2017-2019 Chevy Bolt EV battery issue has a solution, dealership visit required GM says that it can fix the Bolt EV issue that's been limiting owners to 90% of available range—with a trip to the. EV battery types come in several flavours, including your old-school lead-acid batteries. Their popularity stems from being high-powered, inexpensive, safe and reliable, but there are some notable downsides too: poor performance in cold weather, a short life span and low specific energy being the three big ones.by Jason Mueller, Guest Blogger, A-1 Auto Transport
Getting the most out of your EV battery doesn’t just help you travel farther, but it helps make sure you don’t find yourself stranded on the side of a road or embarrassed because you must find reliable EV transport during a road trip because you didn’t plan for battery charging and your battery runs out of juice to go any further.
The recently unveiled GMC Hummer EV is an all-electric high-end pickup truck, but one thing seems to be a concern - the range of up to 350+ miles. Let's talk about the GMC Hummer EV battery. According to My EV, standard gasoline-powered cars are equipped with lead-acid batteries, while electric cars use lithium-ion battery packs that are similar to the batteries used in laptops and cell phones. The following are a few benefits of electric cars' lithium-ion batteries: 1. They provide a greater energy density compared to rechargeable nickel-metal hydride batteries. They tend to hold their charge long.
Some EV batteries have higher drive time than others and it is essential that you take time to learn as much as possible about your specific battery and the car you own so you’ll know how often to charge for best driving performance.
When you use the right maintenance schedule, an EV battery can last for several years or longer. Here are ten sure fire ways to help extend the life of your EV battery and help prevent breaking down or having to buy a new battery sooner then you want to.
- Watch Your Speed
When the flow of traffic allows, try to drive slower as this will help conserve energy used from your battery. It isn’t always possible to drive slower, especially when traffic is going fast on the interstate, but choosing to take a road less travelled that may have a slower speed limit could be a smart alternative to driving fast and then having to spend hours recharging because you ran the battery down too fast.
- Stop Charging to the Maximum
Whether it is force of habit or you just believe getting a full charge will allow longer commute time, with lithium batteries, it is best to charge to around 80% rather than getting a full charge. Not charging fully allows space for regenerative braking that can convert kinetic energy into usable energy if there is enough space in the battery.
- Plan for Vacation Storage
If you have plans to fly to the beach this spring and your car will be sitting in an airport parking lot, be sure to have it charged enough to sit at the airport and then get you home when you return. If you’ll be taking a cab from your house, leave your car plugged in but set the charge at around 50% so it won’t overcharge while you’re away. Remember that the battery charge will go down a little as each day passes, so make sure you have enough charge to last until you return and can get home to charge again.
- Park in the Shade
Many people will park a mile away from a store just to avoid parking in the hot sun. When it comes to parking spots for your EV, try to find a shady place to pull over while you go inside. This is not only going to help keep the car cooler inside but will also help prevent the thermal management system under the hood from running the entire time or your battery overheating while you’re away and draining your battery charge.
- Take Time to Charge in the Heat
When it’s hot and muggy outside, you need to take more time to put your battery on charge. Lithium batteries don’t like the heat any more than you like it, and they tend to drain more when it’s hot outside.
- Search Your Route Ahead of Time
No matter where you’re going, you need to search ahead of time to see where the available charging stations along the way are located. Have a backup plan to be able to charge if the location you choose is already full or out of service. It’s not a good situation to find you need a charge quickly and have no idea where an EV charging station is located. To locate charging stations nationwide, you can check the website PlugShare to find one along your driving route.https://www.clippercreek.com/tax-credits-2017-extended/
- Stop Quick Charging
Using quick charge to charge your EV battery seems like a great way to get a charge fast so you can drive, and yes you can charge faster when you put the battery on quick charge, but every time you use quick charge, it takes a little life away from the battery. Let’s put this into perspective. If you charge with a normal charge for eight years, your battery might show at least 80% left in it. Charging with a quick charge for all those years can decrease your battery life down to 70% or lower in the same amount of time. While it may not seem like a major difference, it is the difference between a battery lasting for a few more years or finding yourself in need of spending money to buy a new battery sooner than you planned.
- Avoid Deep Discharging
If you let your EV battery discharge completely before recharging, it can take time off the overall life. If you see your battery dipping down near the 30% mark, you need to charge it, so it won’t get any lower or won’t stay low for a long period of time.
- Time Your Charge
Many people tend to plug their EV battery in at night, so it can charge while they sleep. This is an ideal time to charge, but you need to watch the time it charges so it isn’t on the charger for too long. If you don’t already know, lithium batteries are most stable when they are holding at around a 50% charge, but this is not usually enough charge to keep your car going if you need it to during your busy day. Since this is not always a good option, you need to make sure your charge time is not too long and that you don’t unplug the battery and take off for a drive immediately. If your charger has a timer, set it to shut off at least an hour or two before you plan to leave your house in the morning. This way, the battery is charged and is not hot for the drive.
- Mountain Mode
Ev Battery Ipo
If you own a hybrid and plan to drive on a route that includes hilly or steep terrain, switch the car over to Mountain Mode so it will use the power from the gasoline and will conserve the battery power during the drive. Mountain Mode should be switched on at least 25 minutes before you reach the steep terrain, so your battery doesn’t go into a deep discharge as you are driving uphill.
While many of the newer EV’s can be plugged in to charge anytime and many companies have now added built in measures to help ensure batteries cannot be overcharged or will overheat, these tips are still important and can help you wrangle at least a few more drives out of the life of your EV battery. Be sure to check with the dealership as well as inside your automobile manual for recommendations on keeping your battery charged and helping ensure it has a long life.
About Jason Mueller: Jason has a blessed life where he lives in an eco-village. He loves the movement towards green energy and transport. He has contributed by creating a website that connects home owners to solar contractors.
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The massive 300-550 kg battery packs that go into electric cars are probably the most important component by far, just like the importance of an internal combustion engine to a traditional car. However, the journey that these lithium-ion batteries make when being produced is a very interesting one: from multiple (sometimes unsafe) mines in far-off countries to being packaged into a powerful, high capacity battery which can drive a car forward at very high speeds.
So how exactly are these lithium-ion batteries for electric cars made? The short answer is that a number of rare metals need to be dug out of the earth from various mines. These are then packaged into small individual battery cells (alongside other materials such as plastic, aluminum, and steel), before themselves being packed into battery modules. The end result is a battery pack which is made up of multiple battery modules, a cooling system/mechanism and a small electrical power management system. Let’s explore some of this in more detail below!
Battery Structure And Necessary Raw Materials
Before we can go into exactly how electric car batteries are produced, it is worth talking about the battery structure and the materials that go into them. Okay, so pretty much all modern electric cars use lithium-ion batteries, which are rechargeable and contain lots of lithium atoms which can be electrically charged and discharged (known as an ion). A fully charged battery will have the ions at the negative electrode (the cathode), which will transfer to the positive electrode (the anode) when they have been discharged (i.e. used up). When you plug your EV in to charge back up, the ions move back to the negative electrode, restoring the car’s battery capacity and therefore driving range.
This particular movement of ions occurs inside an individual battery cell, similar to the battery inside your cell phone. However an electric car naturally has much more power than a single cell could provide, so multiple battery cells are grouped together into a battery module (where the cells are arranged in a frame to protect from vibrations and heat build-up). Finally, multiple modules are organised into the overall battery pack which is installed in electric cars. Every car manufacturer uses different numbers of cells and modules within the pack, but as an example the BMW i3 has a total of 96 battery cells across 8 modules (12 cells per module, and 8 modules per pack):
Materials Within A Battery Cell
In general, a battery cell is made up of an anode, cathode, separator and electrolyte which are packaged into an aluminium case.
The positive anode tends to be made up of graphite which is then coated in copper foil giving the distinctive reddish-brown color.
The negative cathode has sometimes used aluminium in the past, but nowadays is a mix of cobalt, nickel and manganese leading to a mixed-metal oxide material.
The electrolyte is a lithium salt in a dissolved solution known as a solvent (which is usually ethylene carbonate). Finally, the separator (which – as its name suggests – physically separates the anode and cathode) is a micro-porous compound which is usually plastic-based such as polypropylene or polyethylene.
Materials Within A Battery Module
As mentioned earlier, the module houses the individual cells and protects them from vibration and heat. The main container typically uses a mix of aluminium or steel, and also plastic.
The individual battery cells within the module need protection from heat and vibration, so a number of resins are used to provide mechanical reinforcement to the cells within the module:
Materials Within A Battery Pack
The battery pack’s housing container will use a mix of aluminium or steel, and also plastic (just like the modules). The battery pack also includes a battery management (power) system which is a simple but effective electrical item, meaning it will have a circuit board (made of silicon), wires to/from it (made of copper wire and PVC plastic for the insulation), and resistors/capacitors which use a mix of materials:
- Metals like copper, nickel, lead, tin and aluminium
- Plastics for the housing like PVC, PET and polystyrene.
Phew, we have really drilled down into the raw materials at play here! One of the things you may have realized is that plastic such as PVC/PET and metals such as steel/copper/aluminium are very common and thus these are not a massive issue for car manufacturers to source: their supply is plentiful both locally and internationally.
However some of the rarer metals that make up a battery cell (like lithium and cobalt) are not as easy to source, and the rapid rise of electric cars means that greater pressure is placed on rare earth miners than in the past. The next chapter examine how some of these rare metals are mined, so that the battery cells can be manufactured.
How Rare Metals Are Mined
The process of mining the rare metals varies depending on the mine, however our ‘Electric Cars Aren’t Green?’ sums up how some of the mines operate:
At a mine in Jiangxi, China, workers use ammonium sulfate poured into big holes to dissolve the clay.
- What’s left is hauled out of the ever-expanding hole, before being run through multiple acid baths to dissolve other unwanted compounds.
- The resulting compounds are baked in a kiln, finally revealing the rare metals required in electric car batteries.
- Just 0.2% of the result is the rare metals; the other 99.8% is waste.
- This 99.8% waste earth (and other compounds) – which is now contaminated with toxic material – is dumped back into the originally-created holes.
Many of these rare earth mining processes also unleashes plumes of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, and can harm aquatic life in nearby rivers and streams too. Finally, 50-60% of cobalt comes from the Congo, which unfortunately has a poor human rights record with 40,000 children working in cobalt mines for $1-2 per day.
The reason we are mentioning this in a “making of…” article is because car manufacturers are rightly considered about the chemical composition of their EV batteries, and they are working on tweaking the metal composition to reduce the dependence on some of the worse metals such as cobalt and nickel. Hence the material list that we mentioned towards the start of this article might (or hopefully!) start to change throughout 2020-2030.
Making The Battery Cell
The first thing to point out is that a battery cell which goes into an electric car is not a round, circular battery like we use in our home electrics (and not like the one in our diagram earlier!). A round battery would not be a very efficient use of space (since the car might have hundreds of them in its battery pack) – so instead a flat-cell battery cell is produced. This is made up of multiple sheets of cathode, anode and separator – which can then be stacked on top of each other like the filling in a Subway! This end result is a cubic shape which is then packaged into an aluminium and plastic frame.
With that said, let’s back up a bit and drill down into the detail. The first thing is to create the sheets of cathode and anode, which arrive in the factory as a big metallic calender roll (just like a big master roll of carpet):
(thanks to the handy video from MotoManTV)
Ev Battery Manufacturers
This then goes through a set of processes:
- Mixing: creating the lithium slurry compound via giant mixers.
- Coating: the lithium compound is applied to the metallic roll.
- Drying: the resulting electrode roll is then dried in very high temperatures (and very low humidity conditions), which reduces cracking of the surface material.
- Pressing: a roll pressing machine is then used to repeatedly apply pressure to the roll, which increases its density and thus gives it higher energy/power capacity per volume, along with improve electric conductivity and material adhesiveness.
- Slitting/Cutting: the final worked sheets are cut down to the required length with highly precise cutting tools to avoid frayed edges, and they will be cut small enough to fit into the final battery cell.
At this point we end up with a flat ‘electrode sheet’ (known as a cell layer). These individual cell layers are then stacked on top of each other in the form of anode, separator and then cathode to end with up:
(thanks to the handy video from Lithium Battery Company)
Each layer is connected with a tab, which is what you can see sticking out on the image above. These tabs are stuck or welded together, and the layers are laminated with aluminium foil. Finally, the liquid electrolyte solution is injected in-between the layers which allow the ions to travel between the two electrodes.
At this point, the flat battery cell is finished. We have a fairly durable item which can charge and discharge as required. However they cannot go straight into a battery module and the final product: like a good cheese or wine [or both together: aged cheese and wine go great together… but back to the article!], the cell needs to be aged over time. They are also charged and discharged to activate the cell regularly and ensure its electrical properties are as expected.
Creating A Battery Module
Just like cell layers were stacked on top of each other to create a battery cell, the finalised battery cells are then stacked on top of each other within a metal (aluminium/steel) or plastic frame which is purpose built.
As mentioned earlier, the module protects the individual cells from both heat and vibrations. This is achieved by applying resins and/or thermal interface material between each cell layer (like we have cheese or sauce between the main ingredients of a sandwich!). There might also be more active cooling mechanisms applied, hence the necessary materials (as we discuss later) will be fitted in-between the cells as well.
Every car manufacturer has a different number of battery cells per battery module: some might have just four cells per module, leading to a module which looks like:
(thanks to the handy video from MotoManTV)
Other car manufacturers may have more cells per module, or they might have much larger battery cells leading to much larger battery modules (and then fewer modules in the battery pack):
(thanks to this handy video – ignore the packing tape along the top edges though; this is because the battery is being packed for return, not installation!)
The exact design of the battery (and the composition of cells and modules in the pack) is constantly evolving, but the basic idea is that the battery module helps to protect the all-important cells from heat and vibrations/movements.
Producing The Battery Management (Power) System
At this point we have lots of battery modules, packed with all the power capacity that will be needed to move the car forward. However it would not be safe purely to hook this up to the motor controller and hope for the best: we need to ensure that the battery is safe in all conditions, and does not give out too much or too little power in any given situation (otherwise the battery and other car components could get damaged).
The CEO of Daimler (who produce Mercedez-Benz and SMART cars) famously said in 2017 that “The intelligence of the battery does not lie in the cell but in the complex battery [management] system,”. In other words, we need a smart electrical component that can manage the huge amount of power that the EV’s battery is storing away.
The actual BMS module will be a standard electrical component, with a PCB using silicon, and it will have a range of resistors and transistors (made from electrically conductive metal and plastic housing). Naturally every car manufacturer will use their own BMS system, although an example to look at if you want more detailed information is the 12-Cell Lithium BMS Module from Zera (which is aimed more at EV ‘DIY’ conversions, but the same principles apply to mainstream EVs). A general BMS module will look something like:
The battery/power management system is wired up to each battery module, allowing for the state of charge and state of capacity to be measured, along with a host of other safety and management measures. If you are interesting in electrics, then Renesas have a very handy guide on the specifics of a BMS.
Battery Cooling System Construction
Have you ever felt how hot your smart phone gets when it is installing loads of updates, or it is being charged? Well that is with a single battery cell: imagine what happens when you have a hundred or more battery cells, all working to move a car along a road really fast! As you can guess, this generates a lot of heat and the battery cells need to be protected from this.
There are a few ways of doing this. We mentioned earlier on about resins and/or TIM being applied between battery cells. This is one approach, although some car manufacturers apply additional methods when building the battery module (and ultimately the pack):
- Metal cooling plate: this is where a stainless steel heat exchanger unit is applied to the underside of the battery modules (hence the underside of the cells), and the heat can be moved along the plate – away from the cells.
- Thermal fins: if you have seen inside a computer, you will have seen lots of metal fins starting at the CPU (the brains of the computer) and moving away from it, usually with a fan attached to this unit. This is an example of thermal fins, which are thin pieces of metal which help to pick up heat from a heat source (like a battery cell or a CPU) and transfer it across its fins, away from that heat source.
- Water cooling: the Tesla Model S has coils of water pipes throughout the battery pack, and this contains a water-glycol solution which removes heat from the underside of the cells and provides cooling to them instead. This is a similar approach to high-end computer systems which are water-coolant cooled via a network of pipes and a pump.
Putting It All Together: The Battery Pack
Finally, we have the battery pack: where the battery cells (contained in the modules) are all housed together, cooled via the cooling system and managed by the power management system (and the motor controller, a separate component to the battery). The overall frame will be made from a mix of metal (usually steel or aluminium) and also plastic. The various components will be welded and/or bolted into place. The end result might look like the following Tesla batteries:
Or like the following mock-up of a Nissan Leaf (with the plastic housing partially cut away):