEd Joins Chicago Plug-in Hybrid Conversion
Project Targeting 2x Fuel Economy for Escape Hybrid
8 September 2006
ComEd, one of the largest US electric utilities
with approximately 5.2 million customers and more
than $15 billion in annual revenues, is joining
the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)
Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Project.
The project, announced in January in
collaboration with Chicago-based All Cell
Technologies, the City of Chicago and other
industrial and government partners, is an effort
to convert a Ford Escape hybrid SUV in the city
fleet into a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) using a
lithium-ion battery pack from All Cell.
All Cell is an Illinois Institute of
Technology-based technology transfer company
formed in 2001 by Professors Said Al-Hallaj and
J. Robert Selman to commercialize lithium-ion
batteries in military, medical, portable, and
transportation applications using IITs patented
passive thermal management technology with phase change material (PCM).
In June, All Cell Technologies received $1.25
million in financing from Heartland Angels to support the PHEV project.
Phase change materials are substances that change
from solid to liquid and back again when heat is
absorbed and expelled, respectively. In this
process, PCMs maintain a nearly constant
temperature, and thus are employed for thermal
engineering in a number of fields.
According to All Cell, suitable phase change
materials for use in Li-ion battery applications
will have a melting point in the range of between
about 30° C and 60° C; a high latent heat per
unit mass ratio; and a narrow melting temperature range.
CAPTION: An earlier schematic of a PHEV battery
module using All Cells PCM thermal management. Click to enlarge.
All Cell is assembling the battery pack from
commercially available 18650 cells integrated
with the companys PCM technology and control
systems into 8-amp, 14.4-volt modules, according to Dr. Al-Hallaj.
The project is envisioned in two phases. The
firstwhich has the targeted outcome of doubling
to fuel economy of the Escape hybridinvolves
bypassing the OEM battery pack (not removing it)
with an All Cell pack of approximately 10 kWh.
The PHEV battery will be working with the
constraints of the original controller, thus
limiting all-electric speeds to the original
lower-speed range. Part of the first phase will
be benchmarking the Escape hybrid to determine
the required Wh per mile. Depending on the result
of the benchmarking, All Cell believes that it
might be able to reduce the size of the battery
pack a bit and still meet the 2x target for fuel economy.
The second phase will entail replacing the OEM
battery and original operating strategy of the
controller to support a more robust all-electric range (AER).
The City is supporting the project with a vehicle
and with technical collaboration. If the All Cell
team meets its fuel economy target, the City will
consider converting more vehicles, depending upon price.
ComEd will provide expertise by sharing its best
practices from operating its hybrid vehicles. The
utility owns 64 hybrid Ford Escapes and its SUV
fleet will expand to 114 hybrid vehicles by the
end of 2007. ComEd also will provide expertise in
technical and regulatory matters related to
charging the plug-in hybrid vehicles electric
drive systems from the utilitys electrical power distribution system.
ComEd is also interested in studying the
implications of the potential of vehicle-to-grid
charging (V2G) that would emerge with the presence of a large PHEV fleet.
There are few better validations for an
emerging technology enterprise than partnership
with one of the largest utility providers in the
nation. ComEds involvement promises significant
capacity to realize our vision and provide relief
to consumers for the high economic and environmental cost of gasoline.
Bob Anderson, president of All Cell
All Cell already has li-ion batteries based on
its PCM technology in the field in medical and
portable applications through a licensing deal with MicroSun Technologies.
Thermal management. High-power applications of
lithium-ion battery systems require comprehensive
thermal management solutions. Operation outside
of the optimum temperature range can degrade the
performance and safety of the battery.
Active cooling solutions use a manifold, fans or
pumps for liquid or air, but also add complexity,
size, weight, cost and points of failure.
The All Cell passive thermal management approach
integrates a PCM impregnated in a graphite matrix
in between the cells of the battery module. The
graphite leads to higher thermal conductivity,
and the PCM acts as a heat sink, absorbing the
heat generated by the battery. The passive system
also reduces battery pack volume and weight
compared to systems that use active thermal management.
The All Cell batteries have operated safely at
temperatures ranging up to 45° C, and have proven
operational in the desert in applications served
by MicroSun Technologies. All Cell has also
determined that its thermal management method can
in some cases double the cycle life of the
battery system compared to those using conventional thermal management.
* US Patent #6,468,689: Thermal management of battery systems
* US Patent Application #20060073377: Battery system thermal management
* Novel PCM Thermal Management Makes Li-ion
Batteries a Viable Option for High Power and High
Temperature Applications (MicroSun white paper)
* Passive Thermal Management Using Phase
Change Material (PCM) for EV and HEV Li-ion Batteries
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Felix Kramer fkramer@...
Founder California Cars Initiative
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