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Here’s How Lithium Batteries Will Gradually Catch Lead-Acid: Lithium-ion is on the cusp of achieving

Start-stop powertrains will dominate the auto industry within a decade, gradually changing the way batteries are used in future generations of vehicles, an expert told attendees at the recent Advanced Design & Manufacturing conference in Cleveland.

Scott Morehouse, manager of process development for lithium-ion batteries at Johnson Controls, Inc. , said that the industry’s move to start-stop will lay the groundwork for lithium-ion to surpass lead-acid batteries in volume, but only over a long period of time.”Lithium-ion is still in its early stages,” Morehouse told Design News. “But there’s tremendous opportunity for it to develop.”

Morehouse told an audience of engineers that start-stop, in which vehicles turn off their engines at traffic lights and stop signs, has already begun to ascend to dominance. In 2015, about 72% of new vehicles still used conventional internal combustion powertrains with flooded lead-acid batteries. By 2025, the numbers will essentially flip – start-stop will account for 80% of the powertrains while conventional internal combustion engines account for less than 20%.

In the first decade of that transition, lead-acid batteries will still dominate, largely because start-stop will employ absorbent glass mat (AGM) lead-acid. But as start-stop evolves, lithium-ion will begin to grab a portion of the start-stop market, Morehouse said.

“It’s going to be AGM and low-voltage lithium-ion taking up the vast majority of the market volume,” Morehouse told the audience. “And that will continue for the next 10-15 years."

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