Electric Vehicle Battery Technology

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Electric Vehicle Battery Technologies

Due to the repetitive cycles of charge and discharge involved in the running of electric vehicles, the level of charge which can be held decreases over time. A direct effect of this is then the impact it has on the range a vehicle can travel between charge cycles, ultimately meaning that the technologies which go into EV batteries are in a state of constant innovation.

EV Batteries work, in essence, similarly to traditional Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) in that the power supplied from them then powers motors, turning the wheels of the vehicle. However, one of the main functional benefits of EV motor technology is how it uses the process of regenerative braking to recover energy which otherwise would’ve been lost. This means that when a driver takes their foot off the accelerator, the motor can convert the vehicle's forward motion back into electricity - thus helping to conserve energy within the battery unit.  

What Are The Most Common Types Of Batteries Used In Electric Vehicles?

Lithium-Ion Batteries (Li-on). These batteries are currently the most popular choice globally for manufacturers of electric vehicles. Similar in composition to those batteries commonly found in laptops and cell phones, their high energy per unit mass in comparison with other battery technology makes them incredibly well suited to performing well as part of an EV battery system. Although, it should be noted  

Lead-Acid Batteries. Whilst also being high power, high performance and a cost-effective solution in battery technology, lead-acid batteries can be negatively affected by other factors such as; poor performance in cold weather temperatures and having a shorter life cycle. The main benefit of Lead-Acid batteries over the Li-ion batteries is that they typically have a lower cost in terms of material recovery.

Ultracapacitors. EV batteries using ultracapacitors work by storing large amounts of energy within a polarised liquid in between electrodes and electrolytes, this allows energy storage capacity to increase as the surface area of the liquid does. They offer an incredibly practical solution when it comes to producing additional drive power (in the event of a hill climb for example). 

What Are The Primary Functions Of Battery Management Systems In Electric Vehicles?

Safety. Because (as aforementioned) the majority of electric vehicles run on Li-on batteries, they have an increased risk of thermal runaway events in which they can catch fire. Battery Management Systems (BMS) constantly monitor parameters within the battery including temperature, voltage and current ensuring all of them remain within a safe level of operation. Some BMS can (when needed) trigger safety mechanisms which cease operations of various components and reduce risks.

Optimised Performance. The majority of battery technologies in electric vehicles have best performance when their State-of-Charge (SoC) maintains between minimum and maximum charge limits. This is why BMS can optimise the performance of the vehicle during discharge of the battery to maintain the most balanced levels and keep the vehicle performing at its top level.