Battery Safety Standards – The Changing Requirements for Batteries

Article published in Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International Jan 2018:

The Changing Requirements for Batteries in Commercial and Industrial Electric Vehicles

Commercial EVs are becoming more prevalent in everyday life.  Valence Technology now see customers using their safe, proven lithium ion batteries in varied applications such as refuse collection vehicles, port terminal tractors, electric buses, large lift trucks and aircraft tugs.  Some of these applications are driven by the need to reduce carbon emissions and to limit noise pollution.  As each market has developed, applications now call for specific safety testing and certifications.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Regulation No. 100, often referred to as ECE R100, addresses the safety requirements specific to the electric power train of road vehicles that utilize battery rechargeable systems. The original R100 regulation was first published in 1996 but was revised in 2011 to keep pace with new technologies.  However the scope of this was limited and Revision 2 of the regulation was published in 2013 with a broader scope that now includes the Rechargeable Energy Storage System – RESS (in most cases the rechargeable battery pack).  This regulation became mandatory for new or modified vehicles homologated in Europe from July 2016 and starts to regulate the lithium energy storage systems contained in such vehicles.

The tests required for R100 Revision 2 certification include:

  • vibration testing
  • thermal shock and cycling
  • fire resistance (immersion in fuel fire)
  • over-temperature
  • over-charge
  • over-discharge

Additionally there are tests for mechanical shock and integrity of the battery pack and short circuit scenarios.  Valence submitted modules for testing for all applicable tests in conjunction with IDIADA testing and homologation services.  All tests were successfully passed without the inclusion of a Valence Battery Management System (BMS) which provides system level protection in addition to the inherent safety provided by an individual module. Given the severity of the testing involved in this new regulation, the operators and general public will have more confidence than ever in the safety of the batteries used to power these vehicles.

IEC 62619 is a standard designed for rechargeable batteries used in stationary, marine and motive applications such as lift trucks and automated guided vehicles (AGVs).  These tests include yet another set of vibration, short circuit, impact, drop test, thermal abuse, overcharge, over discharge, and adds propagation testing for thermal runaway.  These tests allow vehicle manufacturers and operators to ensure that the vehicles working in their facilities conform to the highest safety standards.  Valence is now compliant with all tests in this rigorous standard which will allow customers manufacturing lift trucks, aircraft tugs and AGVs to use their products with confidence.

UL 2580 is now required by many applications operating in the US and operates as a safety standard for “batteries in electric vehicles”.  Increasingly customers within industrial, motive and other applications are specifying this standard as a prerequisite to any prospective battery supplier. Valence’s new 24XP series was designed with UL 2580 in mind and can readily be a recognized component assembled into a full battery pack.

In addition to the above standards, Valence includes charging protocols such as the Combined Charging System (CCS) and CHAdeMO for fast charging along with communication protocols such as CANOpen and SAE J1939 which combine to increase the safety of normal battery use.  Battery systems fitted with remote monitoring allow operators or OEMs to view key parameters from the vehicles at all stages of their daily activities to ensure that each application performs efficiently and with the utmost safety at all times.  Valence offers a Master Battery Server (MBS) to provide these functions along with critical features such as system redundancy.

As many traditional diesel- or petrol-fueled applications move towards lithium battery based forms of energy, there continues to be an increase of specific legislation focused on safety.  Meeting these regulations will assist customer confidence and ensure that safe, reliable solutions continue to be selected for vehicles used in everyday life.

Read more about Valence completing R100 testing here.