LG Chem, Ltd., the largest chemical company in Korea, announced today that it has been granted a USD 4.6 million contract by the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) to develop advanced Lithium-ion Polymer Battery cells for Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs).
The USABC was formed in 1991 by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and the BIG Three Automakers (GM, Ford, DaimlerChrysler) with the objective of pursuing research and development of advanced energy storage systems. Under the contract, LG Chem and Compact Power Inc. (CPI, LG Chem's U.S. battery system research institute,) will jointly carry out the project.
The project is the first step of a two-phase project for the development of high-tech battery pack systems for HEVs. During the course of the first phase, which will last until August 2005, LG Chem will develop a highly advanced lithium-ion polymer battery cells, while CPI will take charge of the development of the battery management system electronics and software.
"We received the highest scores in all categories that USABC put out to evaluate the candidates for the Li-Ion Polymer Battery Development Project. Our advanced technology in rechargeable batteries and battery systems has enabled us to become the first Asian company to sign a development contract with USABC," said Jong-Kee Yeo, the CTO and president of LG Chem.
LG Chem's highly advanced technology in Li-Ion Polymer batteries has received recognition for being the first to be applied in prototype HEVs. It was also the crucial factor in LG Chem winning the U.S. Pikes Peak International Hill Climb rally in 2002 and 2003 with its self-developed Li-Ion Polymer electric vehicle. Moreover, NASA/JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) is currently evaluating LG Chem's technology for the Mars Explorer mission scheduled for 2007.
"Our Li-Ion Polymer battery can reduce the size and weight of the battery pack by 50% while doubling power and energy compared to Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries, which are currently used in HEVs. Moreover, our customers have recognized our product as the most powerful battery in the market compared to the Li-Ion batteries presently under development by our global competitors. We intend to become the world industry leader by taking advantage of and constantly upgrading our technological edge," the CTO added.
In accordance to the annul growth of over 80% of HEVs in the U.S. market since the year 2000, demand for HEV batteries are forecasted to dramatically increase as well. "With its contract with USABC, LG Chem is now in an advantageous position for securing the Big Three Automakers as potential customers," said Yeo.
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August 23rd, 2004