Electric carmaker pioneer ZAP has begun shipping lithium battery systems for various models of its electric cars, trucks, vans and scooters, offering at least four times the life of standard lead-acid batteries and twice the driving range.
The new battery system is the first turnkey, drop-in replacement battery system that fits in the same space as the G-31 lead acid batteries used in many of ZAP’s vehicles, equipped with a BMS (battery management system) that increases reliability and extends range.
The lightweight lithium battery system is used in the ZAP Alias, allowing it to drive up to 100 miles on a single charge. In China, ZAP’s new fleet vehicles use a similar system for its electric taxis and corporate vehicles based on the Jonway A380 SUV. A sub-chassis array of more than 100 battery cells is networked with an electronic monitoring system, ensuring that temperature and voltage of each cell are in balance and that electricity is automatically rerouted should any of the cell voltages change.
Available as an upgrade for some ZAP vehicles, the new lithium battery systems provide a significant value for customers by improving performance and offering a significantly longer lifespan. ZAP estimates lead-acid batteries have 300-500 cycles of discharging and recharging, compared to 2,000 cycles for lithium. Customers should see improved acceleration and handling of their vehicles with the lighter-weight, higher-voltage batteries. ZAP designed the lithium battery system to recharge overnight from any 110 outlet, just like a cell phone, or faster using a 220-volt recharging station.