Confidence in battery health will likely be vital in supporting more consumers switch to pure electric vehicles within the years ahead, and the industry must turn into adept at identifying underperforming cells and restoring battery health to optimal levels writes Dr Sara Ridley, engineering and quality director at Autocraft EV Solutions, a part of Autocraft Solutions Group.
Because the transition to electric gains momentum, several essential obstacles must first be eliminated if EV is to actually turn into a viable alternative to the inner combustion engine (ICE).
While much of the discussion tends to deal with aspects like range anxiety and charging infrastructure, our ability to accurately measure, monitor, and improve EV battery State of Health (SoH) merits particular attention, as illustrated by the Labour party’s recent announcement that it could introduce standardised battery “health tests” to provide confidence to buyers of second-hand EVs. Our success on this area could have a serious bearing on this transition, overcoming the perceived risks of EV ownership while unlocking the environmental advantages. Here we examine the crucial role of testing and the importance of EV battery health transparency.
Instilling confidence throughout the used EV market
Most persons are accustomed to how a healthy ICE vehicle should look and sound, and will easily access a second opinion if mandatory. Having confidence that what you might be buying is what you will get is critical, and yet, there are considerably more unknowns in terms of buying an EV.
Our experience in EV battery repair has found many SoH assessments from vehicle battery management systems to be quite inaccurate. We’ve seen many an EV battery performance issue that hasn’t been picked up by the BMS, just because the testing methodology doesn’t go into sufficient depth. For this reason, many problematic cells and potential faults go undetected, which raises query marks across the actual state of health of the battery and the degree of risk attached to it.
The overwhelming majority of people that buy vehicles buy them second-hand, and after they can’t be confident about what they’re getting, demand for used EVs goes to stay low, creating huge disparities in value between recent and used. In turn, weak residual values for used EVs will make leasing a more attractive option for buyers, who will turn to leases. Leasing corporations, for his or her part, will likely be forced to drive up their costs to offset the drop in residual values. Without instilling confidence in used EVs, your entire market suffers. Multi-layer testing represents one of the best available choice to instil confidence, providing a more in-depth picture of battery health, potential issues, and their root causes.
Informed decisions around repair
A multi-layer test can reveal battery health on a person cell level. If an EV battery only performs to the extent of its weakest cell, identifying underperforming cells is step one to restoring optimal battery health. Furthermore, using digital twins provides us with a reference for typical battery health given where the battery is at in its life cycle, allowing us to discover outlier cells which might be prone to future failure. These insights are based on comparisons with 1000’s of information sets accrued through years of battery repair.
The implications of this are huge – whether for OEMs, for in-warranty repairs, or the growing numbers of auto owners not protected by warranty, they may have the option to make more informed decisions in regards to the extent of proactive battery repair work. As an illustration, we are able to now accurately predict the advance in performance by replacing a single faulty cell with a healthy alternative. We then contrast this profit with the potential improvement from replacing multiple cells, allowing the shopper to weigh up the prices and advantages with a view to settle on one of the best plan of action. Prevention is best than the cure, and testing can support a proactive approach to maintaining optimal health.
Unlocking the environmental advantages of EV batteries through remanufacturing
Given the well documented environmental cost of manufacturing EV batteries, we’ve an obligation to extract maximum value from every cell by ensuring they continue to be in use for so long as possible. For all of the talk of EV battery recycling, the technology still has clear limitations. Due to substantial, less publicised environmental impact of recycling, we must always only recycle EV battery modules or cells once all available options to repair and re-use have been exhausted.
With the best level of testing, we are able to assess the health of individual cells inside a faulty unit which may be unviable for repair e.g., if the vehicle has been involved in a crash. Following this approach, we are able to extract healthy cells and parts and keep them in stock until they could be re-used in future, helping to maintain other vehicles on the road for longer. Given the speed at which EV battery chemistry is evolving, the longer term repairability of say, a five-year-old vehicle, will depend upon the supply of those parts. Without the flexibility to accurately gauge the health of cells and balance them inside a brand new pack, the environmental advantages are severely compromised.
Creator: Dr Sara Ridley, engineering and quality director at Autocraft EV Solutions, a part of Autocraft Solutions Group
This Article First Appeared At www.am-online.com