Modern batteries – what possibilities do they offer?

Modern batteries – what possibilities do they offer?
Darrius Drew
Manufacturing and machinery/Motorization
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Thanks to man’s quest to become more environmentally friendly, there are cars today that turn off at traffic lights, use an electric motor to propel the vehicle at low speeds, and even turn off half the engine at cruising speeds. These advances in vehicle efficiency demand more from the battery. The old lead-acid battery, which required regular refilling with distilled water, has been replaced by several modern options.

Calcium batteries

Calcium batteries are the most commonly installed batteries; they are also called “wet lead acid batteries”. The basic components are no different from those of its predecessor, but these batteries last longer and have more starting power. Moreover, they are maintenance-free. However, they do require regular use, so once they are discharged, they need to be recharged using a charger to restore them to optimal condition. Modern vehicle charging systems can have difficulty fully recharging them when they are discharged.

Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) batteries

This is a high-performance option designed to meet the increased demands of modern vehicles. Among other options, there is a 12V battery available in the market. They are more expensive than other options, but unlike wet lead-acid batteries, they contain no fluid, which means they are sealed, spill-proof and maintenance-free. They have a higher lifespan and longer life cycle than the aforementioned wet batteries. They have excellent starting power, even at low charge levels, and recharge much faster. AGM batteries are designed to meet the demands of stop-start vehicles.

Enhanced Flooded Battery (EFB)

Have similar characteristics to AGM batteries. They charge quickly between starts and last longer than standard wet batteries. Some automakers are using them as a more cost-effective alternative to AGM and they are a great improvement over the calcium battery.

Stop-start

Stop-start technology shuts off the engine when the car is at a traffic light or stuck in traffic and restarts as soon as the driver takes their foot off the brake pedal. This retrofit is intended to reduce emissions and fuel costs. It is necessary to install a suitable battery in this type of vehicle. Typically, stop-start vehicles are equipped with AGM or EFB batteries that can handle higher loads and continuous cycling.

Another point to be aware of is that modern vehicles have battery management systems, and some of them require resetting after new batteries are installed, using a scanner or special procedures described by the car manufacturer

Compact charging kits are a handy addition to car emergency kits. They include USB ports for charging mobile devices and durable LED flashing lights, and the only maintenance required is keeping the packs charged. It’s important to choose a quality pack from a reputable brand, and it’s very important to follow the instructions carefully, as mistakes can damage your vehicle’s sensitive electronics.

What does the future hold?

Structured batteries could lead us to super-light electric vehicles.

Research at Chalmers University of Technology has been looking at using the battery not only for power but also as a structural element. The advantage of this is that the product can reduce structural elements because the battery has enough power to do these tasks. Using carbon fiber as the negative electrode, while the positive electrode is lithium iron phosphate, the latest battery has a stiffness of 25 GPa (concrete reaches about 27 GPa), although there is still much work to be done to increase the energy capacity.

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