Saft’s new MP 174865 IS cell is the world’s first rechargeable lithium-ion cell to comply with the EN 50020 ‘Intrinsic Safety’ standard for ATEX applications

Paris, April 6th, 2006 – Saft, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-end batteries for industrial applications, has broken new ground in rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery technology with the launch of an intrinsically safe cell suitable for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.

The new MP 174865 IS cell enables Saft to offer all the proven performance, capacity and weight saving advantages of its medium prismatic Li-ion technology in a range of portable power applications where there is a risk of flammable gases accumulating and detonating, including: petrochemical facilities, mines, grain silos, water treatment and sewer systems and various other industrial installations.

Portable batteries, and especially rechargeable batteries, are widely used to power equipment operating in potentially explosive environments.

Typical portable applications include lights and torches, gas and leak detectors, calibration devices, gas tank level monitoring systems and so on. In order to ensure maximum safety, European Union regulations call for all equipment and protection systems operating in these environments to be certified in accordance with the ATEX Directive 94/9/EC.

Intrinsic safety The major requirement for batteries operating in ATEX applications is for ‘Intrinsic Safety’, as defined in the EN 50020 Standard.

Specifically, this calls for a battery design that both prevents excessive heat build-up and the danger of an electric spark. In order to meet this requirement, Saft has created an upgraded IS version of its well-proven MP 174865 cell.

After successful test completion, LCIE, the independent French body, granted the new Li-ion cell an EC Component Type Examination Certificate with the coveted T6 (85°C) temperature class assignment. Weight saving In addition to its intrinsically safe design – which Saft believes is a world first for this type of rechargeable Li-ion cell – the MP 174865 IS cell offers the same important advantages as the standard MP cells.

These include a high voltage (nominal 3.6 V), high capacity (4.8 Ah nominal when charged at 4.1 V), high power (335 Wh/l) and energy density (140 Wh/kg) that can enable considerable weight savings to be made in comparison to conventional batteries.

Low self-discharge A further advantage of the MP 1744865 cell is its low self-discharge rate of below 10 per cent per month, so in many cases it can eliminate the need for trickle charging. It also enables an easy state of charge indication based on measurement of its OCV (Open Circuit Voltage) The MP 174865 IS cell is compact (measuring 18 x 48 x 65 mm) and weighs only 124 g. It has a wide operating range since it can be charged at temperatures ranging from -20°C to +60°C and operates safely in a range from -50°C to +60°C.

When continuously charged/discharged in its normal voltage range (between 4.1 V and 2.5 V) the MP 174865 IS can achieve over 850 cycles, the equivalent of 2.5 years of operation in the field. Safety features In common with all the cells in Saft’s MP series, the MP 174865 IS cell is completely maintenance free, and hermetically sealed at temperatures up to +75°C, and benefits from such well-proven safety features as a built-in circuit breaker, a safety vent mechanism, a shut down separator and an electronic protection circuit that guards against accidental overcharge and overcurrent situations.

It is also non-restricted for transport. About Saft Group Saft (Euronext: Saft) is a world specialist in the design and manufacture of high-tech batteries for industry. Saft batteries are used in high performance applications such as industrial infrastructure and processes, transportation, space and defence. Saft is the world’s leading manufacturer of nickel-cadmium batteries for industrial applications and of primary lithium batteries for a wide range of end markets.

The group is also the European leader for specialised advanced technologies for the defence and space industries. With approximately 3,800 employees worldwide, Saft is present in 18 countries. Its 18 manufacturing sites and extensive sales network enable the group to serve its customers worldwide." For more information, visit Saft at www.saftbatteries.com For more information, visit Saft at www.saftbatteries.com Press contacts: Antoine Brenier, Saft Specialty Battery Group Tel: +33 1 49 93 19 18; e-mail:antoine.brenier@saftbatteries.com Jill Ledger, Saft Communications Director Tel: + 33 1 49 93 17 77; e-mail:jill.ledger@saftbatteries.com