The old saying “to the victor go the spoils” is now starting to apply in the battery pack industry. Recently Panasonic announced that it will no longer be supporting any new battery pack development projects that are not in the electric vehicle (EV) or solar storage space.
Shipping lithium batteries is very important that requires significant investment in training and equipment. In April of 2016, new regulations were passed that forbid lithium batteries from passenger aircraft and limited the SOC (state of charge) for any battery shipped via air cargo to 30%.
When building a Lithium-Ion Battery pack there will always be some sort of protection circuitry necessary that will safely separate the cells from the external connections. The protection may be as simple as a pair of Charge and Discharge Field Effect Transistors (FET’s) with voltage and current detectors, or may be as complicated as adding firmware controlled fuel gauging and secondary protection.
Our recent product webinar titled “Lithium Battery Regulations and How They Affect OEM's” had the most response then we have ever had in a webinar we hosted here at Epec. With over 300 registrants and 100+ attendees, which topic confirms that these latest lithium battery shipping changes is a real concern amongst some of the industry’s leading Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s).
Over the past several years, shipping lithium batteries via air freight has been serious business and it requires significant investment from any company who manufacturer custom battery packs. Not only do companies need to make sure that battery packs are shipped properly without delays, but also for the safety of the public. As of April 1, 2016 international regulations applicable to air shipments of lithium batteries have changed yet again and will require that all companies that manufacture and ship batteries continue to invest to stay ahead of the requirements.
During our recent webinar titled "How Many Cycles Can I Expect from My Battery?" we were unable to answer all of the questions that came in during the Q&A section within the given time. One of the questions stood out from the rest so we wanted to share the question and answer on our blog.
At Epec, we are in a unique position where we have the capabilities to produce domestically at our Colorado tech center, our Massachusetts assembly facility, or with our partner factories in Asia. This allows us both flexibility and control on prototype development, regulatory builds, pilot ruins, and production quantities.
In today's battery and charger market companies may provide either battery pack assemblies or battery chargers, but few provide both. In the past buying a battery from one source and a charger from another worked just fine when using the older NiCd batteries with overnight chargers. However, with today’s new battery chemistries and the increasing need for faster charge times, careful matching of the charger to the battery is essential. Without proper battery and charger matching, safety, cycle life, or run-time may be greatly affected.
When you evaluate and examine the true stresses that lithium batteries encounter, most battery packs are designed to last three to five years if used and stored properly. Environmental conditions, not just charge cycling, are the key ingredients to longevity. The worst situation is keeping a fully charged battery at elevated temperatures. When not in use, batteries must be stored in a cool place.