The world is slowly realizing the environmental impact of fuel-powered vehicles. Therefore, more and more people are switching to electric vehicles (EVs) to reduce their carbon footprint. Electric batteries are now providing the same power as non-EV fueled cars.
There are multiple kinds of batteries used in electric cars, which are lithium-ion, nickel-metal hydride, lead-acid, and ultracapacitors. However, the two most common types of batteries used in electric cars are Lithium-ion batteries (used by Tesla, Jaguar) and Nickel-metal hydride (seen in hybrids like Toyota).
When shopping for an EV, the most important factor people consider is the battery’s estimated range on a full charge.
In this article, we’ll talk about how electric car batteries work, what are the most common electric car batteries, and what are the batteries used in the most popular electric vehicles.
How Do Electric Car Batteries Work?
It won’t be wrong to say that the battery is the beating heart of an electric car. Batteries basically store the electricity that powers the electric motor.
As the battery stores and transfers energy to your car’s electric engine, it, in a way, gives life to your car.
When you plug in your electric vehicle to charge it, multiple chemical processes occur in the battery, which creates power.
However, when you start your EV, a reverse reaction takes place, which results in the release of energy that is enough to power the EV.
The overall battery power depletes with time and needs to be recharged by plugging it into an EV charger. Batteries in PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) are charged with electric power.
But when they are low in power, the internal combustion engine takes over and keeps the engine running.
PHEVs have a wider range than other all-electric vehicles because of the combination of battery and fuel. The battery needs to be charged as peruse, like if you are using your EV daily, you’ll need to charge it every day depending on your everyday commute.
The battery can differ depending on whether the car is a plug-in hybrid electric or an all-electric vehicle. The current battery technology advancements have made Evs last for a larger distance and time.
Most batteries can last for 12 to 15 years in moderate climates or 8 to 12 years in very cold or hot climates.
Types of Electric Car Batteries
These are the 4 types of batteries in an EV that are widely used in the current EV market.
As compared to other types of electrical energy storage, lithium-ion batteries have the most energy per unit mass and are presently found in most consumer electronic gadgets, such as mobile phones and laptops.
Furthermore, they offer a very high power to weight ratio, minimal self-discharge, excellent high-temperature performance, making them suitable to use in harsh climates.
The lithium-ion battery is the most common type of battery in electric vehicles. Unlike other batteries, lithium-ion batteries have a low rate of self-discharge, which makes them better at holding a full charge over a significant period.
Lithium-ion batteries are also great for the environment since most of their components can be recycled.
In both AEVs and PHEVs, lithium-ion batteries are used, though the actual chemistry of these batteries differs from those used in consumer electronics like mobiles, etc.
These are the electric vehicles that use Lithium-ion batteries.
|Electric Vehicles||Type of Battery||Capacity||Power||Price (In Euro)|
|Renault Twizy||Li-ion Battery||6.1 kWh||4 kW/5 CP||6750 €|
|VW E-Golf||Li-ion Battery||24.2 kWh||100 kW/136CP||37590 €|
|Tesla Model S||Li-ion Battery||100 kWh||193 kW/259CP||123000€|
|Hyundai Ioniq||Li-ion Battery||28 kWh||88 kW/118CP||29500 €|
|Nissan Leaf||Li-ion Battery||30 kWh||80 kW/107CP||30680 €|
Nickel-Metal Hydride Batteries
Batteries made on nickel-metal hydride are used in many hybrid and all-electric automobiles. Nickel-metal hydride batteries last longer than lithium-ion or lead-acid batteries, and they are also safe and tolerant to abuse.
Nickel-metal hydride batteries, which are used in many types of computer and medical equipment, have a good amount of energy and power. These batteries have already been used a lot in electric cars.
Nickel-metal hydride batteries are very expensive, quick self-discharge, and can feel hot and heat up while charging.
These aspects create hindrances for rechargeable EVs, and that is the reason why these batteries are primarily used in hybrid EVs. Hybrid-electric cars depend on petrol to recharge the battery and hence do not qualify as electric vehicles.
Lead-acid batteries are only currently being used in electric vehicles to supplement other battery loads. Lead-acid batteries are designed to be high power and are inexpensive, safe, and reliable.
However, low energy, poor cold-temperature performance, and short calendar and cycle life are the reasons they are not the primary choice of manufacturers.
Advanced high-power lead-acid batteries are being developed, but these batteries are only used in commercially available electric-drive vehicles.
An ultracapacitor is not a battery; it is a polarized liquid stored between an electrode and electrolyte. The energy storage capacity of a liquid rises in direct proportion to the liquid’s surface area.
When an ultracapacitor is used in an EV as a secondary storage device, it helps to balance the load of electrochemical batteries.
Hence provides extra power to electric cars while accelerating and braking. An ultracapacitor is basically a supplementary solution to provide backup power to your electric vehicle.
Batteries Used In An EV
There are various types of batteries used in electric vehicles. Let’s discuss the batteries of the 5 most popular electric vehicles.
Tesla Model S Lithium-Ion Battery 18650
Tesla, one of the best electric vehicle manufacturers, currently uses a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 200Ah and power of 5.3kWh.
|Nominal Voltage||3.8V/Cell, 22.8V/Module|
|Charge Voltage Cut-Off||4.2V/Cell, 25.2V/Module|
|Discharging Voltage Cut-Off||3.3V/Cell, 19.8/Module|
|Maximum Discharging Current (10 sec.)||750 Amps|
Tesla Model S batteries are made up of 444 Panasonic NCR18650B cells in a configuration of 6s74p. The total number of cycles recorded in miles is the only variable required to estimate the battery’s SOH.
Trickle Charging is a term that refers to the process of charging a full battery at a rate equal to its self-discharge rate, allowing the battery to stay fully charged.
Fast Charging is a term that refers to the use of a quick charger that is significantly faster than a standard electric car charger.
When your batteries are charged and discharged, the internal resistance of each cell generates heat.
While rapid Charging generates a lot of heat and may decrease the life of the battery, slow Charging generates less heat and may result in a longer-lasting battery.
The price of the Tesla Model S Lithium-Ion Battery 18650 is $1,445.00.
The new VW e-Golf has battery modules of the latest Samsung SDI 108Ah. The battery of the VW e-Golf has 12 cells every 3.8 Volts, from which 4 are in series with 3 parallel cells in the latest module configuration.
|Temp Plug Type||PA4T – GF30|
|CAN BUS Plug Type||PPS|
The Renault twizy has a power-pack lithium battery of 6.1kWh attached just underneath the front seat. The battery can easily be charged with an extendable spiral cable which can be stored beneath the flap at the front of the EV.
This integrated charger can be used with standard charging facilities at home as well as any roadside charging facilities. It takes 3.5 hours to fully charge the battery of the Twizy.
|Range (Normal Conditions)||80 km|
|Range (High Speed/Non-Eco driving mode)||50 km|
The Hyundai Ioniq has two versions. One is the hybrid (Fuel + Electric), and the other is the all-electric.
Both have lithium-ion polymer batteries, but some of the specifications are different, like the battery capacity, the voltage, the maximum potential EV driving range, the onboard charger, and many more. Let us compare their specifications.
|Specifications||Hybrid Version||All-Electric Version|
|Battery Type||Lithium-ion Polymer||Lithium-ion Polymer|
|Battery Capacity (kWh)||1.56||28|
|Maximum Potential EV Driving Range (Miles/km)||–||174 / 280|
|Electric Driving Efficiency (kWh per 100km)||–||11.5|
|On Board Charger||–||6.6 kW|
The Leaf’s range on a full charge has been increased gradually from 117 km (73 miles) to 364 km (226 miles), thanks to the use of a larger battery.
The previous model owners were also proposed to replace their original battery packs instead of buying a new electric car. This was seen as a massive upgrade at a feasible cost.
Nissan offered the replacement battery pack for the Nissan Leaf for $5,499 excluding the installation charges but later raised that amount to $8,500.
The new Nissan Leaf has a structural steel reinforcement to protect the battery power pack.
What are Electric Car Batteries Made of?
Lithium-ion batteries, the same as those used in cell phones, computers, and other electronic devices, power most electric automobiles.
When it comes to battery performance, lithium-ion batteries are the best ones available in the market.
They’re lightweight, strong, and have a high energy density, which makes them perfect for portable devices. They’re ideal for automobiles since they’re powerful yet also compact and lightweight.
Before electric vehicle batteries are used on the road, they have to pass a series of tests. Crash and combustion tests are used to verify that the batteries are safe and secure.
Are Electric Car batteries Environmentally Friendly?
The raw materials a battery requires are lithium, cobalt, and aluminum. They are extracted through mining.
Many companies are working on the process of making batteries environmentally friendly and reducing the hazards by using renewable energy in the manufacturing process.
The use of fossil fuels is replaced with renewable energy, and the pollution caused by the emission of harmful gases is balanced out by planting trees.
What Happens When the Battery of an Electric Vehicle Dies?
Over time, an electric vehicle battery deteriorates to the level that it becomes difficult to retain a sufficient charge.
When a battery’s performance falls below 70% of its initial capacity, it is no longer capable of properly powering the EV and must be replaced as repairing it won’t be the best solution for the long run. Still, it can be used differently for other purposes.
After then, the battery can be reused in a number of ways. Certain batteries may be used to power houses and buildings, or they can be linked to solar panels to help you save money on your utility bills.
If you already have solar panels on your roof, you may add a used electric vehicle battery to your current battery storage system. Daytime energy created by the panels can be stored for later use.
Research in this sector is rapidly advancing, and innovations are being made to reuse electric vehicle batteries in ever-more exciting ways and benefit from it.
These include powering mobile electric vehicle charging stations, serving as backup energy sources for major entertainment events, and supplying electricity to street lights, parks, etc.
The EV market is still a growing market. What we need to do is raise awareness regarding the environmental impact of fuel-based vehicles. The battery is considered the heart of the electric vehicle.
Explaining the benefits of the EV cars like battery life, decreased pollution, decreased overhead costs of driving to the fuel station, and many more can make someone realize the importance of switching to electric vehicles.
Switching from fuel-based cars to electric cars can take time. However, we all know that EVs are the future of transportation, and they will soon be easily accessible to everyone in the world.
Related electric car articles:
- How far can an electric car go on one charge?
- Charging an Electric Car in an Apartment
- What Happens if an Electric Car Gets Wet?
- Self-Charging Electric Cars
- Can You Tow an Electric Car If It Breaks Down?
My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.