Issue: Jan 2007


Li-ion cell technology is now production ready and has both price and performance advantages



by Richard Morris

Axeon Holdings plc has won its first contract to develop a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery pack for a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) programme. The contract is to develop a 2KW Li-ion battery pack for a major European heavy duty vehicle machinery manufacturer. Two prototype packs are planned to be delivered during the early part of Q2 for customer evaluation and demonstration.

The heavy duty vehicle machinery sector is forecast to be worth in excess of $2.1 billion by 2010 to the hybrid market. During 2006 Axeon successfully built its capability and customer pipeline in the field of electric vehicle (EV) Li-ion battery packs and battery management systems (BMS’s). The programmes announced last year are moving into volume production during 2007 demonstrating to customers that Li-ion cell technology is now production ready and has both price and performance advantages over competing cell chemistries.

Hamish Grant, Axeon CEO commented “This contract win is an important step forward for the Company. The requirements of HEV battery packs are quite distinct from those of pure EV’s. EV battery packs are designed with a high storage capacity relative to current flow (charge/discharge rate).

HEV battery packs are designed and configured the other way round with a small storage capacity relative to current flow. This makes the requirements of cells within the battery and the battery management electronics materially different. “We have also been investing heavily in developing the cell supplier relationships and technical skills to be able to provide HEV Li-ion cell and BMS battery pack capability. This development contract award is the first recognition of that effort. The general concerns over global warming are resulting in an increasing number of vehicle manufacturers evaluating HEV and EV alternatives. We expect the number of opportunities and prototyping programmes to expand during 2007.”

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