Tesla has filed a new patent that indicates that the electric vehicle manufacturer is trying to make lithium-ion batteries safer. The company had filed the patent for the new energy storage system at the beginning of the year and published it recently. Based on the details given in the patent, the new energy storage system will ensure that even if one cell is compromised, it would not affect the rest of the cells. This is accomplished through a new arrangement of cells with interconnects so that the gases released by one cell will not have any effect on others.
Normally, when a lithium-ion battery starts overheating after it fails, the electrolyte that is inside the battery begins to vaporize, causing the battery to swell up due to the highly pressurized gas. The new energy system that Tesla has filed the patent for will have cells that are purposely weakened so that a failed battery cell can exhaust that gas without exerting pressure against its neighboring cells causing them also to overheat.
According to the patent, the system can also include features like heat pipes or a cold plate in order to remove the heat that is generated by the battery cells during operation of the energy storage system. The patent filing said that current energy storage systems include “packs” of multiple cells which are stacked together and generate heat during operation, both during the charging and the discharge processes. When they fail, they release hot gases which can compromise the integrity of other cells and cause substantial damage to the functional cells.
Tesla models do have an impressive safety rating. This can partly be attributed to the use of socalled “frunks” for storage at the front of the car instead of a combustion engine. The company’s Model X got the highest rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2017.
According to Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, it is hard for anyone to suffer from death or serious injury while using a Tesla S or Tesla X as they have long crumple zones that are two to three times longer when compared to conventional vehicles.
Vehicle safety issues related to Tesla models generally get greater media coverage when compared to those for conventional internal combustion engine powered vehicles. Due to the fact, that even one compromised battery cell can sometimes start a chain reaction that can trigger vehicle failure or fire, Tesla is taking proactive action by exploring options that can increase battery safety.
Use of the patented technology, once it becomes commercially viable can further enhance both he safety and the performance of Lithium-ion batteries.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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