Traction battery is currently one of the most expensive- if not the most expensive- component of an electric car. It is also a component that causes a lot of problems for designers and users of these cars.
The batteries used to power electric cars, as well as the materials they are produced from, must meet a number of standards and other requirements.
Expectations for battery performance:
- high performance reliability
- long battery lifetime (long term of failure-free operation without any noticeable changes deteriorating its performance characteristics),
- high efficiency and power (the highest possible energy density and power output, which enable driving the longest possible distance following the shortest possible charging),
- operational safety,
- low environmental impact,
- wide range of operating temperatures (from -30 to +65ºC),
- easy monitoring of operating parameters,
- maintenance-free operation,
- low price (low production and operation costs),
Unfortunately, these are the features which are very often difficult to reconcile with one another.
Functioning of the electric car is highly influenced by temperature. For this reason, the system of cooling (possibly heating) the batteries is of a great importance. The system can be either active – using liquid or air, or passive – transmitting heat through the battery housing. By lowering the cell temperature, the charging speed can be kept high for a longer period of time. Heating (when necessary) protects the cells from freezing and a temporary capacity drop.
BOSMAL Institute, with its extensive research facilities and specialized staff, performs a number of tests of electric cars, including tests of their batteries and cooling systems (more specifically: TMS - thermal management systems).