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Argonne Shows Off Plug-In Hybrid

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Argonne Shows Off Plug-In Hybrid

Argonne’s plug-in hybrid prototype

Scientists at Argonne National Lab have developed a prototype zero-emission vehicle. It showcases the promise, and some of the challenges, of plug-in hybrid cars.

The modified Saturn SUV runs partly on gas, partly on a lithium ion battery. It’s the sane battery that runs an iPod, only it weighs as much as a linebacker. The idea is to plug it in at night, and then drive exclusively on electric power for a typical commute. Argonne’s Ted Bohn says the task is to marry a peppy high-power battery with a long-lasting high-energy battery.
BOHN: Typical energy batteries are very delicate, and if you put a lot of power through them they just kind of explode. Power batteries are very good, but they only produce a certain amount of energy because they’re very robust.

Bohn says new carbon-aluminum components could help give the lithium ion battery more pop, in a smaller package that hopefully, does not explode. The lab is showing off its prototype this week at an international conference on battery technology. Argonne is the federal government’s lead lab on plug-in hybrid research.

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