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Lead-acid and lithium-ion

Lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries for the Chinese electric bikemarket and implications on future technology advancement

2009-04-17   Journal of Power Sources, Vol.172, No.2, 938-945, 2007 Weinert JX, Burke AF, Wei

China has been experiencing a rapid increase in battery-powered personaltransportation since the late 1990s due to the strong growth of theelectric bike and scooter (i.e. e-bike) market. Annual sales inChina reached 17 million bikes year(-1) in 2006. E-bike growth hasbeen in part due to improvements in rechargeable valve-regulatedlead-acid (VRLA) battery technology, the primary battery type fore-bikes. Further improvements in technology and a transition fromVRLA to lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries will impact the futuremarket growth of this transportation mode in China and abroad.Battery performance and cost for these two types are compared toassess the feasibility of a shift from VRLA to Li-ion batterye-bikes. The requirements for batteries used in e-bikes areassessed. A widespread shift from VRLA to Li-ion batteries seemsimprobable in the near future for the mass market given the costpremium relative to the performance advantages of Li-ion batteries.As both battery technologies gain more real-world use in e-bikeapplications, both will improve. Cell variability is a keyproblematic area to be addressed with VRLA technology. For Li-iontechnology, safety and cost are the key problem areas which arebeing addressed through the use of new cathode materials. (c) 2007Elsevier B.V. All fights reserved.

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