March 3, 2023
As electric vehicles continue to gain popularity, concerns over battery safety remain a significant issue. For example, concerns over a growing number of electric vehicle (EV) car fires and battery thermal runaway incidents have sparked major worry in the battery industry.
These concerns are now prompting the development of new, advanced battery testing facilities to ensure safety for battery products. Two recent announcements have highlighted the industry's focus on battery safety: Soteria Battery Innovation Group and UL Solutions have both revealed new battery testing centers.
In this feature, we’ll discuss the news from both Soteria and UL to get a feel for the industry’s response to battery safety concerns.
Soteria’s battery safety center at Clemson U
Earlier this week, the Soteria Battery Innovation Group (BIG) made headlines when they announced their partnership with Clemson University to establish a new battery safety center. The new facility, called the Lithium-ion Battery Pack Safety Center of Excellence, will aim to create and implement best practices for lithium-ion battery pack safety through collaborative efforts among its consortium members. Specifically, the Center of Excellence will work closely with Clemson’s Automotive Engineering Department to jointly develop and provide guidelines for industry-wide implementation. To do this, the consortium plans to actively participate in projects to develop and promote industry-wide safety guidelines for lithium-ion batteries. According to the groups,
Within this, some of the major focuses of the center will be attempting to mitigate the safety risks associated with larger batteries as well as a heavy focus on improving safety for e-bike battery packs. Soteria has stated that one of the center’s first projects will be to have interns from Clemson University Automotive Engineering Department disassemble e-bike battery packs, identify safety risks, and create safety guidelines that will be published and shared with the industry.
Soteria has leased 14,000 square feet of space at the Clemson University International Center of Automotive Research.
UL Solution’s Detroit-area test lab
Also this week, UL Solutions made their own announcement with plans to open a new battery testing laboratory in Auburn Hills, MI, in mid-2024. Aptly located near Detroit, the country’s automotive capital, a major focus of UL’s new facility will be testing electric vehicle and industrial battery products for compliance with safety and performance requirements for the United States and global markets. The facility will house state-of-the-art battery test equipment, enabling UL Solutions to deliver safety testing and performance services for automotive and industrial original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and their suppliers.
According to UL, the new laboratory will be equipped to perform testing at the battery cell, module, and full-pack level. This will include tests such as thermal propagation, fire testing, design verification, and product validation. Additionally, stress tests in areas such as electrical, mechanical, abuse, and environmental performance will be conducted and compared to UL and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards, United Nations goals and initiatives, and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and OEM specifications.
The new facility is expected to be one of North America's most comprehensive battery testing and engineering laboratories. Ultimately, UL hopes its services will contribute to shorter development cycles and a faster time-to-market for battery products while also ensuring safety at the highest level.
UL Solutions plans to open its Auburn Hills battery test lab in 2024.
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