It looks like the scientists over at the University of Pennsylvania Electrochemical Engine Center have managed to come up with something interesting – a self-heating lithium ion battery which will be able to improve on cold weather performance in a rather dramatic manner. Just how is this achieved? Well, it makes use of a thin foil that is made of nickel in the first place, where this thin foil will surround the battery while drawing power from it. Nickel was selected as the material of choice for the hearing blanket due to the relatively low price point, and the system is touted to increase the battery’s weight by approximately 1.5% while adding an additional 4% to its cost.
Lead researcher of the self-heating battery, Chao-Yang Wang, said “It is a long standing problem that batteries do not perform well at subzero temperatures. This may not be an issue for phones and laptops, but is a huge barrier for electric vehicles, drones, outdoor robots and space applications.”
An EV battery could potentially lose up to 40% of its range in sub-zero temperatures, and a cold battery will also have issues with harnessing electricity generated by regenerative braking systems. The range loss in cold weather would translate to EV manufacturers throwing in larger and obviously, more expensive batteries as part of the compensation. Hopefully this self-heating battery will be able to enter production soon.