DBM Energy's converted Audi A2 undergoing testing at DEKRA

When DBM Energy made its record-breaking drive from Munich to Berlin, Germany on a single charge of the KOLIBRI Alpha Polymer battery, there was a lot of skepticism expressed. Even more so when the technology platform, an Audi A2 conversion, was lost to a mysterious fire. Undaunted, the company has moved forward and submitted cells for testing by the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM). It has also had the German certification organization DEKRA conduct a range test on the latest converted Audi A2.

The results? The cells stood up to BAM's physical tests – which included burning, high altitude simulation, short circuits and other distresses – quite well. We're talking gold star, A+, definite pass. The range tests results however were not quite as revealing. The pack size in this vehicle was 62.928 kWh (as opposed to the 98 kWhs of the original) and following the ECE-R 101 guidelines was found to be capable of running the A2 on the rollers for 454.83 km (282.62 miles). Extrapolating, they found that if the battery was the original was installed, they would have achieved 714 km (443.7 miles) Not bad, right? Hit the jump for more...


Related GalleryDBM Energy Audi A2 electric conversion

[Source: DBM Energy]


Unfortunately none of this testing tells us the number we most want to know – exactly how many watt hours per kilogram the KOLIBRI cells hold. The bigger this number, the more energy the pack can hold and the farther a vehicle can go. For example, it's said the batteries in the Tesla Model S Signature (300-mile version) will hold 240 wh/kg while the cells in the Rolls Royce 102EX hold 230 wh/kg. Some had estimated the density of the original KOLIBRI pack to be over 300 wh/kg – which would be amazing – but from the information available now, the exact figure is frustratingly elusive.

Of course, energy density isn't the only thing a good battery needs. Volumetric density is also important as are things like safety, cycle life and price. We don't have pricing yet, of course, but the other characteristics certainly seem promising. DBM claims a 5,000x cycle life, which means the battery would outlast most vehicles.

The facts will eventually come out. DBM plans on conducting a full assortment of field tests this year which we hope will be more revealing. If you want to check out this latest Audi A2 conversion with its KOLIBRI Alpha Polymer battery, it's on display now until the 8th at DBM Energy's booth in Hall 2 at the Hannover Messe Industrie trade fair and expo. Check out the full official press release below as well as a subtitled video featuring the tests performed by BAM. Thanks to everbody who sent this in.


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Press Release

DBM Energy's KOLIBRI technology passes safety and performance tests with flying colors

LMP lithium-metal-polymer battery cells (KOLIBRI) pass comprehensive safety tests

Independent range test confirms performance and range of KOLIBRI batteries

Full-scale field trial scheduled for 2011

Berlin, Germany – 1. April 2011 – For over a year the KOLIBRI battery cells developed by DBM Energy have been performing reliably in electrically powered logistics vehicles. In October 2010, as part of a demonstration project, this innovative battery technology powered a conventional passenger car converted to electrical power over a distance exceeding 600
km, setting a worldwide record. 5,000 charging cycles document the range and longevity of the KOLIBRI LMP lithium-metal-polymer battery technology. Independent studies now also confirm the safety and performance of the KOLIBRI technology.

Safety
On 17 January 2011, the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM - Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und –prüfung) initiated a comprehensive test program to evaluate the safety aspects of the innovative LMP lithium-metal-polymer battery technology (KOLIBRI) developed by DBM Energy GmbH. The recently completed tests on individual battery cells confirm that the KOLIBRI technology used on the world record-setting drive on 26 October 2010 meets the required safety standards for use in stationary applications as well as in passenger and commercial vehicles.

The safety tests were conducted in accordance with the protocols established in the 5th edition of the UN Transport Test Manual for the Transport of Dangerous Goods published in 2009. The recommended testing methods for lithium batteries serve as an international standard. In eight exhaustive tests series, the KOLIBRI technology was examined to establish its safety when subjected to extreme climate and pressure variations, electrical short-circuiting, overload or inversed polarity as well as strong mechanical forces such as vibrations, show and heavy impact.DMB's LMP cells easily passed the entire range of tests.

"The LMP cells we tested stand out by their high degree of technical safety," said Prof. Schröder in explaining the results of the tests, which had been repeated a number of times. The LMP lithium-metal-polymer battery systems met all the standards set in the UN test series. The cells exhibited no leaks, did not generate heat exceeding 170 degrees Celsius, did not decompose or ignite, and maintained in excess of 90% of electrical tension.

In addition to the UN tests, the battery cells were also tested for fire risks. The LMP cells proved absolutely fire and explosion proof when exposed to direct fire. The BAM's Prof. Schröder concludes: "Overall it can be stated that the KOLIBRI cells completely fulfill all safety requirements for this type of technology."

Performance
Besides BAM's safety tests, the KOLIBRI technology was subjected to an independent range test by German certification institute DEKRA at its test center at the Lausitz EuroSpeedway racetrack in Klettwitz, Germany. The range of the LMP battery system on the Audi A2 test vehicle platform was determined following the procedures set down in the currently applicable
ECE-R 101 directive for measuring the range of vehicles equipped with an electric drive. The tests were conducted in facilities and with equipment that fully complied with testing protocol requirements.

At the time of determining testing parameters prior to commencing the test, the vehicle weight – empty weight not including driver – was measured below the approved total mass of 1,500 kilograms. The maximum energy delivered by the LMP battery was measured at 62.928 kWh. By comparison, the battery capacity registered at the time of the world record in October 2010 was 98 kWh. The lower capacity, however, proved sufficient for the range tests as per ECE-R 101, which require that a distance of at least 300 km be covered.

All test results of the KOLIBRI technology were subsequently verified and validated by DEKRA. This includes the initial battery charge after handing over the vehicle, recharging the battery over charging period of 12 hours, discharging the battery over a distance of 100 km at a constant speed of 70 km/h as well as determining the vehicle's driving resistance. The peak speed measurement during the 30-minute maximum speed segment was 100 km/h. The required condition of covering a distance of 300 km within 7 days was met in one session on a roller dynamometer, indicating a range of 454.83 kilometers with the 62,928 kWh LMP battery. Adjusted for the battery capacity of 98 kWh at the time of the worldwide
range record, the range would have been 714 km. The efficiency of the LMP battery was determined to be at 97%.

The test vehicle equipped with the KOLIBRI battery technology will be on
display on the BMWi (Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology)
stand in Hall 2 at the Hannover Messe Industrie trade fair and expo from 4
to 8 April 2011.

About DBM Energy
DBM Energy GmbH , founded in 2009 and based in Berlin, Germany,
manufactures high-performance energy storage systems. DBM Energy has
developed an innovative battery technology: KOLIBRI. This lithium-based
intelligent energy storage system is monitored, controlled and optimized via
integrated controllers to ensure optimum efficiency. The KOLIBRI technology finds
universal application as an energy storage system for stationary equipment,
electric passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles in the logistics and
manufacturing industries. As part of a demonstration project, an everyday vehcole
modified for electric power and equipped with the KOLIBRI technology covered a
distance exceeding 600 km with a single charge in October 2010, setting a
worldwide record
.