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Lithium Polymer Traction Batteries might come into picture soon says experts.

New Delhi, Feb. 24 -- The increasing focus on the Electric Vehicles (EVs) last year from the auto makers and also from several administrations in the world including the US President Obama's famous dream on One million EVs by 2015 has sparked off a new debate EV technology and one of the major one is about the traction battery manufacturers who are now offering what they call lithium polymer (LiPo) versions. Lithium polymer batteries are being eagerly adopted in a rapidly widening variety of applications. That includes in both pure electric and hybrid vehicles whether on land, in water or in the air. Battery manufacturers in Canada, the USA, Russia, China, Korea, Taiwan and elsewhere are involved.

According to Dr Peter Harrop, Chairman, IDTechEx, Lithium polymer batteries use a thick polymer separator such as polyethylene oxide or polyacrylonitrile composite. Polymer gels are added to make performance at ambient and low temperature adequate, so these are not of fully solid construction. However, leakage is less likely and absence of liquids should improve upper temperature range and life according to proponents. Lithium polymer traction batteries are favoured in Autonomous Underwater Vehicles AUVs because they tolerate pressure and in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles UAVs because they are lightweight - no need for a heavy metal case - and they can be thin and even shaped. In a collision of manned light electric aircraft they should not spew acid or explode. Many land vehicles incorporate them because they are light and tolerant of impact but there are other important benefits as well.

Lithium-polymer has significant advantages over traditional wet lithium-ion traction batteries, including higher energy density and lower manufacturing costs. Lithium polymer is more resistant to physical damage and it can handle more charge-discharge cycles before storage capacity begins to degrade. Lithium polymer technology also offers significant advantages in thermal robustness and safety.

According to Dr Harrop, It would be wise to conclude that the adoption of lithium polymer traction batteries will continue to increase for several years. Any appraisal of the pros and cons must recognise that the term lithium polymer simply refers to a form of electrolyte containment when the performance and cost of the cell is particularly dependent on the cathode chemistry, with electrolyte, anode and cell geometry among the factors that are also very important. It is imprudent to obsess about cars, because markets for electric vehicles and their components are often more profitable and innovate earlier. When developing and selling traction batteries, it is necessary to look at the very different needs of all electric vehicles - on-road, off-road, on water, under water and in the air, in each case including both manned (safety critical) and unmanned (less safety critical) pure electric and hybrid vehicles. Understand the timelines - for example, the next generation plug in hybrids will optimise energy density in batteries as longer ranges are demanded so it will no longer be all about power density with hybrids. Uniquely, the IDTechEx global series of events Electric Vehicles: Land, Sea, Air Conference & Exhibition provides the full picture, the next one being in Stuttgart, Germany on June 28-29, visit

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Publication:Wheels Unplugged
Date:Feb 24, 2011
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