Assault on Batteries

Assault on Batteries

Even EV batteries aren’t immune to the effects of extreme winter weather.

This winter, extreme weather patterns have been disrupting daily routines nationwide. Flooding, snowfall and subzero temperatures all have taken a toll on our roadways and vehicles, leaving many stranded or unable to leave their homes. For those who can make it out to the streets, driving conditions can be hazardous. Having a reliable, fully charged battery is critical during these weather events.

Several news reports lately have highlighted the negative effects of extreme weather on the growing segment of electric vehicles (EVs). Just as the lead-acid batteries found in conventional automobiles suffer during cold snaps, the battery packs found in EV and hybrid vehicles endure a similar kind of stress. As temperatures drop to freezing and below, EV efficiency (measured in miles per kilowatt-hour, or m/kWh) can be reduced by as much as 34%, shortening effective range. Unfortunately for EV owners, the reduction in range brought about by these cold temperatures means more frequent charging events.

As temperatures plunge, these charging events can take even longer. EV batteries need to achieve a minimum internal temperature before accepting a charge, so the vehicle prioritizes battery preheating before it begins the actual charging process, which itself is less efficient at low temperatures. These delays can lead to lines at public charging stations, and increased numbers of immobile EVs stranded roadside when batteries go flat before reaching a charging station.

Our customers with EVs still have the same type of 12-volt auxiliary battery commonly found in ICE-powered vehicles featuring stop-start technology. The BCI groups 400 and LN1 are just two of the popular AGM applications in this category. For ESS or hybrid vehicles, this battery is necessary for powering accessories when the engine is off, while EVs need a 12-volt power source isolated from their high-voltage traction systems. Maintenance-free AGM batteries are most often used in these applications, due to their ability to recharge quickly and a longer service life when compared to other types of lead-acid batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries (like those used in cordless tools around the shop) are becoming a popular auxiliary option for EVs as well as ICE-powered vehicles. Lithium-ion batteries have a higher energy density than their lead-acid counterparts, so they can pack the same amount of power into a smaller (and lighter) case. Tesla has been using lithium-ion technology for its auxiliary battery in the Model 3, S, X and Y since 2021.

Intelligent Battery Sensors

As batteries and charging systems become more advanced, use of an intelligent battery sensor (IBS) is becoming more commonplace. BMW has used battery sensors since 2002, and uniquely requires “registration” to notify the PCM that a new battery has been installed. This update allows the PCM to tailor the battery-management system to the output of the new battery. The sensor now has a reset “baseline” to make decisions on charging voltage, idle speed and other parameters that affect drivability and battery life. In addition to measuring current in and out of the battery, the IBS also may monitor battery state of charge, state of health and even temperature.

No matter if you’re daily-driving an ICE or an EV, a properly maintained battery and charging system is critical to reliable starting in all kinds of weather. Fortunately, given today’s battery technologies, it’s even easier to maintain and monitor these systems than ever before!

You May Also Like

Polestar Vehicles to Use TactoTek Smart Surface Technology

The technology allows lighting features and human machine interfaces that are more sustainable, the companies say.

Polestar Vehicles to Use TactoTek Smart Surface Technology

Polestar and Finnish smart surface pioneer TactoTek, have entered a collaboration to explore integration of Injection Molded Structural Electronics (IMSE) technology into Polestar’s vehicle programs. The collaboration includes Polestar licensing TactoTek’s IMSE technology, products and solutions to explore lighting and human-machine interface (HMI) use cases.

The companies explain IMSE parts are manufactured using clean additive processes. Because a single IMSE part typically performs the functions of a conventional multi-part assembly, designing for IMSE reduces complexity and streamlines global supply chains, the companies said.

Snap-on Releases Q3 ‘Tuesday Topic Training’ Schedule

Snap-on’s new training lineup includes new OEM-specific training every other week.

MPA Releases ‘Part Smart’ Training Videos

From common knowledge to vehicle specific, two new MPA ‘Part Smart’ videos cover a range of knowledge, the company said.

MPA Releases 'Part Smart' Training Videos
Catalytic Converter Replacement Rules

Here are the 10 commandments of converter replacement handed down from the EPA.

An In-Depth Look At CV Axles

The most important part of selling a new CV shaft is making sure it’s the correct one for the application.

Other Posts
What to Know About Battery Testing and Inspection

Extra battery connections on vehicles used to be fine for adding accessories, but with modern cars, they can disrupt battery management systems. These systems rely on internal resistance, not just voltage, to assess battery health accurately. Learn why this matters for your car’s performance

What to Know About Battery Testing and Inspection
US CBP to Use Verdek Chargers for its Ford F-150 Lightnings

US Customs and Border Protection will use this mobile, fully off-grid charging station, complete with dual ports and powered by renewable energy.

US-CBP-to-Use-Verdek-Chargers-for-its-Ford-F-150-Lightnings
EVgo Names First Chief People Officer

Keith Hutchison brings over two decades of experience working in HR.

EVgo Names First Chief People Officer
NFPA Considers Standard to Mitigate Battery Hazards

The National Fire Protection Association is gauging whether support exists for the development of standards to address known hazards associated with batteries.

NFPA-Considers-Standard-for-Battery-Hazards