Concepts for Mechanical Abuse Testing of High-Voltage Batteries 2012-01-0124
Currently lithium-batteries are the most promising electrical-energy storage technology in fully-electric and hybrid vehicles. A crashworthy battery-design is among the numerous challenges development of electric-vehicles has to face. Besides of safe normal operation, the battery-design shall provide marginal threat to human health and environment in case of mechanical damage. Numerous mechanical abuse-tests were performed to identify load limits and the battery's response to damage. Cost-efficient testing is provided by taking into account that the battery-system's response to abuse might already be observed at a lower integration-level, not requiring testing of the entire pack. The most feasible tests and configurations were compiled and discussed. Adaptions of and additions to existing requirements and test-procedures as defined in standards are pointed out. Critical conditions that can occur during and after testing set new requirements to labs and test-rigs. A ‘thermal runaway’ may emerge from a mechanical-induced short-cut, resulting in an extreme raise in temperatures, outgassing, smoke, fire and, under adverse conditions, explosions. Potentially critical situations and safety hazards were compiled, supporting labs in mitigating and averting hazardous situations. Existing safety concepts and evacuation strategies are outlined, reducing the hazards of battery testing.