Maxwell Technologies Inc., San Diego, has entered into a multiyear agreement to be the exclusive supplier of ultracapacitors to U.K.-based HIL Tech Developments Ltd., which develops ultralow emission electric powertrains for road and rail transit vehicles and stationary power systems.
Richard Smith, Maxwell's senior vice president for strategic business development, said that the agreement with HIL Tech expands the European presence Maxwell established with its acquisition of Montena Components in Switzerland, and reflects the company's commitment to making integrated ultracapacitor-based energy storage and power delivery solutions available to the global transportation and stationary power markets.
"By the end of this year, ultracapacitors will be a proven, standard option for production energy storage systems for the consumer electronics, industrial, and transportation markets," Smith said. "HIL Tech has a global customer base and advanced system design and integration capabilities that are essential to our strategy for accelerating adoption of ultracapacitors for these applications."
John Holden, HIL Tech's chief engineer, said that ultracapacitors offer a number of advantages over batteries for many transportation and industrial applications.
"Ultracapacitors require virtually no maintenance and have much longer life--hundreds of thousands of discharge/recharge cycles compared to as few as 500 to 1,000 cycles for many chemical batteries," Holden said.
"Ultracapacitors are also very efficient in absorbing electrical energy produced by regenerative braking systems, allowing vehicular systems to recapture up to 25% of the energy required to operate electric or hybrid vehicles, significantly reducing emissions.
"At the $30 unit price in million-unit volumes, to which Maxwell has committed, ultracapacitors will also be more cost effective than battery-based systems with comparable storage capacity and output," Holden added. "Maxwell's ability to meet HIL Tech's quality, volume, and price requirements were critical factors in our decision to incorporate ultracapacitors into the power solutions we are developing."
Smith said that auto makers such as General Motors, Daimler-Chrysler, Honda, and Toyota have already announced they are incorporating ultracapacitors into hybrid car, truck, and bus powertrains now in development, and noted that Maxwell also is working with several electric rail and stationary power system manufacturers that have ultracapacitor-based designs in development.