Battery safety electric trucks

Electric vehicle safety and reliability

November 10, 2023

Battery safety and reliability are essential to OEMs and operators. Why is battery intelligence needed to maintain a safe and reliable operation? Why is a battery management system not enough? The article explains the complexity of EV batteries.

Battery safety electric trucks
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Charging Ahead with Confidence: Enhancing Electric Vehicle Safety and Reliability Through Advanced Battery Analytics

Imagine your dream scenario: electric buses efficiently transport residents; your fleet of electric vans and trucks seamlessly meets delivery deadlines. This is true most of the time, but as we all know, not every journey runs without disruptions.

Nowadays, the media seems to be focusing more on safety related aspects – i.e., reporting about electric vehicle (EV) battery fires – even when statistics show EVs are less likely to catch fire than internal combustion engine vehicles. However, safety is not the main risk to EV manufactures and operators. A more common, but often neglected, concern for OEMs and fleet operators is the reliability aspect: managing the risks to operations and avoiding EV breakdown.

How can you make sure that every electric bus, van, and truck has a reliable and safe journey from A to B? This is what we are going to discuss today.

Picture a scenario where a public transport operator faces a sudden breakdown of an electric bus during rush hour, leaving passengers stranded and disrupting city transport.

In another instance, a logistics company delivering goods via electric truck encounters an unforeseen failure leading to a disruption in vehicle operations caused by battery performance issues.

In both examples, the unexpected breakdown or safety incident negatively impacts the day-to-day company operations and causes avoidable headaches for the operator and the OEM. It might also harm the business’s reputation, customer satisfaction and can lead to significant financial loss.

Therefore, maintaining safe, reliable, and seamless operations is paramount.

To achieve this, OEMs and operators need strategic solutions. Embracing advanced systems like battery analytics becomes essential, offering a proactive approach to minimize the risk of unprecedented EV breakdowns and safety incidents, and ensuring reliability and uninterrupted operations.

Understanding the Complexity of EV Safety: Navigating the Challenges

Securing the safety and reliability of electric vehicles is an essential requirement. While incidents happen for a variety of reasons, the critical issue lies in the complexities of EV batteries. This demands a comprehensive safety approach beyond conventional measures such as the Battery Management System (BMS).

The challenges tied to lithium-ion batteries, the lifeblood of EVs, require a nuanced approach. These batteries operate through intricate chemical processes, leaving them susceptible to a variety of stressors. Overcharging, undercharging, and fast charging can strain the battery cells, potentially leading to failures. Temperature fluctuations, particularly extreme heat or cold, disrupt the internal chemical reactions, affecting both performance and safety.

Manufacturing defects, despite stringent quality management, remain a concern. Faulty cells or subpar assembly introduce vulnerabilities within the battery system, jeopardizing overall safety. Furthermore, external factors such as accidents, collisions, or mishandling can inflict structural damage on the battery, further compromising its safety protocols.

Moreover, the natural degradation of batteries over time, called calendric aging, and cyclic aging, a consequence of repeated charge and discharge cycles, are significant worries. These degradations result in reduced performance and pose potential risks if not diligently monitored and addressed. The implications of these challenges for fleet operators and OEMs are profound.

EV reliability goes beyond averting breakdowns; it encompasses ensuring high asset availability, minimizing downtime, improving the customer experience, and making sure the business is not unnecessarily impacted due to unforeseen incidents. A reliable EV fleet serves as a testament to operational efficiency, commitment to high customer service standards, and sustainable business practices.

Traditional safety systems, notably the BMS, face limitations in identifying subtle anomalies and bridging safety gaps. Typical BMS and monitoring solutions do not provide insights into important safety factors like DC resistance, voltage spreads, and temperature spreads. These KPIs are highly indicative of problematic behavior. Furthermore, BMS do not analyze historical data or provide trend analysis. This vulnerability exposes stakeholders to unforeseen risks, emphasizing the need for innovative solutions that offer a more comprehensive safety net.

Cloud-based battery analytics emerges as a transformative solution in this context. These sophisticated systems dive into the intricacies of EV performance, acting as vigilant watchdogs. By continuously monitoring safety and reliability-related trends and anomalies, they ensure proactive safety measures and uninterrupted operations. This approach not only enhances safety but also strengthens the faith customers put in the business, laying the groundwork for sustainable business practices.

Mitigating the Risks

To ensure the safety and reliability of electric vehicles, implementing robust battery analytics is crucial. These systems employ advanced algorithms to detect subtle anomalies in EV battery behavior, enabling early risk identification.

  1. Predictive maintenance, based on extensive data analysis, forecasts potential issues for proactive intervention.
  2. Prioritizing alerts enhances response efficiency, enabling swift action on critical incidents.
  3. Data-driven decision-making empowers stakeholders to optimize charging, implement targeted maintenance, and enhance overall EV fleet safety and reliability.

Managing a fleet of EVs that are both safe and reliable is essential for fleet operators and OEMs. Safety issues demand immediate attention, but reliability is equally vital. Recognizing the significance of both is crucial. Fortunately, battery analytics offer a fundamental solution to address these dual challenges effectively.

These innovative systems not only help to minimize the risk of safety incidents happening in the first place, but also strengthen the reliability of electric vehicles. Embracing this technology allows truck and bus OEMs and fleet operators to ensure safe operations that they can depend on.

Find out more in our Whitepaper how battery analytics can safeguard your EV fleet.

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