As the world moves away from gas-powered cars, electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular. But before an electric car can hit the market, its battery must go through a series of tests to ensure it meets safety and performance standards.
What is an electric vehicle battery?
An electric vehicle battery consists of one or more electrochemical cells that convert stored chemical energy into electricity by electrochemical reaction. The cells are typically arranged into modules that can be connected in series for more voltage, parallel for more capacity -or current -, or both in series-parallel for a balance between voltage and capacity. The modules are usually contained within protective housings that provide physical protection and cooling, such as air vents and heat sinks.
The electric vehicle battery is the most important component of an electric vehicle. It stores and supplies electrical energy to an electric motor, which converts it into mechanical energy to propel the vehicle. Electric vehicles can be powered by a variety of types of batteries such as lead-acid, lithium-ion, and nickel metal-hydride.
What is the lithium-ion battery?
The lithium-ion battery is a type of rechargeable battery with high energy density, no memory effect, and slow loss of charge. This is due to lithium ions — the ions arching between the negative electrode to the positive electrode when charging, and doing the whole loop once more during discharge.
These nifty features make lithium-ion batteries ideal for use in all manner of consumer products, including electric vehicles, laptops, smartphones, smartwatches, toys, and other electronics.
The first lithium-ion battery, for commercial use, was released by the Sony cooperation in 1991. It has been used for a wide range of applications, including laptop computers, mobile phones, digital cameras, power tools, and electric cars.
Challenges lithium-ion batteries face
One of the challenges that lithium-ion batteries face is their limited life span. They only have about 500 charge cycles before they lose their capacity. This means that a user will need to buy a new battery after around 2 years.
Risk of fire and explosion
Temperature and voltage are sensitive factors for Li-ion batteries. The temperature range between 10 °C and +55 °C is considered the safe zone. The electrolyte, which is combustible at its base, is the main risk in a lithium-ion battery. If the battery temperature climbs above 80°C it can lead to fire and explosion which can be dangerous for people nearby as well as the environment.
Lithium-ion batteries are sensitive to voltage ranges outside of those considered safe, which are 2.5 to 3.65/4.1/4.2 or 4.35V. Because of its reactive components, exceeding this voltage leads to both premature aging and safety hazards.
Internal short circuits
Internal short circuits can be brought on by rough handling and overcharging. The battery expands as it fills up with lithium ions.
Li-ion batteries are susceptible to serious damages like thermal runaway and cell breakage when they are overheated or overloaded.
The battery’s protective circuit will be destroyed by faulty charges, which can compromise the battery’s security.
Electric vehicle battery testing standards and regulations
The electric vehicle battery testing standards and regulations are set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency -EPA. The EPA has specifically set standards for the electric vehicle battery manufacturing to ensure the safety and quality of electric vehicle batteries. They have also set up standards for the electric vehicles themselves.
Electric vehicles are becoming more common in the automotive industry, but there are still some regulations and standards that need to be met before they can be produced. The reason for these regulations is to ensure that electric vehicles are safe for consumers, as well as being environmentally friendly.
The regulations for the electric vehicle cover the following aspects:
The materials used in the manufacturing process
The materials used in the manufacturing process must be designed to protect the environment and electric vehicle drivers. They need to be recyclable, durable, cost-effective, and lightweight.
The design process
The United States Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy provides a design guide that has specific guidelines on what needs to be considered regarding the electric vehicle battery. This includes things like battery capacity, range, and weight distribution.
The performance tests
Once the design process is completed, the battery will then go through testing processes before it can enter production. These tests include aspects like durability, environmental emissions tests, and efficiency tests.
All electric vehicles must have reliable and trouble-free automotive electronics. Electrical safety testing is crucial for electric vehicles and their batteries because they have a very high current voltage compared to fuel-powered vehicles. If proper testing is not done, poor craftsmanship might electrocute individuals – which would be catastrophic. Additionally, it makes sense to do EMC tests in accordance with UN ECE-R10. With or without a battery management system (BMS), lithium-ion battery testing for performance and safety must be done. It’s also feasible to conduct destruction testing – abuse tests.
Why is electric vehicle battery testing important?
The electric vehicle battery is the soul, the heart, and basically the reason why a car can switch from diesel to electricity.. It is important for an EV to have a long range and fast charging time. The battery can only provide this if it has been tested properly.
Currently, Electric vehicles, thanks to companies like Tesla and others of its kind, are becoming increasingly more popular. The automotive industry takes its time but is slowly warming up to them – not only because they are environmentally friendly but because today’s consumers are more conscious of their carbon footprint. EVs are gradually becoming a mainstream mode of transportation. However, there are some challenges that need to be solved before EVs becomeEVs mainstream.
This section discusses how electric vehicle battery testing is important before they are put on the market.
Increases battery lifespan
Electric car battery testing helps in ensuring that electric vehicle batteries can provide enough charge and durability for a given distance before it goes on sale. The lifespan of an electric car’s battery can be increased by testing it thoroughly to ensure that they can provide the required range before they are put on the market.
Avoids battery deterioration
Batteries and their components, including the connections and cooling systems, will lose quality throughout the course of their useful lives. The effects of this range from battery performance reduction to complete failure.
Increases durability, safety and reliability verification
There are many different sizes, forms, weights, and chemical compositions of batteries that are used in electric and hybrid vehicles. To ensure endurance, safety, and reliability, electric vehicle battery testing is crucial in light of this.
Limits mechanical issues
Because of the constant motion of the wheels and the possibility of coming into touch with uneven surfaces, mechanical stress and its effects are especially severe in electric vehicles. A battery system must therefore be capable of withstanding these intense vibrations for extended periods of time.
Controls battery temperature
Lithium-Ion battery testing helps control the high currents that are pulled from the batteries avoiding drastic changes in its temperature. The electric car battery faces regular temperature fluctuations causing frequent thermal stressors that must be taken into account.
Ensures appropriate electrical elements
Through proper current draw calculations, battery designers can determine the right cable size and fuse settings. However, many other electrical factors need to be considered that may seriously impact the battery. For instance, the rate of change of voltage on the batteries during charging and discharging can cause overheating if not properly tested. Also, voltage spikes from the main supply during grid faults may be taken into account to avoid serious damage to the battery system.