In 2002, FHI partnered with NEC to form NEC Lamilion Energy, Ltd., which is developing high-performance manganese lithium-ion batteries. (The word Lamilion describes the battery’s basic design and composition: Laminate/Manganese/Lithium/Ion.)
NEC Lamilion Energy (NLE) battery packs combine characteristics desirable for future vehicles:
- High power – a high degree of sustainability and instantaneous power output
- Flexible mounting – fitting in a space of 100mm (3.9 inches) or less in height
- Super-quick charging – 90 percent of full battery capacity after a five-minute charge
- Long life/high level of safety – cooling well because packs are flat (different from cylindrical batteries), not affected by overcharging and packaged as one unit (contributing to safety and ease of maintenance)
- Low cost
Seeking a power source that integrates both environmental and driving performance, Subaru also is developing the lithium-ion (Li-ion) capacitor. Together, these technologies demonstrate a future of more environmentally friendly vehicles.
The Subaru B5-TPH concept car was introduced at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show
Subaru expects the Li-ion capacitor to expand the possibilities for batteries in future vehicles. It drastically enhances energy density while retaining the inherently superior capability of instantaneous charge/discharge and the high durability of regular capacitors. Applying new materials and emerging technology will theoretically double the capacity of today’s capacitors.
Eventually, Li-ion capacitor technology for compact cars could lead to demand for new hybrid buses, trucks and passenger vehicles. This environmentally sustainable technology could become an alternative to conventional lead batteries in the future.
FHI has been developing power storage systems and the application of Li-ion batteries in prototype HEVs, including the Subaru R1e (sold in Japan). Further testing and evaluation are required.
The development of new technologies is a time-consuming process – especially for manufacturers that want to offer proven, reliable and durable product. Subaru is committed to developing power-storage technology as the key to further promote the use of hybrid vehicles, fuel cell vehicles and electric vehicles. The status of future Subaru vehicles is contingent on the results of its continuous testing and development.