The all-new Ford Focus Electric, which debuts in late 2011 in the U.S. and 2012 in Europe, will be powered by a lithium-ion battery system that utilizes cooled and heated liquid to regulate battery temperature, extend battery life and maximize driving range.
Ford says that its innovative thermal management technology will help the Focus Electric to operate efficiently under a range of ambient conditions.
Ford has chosen an advanced active liquid-cooling and heating system to regulate the temperature of its lithium-ion battery packs, which are designed to operate under a range of ambient conditions.
While air-cooling methods work well for many of today’s smaller car battery systems, the larger, more complex lithium-ion battery technology powering Ford’s all-electric vehicles calls for an aggressive thermal management system.
An active liquid system heats or chills a coolant before pumping it through the battery cooling system. This loop regulates temperature throughout the system against external conditions.
On hot days, chilled water absorbs heat from the batteries, dispersing it through a radiator before pumping it through the chiller again. On cold days, heated water warms the batteries, gradually bringing the system’s temperature to a level that allows it to efficiently accept charge energy and provide enough discharge power for expected vehicle performance.
“Extreme temperatures impact a battery’s life and performance, making it crucial to have an effective cooling and heating system to regulate temperature for these demanding applications,” said Anand Sankaran, Ford executive technical leader, Energy Storage and HV Systems.
The liquid cooling system also plays a role in charging the vehicle. When the all-electric Focus is plugged in to recharge, the vehicle control system will automatically precondition the battery, if needed, to the optimal temperature before accepting charge. If the battery is already at the optimal temperature, the system will automatically accept charge and maintain an optimal temperature.
Ford will launch two all-electric vehicles – the Transit Connect Electric light commercial van in North America in late 2010 and in Europe in 2011, followed by the Focus Electric passenger car in North America in 2011 and Europe in 2012. Two next-generation hybrid electric vehicles and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle follow in North America in 2012 and Europe in 2013.