EV and HV batteries- Everything you need to know | CarMandee Blogs | CarMandee

EV and HV batteries- Everything you need to know

Ishaq Nabi
by Ishaq Nabi

3-1-2022

5 min read

Electric Vehicles

Vehicle batteries have changed a lot in the last few decades. While the average consumer was not usually concerned with his car's battery, the addition of hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs), batteries are now the main deciding factors when buying a car.

However, with so much variety in the market, the average consumer finds it confusing to know the right battery for his use. This is why we have decided to compile an article that will answer all your queries about car batteries and how they have evolved throughout the last century.

Early Batteries

In the early days, lead-acid was used to power vehicles and it had many disadvantages. For one, it could not be recharged as modern-day lithium-ion batteries can.

It also had a short lifespan of about six years before needing to be replaced which led to high replacement costs for drivers who wanted dependable transportation and high maintenance costs for car owners who needed their cars operational at all times.

In this article, we will learn what changes have been made to vehicle batteries over the years and what the future may hold for cars, trucks, and other vehicles as well as ways that entrepreneurs can use these technologies in their current or next business.

The Lead-Acid Battery

The first and the most common type of vehicle battery is the lead-acid battery. It was invented in 1859 and officially patented in 1886 by Gaston Plante, a French Physicist.

It was used to power vehicles and other applications for over one hundred years. Lead-acid batteries were very similar to those that we use today except they were far less efficient.

A Lead-Acid battery has a high tolerance for overcharging and they are less expensive than other modern batteries. Because of this, they were commonly used despite their many disadvantages which include:

  • Expensive to maintain because they will eventually lose the ability to hold a charge
  • To be used on electric cars, several of them need to be connected in series to achieve a voltage strong enough for the vehicle to function.

Lead-acid batteries were commonly used as starting batteries for gasoline vehicles but they were less efficient than other options which led some people to replace them with more advanced models that eventually rendered lead-acid batteries obsolete.

The Nickel-Cadmium Battery

After lead-acid batteries, car manufacturers moved on to the nickel-cadmium battery. This type of battery is commonly known as Ni-Cad and it was created by Waldemar Jungner in 1899 before being introduced to vehicles in 1906.

It had a lower capacity than lead-acid batteries and it could not tolerate overcharging. It was used for starting engines and lighting purposes but did not meet the needs of all-electric cars that were becoming popular at the time due to its limitations.

The Nickel-Metal Hydride Battery

In 1992, a company called Valence Technologies created a battery known as Ni-MH, a hybrid between a Ni-Cad and a Lead-Acid battery.

Ni-MH batteries have been around since then and they are still used in some electric vehicles today although the market is dominated by lithium-ion which we will get to next.

Lithium-Ion Battery

With the advent of hybrid vehicles which consist of a large number of functions being powered by electricity, the lithium-ion battery became more popular.

This type of battery was first patented in 1979 by a Japanese scientist named Dr. Goodenough who is still working on improving this technology today.

There are several types of li-ion batteries depending on what they are made for but all li-ion batteries share some important characteristics:

  • Overcharging can occur but it is less likely than with other kinds of batteries
  • Li-ion batteries are not prone to the memory effect that many Ni-Cad batteries suffer from due to their ability to even out charge/deposit ratios.

Lithium-ion battery power has grown in recent years because it has a higher power density and is safer to use. Li-ion is commonly used in laptops, cell phones, and other portable devices which has led to improvements over the years that have increased their ability to be used as a power source for electric vehicles.

Now let's take a closer look at the role of each type of battery in vehicles.

Role of Batteries in Vehicles

Lead-Acid Batteries

These batteries are used mainly as a starting battery to power the engine of vehicles. Once started, the combustion or gas engines take over and provide enough power for the vehicle to be driven without any other source of energy.

Although they are not used for this purpose anymore since it is more efficient to use a gas engine, lead-acid batteries can be used in electric vehicles to provide temporary power when needed.

Lead-Acid Batteries Are Most Commonly Used In:

  • Heavy-Duty Vehicles
  • Electric Golf Carts
  • Boats
  • Bicycle Lighting Systems
  • Mopeds and Scooters

Ni-Cad Batteries

Compared to lead-acid, these batteries are more common in electric vehicles because they are able to provide the starting power needed to kickstart the vehicle.

Ni-Cad batteries are lightweight but can't tolerate overcharging which makes them less efficient than other alternatives when used as a main source of energy.

They can be used in situations where weight is an issue or when power requirements are low which makes them the best option in portable applications.

The significant limitations of Ni-Cad batteries have led to their replacement by more advanced and efficient alternatives such as Lithium-ion and Lead-Acid batteries.

Ni-Cad Batteries Are Most Commonly Used In:

  • Portable Applications
  • Electric Scooters

Lithium-ion Batteries

These batteries are the most common kind in use in electric vehicles today. Their high power density, lightweight, and high efficiency make them ideal for this purpose.

They are charged at a higher voltage than Ni-Cad batteries which, if not controlled properly, can lead to an overcharged battery. Lithium-ion batteries are better than the previous types of batteries because you can charge them at any time and it won't affect how much power they hold.

Other features of Lithium-ion batteries are that they have a high energy density which means that they hold more energy compared to their size or weight, and they are rechargeable without significantly losing capacity which means that their usable life span increases as they are used over time.

Lithium-Ion Batteries Are Most Commonly Used In:

  • Electric Vehicles
  • Hybrids
  • PIHVs

Final Words

With the new advancements in vehicle technology, their batteries and their role also changed over time. At first, batteries were used to power the accessories and ignition of the car only. However, with time and the latest trend in hybrid and PIHVs their usage increased.

Due to the increased number of uses, the size, shape, and configuration of the battery have also faced a lot of changes. For example, the battery used in a car is more modular and compact compared to the bigger batteries of yore.

From lead-acid to lithium-ion, each new innovation has made it possible for more energy storage capacity with less space. As these cars are becoming increasingly popular among customers because of their ability to run on electricity some automakers are opting to make their cars with small gas engines which are used for starting only.

These batteries will continue to get better over time and provide us more power in less space making hybrid, electric, and even fuel cell vehicles a main source of transport.

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