Using Ultracaps in Cars: the Definitions

In our next installment of the Ultracapacitor 101 blog series, we wanted to begin to explore the applications of ultracapacitors. Now that you understand how ultracapacitors work and have a thorough understanding of ultracapacitor terminology, it is time to learn how this technology works in one particularly important sector: the automotive industry. We’ll devote several blog posts to this topic, but to start, we want to provide a separate glossary of terms specific to the automotive industry.

This first installment will tackle the technical definitions associated with ultracapacitor technology in cars. Our next installment will talk about the terminology you’ve likely heard before – hybrid and electric vehicles, and all the variations in between.

If you ever find yourself wondering about how energy storage systems work in energy-efficient vehicles or find yourself wondering about how to distinguish between all of the types of hybrid vehicles out there, read on. And, as always, please tweet us your thoughts and questions to @ioxus.

Energy Storage System (ESS): a component or network of components that contain ultracapacitors, batteries of various chemistries, or a combination of energy storage technologies that is used to store the energy required for various functions. Functions include cranking the vehicle and recapturing energy storage from brake energy recovery, for example.

Capacitive Energy Storage System (CESS): a specific energy storage system, which uses ultracapacitors as the storage medium. This system has many benefits, including long cycle life, wide operational temperature range, high DC charge acceptance, high power capability and a lighter weight.

Idle Stop/Start (ISS) or Automatic Start Stop Function (ASSF): a system that helps a driver to save fuel, thus reducing CO2 emissions. When a car has come to a complete standstill, the system automatically shuts down the engine, and the engine starts again as soon as the accelerator or clutch pedal is pressed.

Brake Energy Recovery (BER): the energy that is recaptured using an electric motor or generator as part of the brake system. This system requires hydraulic brakes to still be used in the vehicle.

Power Assist (“Boost”): a process that uses energy from brake energy recovery or excess system capacity stored in the energy storage system to provide assistance during acceleration. This process provides the largest improvement in fuel economy of all the micro-mild hybrid technologies, but is generally the most expensive technology. It typically requires a larger energy storage system and a more powerful electric machine than the simpler hybrid technologies.

Latest News

  • uSTART® Lead-Free Replacement for Truck Batteries

    ONEONTA, N.Y.Jan. 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Ioxus uSTART® has received two fleet industry awards for sustainability by eliminating lead-acid batteries with its ultracapacitor-based, drop-in battery replacement.

    "With uSTART, fleets not only realize the benefits of improved starting reliability, there are equally important and real sustainability improvements from lead waste reduction," said Chad Hall, executive vice president and co-founder of Ioxus. "By replacing one of the batteries on a vehicle with a uSTART module, up to 15 fewer batteries are needed over the lifetime of the vehicle. This translates into 1,000 pounds of lead that will never need to be disposed of or allowed to affect groundwater."

    EU legislation on batteries is embodied in the European Battery Directive.  Its objective is to contribute to the preservation and improvement of environmental quality by minimizing the negative impact of batteries and battery waste.  As these preservation efforts expand, sustainable technologies develop to manage and mitigate these risks.

    Replacing a lead-acid battery with uSTART in a typical commercial vehicle creates measurable environmental benefits:

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