NEW CASTLE, Pa., March 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Axion Power™ International, Inc. (OTC QB: AXPW), the developer of advanced lead-carbon PbC® batteries and energy storage systems, announced today that it has, following the signing of a Letter of Intent dated October 15, 2012, commenced a strategic relationship with privately held Florence, KY-based ePower Engine Systems LLC. ePower specializes in the retrofit and conversion of diesel-powered Class 8 trucks into fuel-saving hybrid powered units. ePower Engine Systems has consented to a five year  initial term with Axion Power that includes the exclusive use of Axion's PbC® batteries, and battery management systems, in all ePower retrofits and conversions.

Axion Power International's Chairman and CEO Thomas Granville said that the first truck to be outfitted with a PbC battery string has been completed and is now on the road going through its final test procedures. The truck, a Peterbilt 386 was outfitted with 56 PbC batteries operating in a string configuration and incorporates Axion's proprietary Battery Management System and data logger. ePower's proprietary, patent protected, diesel electric hybrid drive train, with the PbC batteries, efficiently powers the converted vehicles, and is able to reduce fuel consumption through the unique application of power sharing between engine and batteries.  

"Our PbC batteries and management system, together with the ingenuity and intellectual property of ePower, are cutting fuel consumption by a significant factor," Granville said.  "Our early testing has gone well and has demonstrated an ability to increase miles per gallon by more than 35%. We believe, and more importantly ePower believes, that with improved synergy of function between the proprietary hybrid drive train and our PbC batteries, that improvements in miles per gallon exceeding 50% can be achieved. As more trucks are outfitted, we will be significantly decreasing carbon emissions and saving money for truck operators, who will be paying for far fewer gallons of fuel.

"We said at our annual meeting, that we would have a truck converted to the ePower system equipped with our batteries before the end of the year, and we have met that goal.  We believe that 2013 will be a year of strong performance by ePower's hybrid diesel/electric drive system incorporating PbC technology and of course PbC batteries. The extremely high charge acceptance of our batteries over thousands of cycles, combined with the inherent battery voltage equalization in large string applications, make the PbC battery a great value proposition in the ePower system."

Andy Claypole, ePower Engine Systems CEO, said, "We have worked with several types of batteries, including advanced lead-acid batteries, and have come to the firm conclusion that even VRLA or glass-mat batteries are not capable of sustained performance in this demanding application for over-the-road transport.  They start out meeting specification, but their performance degrades significantly, often, requiring a complete replacement within a matter of months.  The PbC batteries, on the other hand, are designed for sustained long-lasting performance geared for the life of our system, and the rigors of many charge/discharge cycles. The PbC batteries accept fast recharge so they are capable of taking full advantage of the regenerative braking functionality of our system. In addition, PbC batteries are competitively priced, and they have a construct with a proven safety record - unlike some of the exotic battery chemistries that have made the news."

PbC batteries use time-tested lead-acid technology enhanced by the complete replacement of the typical lead in the negative anode with Axion Power's proprietary activated carbon material.  This allows for simple manufacturing processes and smooth end-of-life recycling, insuring that the components of these batteries will be completely recycled, unlike the end-of-life inability to recycle some of the other battery chemistries.  The ePower/Axion solution is doubly clean/green, because while saving fuel it also reduces CO2 and NOX emissions. In addition, the full battery is recycled 99.1% of the time according to records published by the U.S. EPA.

Granville emphasized that the hybrid drive train usage of PbC batteries is separate from, and in addition to, the use of PbC batteries for anti-idling purposes.  PbC batteries for anti-idling provide a variety of "ancillary" services for trucks when the engine is off but the cab is inhabited. Traditionally these services (heater, radio, air conditioner, interior lights, etc.) were powered by idling a diesel engine. National and international regulations now prohibit that idling.

About Axion Power™ International, Inc.
Axion has developed and patented a next generation energy storage device that won the prestigious Frost & Sullivan Technology Award for North America in the field of lead-acid batteries. According to Frost & Sullivan, Axion's new PbC® batteries have "the potential to revitalize the lead-acid battery industry by breathing new life into an established technology that is not well suited to the requirements of important new applications like hybrid electric vehicles and renewable power."

Axion Power International, Inc. is the industry leader in the field of lead-acid-carbon energy storage technologies. Axion believes its new PbC battery technology is the only class of advanced battery that can be assembled on existing lead-acid battery production lines throughout the world utilizing Axion's proprietary carbon electrodes. Axion's future goal, after filling their plant's lead-carbon battery production capacity, is to become the leading supplier of carbon electrode assemblies for the global lead-acid battery industry.

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Axion Power International, Inc.
Thomas Granville, CEO
(724) 654-9300

Allen & Caron, Inc.
Rudy Barrio (Investors)
(212) 691-8087

SOURCE Axion Power International, Inc.