Car maker Daimler claims to have achieved a "crucial breakthrough" by adapting lithium-ion battery technology for use in automotive applications.
The new battery will be used in the series-production S 400 BlueHYBRID cars beginning next year. The technology is based on 25 patents held by Daimler, and has been under development since 1992.
Dr Thomas Weber, a member of the Daimler board responsible for group research and Mercedes-Benz development, said: "This is a groundbreaking technology that will be a decisive factor in the future success of the automotive industry."
Daimler engineers have integrated the lithium-ion battery into the vehicle's climate control system to ensure that the unit always works at optimal system temperatures of between 15 and 35 degrees Centigrade.
The main advantages of the new battery are its compact dimensions and superior performance compared to conventional nickel-metal hydride batteries. The weight/power ratio of the entire battery is 1,900 watts per litre.
Dr Weber explained that lithium-ion batteries are ideally suited for use in hybrid vehicles to help reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
The Daimler engineers are also investigating the degree to which the technology can be applied to other vehicle concepts, such as electric and fuel-cell powered cars.
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