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A new generation of battery power

Finnish Electric Vehicle Technologies (FEVT) researches and develops energy storage systems based on state-of-the-art technologies, to produce reliable and powerful solutions that reduce maintenance and energy costs – and offer new levels of performance for electric vehicles.

FEVT uses lithium batteries as the basis for its solutions because of the numerous benefits they offer, and has concentrated on solving the problems associated with using a large number simultaneously. FEVT energy storage systems give electrically powered vehicles an extended driving range and stationary systems higher power output and longer operating cycles.

FEVT has achieved this through an intelligent management system for controlling battery life and increasing the number of high-capacity batteries that can be used in the same power pack. FEVT’s patent-pending Cell Control System (CCS) provides real-time battery control and management, as well as a remote monitoring option for accessing hands-on data on how a unit is performing in the field.

CSS technology has been developed together with a Chinese-based battery manufacturer, and the plan is to start up production of high-capacity Li-ion batteries with CSS units in Finland at the beginning of 2009.

A FEVT system for this Neoplan shuttle bus offers an operating range of up to 160 kilometres between charges.

Longer operating range

Building on the far better Wh/kg performance of lithium batteries compared to lead-acid units – and the fact that they are almost completely endothermic during charging and offer high efficiency over high-power charge-discharge cycles – FEVT’s CSS succeeds in extending the life of batteries to encompass a vehicles’ entire economic lifetime.

CSS also extends the distance a vehicle can travel on one charge from the 60 kilometres typical with lead-acid batteries to as much as 200 or 300 kilometres. Using a special charging unit, charging can take place in as little as 30 minutes.

Depending on electricity prices, vehicle operating costs in terms of energy per 100 kilometres are much reduced, at a couple of euros at most.

Buses, vans, wheelchairs…

FEVT’s product line focuses on vehicles – city buses, commercial vehicles, and delivery vans – and stationary power units.

A FEVT system for the Neoplan 8008 shuttle bus, for example, consists of 50 x 350 Ah batteries, giving a nominal power output of 30 kW, 56 kWh capacity, and an operating range of up to 160 kilometres between charges. A package for the Citroen Berlingo delivery van provides 32.4 kW nominal output from 45 x 200 Ah batteries and an operating range of up to 250 kilometres.

As these examples show, the operating ranges on offer are ideal for urban and suburban usage, especially given the relatively short charging cycle typical of a FEVT system.

Other systems have been designed for motorcycles, scooters, golf carts, forklifts and golf course maintenance units. Reserve power units offering 100 kW of nominal output and up to 0.5 MW peak power have been configured based on 140 lithium batteries. Smaller units have been produced for wheelchairs and mobile hospital equipment, such as patient monitoring units.

> Martti Alatalo , Kari Lairila
(Published in HighTech Finland 2008)