Battery fires, particularly in common lithium-ion batteries, are one of the knocks against the cleaner rides. Identifying problems in power packs beforehand could eliminate the risk, and help to increase interest in a growing EV market.
The researchers, who call themselves Eatronians, aren’t from a distant planet. Eatron Technologies is based in the U.K. The tech they have developed, however, certainly sounds advanced. It’s part of the company’s effort to unlock the “full potential of batteries with intelligent software for all vehicle and battery manufacturers worldwide.”
Eatron uses AI that works “alongside your battery,” diagnosing problems as part of the company’s unique battery management software, product manager Krzysztof Slósarczyk said in a video clip on the company’s website.
Battery fires often result from what the experts call a “thermal runaway,” a series of calamities inside the power pack that can cause it to explode, per CNN.
“This process can be triggered by a battery overheating, being punctured, or an electrical fault like a short circuit,” Dylan Khoo, an analyst at tech intelligence firm ABI Research, told the news agency. “In cases where fires occur spontaneously while charging, it is likely due to manufacturing defects.”
Eatron’s experts cite lithium plating as the main culprit. This happens when the battery is charged quickly at low temperatures, causing lithium deposits to form around the anode. If let go, these deposits can cause a short circuit, according to the company.
The company claims its software can ID plating and other “degradation” with 90% accuracy and no false positives.
“The reality is that EV battery fires are incredibly rare, but even one is one too many,” Eatron CEO Umut Genc said on the company’s website. “As an industry, we need to ensure the number of catastrophic battery failures reaches zero, and then stays there.”
There are already systems that look for problems during manufacturing. Eatron’s tech makes it possible to check the batteries after they are in EVs.
Typically, the company claims, the batteries had to be opened to find plating and other problems. The AI is essentially a wellness screening, catching early warning signs.
Eatron experts envision EV owners having the time to schedule a fire-saving fix at their convenience, thanks to the early screening.
“Crucially, no matter how the manufacturer chooses to respond, the failure has been avoided, and [battery fires] will quickly be consigned to history,” Genc said on the company website.
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