Development of New Lightweight Battery for Electric Cars

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VAN BUREN TWP., Mich., Sept. 11, 2009 /PRNewswire/ – Ricardo, Inc., the US subsidiary of Ricardo plc, the leading independent provider of technology, product innovation and engineering solutions to the world’s automotive, defense, transport and new energy industries, has announced that the award of $2.1 million (GBP1.3m) of funding has been made by the UK Technology Strategy Board to a consortium led by advanced battery manufacturer Axeon and including Ricardo, which will develop a new lightweight battery for use in electric small city cars, improving their performance, functionality and range. The aim of the project is to develop an innovative high energy density battery system for an emission-free electric small city car. The battery, which will use new cell chemistry that offers higher energy density, will be lighter, smaller and therefore more efficient than those currently available, and will offer faster charging and a higher range.

The benefits of the newer technology from improved performance, functionality and range will be significant. These factors in turn will enhance the appeal of low carbon electric vehicles (EVs), and if take-up is as predicted (250,000 new EVs by 2015 in Europe alone) it would contribute to a significant reduction in the UK’s CO(2) emissions as well as positioning the UK as a leader in EV battery technology. In addition to Axeon and Ricardo the consortium will also include as a member Allied Vehicles, a niche vehicle manufacturer.

Over the next 22 months, Ricardo will develop the battery management system architecture and application software; Axeon will engineer and construct the battery system, perform cell testing for calibration and electronic system integration; and Allied Vehicles will design, build and test the vehicle platform.

Lawrence Berns, CEO of Axeon noted, “As a leading provider of innovative EV battery technology Axeon is delighted to be leading this consortium. This project will enable us to develop a new electric car battery with improved performance that will be highly adaptable and transferable to many vehicle manufacturers and platforms.”

Ricardo CEO, Dave Shemmans, said, “The increasing electrification of the new vehicle parc is an important enabler for the global reduction of fossil fuel use in transportation and the consequent minimization of CO(2) emissions. Ricardo is pleased to be engaged in this important research program, contributing our key skills in the area of advanced battery management system and control technology development.”

Allied Vehicles’ Managing Director, Paul Nelson commented, “This innovative project represents a great opportunity to further advance the development of electric vehicle technology. Proving this next-generation battery technology in a live car application will be a key step in continuing to expand the market appeal of zero-emission, all-electric vehicles.”

Explaining the background to the decision to invest in the development projects, John Laughlin, the UK Technology Strategy Board’s Low Carbon Vehicles program manager, said, “We are investing to put the UK at the forefront of low carbon vehicle technology. A major barrier to the widespread acceptance of electric and hybrid vehicles is the difficulty in balancing the range of the vehicle against the available stored energy.

The work we are funding will focus on developing ultra-efficient electric and hybrid vehicle motive and ancillary systems that will make the best use of this energy. Increasing the market acceptance of low carbon vehicles will contribute to achieving UK and EU climate change targets, while creating significant market opportunities for UK-based companies.”

About Ricardo

Ricardo, the Eco-Innovation Technology Company, is a leading independent provider of technology, product innovation, engineering solutions and strategic consulting to the world’s automotive, military, transport and new energy industries. The company’s skill base represents the state-of-the-art in low emissions and fuel-efficient powertrain technology, and can be best summarized: “Ricardo is Fuel Economy.” Ricardo offers TVFE(TM), its Total Vehicle Fuel Economy engineering service, to transportation manufacturers and related government agencies worldwide to provide objective evaluation of all available technologies to identify the most cost-effective strategies to accomplish fuel economy and CO(2) goals.

With technical centers and offices throughout Europe, the U.S. and Asia, Ricardo provides engineering expertise ranging from vehicle systems integration, controls & electronics, hardware and software development, to the latest driveline and transmission systems and gasoline, diesel, hybrid and fuel cell powertrain technologies. Ricardo’s customers include the world’s major automakers and suppliers as well as manufacturers in the military, commercial, off-highway and clean energy sectors. The company also serves in advisory roles to governmental and independent agencies. Ricardo’s U.S. operation, Ricardo, Inc., is headquartered in Van Buren Township, Michigan. Ricardo plc posted sales of $394 million in financial year 2008 and is a constituent of the FTSE TechMark 100 index – a group of innovative technology companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. For more information, visit www.ricardo.com.

Source: Ricardo, Inc.

CONTACT: Frank Buscemi, The Quell Group, +1-248-649-8900, fbuscemi@quell.com;
Anthony Smith, Ricardo Media Office, +44 1273 382710, media@ricardo.com
Web Site: http://www.ricardo.com

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