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Indian Company Hopes To Put Cheap Batteries in HEVs

With the help of new technology, the lowly lead acid battery that powers the ignition of conventional cars may make it into hybrid electric vehicles

5 min read

26 May 2004—For decades, the lead acid battery has dominated the US $16 billion industrial and automotive markets. But lead has not always led in hybrid electric vehicles, where far pricier nickel metal hydrides (NiMHs) are found under the hood of popular models like the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius. Now a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IIS), Bangalore, thinks it has found the way for lead acid to match NiMH’s performance.

The IIS group has developed a technique for making lead acid batteries substantially lighter, and therefore more energy dense—a key determiner of a battery’s usefulness in electric vehicles (EVs) and HEVs. Currently, lead acid batteries have a density of 30 watt-hours per kilogram, but the new process delivers batteries with more than 50 Wh/kg, which is the minimum required energy density for EVs and HEVs, according to A.K. Shukla, a professor in the solid state and structural chemistry unit at IIS.

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Chinese Joint Venture Will Begin Mass-Producing an Autonomous Electric Car

With the Robo-01, Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely aim for a fully self-driving car

4 min read
A black car sits against a white backdrop decorated with Chinese writing. The car’s doors are open, like a butterfly’s wings. Two charging stations are on the car’s left; two men stand on the right.

The Robo-01 autonomous electric car shows off its butterfly doors at a reveal to the media in Beijing, in June 2022.

Tingshu Wang/Reuters/Alamy

In October, a startup called Jidu Automotive, backed by Chinese AI giant Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely, officially released an autonomous electric car, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition. In 2023, the car will go on sale.

At roughly US $55,000, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition is a limited edition, cobranded with China’s Lunar Exploration Project. It has two lidars, a 5-millimeter-wave radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and 12 high-definition cameras. It is the first vehicle to offer on-board, AI-assisted voice recognition, with voice response speeds within 700 milliseconds, thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8295 chip.

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