APEI Improves Hybrid Battery Charging for Hybrid, Electric Cars

by Chris Bahn  on Monday, Apr. 29, 2013 12:00 am  

McNutt said it is too early to tell what the increased efficiency and smaller size will mean for consumers, but there will be a benefit. They’ll have a car that takes less time to charge and generates less heat during the conversion process. That means the cooling system can be eliminated from the in-car charger, making it possible for a smaller component in the car. Less weight and less charge time should reduce the amount spent on fueling the vehicles.

These meet the objectives outlined when the grant was obtained from the Department of Energy. Ultimately, the goal is to improve the quality of vehicles that run on electric batteries, decreasing fuel consumption, while “jumpstarting” growth in the electric vehicle industry.

“Now that we have a functional prototype we can look at what that means numbers-wise,” McNutt said. “But you can imagine that decreasing the weight of the vehicle will mean a lot when it comes to gas mileage.”

Feedback for the project has been strong. APEI has shown off its work across the country, including at the 2013 ARPA-E Summit in Washington, D.C., where APEI team members visited with U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. A trip to Toyota headquarters in Japan also allowed APEI to showcase its improvements.

“It’s really enabled us to showcase what we can do as an Arkansas-based company,” McNutt said. “We’re advancing the state of the art in high-powered electronics and manufacturing them right here in Arkansas.

“This is proof it can be done here. This particular charging unit, the mechanical structure and the packaging structure were designed all in house, in Arkansas. We did the testing, the prototyping and the integration in the vehicle. We have the capability of manufacturing these units in Arkansas.”



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