Hundreds of Danish armored personnel carriers will be equipped with lithium-ion batteries from the Saft Groupe, a Paris, France-based battery technology company.
Saft has signed a multi-million dollar contract with General Dynamics European Land Systems Mowag, the Switzerland-based subsidiary of General Dynamics Land Systems, to place its Xcelion 6T batteries in over 300 Piranha V armored personnel carriers. They will be supplied by GDELS Mowag to the Danish defense acquisition and logistic organization, according to the company.
The Xcelion 6T is a rechargeable 28-volt lithium-ion battery that was designed as a drop-in replacement for traditional lead acid batteries, said Alex Bynum, director of sales, space and defense for Saft’s U.S. arm.
“It’s a quarter of the weight and half the size, so when you’re starting to look at the power demands of the new vehicles moving forward, it’s really beneficial,” he said.
It was based on Saft’s E6T battery system, which was initially designed as a custom 24-volt battery for the U.S. Army’s joint light tactical vehicle program.
“But it didn’t really fit the financial needs of the program, nor was it in the same format as the lead acid 6T, which is the standard,” he said.
The battery system provides power for the ignition and the electrical system, as well as silent watch capabilities, according to Saft. It is also suitable for use in cold temperatures.
To date, the Xcelion 6T has been fielded on the Thales Hawkei light armored patrol vehicle, currently in production for the Australian Defence Force, Bynum said. The technology is in evaluation on other platforms in several European and Asian countries. Numerous U.S. military programs are using the batteries to collect data on the benefits of lithium-ion technology versus lead acid batteries, he added.
There has also been interest in the battery from the commercial sector, he noted. The technology can be used for energy storage for micro grids or for rail, aviation and bus transportation.
It was even used in a directed energy weapon demonstration, Bynum said, when the customer was originally looking for a high-voltage battery that would have been costly.
“We spoke with them about their system design and came to find out the Xcelion 6T fit very nicely at a fraction of the cost,” he said, but declined to say who carried out the test.