In the past few years, the automobile industry has seen a lot of advancements in electric vehicles. Apart from Tesla, other prominent manufacturers have also started focusing on making the electric vehicle mainstream due to its environmental benefits. American Battery Solutions has been one of the industry pioneers, with expertise in innovating battery technology that powers electric vehicles.
Collectively, members of the team have helped launch some of the industry’s most well-known programs with OEM customers like General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, BMW, Daimler-Mercedes, and others. We interviewed Subhash Dhar, the Founder, Chairman & CEO, American Battery Solutions Inc, to know about the company’s services. Here are a few excerpts of the interview:
Q. Please share with us your journey and experience in designing, developing, and manufacturing advanced battery systems.
As founder and CEO of ABS, my journey goes back to the early 1980s when I worked on developing the Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMh) battery during my tenure as President of Ovonics Battery Systems. Since that time, I have led companies to develop and commercialize other chemistries, such as lead-acid and lithium-ion. In 2018 I began putting together a team of the best of the best people that I have worked with in the past. This team ultimately became the core leadership team at American Battery Solutions (ABS). ABS was founded in 2019 when we acquired some of the assets of Bosch Battery Systems. Our team comprises some of the best battery systems experts in the industry with decades of experience designing, developing, and manufacturing advanced battery systems. Today we are applying this extensive automotive EV battery know-how to the emerging, underserved and non-automotive markets.
ABS is dedicated to US-based manufacturing of the highest quality. We have an established 170,000 sq. ft state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Ohio and an extensive engineering facility and technical center in Michigan. Both facilities were initially acquired from Bosch Battery Systems and received significant capital investments as we grew our business. These facilities give us some of the largest dedicated battery pack manufacturing facilities in North America. All these qualifications make ABS a trusted partner to power the next-generation electric vehicle fleets.
Q. Shed light on the growing demand to electrify the commercial electric vehicle segment.
Start-up EV manufacturers and even well-established commercial vehicle manufacturers have struggled to find high-quality battery partners that can supply relatively low volumes of battery packs. Compared to the automotive markets, which deals in 100’s of thousands of vehicles, these other markets tend to deal in hundreds to a few thousands of vehicles. These are the markets we believe have not been fully served by the largest battery makers due to the projects’ relatively small size.
Even with the challenges posed during 2020, we have seen the markets for electrified light, medium, and heavy-duty commercial vehicles, agricultural vehicles, mining vehicles, aviation, maritime vessels, autonomous robotics, and many similar segments continue to grow at a steady pace. All these markets are advancing into Lithium-ion battery technology as it has continued to see significant improvement in performance and safety while costs continue to drop. The fleet managers can now frequently operate a fleet of electric vehicles at a lower cost than traditional internal combustion engines or older lead-acid power sources. For the fleet operator, OpEx (Operating Expenditure) is greatly improved due to the reduction in maintenance costs, reduction in fuel costs, and improved fleet reliability and longevity.
Q. Brief us about your applications.
ABS is launching a series of both low voltage and high voltage, standardized battery pack solutions to serve our customers. The low-voltage ALLIANCE Intelligent Battery Series™ contains a unique set of features that allows it to be used in a wide variety of applications. Including 48V, 24V, and 36V options in 2kWh and 3kWh energy increments, the ALLIANCE series of batteries pave the way for simple integration and drop-in replacement of lead-acid batteries both in original OEM applications as well as an aftermarket replacement. They are designed to be handled like a lead-acid battery, without a need for “white-glove” treatment. The Alliance series of products are used in applications ranging from autonomous warehouse robots to neighborhood electric vehicles, to construction and maintenance equipment such as scissor lifts and floor cleaners, to golf carts and are even replacing diesel gen-sets on sailboats.
The high-voltage ProLiance Intelligent Battery Series ™ product line-up includes a series of 350V battery packs starting at 50kWh and 100kWh for use in a wide range of light and medium-duty delivery and commercial vehicles, mining vehicles, construction, and other vehicles, as well as 650V 110kWh battery pack targeted for use in medium and heavy-duty trucks. These packs integrate ABS’s battery management system and multi-pack management functionality with a liquid-cooled thermal management system, all in a self-contained unit. For customers with very low volumes, these standardized packs offer a high-volume program’s benefits due to their common design while enabling ABS to offer the benefits of high-volume cell pricing due to our ability to consolidate many low-volume programs.
Q. What is unique about BMS?
The ABS “Intelligent” Battery Management System (BMS) for the Alliance family of low voltage products allows modules to be easily added in parallel without the need for reprogramming, effectively making Li-Ion battery installation an easy retrofit with half the size and weight of lead-acid batteries while offering zero- maintenance and longer life.
The ProLiance family of high-voltage batteries offers some of the same functionality as the Alliance series by enabling multiple packs to be connected in parallel or series to build higher energy systems. This also means that there is no need for a separate Battery Disconnect Unit to control all the battery packs, reducing cost and complexity. Also, there is an incredible amount of redundancy in the system, allowing a single battery pack to be taken off-line while the next pack in line takes up “master” status. ABS is also package protecting for the integration of the Dukosi wireless BMS technology, which will reduce costs, reduce complexity, and improve performance by distributing the BMS down to the cell level and eliminating most of the complex low-voltage wire harnesses.
Q. Detail us about your products.
ABS has developed a standardized family of Rechargeable Energy Storage System (RESS) solutions agnostic to battery chemistry which we call the ALLIANCE and ProLiance Intelligent Battery Series™. All ABS product solutions are flexible and can adapt multiple lithium-ion chemistries with varying electrical characteristics to meet a wide variety of application needs. The Alliance family is offered in a 48V, 36V, and 24V as part of the ALLIANCE Intelligent Battery Series™ is sure to fit a multitude of li-Ion energy needs. The Industrial or “I-Series” Alliance Intelligent Batteries Series ™ includes 24V, 48V, and 36V options, each with 3kWh of energy. This revolutionary series provides a design that can be used to replace standard GC2 lead-acid battery installs.
About the Founder
Subhash Dhar is the Founder, Chairman & CEO, American Battery Solutions Inc. Mr. Dhar was formerly Founder, Chairman & CEO of Energy Power Systems (January 2011 thru April 2017) and CEO of XALT Energy (January 2014 thru April 2017), a leading manufacturer of Li-Ion batteries. He has also served as the Chairman & CEO of Envia Systems, a Bay Area company engaged in developing advanced Li-Ion battery technology. Prior to that he was President of Ener 1 and Vice-Chairman of EnerDel; he started his journey in the battery industry as the founding member of Ovonic Battery Company where he led the development and commercialization of Nickel Metal Hydride battery technology during 1981 thru’ 2002.
Mr. Dhar has been involved in many aspects of alternative and advanced technology, including hydrogen generation, hydrogen storage, and fuel cells. He is a co-inventor of over 40 US patents and has co-authored more than 45 technical papers. He has a master’s in engineering management and Chemical Engineering.
“We are now leveraging our automotive experience to help electrify the underserved market segments in transportation, motive industrial, and commercial sectors.”