EV Batteries

The purpose of a battery is to store chemical energy and to convert this chemical energy into electrical energy when the need arises. An electric or hybrid car battery is like any other battery—except that it is rechargeable and has enough power to move a large heavy vehicle down the road for a few feet or a few miles.

The automotive battery is actually a battery pack that houses many individual cells that work together.

Take a look inside the typical lithium iron phosphate battery cell used in electric vehicles:

The documentary below, by Don Siegel, an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, provides information on advancements in batteries and how these improvements impact the consumer market and the environment. And the mechanics behind a lithium ion battery.

There are several types of advanced batteries being used for electric, hybrid, and conventional automotive use. The most popular types are:

  • Lead Acid
  • Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
  • Lithium-ion (Li-ion)

Some of the emerging battery types that are being heavily researched are:

  • Aluminum-air
  • Lithium-air
  • Sodium-air
  • Zinc-air
  • Liquid Metal
  • Tin Nanocrystal Lithium-Ion
Chevy Bolt Battery HistoryA Chevrolet Bolt EV battery pack, far right, is compared to battery packs from, left to right, a first generation Volt, a second generation Volt, and a Spark EV. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)
Inside a Chervolet Bolt EV battery pack
Reassembling a Chervolet Bolt EV battery pack
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