Ford Uses Liquid-Cooled Battery on Electric Focus

Posted by at 5:51 am on September 2, 2010

The all-new Ford Focus Electric, which debuts in the U.S. late next year and in Europe in 2012, will be powered by an advanced lithium-ion battery that utilizes heated and cooled liquid to help maximize battery life and driving range.

Keeping it Cool is a Must

Just like in the story of the 3 Bears, where the bed must be just right, temperatures of a lithium-ion battery systems must just be right too.  Too cold or too hot, the car will lose performance, eliability, safety and durability.

While air-cooling methods work well for many of today’s smaller car battery systems, the larger, more complex lithium-ion battery technology calls for an aggressive thermal management system.

How Does it Work

An active liquid system heats or chills a coolant before pumping it through the battery cooling system. This loop regulates temperature throughout the system against external conditions.

On hot days, chilled water absorbs heat from the batteries, dispersing it through a radiator before pumping it through the chiller again. On cold days, heated water warms the batteries, gradually bringing the system’s temperature to a level that allows it to efficiently accept charge energy and provide enough discharge power for expected vehicle performance.

Aid in Charging

The liquid cooling system also plays a role in charging the vehicle. When the all-electric Focus is plugged in to recharge, the vehicle control system will automatically precondition the battery, if needed, to the optimal temperature before accepting charge. If the battery is already at the optimal temperature, the system will automatically accept charge and maintain an optimal temperature.

“All-electric vehicles do not have a conventional engine on board, so it is critical we maximize the performance of the battery under various operating temperatures,” said Sherif Marakby, Ford director, Electrification Program and Engineering. “Active liquid systems are more effective than air systems at regulating lithium-ion battery temperature. As a result, the active liquid system on Focus Electric will play a key role in providing our customers with the best performance possible.”

The active liquid cooling and heating system also enables the Focus Electric to automatically precondition the battery pack temperature during daily recharging. When the vehicle is plugged in to the power grid, the vehicle system will be able to warm up the battery on cold days and cool it down on hot days.

Made in the USA

The Focus Electric will be built at Ford’s retooled Michigan Assembly Plant and will be available in late 2011. The vehicle will have an expected range of up to 100 miles and use no gasoline at all.

Focus Electric is one of five electrified vehicles Ford will release over the next three years. In addition to the Focus Electric, the Ford Transit Connect Electric small commercial van arrives in late 2010, followed by two next-generation hybrid electric vehicles, as well as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle in North America in 2012 and Europe in 2013.

Electrified vehicles are one part of Ford’s broader strategy to offer a wide range of environmentally friendly, advanced technology solutions to improve fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions affordably for customers around the world.

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