Mazda has officially partnered with ELIIY Power and Ube Industries for a joint-venture project, which aims to develop durable heat- and impact- resistant 12-volt lithium-ion starter batteries.
Usually, lithium-ion batteries are used in electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids such as the Nissan Leaf, Audi A8, BYD’s Forklift, Hyundai LF Sonata, and such. But this time, the three companies are planning to put it on regular automobiles.
Intended to replace the conventional lead-acid car batteries by 2021, lithium-ion batteries are much smaller and lighter, which will then lessen the weight of the vehicle and improve fuel economy.
However, there are drawbacks in this project that the companies must overcome. First is the need for these batteries to endure the high temperature in the engine bay, and the other is the potential impact of a car crash.
Combining each company’s individual expertise, Mazda will conduct model-based research of the chemical reactions inside the batteries, develop technologies that will manage high-performance batteries, and improve a general purpose model for their use.
Using its knowledge in making high-quality stationary batteries for motorcycle, ELIIY Power will come up with a safe, waterproof, impact-resistant battery technologies with excellent cold-weather performance. The Tokyo-based startup is also responsible on the development of the basic battery unit.
Ube Industries, on the other hand, will use its engineering expertise obtained from the development of key components like electrolytes and separators to make an electrolyte with a better heat resistance.
As we all know, lithium-ion batteries are more expensive than the lead-acid batteries. Now, if this project is to be accomplished, there’s a fat chance that the future Mazda vehicles would have a significant price increase. But still, no one knows what Mazda has in store for us so let’s just wait and see.