Continental battery
Continental battery. Click image to enlarge

Nuremberg, Germany – International automotive supplier Continental said it has become the world’s first manufacturer to start series production of lithium-ion batteries to be used in hybrid cars. The Powertrain Division has invested over €3 million in building up manufacturing capacity at the company’s Nuremberg site.

“This underlines Continental’s claim that, by developing and manufacturing state-of-the-art drive technologies, it can contribute to a significant reduction in fuel consumption by vehicles in future and, consequently, to a reduction in CO2 emissions as well,” said Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, CEO of Continental AG.

Compared with the nickel-metal hydride batteries currently used in hybrid vehicles, lithium-ion batteries offer significantly greater storage capacity. Continental’s battery weighs around 25 kg. The first batteries produced in Nuremberg will be installed as standard equipment in the new Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHYBRID, available from the middle of 2009. With the technology, the vehicle is expected to achieve a consumption rate of 7.9 L/100 km.

Continental said that the lithium-ion technology poses particular challenges, and that a Cell Supervision Circuit (CSC) monitors individual cells for condition, temperature and energy reserves against its age. The CSC balances the charge levels of all the cells in the battery, guaranteeing that it will last with unimpaired functionality, power and safety for ten years, or 160,000 to 240,000 km. Batteries produced since last year as part of the pre-production series have been artificially aged in test cycles to simulate their use in vehicles over many years.

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