08 Mar '13, 12am

Active cell balancing for electric cars is 92% efficient, and compact

Active cell balancing for electric cars is 92% efficient, and compact

The batteries of electric and hybrid cars have long strings of cells - up to a hundred lithium ion cells, for example - which could be charged and discharged from the two end terminals if only identical cells were available. However, normal manufacturing tolerances are enough to prevent this strategy working. Li-ion cells are the extreme case as, due to their 1% charge voltage regulation requirement and unpleasant over-charge characteristic, not even two cells can be charged in series without some additional control. During charging, lower capacity cells become full first, and are damaged by over-charging should the remaining cells be charged. Accurate per-cell voltage monitoring allows a switch, usually a mosfet, to bypass current around full cells through a resistor. This passive balancing allows the whole battery to be 100% charged without damage, at the expense of heat...

Full article: http://www.electronicsweekly.com/Articles/08/03/2013/5571...

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