Electric Vehicles, Renewables

Preparing EVs for maximum efficiency

Preconditioning an electric vehicle prior to use ensures it is ready to roll in all conditions, which reduces battery stress and range anxiety.

As the sixth-largest country on Earth by area, Australia is a sprawling land mass comprising many climate zones. From the desert centre and tropical north, to the snowfields and temperate east and south, it is a nation of extremes with seasonal variations.

Due to these environmental contrasts, there are varying conditions in which Australia’s electric vehicles operate. At the highest and lowest ends of the temperature scale, it can be essential to precondition vehicles prior to use for maximum performance, energy efficiency and driver comfort.

Preconditioning allows users to pre-heat or pre-cool an EV’s cabin before each journey, ensuring less of the vehicle’s stored energy is used for these functions. By preconditioning an EV while it is still plugged in, it ensures power for these functions is used from the grid or solar, increasing the vehicle’s range when hitting the road.

In winter, preheating an EV refers to the use of external power from the charger – or the power supply from the car battery if need be – to heat the battery before starting the car so it reaches optimal discharge working temperature.

The battery life of EVs is shortened in winter, and in extreme cold vehicles can be difficult to start. Therefore, the battery needs to be preheated to power the car.

The heating technology of an EV battery varies according to the vehicle. A battery comprises the positive electrode, separator, negative electrode, organic electrolyte and battery shell.

The organic electrolyte conducts ions between the positive and negative electrodes of the lithium battery, which is the guarantee for the lithium-ion battery to obtain the advantages of high voltage and high-energy density so the low viscosity of the electrolyte makes for the movement of lithium ions. If the viscosity is high, it will form internal resistance, thereby preventing the movement of lithium ions.

When the temperature is low, preheating the battery can increase activity of the electrolyte inside it with the change in temperature so the charging and discharging performance is improved. This preheating helps meet the power demand of the vehicle.

When the temperature is below -25 degrees – not an issue in Australia, but certainly in parts of Europe, Asia and North America – the lithium electrons freeze, resulting in failure to start the car. In such cases, vehicle charge time is extended to warm the battery in preparation for use.

The most common EV preheating systems are PTC preheating, electrothermal film preheating, cold preheating, phase change material preheating, heat pipe preheating, thermal and AC preheating. No matter what kind of preheating system is used, the most important aspect is electrothermal conversion.

Most EV users charge their car during the off-peak time at home, usually at night. In some winter cases, when drivers are in a hurry to use their car in the morning, they have to spend time warming it up. There are vehicles available with pre-heating functions, however if that power comes from the battery, it can reduce battery life and create range anxiety.

However, if the preheating can be sourced via the EV charger, the battery is preserved. This function is available in all Shenzhen ATESS Power Technology Co (ATESS) EV chargers available in Australia.

Founded in 2017, ATESS is a global supplier of solar energy storage and EV charging solutions. The company offers a range of EV chargers at the forefront of technological advancements.

When users charge overnight with ATESS, the EV charger remains connected to the car to reach the set preheating time, and the energy required for preheating comes from the charger. The preheating power for the in-car environment is also provided by the charger, which improves user experience.

For more information, visit atesspower.com.

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