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PSA to test nickel-zinc batteries for stop/start systems

PowerGenix, a leading developer of high-performance, automotive Nickel-Zinc (NiZn) batteries, has announced that it has entered into an innovation contract with PSA Peugeot Citroen that will see the French car maker conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the supplier’s NiZn technology as a potential replacement for lead-acid solutions in vehicles featuring stop/start technology.

“Peugeot has displayed impressive leadership in cutting emissions and adopting innovative technologies,” said Salil Soman, director of Systems Engineering at PowerGenix. “And we look forward to working together over the coming months to fully adapt and integrate our NiZn batteries into their vehicles. This is a promising milestone for NiZn, which is poised to capitalize on a rapidly expanding market for stop/start technology.”

Micro-hybrid vehicles – essentially gasoline or diesel-powered cars with automatic, battery-powered stop/start systems that shut off the engine while the vehicle is at rest and restart it instantly and automatically upon re-engaging the gas pedal – are rapidly increasing in popularity. Analysts say stop/start technology is one of the most cost-effective and efficient means of optimizing fuel economy. Current estimates put stop/start efficiency improvements at around 5 to 8%, while next generation systems may achieve savings as high as 12 to 15%.

It’s expected that by 2017, 70% of all vehicles sold in Europe will feature stop/start technology as a standard feature. Lead-acid batteries, the most common battery choice, are low-cost, easily available and relatively safe. NiZn batteries with higher energy density and higher charge acceptance could be an alternative choice offering a sustained fuel economy improvement.

As part of this innovation contract, PSA and PowerGenix will work closely together to verify several aspects of performance improvements, including high sustained charge acceptance, weight savings and service life improvements for use in stop-start vehicle applications. PSA and PowerGenix will also investigate battery sizing, cost projections, in-service life evaluation and safety analysis of the batteries, with tests performed under wide temperature ranges to validate NiZn’s performance at extreme temperatures.

At completion of the contract term, PowerGenix NiZn batteries are expected to be fully tailored for Peugeot and ready for successful integration into vehicles.

“PSA Peugeot Citroen Automobiles is committed to reducing the ecological impact of our vehicles and maintaining our position as a leader in low emissions automobiles,” said Bernard Sahut, innovation team manager for PSA Peugeot Citroen. “NiZn holds the potential to provide an ideal replacement for lead-acid by reducing the weight and CO2 emissions of our stop-start engine vehicles. This study marks PSA Peugeot Citroen Automobiles’s interest in working closely with PowerGenix to validate the promise of NiZn technology.”

1 August 2013


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