Smart Car goes electric, uses Zebra battery

The Green Car Congress reports that DaimlerChrysler will release a Smart fortwo electric vehicle this November as part of a commercial trial in the U.K. that will be limited to corporate customers. The car will only be available for lease, unfortunately, and only 200 vehicles will be delivered for the trial.

The car will be powered by a Zebra sodium nickel chloride battery, the same energy-storage system being used in the Halton Hills Hydro load-shifting demonstration that I posted about last week. The battery will have a 30 kilowatt output and the car will be able to reach a top speed of 120 kilometres per hour. The range on full charge is 116 kilometres and the battery can charge from 20 per cent to 80 per cent in four hours. Full recharge takes eight hours.

Seems interest is growing for the Zebra battery. If volume production is the only thing keeping this technology from being economical, perhaps it is a good idea to open up a North American manufacturing facility with 100,000-unit-a-year capacity, as the folks at Halton Hills Hydro would like to do.

2 thoughts on “Smart Car goes electric, uses Zebra battery”

  1. These zebra batteries are interesting technology. For use in electric cars and in utility systems, I would thinkt that they would have to be repeatedly charged and discharged. Anyone know if they perform better than Li-ion technology on that front?

  2. Dear Stephen

    MES DEA say the Zebras have achieved 1400 nameplate cycles in real world use now (Mendrisio trial) and 2000 in the lab. It’s certainly a fault tolerant technology – 5% of cells can fail without battery failure. Not like the control issues with LiIon.

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