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Thermal Management for Electric Vehicles 2020-2030

Thermal management of Lithium-ion batteries, traction motors and power electronics. Technologies, OEM strategy, player analysis and market forecasts

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There is a strong agreement that the market for electric vehicles is increasing, but there is a significant portion of consumers that are not yet convinced; the main concerns relate to range anxiety, battery longevity and safety. As this market increases, and for it to reach its full potential, there is further need to address these issues and thermal management is a large factor in doing so. Effectively managing heat across an electric vehicle can provide improved performance, range, charging, longevity and safety.
This report from IDTechEx on Thermal Management for Electric Vehicles covers the batteries, power electronics and motors, considering the material and engineering solutions used throughout each component. Extensive primary information is gathered to give a technically detailed overview of the field. The technologies currently in use across the manufacturers are described, analysed and forecast. Additionally, emerging technologies are addressed and discussed for their suitability in future applications. The breakdown of active and passive methods of cooling for Li-ion batteries in electric vehicles is considered and forecast for the next 10 years utilising total and average kWh numbers for the electric vehicle market in this time. The mass of thermal interface materials used in gap filler and conductive adhesive applications is forecast through to 2030. In addition to this, the report provides the market for thermal interface materials, considering the breakdown between battery and hybrid cars, trucks, vans and buses. The technologies that are currently used for the thermal management of various vehicles power electronics and motors are analysed along with predictions for the prevailing trends and methodologies.
IDTechEx forecast for percentage of vehicles that will be cooled by air, liquid or refrigerant through 2020-2030, showing a trend towards liquid cooling
Operating or charging a battery in cold conditions results in reduced capacity, accelerated cell degradation and reduced efficiency, whilst increased temperatures also result in reduced capacity. It also has serious implications for safety, with thermal runaway being a major concern. If a cell becomes too hot a thermal runaway may be triggered whereby after the initial event, neighbouring cells are also ignited resulting in chain reaction which can lead to fire and potentially an explosion. There have been several high-profile incidents of this from South Korean energy storage fires to the fires from notable OEMs such as Hyundai and Tesla. Whilst these incidents are generally quite rare, when an electric vehicle goes into thermal runaway the heat output increases exponentially with time, making extinguishing a vehicle fire much harder as time goes on, therefore early management and detection of such events without false positives is crucial.
Whilst thermal management is a key consideration for any electric vehicle, there is no consensus on the best design. This stems from the fact there is also no consensus on the best way to construct an electric vehicle, from the battery cell, module and pack construction to the type of electric motor used. Companies like Tesla use many cylindrical cells in their packs with an interweaved water-glycol coolant circuit, BMW use prismatic cells with a large refrigerant cooled plate beneath and players like Nissan and Toyota are dedicated to the continued use of air cooling. Whilst the array of designs can be somewhat overwhelming, it provides a plethora of opportunities for manufacturers to create thermal management solutions for electric vehicles. This is especially relevant in the near future as regulations relating to electric vehicles and thermal runaway will be enforced, depending on the regulations implemented several manufacturers are going to need to rethink their designs, or at least implement much more thorough thermal management technologies.
Like the batteries of electric vehicles, there are several designs used for cooling of the motors, primarily these are air, oil and water-glycol but once again there is no consensus and the choice is often determined by considerations relating to the whole vehicle thermal management. There are also several emerging technologies in this field in addition to some advancements in motor design to prioritise thermal efficiency.
In addition to the other sectors mentioned, the power electronics are a key component for any electric vehicle and their suitable thermal management is equally important. There are trends towards higher power density and operating temperatures, approaches and techniques to sustain this trend are covered regarding wire bonds, solder and advanced substrates. The incorporation or removal of thermal interface materials for the power electronics varies between OEMs and several electric vehicle use cases are covered.
Key topics:
  • Li-ion Battery Cooling - Air, Liquid, Refrigerant and Immersion
  • Thermal Interface Materials
  • Heat Spreaders and Cooling Plates
  • Thermal Runaway Importance, Detection and Prevention
  • Battery Enclosures
  • Traction Motor Cooling Mechanisms
  • Power Electronics Cooling
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Table of Contents
1.1.Introduction to thermal management
1.2.Material opportunities in and around a battery pack: overview
1.3.Analysis of battery cooling methods
1.4.Global trends in OEM cooling methodologies adopted
1.5.Total GWh of electric vehicles by region
1.6.Global trends in OEM cooling methodologies adopted
1.7.Immersion fluids - overview analysis
1.8.TIM for EV battery packs - forecast by category
1.9.Motor design - OEM strategy breakdown
1.10.Overview of thermal materials in EV modules
1.11.Evolving power electronics cooling technology: air to liquid to microchannel
2.1.Introduction to thermal management
2.2.Introduction to battery thermal management
2.3.Battery thermal management - hot and cold
2.4.Material opportunities in and around a battery pack: overview
3.1.Current Technologies and OEM Strategies
3.1.1.Active vs passive Cooling
3.1.2.Passive battery cooling methods
3.1.3.Active battery cooling methods
3.1.4.Air cooling - technology appraisal
3.1.5.Liquid cooling - technology appraisal
3.1.6.Liquid cooling - geometries
3.1.7.Liquid cooling - alternative fluids
3.1.8.Liquid cooling - large OEM announcements
3.1.9.Refrigerant cooling - technology appraisal
3.1.10.Hyundai's timeline to refrigerant cooling
3.1.11.Analysis of battery cooling methods
3.1.12.Main incentives for liquid cooling
3.1.13.Electric vehicles: passenger cars
3.1.14.IONITY - a European fast charging network
3.1.15.Shifting OEM strategies - liquid cooling
3.1.16.Global trends in OEM cooling methodologies adopted
3.1.17.Total GWh of electric vehicles by region
3.1.18.Global trends in OEM cooling methodologies adopted
3.1.19.IDTechEx outlook
3.1.20.Is tab cooling a solution?
3.1.21.Integration with whole vehicle thermal management
3.2.Emerging Technologies, Li-ion Battery Cooling
3.2.1.Immersion cooling - introduction
3.2.2.Single-phase vs two-phase cooling
3.2.3.Immersion cooling fluids - requirements
3.2.4.Immersion fluids for electric vehicles
3.2.5.Immersion fluids - properties
3.2.6.Immersion fluids - costs
3.2.7.Immersion fluids - summary
3.2.8.Player analysis
3.2.9.SWOT Analysis - Immersion cooling for electric vehicles
3.2.10.Emerging routes - phase change materials (PCMs)
3.2.11.PCMs - overview
3.2.12.Operating temperature range of commercially available PCMs
3.2.13.Emerging routes - thermoelectric cooling
3.3.Heat Spreaders, Cooling Plates and Cylindrical Cell Solutions
3.3.1.Heat spreaders or interspersed cooling plates - pouches and prismatic
3.3.2.Chevrolet Volt and Dana
3.3.3.Advanced cooling plates
3.3.4.Advanced cooling plates - roll bond aluminium
3.3.5.Active cell-to-cell cooling solutions - cylindrical
3.3.6.Printed temperature sensors and heaters
3.4.Thermal Interface Materials for Lithium-ion Battery Packs
3.4.1.Introduction to Thermal Interface Materials (TIM)
3.4.2.Overview of TIM by type
3.4.3.Thermal management - pack and module overview
3.4.4.Thermal Interface Material (TIM) - pack and module overview
3.4.5.Switching to gap fillers rather than pads
3.4.6.EV use-case examples (1)
3.4.7.Battery pack TIM - Options and market comparison
3.4.8.The silicone dilemma for the automotive industry
3.4.9.TIM: silicone alternatives
3.4.10.TIM: the conductive players
3.4.11.Notable acquisitions for TIM players
3.4.12.TIM for electric vehicle battery packs - trends
3.4.13.TIM for EV battery packs - forecast by category
3.4.14.TIM for EV battery packs - forecast by TIM type
3.4.15.Insulating cell-to-cell foams
3.5.Thermal Runaway Importance, Detection and Prevention
3.5.1.Fire protection - introduction
3.5.2.Battery fires in S Korea
3.5.3.Causes of battery fires
3.5.4.Many considerations to safety
3.5.5.Causes of failure
3.5.6.Stages of thermal runaway
3.5.7.Detecting thermal runaway in a battery pack
3.5.8.Gas generation / detection
3.5.9.Cell chemistry and stability
3.5.10.Thermal runaway propagation
3.5.11.Regulation change
3.5.12.Thermal runaway prevention
3.5.13.Thermal runaway prevention - cylindrical cell-to-cell
3.5.14.Prevention of battery shorting
3.6.Battery Enclosures
3.6.1.Lightweighting battery enclosures
3.6.2.Latest composite battery enclosures
3.6.3.Alternatives to phenolic resins
3.6.4.Emerging materials in fire safety solutions
3.6.5.Extra reinforcement needed?
3.6.6.Are polymers suitable housings?
3.6.7.EMI shielding
3.7.Thermal Management in Electric Vehicle Charging
3.7.1.Importance of electric vehicle charging infrastructure
3.7.2.Thermal considerations for fast charging
3.7.3.Liquid cooled charging stations
3.7.4.Immersion cooled charging stations
4.1.Electric motor types
4.2.Electric motor type - advantages and disadvantages
4.3.Cooling electric motors
4.4.Current OEM strategies - air cooling
4.5.Current OEM strategies - oil cooling
4.6.Ricardo's new motor
4.7.Current OEM strategies - water-glycol cooling
4.8.Recent advancements in liquid cooling
4.9.Cooling methods comparison by motor
4.10.Motor design - OEM strategy breakdown
4.11.Cooling technology - OEM strategies
4.12.Electric motor thermal management overview
4.13.Emerging technologies - refrigerant cooling
4.14.Emerging technologies - immersion cooling
4.15.Emerging technologies - phase change materials
4.16.Radial flux vs axial flux motors
4.17.Axial flux motors - current players
4.18.In-wheel motors
4.19.DHX ultra high-torque motors
4.20.Equipmake spoke geometry PM motor
4.21.Diabatix - rapid design of cooling components
4.22.Integrated stator housings
4.23.Potting & materials
4.24.Integration with whole vehicle thermal management
5.1.1.Power electronics in electric vehicles
5.1.2.Power switch technology: a generational shift towards SiC and GaN
5.1.3.Benchmarking Si vs SiC vs GaN
5.1.4.SiC and GaN still have substantial room to improve
5.1.5.Where will GaN and SiC win?
5.2.Towards Higher Area Power Density and Higher Operating Temperatures
5.2.1.Mega trend in power modules: increasing power density
5.2.2.Mega trend in power modules: increasing power density
5.2.3.Operation temperature increasing
5.2.4.Roadmap towards lower thermal resistance
5.2.5.Traditional packaging technology
5.3.Review of Packaging Approaches in Electric Vehicles
5.3.1.Toyota Prius (2004-2010): power module Lexus power module
5.3.3.Toyota Prius (2010-2015): power module
5.3.4.Toyota Prius (2016 onwards): power module
5.3.5.Chevrolet 2016 Power module (by Delphi)
5.3.6.Cadillac 2016 power module (by Hitachi)
5.3.7.Hitachi supplies many other vehicle manufacturers
5.3.8.Nissan Leaf power module (2012)
5.3.9.Honda Accord 2014 Power Module
5.3.10.Honda Fit (by Mitsubishi)
5.3.11.BWM i3 (by Infineon)
5.3.12.Infineon: evolution of HybridPack and beyond
5.3.13.Infineon's HybridPack is used by multiple producers (SAIC, Hyundai, etc.)
5.3.14.Tesla Model S (discreet IGBT) and Model 3 (SiC module)
5.4.Beyond Wire Bonds: Approaches and Techniques to Sustain the Roadmap Towards Higher Temperatures
5.4.1.Al wire bond is a common source of failure
5.4.2.Al wire bonding remains strong in IGBT modules
5.4.3.Al wire bonding also used in SiC modules
5.4.4.Technology evolution beyond Al wire bonding
5.4.5.Transition towards direct Cu lead bonding
5.4.6.Transition towards Cu pin bonding
5.4.7.Transition towards Cu wire bonding using Ag sintered buffer plates
5.5.Beyond Solder: Materials and Technology to Sustain the Roadmap Towards Higher Temperatures
5.5.1.Die and substrate attach are common failure modes in power devices
5.5.2.Die attach technology trend
5.5.3.The choice of solder technology
5.5.4.Why metal sintering?
5.5.5.Sintering can be used at multiple levels
5.5.6.Transition towards Ag sintering (Tesla 3 with ST SiC modules)
5.6.Advanced Substrates: Technologies for High Temperature and Power Levels
5.6.1.The choice of ceramic substrate technology
5.6.2.AlN: overcoming its mechanical weakness
5.6.3.Si3N4: overcoming its mediocre thermal conductivity
5.6.4.The approaches to metallisation: DPC, DBC, AMB, AMC, and thick film metallisation
5.6.5.Direct plated copper (DPC): pros and cons
5.6.6.Double bonded copper (DBC): pros and cons
5.6.7.Active metal brazing (AMB): pros and cons
5.6.8.Which ceramic substrate-metallisation technology combinations are most reliable?
5.6.9.Ceramics: CTE mismatch for ceramics
5.6.10.Examples of various substrate choices in EV power modules
5.7.Eliminating Thermal Paste: Key Technology Changes to Sustain Roadmap Towards Higher Temperatures
5.7.1.Why use TIM in power modules?
5.7.2.Which EV inverter modules have TIM?
5.7.3.When will the TIM not become the limiting factor?
5.7.4.Why the drive to eliminate the TIM?
5.7.5.Has TIM been eliminated in any EV inverter modules?
5.7.6.Comparison of various thermal greases
5.7.7.Thermal grease: other shortcomings
5.7.8.Phase change materials (PCM)
5.7.9.Thermal resistance of grease and PCMs
5.8.Cooling: Technology Changes to Sustain Roadmap Towards Higher Temperatures
5.8.1.Evolving air cooling to direct or jet liquid cooling to microchannel cooling

Report Statistics

Slides 227
Forecasts to 2030

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