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Lead Carbon 48V Mild Hybrids Considered the Most Cost Effective Way to Meet Fuel Economy Targets

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Lead Carbon 48V Mild Hybrids Considered the Most Cost Effective Way to Meet Fuel Economy Targets


European contact: 
Bob Tolliday +44 (0)20 7833 8090 [email protected]

North American contact: 
Chip Bremer +1 919-287-1873 (office) +1 919-810-1353 (mobile) [email protected] 


DETROIT, MI (June 15, 2016) – Current mild-hybrid vehicle projects, in partnership with Ford and Hyundai/Kia, that utilize an advanced 48V lead-carbon battery, look set to play an important role in meeting US fuel efficiency standards ahead of their target introductory date in 2021 and reduce CO2 emissions by 15-20%, according to the latest data from the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC).

This week the ALABC exhibition stand at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (June 14-17 in Detroit) is presenting these impressive results of its demonstration vehicle program.

The T-Hybrid (based on a Kia Optima) and the ADEPT (based on a Ford Focus) both utilize an advanced 48V lead-carbon battery system with bolt-on electrical components that allow for significant engine-downsizing without loss in performance. This engine downsizing means less fuel usage and subsequently much lower CO2 emissions compared to the base vehicle – including a 16% reduction in the Kia Optima.

“The low additional cost of introducing 48V mild-hybrid powertrains utilizing the significant benefits of advanced lead-carbon batteries is continuing to attract automakers because it is the most cost-effective means of complying with CAFE fuel economy standards  and stringent CO2 regulations over the next 10 years,” said Alistair Davidson, representing ALABC.

A previous ALABC demonstration vehicle (the LC SuperHybrid based on a 1.4 liter VW Passat) fitted with advanced lead carbon batteries, has already provided the basis for a revolutionary propulsion system that can achieve 44.2 MPG and a 15-20% reduction in CO2 emissions while increasing the performance to that of a larger engine size model – all at a minimal cost to the manufacturer.

As like all lead batteries, advanced lead batteries have excellent sustainability credentials and are recycled in a closed loop, with 99% of them being collected and recycled in Europe and North America. Furthermore, advanced lead batteries are significantly cheaper than alternative automotive battery technologies, providing an affordable cost-to-benefit ratio – one that can allow car manufacturers to seamlessly incorporate the systems into future models. 

According to Allan Cooper, who has been coordinating ALABC’s demonstration projects, these 48V demonstration vehicles also address some of the issues with making low-emission hybrid vehicles  appealing to the general consumer.

 “By downsizing and down-speeding the engine to reduce CO2 emissions, you significantly reduce the vehicle’s performance, making it less ‘fun to drive’,” he said. 

“But by adding electrical components like the Valeo supercharger and the CPT SpeedStart ISG, you can give a 1.4-literengine the performance of a 1.8-literengine or better, and still provide the same enhanced emission benefits.  In essence, this system allows you to reduce fuel consumption with additional electrical components, but increase performance while still maintaining a low production cost because of the use of lead-carbon batteries.”


Current Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards require that vehicles offered for sale in the US attain an average fuel economy of 40.3 to 41 mpg by 2021 and 48.7 to 49.7 mpg by 2025 – basically doubling the expected fuel economy of the new vehicle fleet over the next 10 years.



Notes to editors


About the 48V Kia Optima T-Hybrid

Project Partners: ALABC, Hyundai Motor Group, AVL Schrick, Valeo, and East Penn Manufacturing

This concept vehicle is powered by the Optima’s existing 1.7 litre CRDi turbo-diesel engine, paired with a Valeo 10 kW electric starter generator and electric supercharger powered by a 48V version of East Penn’s lead-carbon UltraBattery® system. 

The diesel-electric powertrain concept enables the T-Hybrid (turbo-hybrid) to be driven in electric-only mode at low speeds and when cruising, with deceleration serving to recharge the battery pack.  It includes start-stop functionality and regenerative braking, but also provides the enhanced power and torque at low speeds that have made it so popular in test drives.

Note: Some of the support for the Kia Project was obtained through special funding from ALABC members like the RSR Corporation, the Doe Run Company, Teck Metals, Acumuladores Moura, Britannia Refined Metals.


About the ADEPT 48V

Project Partners: ALABC, Ford Motor Company, Ricardo, CPT, Provector, Faurecia, the University of Nottingham, and the University of Sheffield

The ADEPT (Advanced Diesel Electric Powertrain) combines low-cost, micro/mild hybrid technologies similar to those in the LCSH with a high degree of synergy to reduce current class-leading C-segment COemissions by an additional 15-20%.  Based on a Ford Focus, this vehicle is projected to cut COlevels to 75g/km while indicating a pathway to 70g/km at a cost/emissions reduction ratio superior to a full-hybrid solution.  

The system includes regenerative braking and other efficiency improvements for optimized oil flow and pressure control, as well as a 48V electric turbine that captures exhaust waste heat for conversion to additional recovered electrical energy. However, unlike the T-Hybrid, it does not have an electric supercharger but will rely solely on the starter/generator for initial torque assist on the engine.


About the ALABC

The Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium is an international research co-operative comprised of lead producers, battery manufacturers, equipment suppliers, application developers, and research facilities organized to enhance the performance of lead batteries for a variety of markets, including hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) applications and various other energy storage systems.  A program of the International Lead Association, the ALABC pools the resources of its global membership in order to perform specific research on advanced lead batteries that otherwise would not be possible by any single entity.  For more information about the ALABC, visit