Maxwell Technologies is putting the lifetime value of its recently announced deal to provide ultracapacitor-based subsystems to Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely), the parent company of leading brands such as Volvo and Geely Auto (earlier post), at $100 million. Under the deal, Maxwell will provide multi-cell ultracapacitor subsystems with power electronics that will be applied in Geely and Volvo mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The vehicles will initially be available in North America and Europe.
The production ramp for these vehicles is slated to begin in late 2019. Maxwell estimates that this deal has a lifetime of about 5-7 years, with peak sales in years 3 and 4.
The ultracapacitor systems are intended to work in conjunction the vehicle batteries, said Thibault Kassir, Maxwell’s VP & GM, Energy Storage. The ultracapacitor modules provided to Geely will deliver 10-12 kW.
The combination of ultracapacitors and batteries is the ideal solution in supporting different dynamics and voltages, and supporting peak power for the vehicle.
Not having the ultracapacitor support would result in a larger, more expensive, shorter-lived battery, Kassir said.
As we prepared to bring our new, high performance features into the mainstream of our next generation vehicles, it became evident that ultracapacitors would be essential to address the increasing electrification challenges the automotive industry is facing. In our global search for a partner who could develop and supply a sophisticated multi-function energy storage device, it became clear that Maxwell’s deep automotive experience and technical know-how qualified them as the only choice.
The Maxwell ultracapacitor subsystem has proven to provide significant support for our hybrid cars and will be able to economically handle the challenging peak power demands in a way that batteries alone cannot. We are confident that through our partnership with Maxwell, we will be able to successfully introduce innovative and differentiated features into our core platform offerings while providing an improved and reliable driving experience to our customers.
The Geely contract marks the first time Maxwell has worked directly with an OEM, without using an integrator. Maxwell is providing a “black box” that has the ultracapacitor energy storage and power conversion. Geely is handling the integration into the vehicle. Maxwell’s DC to DC converter controls the flow to and from the board net; the board net handles the energy management of the entire vehicle. Kassir said.
The current solution of supporting vehicle electrification in conjunction with a battery has less application in a full battery-electric vehicle, Kassir said. However, he added, Maxwell is very interested in seeing if its proprietary dry electrode technology can be applied in batteries.
The core of our ultracapacitors is based on a proprietary technology around the electrode. This technology is used today in ultracapacitors and could be used in batteries. The concept is that the technology could provide a lot of value-add in terms of higher energy and accelerate the roadmap for batteries in terms of using new materials.
Kassir said that Maxwell is working with large OEMS on a proof of concept of the dry battery electrode.