About Technologies

Battery Technologies

An advanced technology vehicle battery stores chemical energy in its active materials and converts it into electrical energy by means of an electrochemical reaction.

                                                                                                     Image Courtesy of General Motors.

There are three main parts to this battery: the anode, cathode, and electrolyte.

  • The anode is the “fuel” electrode that gives up electrons to the external circuit to create the flow of electrons or electricity.
  • The cathode is the oxidizing electrode that accepts electrons in the external circuit.
  • Finally, the electrolyte carries the electric current, as ions, inside the cell, between the anode and cathode. 
  • Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries are used in a number of applications, including mobile phones, power tools, and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). Many HEVs on the market today use NiMH batteries for the battery system, although some HEVs are beginning to use lithium-ion batteries (described below).
Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries pack an equivalent amount of energy in a smaller and lighter package than NiMH batteries. Li-ion batteries are preferred in advanced technology vehicles because of their cold-weather performance, abuse tolerance, and ability to recharge at high rates. Li-ion batteries are used in mobile phones, laptop computers, and most recently, in some hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs). For instance, a 120-volt Li-ion battery pack powers the BMW 7 Series ActiveHybrid. Similarly, a T-shaped 16-kWh Li-ion battery powers the electric drive unit in GM’s Chevrolet Volt PHEV.

IA-HEV Work on batteries

Task 10, Electrochemical Systems is an ongoing Task addressing the chemistry and performance of electrochemical energy storage devices, including batteries, Task goals are to advance state-of-the-art battery science and technology for use in vehicles. Working group meetings are being held on topics including accelerated ageing and testing of batteries.

Task 21, Accelerated Ageing Testing for Li-ion Batteries plans to conduct an inventory of worldwide efforts used in the development and application of accelerated testing procedures for analyzing the ageing of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries in various vehicle applications.