Attendees of this year’s Battery Show in Novi, Mich., could be excused for not knowing what to expect on the show floor as trade events start to come back from a year-and-a-half hiatus. The above clip gives a glimpse of what the experience was like. Aside from the occasional mask wearer, it seemed like business as usual. Billed as North America’s largest and most comprehensive advanced battery manufacturing trade show, the Battery Show, combined with the Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo, comprised more than 550+ suppliers representing the supply chain from raw materials through end of life. Scroll down to see some of the things that caught our eye.
Now that’s a big battery
One of themes we noticed was EV technology that increasingly is migrating from passenger vehicles to industrial applications focused on handling materials. One example is the PE500-706 Vigor+ battery pack from EnerDel Inc. in Indianapolis, here shown with EnerDel applications engineer Michael Greene. The packs are comprised of prismatic cells and have a 50-Ah capacity rating. Working at 622 V, they provide 31 kWh or energy. The black transportation-grade packaging contains system control redundancies and forced-air cooling, with options for liquid cooling.
When trucks and buses get electrified
In keeping with the theme of industrial electrification, show goers got a look at Dana Corp.’s Spicer Electrified eS9000r e-Axle. It is an integrated motor, transmission, and axle power system designed for Class 4, 5, and 6 vehicles (vans, trucks, and buses). Designed to be a “drop-in” to existing suspensions, it puts out 237 kW at 400-650 Vac. The motor and inverter are water glycol-cooled. It also includes an integrated electronically controlled park feature.
A lithium-ion battery for vehicles
Lithion Battery near Las Vegas used a nifty spinning LED display to explain its 12-V 144-Ah lithium ion battery modules. They use lithium iron phosphate chemistry to provide more thatn 1,8 kWh of energy. The battery is good for more than 4,000 cycles and is said to last about 10 times longer than ordinary lead-acid batteries. They also provide a peak discharge current of 300 A.
There weren’t buses like this when I went to school
The IC Bus subsidiary of Navistar showed an electrified version of its flagship CE model school bus. The Electric CE Series is an intentionally designed electric vehicle rather than one whose diesel engine was merely swapped out. It’s powerplant is a three-phase 650-V PM motor powered by up to a 315-kWh battery. It also features Level II AC and DCFC charging, Vehicle to grid capabilities, and three levels of regenerative braking.
Comparing Tesla and BMW battery packs
Pictured here are, left to right, batteries from a BMW i3, a Tesla Model 3, and a new design from Our Next Energy (ONE) in Mich. (The batteries aren’t to scale. The BMW i3 battery is about 66-in high while the Tesla Model 3 and ONE devices are about a foot taller.) The point of the display was to give hints about the advanced architecture of the ONE battery. It uses what’s called Structural Cell to Pack architecture said to yield higher system-level energy density than leading competitors and a cathode chemistry (lithium iron phosphate) to avoid thermal runaway. It is a 79 kWh device that operates at 348 v puts out 237 kW peak and is said to be good for 3,000 cycles. The point of the structural pack design is to eliminate wasted volume from battery modules, providing a net energy density of 450 Wh/L.
Shedding weight with flex circuits
Vehicular applications of all kinds have an interest in keeping down weight. That’s the reason flex circuits were in evidence at the show, including this demo from Minco. A polyimide film circuit carrying six LEDs (three on the other end aren’t visible) cycled continuously while under power to illustrate the reliability of these materials. The read outs display the total number of cycles and the total time the demo has been running.
All the better to move material
There were undoubtedly attendees at the Battery show who, one day, may be able to boor their grandchildren by remarking that they can remember the days when skid-steer loaders had diesel engines. These powertrain components from Omni Powertrain Technologies in Houston are examples of the technology that will make those stories possible.
For fans of high-speed fans
One impact of EV technology is an increased emphasis on energy efficient components. The trend extends to air fans, the most efficient of which now contain BLDC motors. Spal Automotive showed off its high-efficiency models using the half-submerged water tank display, made possible because BLDC motors don’t need a physical connection to the motor rotor.
Going electric on motorcycles
Pictured here is the end result of applying an MN8-XS400 conversion kit from Shandoka Electric Motorcycles to a Yamaha XS400. Shandoka says that while it is possible to convert any of the XS400 motorcycles with a cut-and-flange method, from 1981 to 1984 the cycles had a suspended engine design which is particularly simple to convert with its MN8 system. Shandoka says the lightweight and compact design is particularly well-suited to café racers and bobbers but also a nice scrambler style mod.