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Are lithium-ion batteries in EVs a fire hazard?

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Are lithium-ion batteries in EVs a fire hazard?

Common Motors Co has expanded the recall of its Chevrolet Bolt electrical autos as a result of danger of fire from pouch-type lithium-ion battery cells made by LG of South Korea.

LG Chem Battery Unit The second main battery recall, made by LG Vitality Options (LGES), underscores the challenges dealing with battery companies in creating a steady product to energy electrical vehicles.

How does a lithium-ion battery work?

Cells come in a number of styles and sizes, however most include three main components: an electrode, an electrolyte, and a separator.

The electrodes retailer the lithium. The electrolyte strikes lithium ions between the electrodes. The separator prevents the constructive electrode from coming into contact with the adverse electrode.

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Vitality, in the type of electrical energy, is launched from the battery cell when lithium ions movement from the adverse electrode, or anode, to the constructive electrode, or cathode. When the cell is charging, these ions movement from the cathode to the anode in the other way.

Why are Li-ion batteries a fire hazard?

Lithium-ion batteries, whether or not used in vehicles or digital gear, can catch fire if they’re improperly manufactured or broken, or if the software program that operates the battery will not be designed accurately.

The main weak spot of lithium-ion batteries in electrical vehicles is the usage of natural liquid electrolytes, that are risky and flammable when operated at excessive temperatures. An exterior pressure reminiscent of an accident also can trigger a chemical leak.

“For EV fires, it has always been very difficult to pinpoint the exact root cause of a fire, as it is extremely difficult to ‘re-enforce’ a fire event under similar conditions,” stated Professor of Automotive Engineering, Kim Pil-soo. Delim College.

Additionally executives, automotive makers and battery makers usually don’t disclose what the precise security danger is.

What causes bolts and cones to fire?

In February, South Korea’s Ministry of Transport stated some defects had been discovered in some battery cells manufactured on the LGES China manufacturing unit and used in Hyundai Motor’s electrical vehicles, together with the Kona EV. Hyundai’s recall value roughly 1 trillion received ($854 million).

GM stated LG-supplied batteries for the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV could have had two manufacturing defects — a cracked anode tab and folded separator — current in the identical battery cell, which might have elevated the chance of fire. Is.

For Factbox on Massive Battery Fire:

Are pouch-type batteries extra weak?

All three sorts of lithium-ion batteries at the moment used in electrical vehicles – cylindrical, prismatic and pouch-type – are mainly comparable in performance, however every has execs and cons.

Cylindrical and prismatic batteries are housed in exhausting supplies. Pouch-types use sealed versatile foil and are protected by skinny steel luggage.

The know-how used in cylindrical batteries is outdated and offers constant outcomes. These cells can stand up to excessive inner stress with out deforming. They’re additionally cheap, making them excellent for mass manufacturing. However they’re heavy and their measurement prevents the cells from being packed as tightly as in different battery types. Tesla Inc principally makes use of cylindrical batteries, some equipped by LGES.

Prismatic batteries are thought-about safer and lighter than cylindrical cells and, as a result of they’re rectangular, they are often packed extra densely. They adapt to area higher than cylindrical cells, however are normally costlier and have a shorter life cycle. They’ll even flower.

In comparison with cylindrical and prismatic cells, pouch-type battery cells permit for lighter and thinner cell building, and design flexibility for various capacities and area necessities for various automobile fashions. Nevertheless, they’re delicate to irritation, and are extra weak in accidents, posing a higher danger of fire.

GM and Hyundai Motor use pouch battery cells from LG Vitality Options (previously LG Chem). Volkswagen stated earlier this yr it might transfer from pouch-style cells made by LG and SK Innovation Co, Ltd to prismatic know-how.

Are there different options?

Corporations reminiscent of China’s BYD Co produce EV battery cells that use lithium iron phosphate cathodes, that are much less susceptible to fire, however not in a position to retailer as a lot power as normal cells which use a nickel cobalt manganese cathode.

Others, together with GM, are testing completely different chemistries, such because the nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminum (NCMA) know-how, which makes use of much less cobalt, making cells extra steady and cheaper.

Chinese language battery maker CATL final month unveiled a sodium-ion battery that doesn’t comprise lithium, cobalt or nickel.

A number of corporations, together with Toyota Motor Corp are additionally creating battery cells with solid-state electrolytes, which might cut back overheating points and fire dangers, however may take three to 5 years to commercialize.

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