Why is lithium ion gaining popularity for EV applications?

Certainly, it isn’t because of low-cost. Lithium ion (Li-ion) is much more expensive than the nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery technology it is replacing. However, both specific energy and energy density of a lithium-ion battery pack is much greater than NiMH, saving weight and space in automotive applications. These considerations are not trivial in today’s world, as motorists clamor for more room in the car, and weight reduction is equated with increased fuel economy.

2011 Chevrolet Volt

There are a number of different types of lithium ion batteries being used in current EVs and PHEVs. The major difference between them is the materials used to construct the cell’s positive electrode. Higher energy cells (such as those used in consumer electronics) use lithium cobalt oxide and tend to be intolerant to overcharging and other abuse. When these cells overheat, the electrode releases oxygen into a flammable organic electrolyte, which can lead to thermal runaway. If you’ve ever witnessed a laptop computer fire, this is likely what caused it.

There is ongoing development taking place on lithium ion electrodes that are more stable, but this generally results in a less powerful battery. For instance, the Chevrolet Volt has used a lithium manganese spinel based electrode which is less energetic but much more manageable than its cobalt oxide cousin. GM has now licensed nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) technology from the Argonne National Laboratory that further improves the Volt’s battery performance at every level. The combination of improved battery chemistry and more effective thermal management makes HV battery packs progressively safer and longer-lived for the EVs of the future.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be! Become a member and receive a technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.

You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org . To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend 35th annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Meet me at MACS Make Connections that Matter, February 5-7, 2015 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.


About macsworldwide

Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Founded in 1981, MACS is the leading non-profit trade association for the mobile air conditioning, heating and engine cooling system segment of the automotive aftermarket. Since 1991, MACS has assisted more than 600,000 technicians to comply with the 1990 U.S. EPA Clean Air Act requirements for certification in refrigerant recovery and recycling to protect the environment. The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide’s mission is clear and focused--as the recognized global authority on mobile air conditioning and heat transfer industry issues. www.macsw.org
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One Response to Why is lithium ion gaining popularity for EV applications?

  1. Ellas A. Febrero Melendez says:

    Les estoy dando el examen a mis estudiantes.

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