Saft wins electric vehicle battery contract with U.S. Army

BAE Systems has awarded Saft with $1.3 million in new funding for the continued development of a lithium-ion energy storage system for the U.S. Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle program.

Saft, which is designing and building high-power cells for the vehicle’s hybrid electric drive system, has already completed the demo battery system including hardware and software.

The GCV is part of a growing list of military vehicle prototypes for which Saft has supplied advanced energy storage solutions. The new funding for the GCV project is an addition to the initial 2010 contract.

The GCV is a nine-man infantry carrier that can protect against threats, move in urban and off-road terrain and accommodate emerging technologies such as lightweight armor composites and electronics. Comprised of high-power, high-voltage VL 5U cells, the Li-ion ESS supports the GCV’s electric drive system when the vehicle is not running on gasoline, such as during silent watch missions.

The ESS system employs green technologies that improves vehicle fuel consumption and improves weight savings. Saft’s proposed ESS reduces the program cost and provides a highly reliable product by leveraging already developed subsystems and components from other qualified system to use on the GCV program.

Saft joins Northrop Grumman, iRobot, MTU, and Qinetiq North America on the BAE Systems GCV team, one of two industry teams working on the technology development phase of the program. The 24-month technology development phase is aimed at completing preliminary design reviews in order build prototype systems prior to the engineering and manufacturing phase.

The GCV program has the potential to have a significant impact for Saft. If the BAE Systems/Lockheed Martin team is selected as the Army’s design and manufacturing partner, Saft will likely be the battery supplier when production begins in 2019.

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