3 Types of Electric Car Batteries You Should Know

As the power source of electric cars, battery is always the eye-catcher for many vehicle companies, and sometimes the bottleneck for electric cars. Therefore, it’s crucial that you know something about car battery before you purchase an electric car.

Types of car batteries for electric vehicles

Generally speaking, there are 3 types of car batteries: chemical battery, physical battery and biological battery. Among the three, chemical battery, such as  Ni-MH battery, lithium ion battery, lithium polymer battery, fuel cell etc., occupies the widest market share in the electric car industry.

In this article, we’ll focus on batteries that are usually seen on the market, and clarify their features and functions so you’ll have a better idea about them.

1. Lithium battery: a safer choice

Born in 1970, lithium battery earns its fair share on the market with its high energy density and long recycle life cycle. It’s now one of the most widely used batteries for electric vehicles. To be more specific, there are two main types of lithium battery, the lithium iron phosphate battery and ternary lithium battery, who are quite different from each other in terms of features and functions. Let’s break it down.

1) Lithium iron phosphate battery

Denza, the electric car developed by BYD and Daimler AG, is using the lithium iron phosphate battery as its car battery. Due to its
exceptional thermal stability and high energy density compared to other lithium batteries such as the lithium manganate battery and the lithium cobaltate battery, the lithium iron phosphate battery ranks high on the battery safety list, which in turn makes it one of the major types of car batteries.

2) Ternary lithium battery

Compared with the lithium iron phosphate battery, the ternary lithium battery ranks much higher in terms of the energy density, which means that it gets a longer mileage on one charge.

However, it decomposes itself when the engine temperature goes up to 250 to 300 degrees, which has a very high standard for the battery management system, i.e. each of the battery needs to be equipped with a safety device. In addition, it requires over 7,000 18650 ternary lithium battery to drive a car, which makes it harder for the battery management system. No wonder Tesla is the only one using ternary lithium battery on the market for now.

2.  Nickel metal hydride battery (NiMH or Ni-MH battery)

Similar to lithium battery, the NiMH battery also requires a battery management system, but it focuses more on the charging and discharging management.

This is because the NiMH battery loses its battery storage capacity when it charges and discharges. And if it’s over-charged or discharged, the battery capacity would bear the brunt. That said, the electric car manufacturers will set a charged/discharge range on the NiHM battery management system, as a way to prevent the battery from wearing out too fast.

3. The fuel cell: probably the best battery for future electric vehicles

Technically, the fuel cell is not actually a type of “battery”, it’s more like a large electricity generating system. Thanks to its high energy conversion efficiency, close to zero pollution, long life cycle and steady operation, the fuel cell is widely conceived as the most promising electric car energy source by the industry.

To better understand how the fuel cell works, we can start from what it is. In a nutshell, the fuel cell converts the chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through an electrochemical reaction of hydrogen fuel with oxygen or another oxidizing agent.

Theoretically speaking, there are many types of fuels that can be used by the fuel cell. But to convert chemical energy into electricity, we need the hydrogen and the oxygen from the oxidizing agent. This is why the hydrogen fuel cell is the core of the fuel cell research now.

That concludes 3 types of the most widely seen and/or used car batteries on the market. If you’re interested in knowing more about battery, feel free to reach out, or leave a comment. We’d be glad to hear from you.

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