Swiss company iQ Power AG develops and manufactures intelligent system solutions for electrical energy management in automobiles. One of the company’s products includes the world’s first intelligent software-managed car battery.
So far, attempts by the auto industry to come to grips with the complex issue of energy management with today’s lead/acid batteries have failed – outdated battery technology and solutions are too complicated.
â€œOur technology represents a quantum leap for today’s lead/acid batteries, as well as an increase in performance,â€œ says Peter E. Braun, iQ Power CEO.
Thermal insulation surrounding the battery ensures an even temperature and protects the battery against damaging spikes in temperature. An electronically managed foil heating maintains optimal electrolyte temperature, while specially formed plastic elements effectively prevent acid stratification in the battery cells. â€œYou can only get a grip on the mathematical battery model once conditions have been made much simpler,â€œ explains Braun’s partner Dr. GÃ¼nther Bauer, responsible for R&D at iQ Power. The solution from iQ Power is technologically simple, costs less and is reliable thanks to the almost ideal environment within the battery. iQ Power needs some 25 percent less lead in its batteries. Batteries with iQ technology hit the market in 2007.
Braun spoke to Automotive Industries (AI).
AI: How do you see future energy storage systems for automobiles evolving?
PB: We will continue to see today’s lead/acid technology in starter batteries for a very long time. The advantages of lead/acid are unmatched. The potentials in performance and capability of today’s 12-volt lead/acid technology are far from being exhausted. With a systematic approach and new technologies like those we’ve developed at iQ Power, we can extend these limits a lot further.
AI: What does this mean in terms of energy management?
PB: Our product proves that recognized drawbacks, such as poor charging in winter or a loss of performance from acid stratification, can be effectively eliminated while at the same time greatly improving the cycle stability of wet batteries. We use a new S curve to extend the life cycle of today’s lead/acid technology. The fact that our technology can accurately and reliably determine the battery’s state of charge and state of function means that we have for the first time laid the foundation for what is a functional energy management in the automobile, namely the communication between the smart energy store, the generator, and the electrical loads.
AI: iQ Power is building a factory for smart batteries in South Korea â€“ why there?
PB: South Korea is an attractive automobile market with a dynamically growing motor-vehicle industry. Auto makers in Korea are extremely interested in innovations that make their cars more reliable and more responsive to the wishes of their customers. In a joint venture with our Korean partner we’re now building a factory for smart batteries that will have an initial capacity of 3.5 million units.
AI: Can other battery makers be licensed to use iQ Power’s technology?
PB: Yes, our technology is available under license to any battery manufacturer. This is an excellent opportunity for licensees to set themselves apart from the competition.
AI: What kind of products are on the drawing board at iQ Power?
PB: iQ Power has sole responsibility for the issue of energy management as an engineering partner in SPARC, an EU project for drive-by-wire vehicles under the leadership of DaimlerChrysler. Such an undertaking demands totally new types of energy architectures, concepts and solutions. We are also working on energy architectures of lead/acid batteries and supercaps for use in hybrid vehicles.