Battery & Charging Technology in Electric vehicles

As soon as you say you own an electric car or bike the first question anyone would ask you is “What is the range?”.

This is because previous-generation vehicles did not have great mileage. But the battery technology has evolved and almost every electric vehicle coming out have a decent to a great range(mileage).

There are many types of batteries being used in electric vehicles. The most common one being Lithium-ion batteries which provide a great range and life.

Lithium-ion battery
Lithium-ion battery

The cheaper bikes and scooters use lead-acid batteries. Many car manufacturers are currently working on improving the battery because they cannot solely depend on lithium for batteries.


Classification of batteries used in the EV’s are:

Battery TypeComponentsAdvantagesDisadvantages

Lead-acid

• Negative active material: spongy
lead
• Positive active material: lead
oxide
• Electrolyte: diluted sulphuric acid

• Available in production
volume
• Comparatively low in
cost
• Mature technology as
used for over fifty years

• Cannot discharge more than
20% of its capacity
• Has a limited life cycle if
operated on a deep rate of SOC
(state of charge)
• Low energy and power density
• Heavier
• May need maintenance

NiMH (Nickel-Metal Hydride)

• Electrolyte: alkaline solution
• Positive electrode: nickel
hydroxide
• Negative electrode: an alloy of
nickel, titanium, vanadium and
other metals.

• Double energy density
compared to lead-acid
• Harmless to the
environment
• Recyclable
• Safe operation at high
voltage
• Can store volumetric
power and energy
• Cycle life is longer
• Operating temperature
range is long
• Resistant to over-charge
and discharge

•A reduced lifetime of around
200–300 cycles if discharged
rapidly on high load currents
• Reduced usable power because
of memory effect

Li-Ion (Lithium-Ion)

• Positive electrode: oxidized cobalt
material
• Negative electrode: carbon
material
• Electrolyte: lithium salt solution
in an organic solvent


• High energy density,
twice of NiMH
• Good performance at
high temperature
• Recyclable
• Low memory effect
• High specific power
• High specific energy
• Long battery life, around
1000 cycles

• High cost
• Recharging still takes quite a
long time, though better than
most batteries

Ni-Zn (Nickel-Zinc)

• Positive electrode: nickel
oxyhydroxide
• Negative electrode: zinc

• High energy density
• High power density
• Uses low-cost material
• Capable of deep cycle
• Friendly to environment
• Usable in a wide
temperature range from
−10 °C to 50 °C

• The fast growth of dendrite,
preventing use in vehicles

Ni-Cd (Nickel-Cadmium)

• Positive electrode: nickel
hydroxide
• Negative electrode: cadmium
• Long lifetime
• Can discharge fully
without being damaged
• Recyclable
• Cadmium can cause pollution
in case of not being properly
disposed of
• Costly for vehicular
application

The power management also plays a very important role in the range of an EV. Everyone wants a vehicle with minimum power consumption and maximum output.

This lies in the hands of the manufacturers as they have to do the fine-tuning to ensure the vehicle gives better mileage.

Charging of batteries

Long gone are those days when you had to plug your EV for hours to juice it up. With recent innovations in the field of Electric auto-mobiles, the charging time has almost reduced to half.

Many vehicles can gather up a few kilometres with a 30-minute charge. Some manufacturers make use of ultracapacitors to get a few kilometres in seconds such as the TOSA 600 kilowatt charging technology.

When it comes to charging there must also be an infrastructure for it as the charger provided for charging at home cannot do the feat in minutes.

So the charging infrastructure is divided into some levels. They are;

Level 1: This type of charger is what we usually get bundled with the vehicle. It can charge at a speed of 5-10 km per hour or 8-9 hours.

Level-1 charging

Level-2: Charge at home – This is also a home charging unit which can be purchased from the vehicle manufacturer you own. This is faster than the previous one and can charge at speed of 10-20 km per hour or approximately 3-4 hours.
Public charge – This is also same as level -2 but found at a public charging station. This can fully charge your vehicle approximately in 4 hours.

Level-2 charging

Level-3: High power charging station – This type of charger usually charge a vehicle within an hour. This type of charging speed can only be achievable if a vehicle supports it or else connecting to such a charger will charge a vehicle in the level-2 speed.

Level-3 charging

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