A123 Systems, the troubled Massachusetts-based battery maker, is banking on a new lithium ion battery technology to boost its prospects.
The company is calling the lithium ion battery, named the Nanophosphate EXT, a "game-changing breakthrough" for energy storage.
"By delivering high power, energy and cycle life capabilities over a wider temperature range, we believe Nanophosphate EXT can reduce or even eliminate the need for costly thermal management systems," said David Vieau, CEO of A123 Systems, in a statement today.
A123 Systems claims that its Nanophosphate EXT technology solves the temperature problem. The company says that the new battery no longer needs the heating and cooling systems and is immune to the effects of extreme temperatures. This could have a huge practical impact. In addition to increasing the efficiency and range of electric vehicles — and therefore their practicality and commercial appeal — the new battery could make electric cars viable in a broader range of markets.
If the technology performs as claimed, the Nanophosphate EXT could also reduce costs. As it stands, the battery packs of hybrid electric or electric cars are expensive and need to be replaced every 100,000 miles or so. According to A123, the Nanophosphate EXT lasts 2-3 times as long as traditional lithium ion batteries — eliminating the need for after-market battery replacements.
The Nanophosphate EXT is scheduled for use in the Chevy Spark, an all-electric city car due out in 2013.