Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely), the parent company to Volvo Car and Geely Auto, signed a partnership with Maxwell Technologies to use ultracapacitors in new electrified models.

Maxwell Technologies

Maxwell Technologies

Ultracapacitors were sometimes spotted in start-stop applications, but Geely intends to extend the use of ultracapacitor subsystems to hybrids and plug-in hybrids.

The deal already envisions five models equipped with Maxwell's ultracapacitors in North America and Europe. The first one will go one sale in late 2019.

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Having an ultracapacitor subsystem will enable higher power charging/discharging, which is good for both regenerative braking and acceleration. Usually, small battery packs were constrained by power output.

If ultracapacitor subsystems take high power demand on its own, battery packs could consist of low-power, high-energy dense lithium-ion cells for improved all-electric range.

"The partnership focuses on the integration of state-of-the-art ultracapacitors and advanced power conversion electronics into Geely's global automotive vehicle lineup in support of their fleet electrification strategy. The collaboration kicks off with the inclusion of Maxwell's ultracapacitor-based peak power subsystem in five mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles which will initially be available in North America and Europe. The production ramp for these vehicles is slated to begin in late 2019 and marks the most significant milestone in Maxwell's automotive market history as it readies for the coming global electrification megatrend.

The automotive industry originally adopted ultracapacitors for start-stop applications because of their fast response and reliable performance. With CO2 regulations tightening across the globe, new automobile electrification strategies are being considered. OEMs are now adopting ultracapacitors as a technology of choice to deliver aggregate peak power to functions such as electric active-roll control, electric power steering, electro-turbocharging and energy recuperation in hybrid vehicles. In addition, due to the long product life ultracapacitors exhibit, they are also being adopted as an alternative or complementary energy storage source to batteries in power backup solutions for autonomous driving and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS)."

"Drawing from its long history of supplying ultracapacitor cells and modules to automotive makers, Maxwell's latest partnership with Geely represents the next stage of evolution with a multi-cell subsystem. This turnkey subsystem not only combines state-of-the-art ultracapacitors but also adds Maxwell's advanced power conversion electronics to supply enhanced performance for a wide variety of demanding applications. The launch of this multi-function subsystem in Geely's Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) is a paradigm shift in ultracapacitor use for the automotive industry and allows OEMs like Geely to economically address increasing voltage stabilization needs as the industry rapidly moves towards a more electrified world."

Mr. Qingfeng Feng, Vice President and CTO, Geely 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."

Dr. Franz Fink, CEO of Maxwell Technologies said:

­­"Today's announcement of the Geely design win and partnership represents a significant milestone for the team at Maxwell and validates that ultracapacitors are ideally suited to solve many of the challenges faced by the automotive industry as it readies for the coming global megatrend of the electrification of combustion engine vehicles. The team at Geely is at the forefront of incorporating breakthrough energy storage solutions to address these increasing electrification challenges. We are excited to partner with their world class team to further enhance our automotive energy storage portfolio and make it an integral part of their future vehicle lineup."