Are you ready to dive into the world of electric vehicles? Today, we’re going to decode one of the most crucial components of an electric vehicle: the battery.
Electric vehicles are gaining popularity as a more sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional gasoline-powered cars. But have you ever wondered what kind of battery powers these futuristic rides?
In this blog post, we’ll explore the different types of batteries used in electric vehicles, their pros and cons, and why they are essential for the success of electric transportation. So buckle up and get ready to learn all about the exciting world of electric vehicle batteries!
But before decoding the batteries used in EVs lets learn a little about Electric vehicle.
What are electric vehicles?
Electric vehicles, as their name suggests, rely on batteries to power them either fully or partially, depending on the specific type of EV. Unlike internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles that use fossil fuels for propulsion and emit harmful emissions, EVs store the necessary power in their batteries.
This absence of fossil fuel usage in EVs results in zero emissions and significantly reduces their environmental impact.
In contrast, ICE vehicles are measured in terms of mileage based on kilometers per liter (kmpl) of fuel consumed, whereas electric vehicles are evaluated based on a single charge. The range of an electric vehicle is determined by factors such as battery capacity and the brand of the vehicle.
Let’s move on and know a little about types of EVs out there.
Types of Electric Vehicles
There are four primary types of electric vehicles available:
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs): Also known as All-Electric Vehicles (AEVs), BEVs rely solely on electric drivetrains powered by a battery pack. These vehicles store electricity from the grid in their batteries, which power one or more electric motors to propel the car.
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs): HEVs combine an internal combustion engine with an electric motor. The engine primarily runs on fuel, while the motor receives electricity from batteries. Both the engine and motor work in tandem to rotate the transmission, which ultimately drives the wheels.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs): PHEVs, also called series hybrids, feature both an engine and an electric motor. They provide flexibility in fuel choice, allowing the vehicle to be powered by conventional fuel (e.g., petrol) or alternative fuel (e.g., bio-diesel). Additionally, PHEVs come equipped with a rechargeable battery pack that can be externally charged.
Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs): FCEVs, also known as Zero-Emission Vehicles, utilize fuel cell technology to generate the electricity required to power the vehicle. These vehicles directly convert chemical energy from a fuel source into electric energy, typically hydrogen.
Now finally, let’s understand the types of batteries used in EVs.
Which type of battery is used in electric vehicles?
Listed below are a few types of batteries used in electric vehicles:
Nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries
NiMH batteries have been among the early choices for hybrid electric vehicles. While they come at a relatively higher cost, they possess a commendable energy density, enabling them to store substantial energy within a compact form. However, compared to other battery types, NiMH batteries exhibit lower efficiency and are prone to degradation over time.
Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries
Presently, the dominant selection for electric vehicles resides in the realm of Li-ion batteries. These batteries proudly showcase an impressive energy density, enabling them to effectively store substantial amounts of energy while maintaining a compact form factor. In contrast to their NiMH counterparts, Li-ion batteries demonstrate superior efficiency and an extended lifespan.
Additionally, they present the added benefits of swift charging capabilities and relatively lightweight composition, rendering them highly appealing for integration within electric vehicles.
Emerging in the realm of battery technology is the solid-state battery, which diverges from the conventional liquid or gel electrolyte by employing a solid electrolyte. Although still in the nascent stages of development, these batteries hold the promise of delivering heightened energy density, accelerated charging rates, and enhanced safety when compared to their Li-ion counterparts.
Additionally, solid-state batteries might exhibit greater eco-friendliness as they circumvent the utilization of toxic chemicals found within Li-ion batteries.
Lead-acid batteries, despite being older technology, continue to find application in specific electric vehicles, notably in low-speed vehicles like golf carts. While they offer cost-effectiveness, their drawbacks include their weightiness and limited energy density, which results in a reduced capacity for energy storage within a confined space compared to alternative battery types.
Ultracapacitors, classified as energy storage devices, exhibit the unique capability of rapid energy storage and release. In certain cases, they find utility in electric vehicles for powering acceleration or facilitating regenerative braking.
However, as a primary energy storage device in electric vehicles, ultracapacitors are not commonly employed due to their limited energy storage capacity in comparison to batteries.
There are types of battery architecture and they have their pros and cons. Let’s see what are those.
Different Types of Cell Architectures Used in EVs
With the increase in the popularity of electric vehicles, it is important to understand the different types of cell architectures used in them. From lithium-ion cells and cylindrical cells to pouch designs and larger prismatic modules, various kinds of cells make up an EV’s battery pack – each offering performance benefits and drawbacks for a range of applications.
Moreover, with the rapidly developing technology, batteries can potentially become even more efficient in the future. Understanding these cell architectures can help guide decisions when choosing the right electric vehicle according to factors such as cost, range, scalability, and efficiency.
Cylindrical cells are the most common type of battery used in electric vehicles. They are made up of a metal container with two electrodes (cathode and anode) that contain lithium-ion electrolytes. The size of these cells can be customized to suit the specific needs of the application, making them highly versatile and ideal for EV applications.
Pros and Cons of Cylindrical Cells
- Versatile – Can be made in various sizes to suit specific needs.
- High energy density – These cells are designed for high energy efficiency, which translates into longer range per charge.
- Cost effective – Cylindrical cells can offer significant savings when compared to other designs.
- Limited scalability – Cylindrical cells may not be ideal for very large applications.
- Low temperature performance – These batteries tend to perform poorly in cold temperatures and may require additional insulation for use in such conditions.
- Reduced safety features – While cylindrical cells are generally safe, their design does not offer the same level of safety features as some other designs.
- Less efficient use of space – Cylindrical shape of cells creates gaps when packing multiple sells next to each other which can reduce the energy density of the battery pack.
Pouch cells are an increasingly popular choice for electric vehicles due to their lightweight and flexible design. They consist of two electrodes with a soft pouch between them, filled with electrolyte and sealed with a laminate film. This allows the cell to be shaped as needed – making them ideal for applications where space is limited – such as in EVs.
Pros and Cons of Pouch Cells
- Lightweight – Pouch cells are much lighter than other cell designs, which makes them ideal for EVs.
- Flexible design – These cells can be bent or shaped as needed to fit into tight spaces.
- High energy density – Pouch cells have a high energy density due to their thin profile and flexible design.
- More expensive – Pouch cells tend to be more expensive than other designs.
- Limited scalability – Pouch cells may not be ideal for very large applications due to their limited size.
Prismatic cells are larger and more powerful than cylindrical or pouch cells, making them a great choice for large-scale EV battery packs. These cells are made up of an electrode stack that is sealed in an aluminum casing, filled with lithium-ion electrolytes, and then folded into the desired shape. This allows the cell to be customized for any type of space constraint, making them a great option for larger battery packs.
Pros and Cons of Prismatic Cells
- High energy density – These cells offer a higher energy density than other designs.
- Versatile – The design of prismatic cells allows for customizing the size and shape to suit specific needs.
- Scalable – These cells can be scaled up to meet the demands of large electric vehicles.
- More expensive – Prismatic cells tend to be more expensive than other designs.
- Reduced flexibility – The design of prismatic cells makes them less flexible than cylindrical and pouch cells.
Are there any future market for EV battery market? Let’s see.
Future Opportunities in the EV Battery Market
In addition to technological advances, governments can play a vital role in promoting the development and adoption of EV batteries through financial incentives, research and development investments, and supportive regulatory policies.
Financial incentives, such as purchase rebates and tax credits, can make EVs more affordable for consumers. This can help to boost demand for EVs and encourage automakers to produce more EVs with high-performing batteries.
Here are some specific examples of future opportunities for EV batteries:
- There has been the development of new battery chemistries with higher energy densities and lower costs.
- The use of new materials in EV batteries, such as silicon and graphene, can improve performance and durability.
- The development of new battery manufacturing processes can reduce costs and improve efficiency.
- The development of new battery recycling technologies can recover valuable materials from used batteries.
FAQ: Which Battery Is Used in Electric Vehicles
Which type of battery is mostly used in electric vehicles?
Most of today’s all-electric vehicles and PHEVs use lithium-ion batteries, though the exact chemistry often varies from that of consumer electronics batteries.
What is the battery in the electric vehicle?
An electric vehicle battery (EVB, also known as a traction battery) is a rechargeable battery used to power the electric motors of a battery electric vehicle (BEV) or hybrid electric vehicle (HEV).
How is an EV battery made?
The cathode is typically made from a mix of lithium, nickel, cobalt, and manganese, while the anode is most commonly made using graphite. Finally, the individual cells are enclosed in an aluminum or steel casing that holds the battery pack together and protects it against mechanical damage.
It must be noted that electric vehicle batteries are among many other powerhouses driving the future of the transportation industry. EVs are changing the game when it comes to sustainable transportation. With their eco-friendly nature, it’s no wonder that EVs are becoming the new norm.
The lightning-fast charging times and the cost-effectiveness of EVs are a no-brainer for anyone looking to save time and money. So get ready to ride towards a greener future with electric vehicles leading the way!
Founder of Sustvest
Hardik completed his B.Tech from BITS Pilani. Keeping the current global scenario, the growth of renewable energy in mind, and people looking for investment opportunities in mind he founded SustVest ( formerly, Solar Grid X ) in 2018. This venture led him to achieve the ‘Emerging Fintech Talent of the Year in MENA region ‘ in October 2019.