An EU-funded programme to develop the next generation of electric vehicle propulsion batteries which are both lighter and safer than their predecessors has relied on technology and input from Axeon, part of the Johnson Matthey group.
Axeon will unveil its involvement in the SmartBatt project at the CENEX event at Millbrook on 4/5 September where its stand will display one of the new batteries.
The EU-funded SmartBatt programme (Smart and Safe Integration of Batteries in Electric Vehicles) has demonstrated that intelligent engineering can lead to significantly higher energy densities at a system level. The programme objective was to develop and prove an innovative electric vehicle battery which was integrated into the vehicle’s structure and achieved the following:
* Minimising weight – 15% lighter than existing technologies
* Optimising safety – by integrating the battery housing in the car floor, structural crash safety has been enhanced
* Minimising costs
* Producing a design capable of mass production
Axeon’s role in the project was to select suitable cells to meet the criteria of high energy density, mechanical stability, thermal performance, space optimisation, reduced manufacturing cost and ability to withstand impact. Given that cells account for up to 80% of the total weight of the battery pack, this was a critical choice. Axeon investigated different concepts (e.g. metal case vs. pouch cells) in order to achieve the greatest energy density within the space available. The consortium (see below) then designed and developed a suitable battery housing system. This battery was then integrated into the vehicle and subjected to a range of safety and performance tests.
Axeon also led some of the project’s tasks regarding assessment of the impact of future cell developments, theoretical risk and failure analysis and how energy storage systems can be easily replaced. As a battery manufacturer with enormous knowledge and experience of Li-ion batteries, Axeon has been providing technical support to the consortium throughout the project’s duration.
Overall, the programme demonstrated that intelligent engineering, i.e. lightweight design and system integration, can lead to significantly higher energy densities at a system level.
The SmartBatt project was part-funded by the EU’s 7th Framework Programme and involved nine partners from five European countries: AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, LKR Ranshofen (AIT LKR), Axeon Technologies, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Impact Design Europe, Ricardo UK, SP Sweden, Graz University of Technology (VSI), Volkswagen AG.