Thermal Management Systems are used to control the temperature of the battery and its associated power electronics in a battery electric vehicle (BEV). These systems are mainly used to control the cooling, but they can also be used for heating and it is essential that the temperature is controlled for vehicle performance, the overheating of an electric vehicle can be a huge safety concern. There are systems that are based solely on cooling rather than both heating and cooling.
Battery Thermal Management Systems (BTMS)
A Battery Thermal Management System (BTMS) in an electric vehicle maintains the battery at the optimum operating temperature and is critical for maintaining the energy storage capacity, the battery cell life, vehicle driving range and most importantly the system safety. Battery thermal management systems can be either passive or active.
Active Battery Thermal Management Systems
Active BTMS are usually a circulation of a specific cooling medium such as air, water, or other form of liquid. The advantage of using active BTMS is liquid cooling has a higher natural cooling potential than other cooling methods and easier to control. The disadvantage of using an active BTMS is its inefficiency due to the amount of power it takes to operate the cooling mechanism, these systems also add weight.
Passive Battery Thermal Management Systems
Passive BTMS rely on using surrounding air or fans for airflow, the benefits to using passive above using an active BTMS is the zero extra power consumption, the disadvantage to this way of controlling temperature is the difficulty to manage.
Which Cooling System Works Best in BTMS?
According to a research carried out by IDTechEx, liquid cooling is the preferred choice for BTMS, and they expect liquid cooling to continue being the preferred choice in the future.