Driving the electric car revolution with safe and secure batteries

Craig Ormerod, senior supervisor at TÜV SÜD, on the key concerns of battery security testing, and why electrical automobile battery specs and compliance are ever extra essential. 

Driving the electrical automobile revolution with protected and safe batteries
Comparatively light-weight and lengthy lasting with good efficiency, lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries have confirmed invaluable in EV growth, however they carry with them potential security hazards which should be managed. Additionally, whereas customers are conversant in the normal combustion engine, and subsequently settle for the well-known dangers related to fossil fuel-powered vehicles, there may be nonetheless a component of mistrust regarding comparatively new and unfamiliar EV applied sciences.

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Enhancements in design, supplies, building and manufacturing processes imply that the security of Li-ion has dramatically improved. Nevertheless, guaranteeing their security and reliability requires thorough and correct testing, which incorporates:

  • Lifecycle testing – verifies how lengthy a battery lasts and demonstrates the standard of the battery. These checks embody environmental cycle testing and calendar life testing.
  • Efficiency testing – demonstrates the effectivity of batteries, comparable to efficiency testing underneath numerous weather conditions.
  • Environmental and sturdiness testing – demonstrates the standard and reliability of a battery by way of checks together with vibration, shock, EMC, thermal biking, corrosion, mud, salt and humidity.
  • Abuse testing – simulates excessive environmental circumstances and eventualities to check batteries past limits.
  • Dynamic influence checks – simulates an actual automobile accident to find out the true security efficiency of the battery when the automobile physique is deformed.
  • Transportation checks – UN 38.3 is a sequence of checks to confirm the robustness of batteries towards circumstances encountered in cargo.

Three levels
Single battery cells usually are available three package deal kinds – cylindrical, prismatic and pouch – and could be significantly delicate to mishandling, inappropriate packaging, deformation and contamination. They will additionally fail as a consequence of overcharging and excessive temperatures. Repeated overcharging of a battery cell can create undesirable electrical paths, in addition to quick circuits that develop and create instability. Excessive temperatures can drive extreme ionic movement which damages the crystalline construction of the cathode and may ignite electrolyte. In the meantime, charging at low temperatures can result in metallic plating, creating instability by way of quick circuits.

When these particular person cells are related in sequence/parallel combos (relying on end-use necessities) the ensuing modules ship elevated voltage and capability. Though the person cells are actually mechanically ‘protected’ with a mechanical assist/enclosure, care should be taken because of the doubtlessly excessive voltages and excessive currents introduced.

For EVs, massive battery packs connect with the automobile’s electrical powertrain. These packs are constructed by connecting modules collectively, including sensors and a battery administration system (BMS). They ship an especially excessive voltage and could be molded to suit the host automobile and may additionally kind a part of its construction.

Security ideas for module and pack designs embody:

  • Use bodily partitions and fireplace breaks to reduce fireplace propagation.
  • Make use of good thermal administration.
  • Use strain vents/reduction mechanisms to soundly take care of extreme pressures.
  • Make the most of sensors and BMS to establish irregular behaviors.
  • Use supplies acceptable for foreseeable temperatures.
  • Use constructions with satisfactory mechanical energy acceptable for the actual world.

{Hardware} and software program
The BMS consists of each {hardware} and software program components, which contribute to automobile security and efficiency. The {hardware} usually consists of present sensing capabilities for state-of-charge (SoC) estimation and for security. It should additionally detect leakage present faults, which might render the automobile chassis ‘reside’ and subsequently extremely harmful, if not deadly. Efficient fusing may even present overcurrent safety. A pre-charge ingredient needs to be included to energise circuits through present limiting parts to reduce inrush currents. Relays and contactors may even present protected and dependable connection/disconnection to and from the automobile.

The software program ingredient of the BMS gives the interface and communications to the automobile (CANbus). The incorporation of diagnostics and well being software program displays SoC (underneath/over cost), which is necessary for management, security and automobile vary estimation. State-of-health features may even decide battery degradation over time and predict finish of usable life. The software program delivers management over the battery’s perform, together with electrical isolation, thermal administration, cost/discharge and cell balancing.

5G may even be a driver of good battery upkeep, utilizing information over-the-air and software-over-the-air. Which means that real-time information can be utilized to optimize battery charging and discharging, and assist predictive upkeep and failures, in addition to distant troubleshooting. On-the-fly software program updates will take care of battery getting older and excessive working circumstances, comparable to scorching or chilly environments.

Hazard consciousness
Due to the vitality necessities to energy EVs, high-voltage/high-capacity battery packs are wanted. Relying on the configuration, battery modules could be excessive voltage (>50V DC), subsequently presenting an electrical shock and vitality hazard, and automobile battery packs will definitely current each. It’s subsequently important that folks working with high-voltage techniques are conscious of the potential risks and protecting measures. Battery security and testing should even be a key consideration and EV battery specs and compliance is turning into ever extra essential.

Craig Ormerod, senior manager at TÜV SÜD

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