The Li-Ion batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs) already represent a major issue in terms of their environmental impact. With more units being needed in the future, to keep up with ever-growing demand, the situation is only going to get more serious. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global EV battery market will experience a 28.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between now and 2028, with most sources expecting at least 10 million EVs battery packs to be shipped annually in the coming years. As well as ecological concerns, the rare metals incorporated into these batteries also have sustainability implications.
Because of all this there are two important objectives that EV manufacturers, their battery suppliers and technology partners need to address. These are:
- To make EV batteries as simple as possible to recycle - so that unwanted e-waste is not generated and harmful pollution can be avoided.
- To better support next generation cell-to-pack EV battery designs - meaning that if a battery cell is not functioning correctly, it is straightforward to replace.
By making recycling processes simpler, a circular economy can be created, with harmful substances not polluting the environment and the limited availability of certain materials being mitigated. Furthermore, by not having to dispose of entire battery packs (but just swapping faulty cells instead) the replacement costs involved are greatly reduced.
How the interconnects employed in EV battery implementations are currently attached to battery packs is problematic, as the aluminium connections must be permanently welded to the battery terminals. This means destructive work has to be carried out to access the battery pack (taking time and accruing expense) for recycling to be conducted. Likewise, it is simply impractical to remove the interconnect element so that individual Li-Ion cells can be replaced (resulting in good cells within the battery pack being unnecessarily wasted).
The proposed presentation from Interplex would give details of the new more flexible proprietary BMS interconnect concept based on a weld-less click-on arrangement. This concept will mean that welding work is no longer necessary, with significant recycling and cell replacement advantages being derived.
Using this concept, battery interconnects could be put through an efficient automated process - the interconnects being detached and cells removed using robot arms (resulting in substantial time savings). The Interplex presentation will explain how the company is looking to collaborate with a battery supplier or EV manufacturer on this.