Power Electronics

Vendors Collaborate on Ultracapacitor Starter System for Cars

Maxwell Technologies and Kromberg & Schubert GmbH will incorporate Maxwell's BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors into a highly efficient, low-cost, engine-starting system for automobiles. Dr. Richard Balanson, Maxwell's president and CEO, said that extensive testing and analysis confirm that an ultracapacitor-based starter power node located in close proximity to the starter will not only improve starting performance, but also enable reductions in system cost, complexity and weight.

Arthur Kurz, manager electronic integration, said that ultracapacitors' burst power capabilities, cold temperature performance and long cycle life make them particularly well-suited for vehicle starting. Kurz also pointed out that many newer automotive designs place the battery in the trunk area, which requires running a heavy, rigid, expensive, 70-mm to 90-mm copper cable the length of the car to provide sufficient starting current. However, he noted that a system employing a small ultracapacitor-based power module located near the starter can be charged by a lighter, flexible, less expensive, 16-mm to 25-mm cable.

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