The future of EVs: modular battery packs and thermal optimisation

5th June 2019
Lanna Cooper


With the transition to dedicated platforms for electric vehicles offering greater opportunities for product optimisation and design flexibility, Ricardo contends that new approaches are needed to modular battery pack design and thermal management.

At the Société des ingénieurs de l'Automobile (SIA) international powertrain and electronics conference, which takes place in Paris on 12th-13th June, Ricardo will present its perspectives on two of the most pressing issues facing the developers of battery electric vehicles.

Until recently, shared platforms have provided the basis of both liquid-fuelled and battery electric vehicles. Now, the development of dedicated ‘xEV’ platforms as the basis of a wide range of plug-in products allows design flexibility for a larger interior space, as well as offering the potential for platform sharing across electric models and brands under the same umbrella company.

Such dedicated platforms are usually of modular design so that additional battery modules can be added to the pack to increase its performance. In terms of energy and power requirements, pack characteristics can thus be adapted according to each product’s performance specification. This can also protect for future market requirements such as increased battery voltage to allow for ultra-fast charging and improved system efficiency.

To support automakers through the different stages of electric vehicle development, Ricardo has established a flexible and novel approach to the development of a modular battery pack that meets all these needs. The paper Modular battery pack development for PHEV and BEV applications outlines key challenges, constraints and solutions that the company has worked through to ensure cost effective battery pack engineering and timely delivery.

A further paper, xEV thermal system control optimisation, focuses on the challenges thermal management system development in electrified vehicles, where multiple cooling circuits and multiple control valves may be required to fulfil the many heating and cooling requirements of such products.

The choice of the right model and level of detail is central to control algorithm developments, and the paper summarises a spectrum of thermal models that may be applied to control system design for future electrified xEV vehicles.

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