Battery thermal management for high power applications such as electrical/hybrid vehicles is crucial. Modeling is an indispensable tool to help engineers design better battery cooling systems. While Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has been used quite successfully for battery thermal management, CFD models can be too large and too slow for repeated transient thermal analysis especially for a battery module or pack. An accurate but much smaller battery thermal model using a state space representation is proposed. The parameters in the state space model are extracted from CFD results. The state space model is then shown to provide identical results as those from CFD under transient power inputs. While a CFD model may take hours to run depending on the size of the problem, the corresponding state space model runs in seconds.