Feature: Continuing the Course - Lessons from The 2020 Battery Show

Virtual edition of annual conference highlights battery electric vehicle development and growth

PAINESVILLE, OHIO (January 8, 2021) - As with most trade shows and conferences since last March, the North American Battery Show went virtual in 2020. The event took place online from November 10-12, with technical sessions, panels, workshops, networking opportunities, live product demos, and more.

The annual show, usually held near Detroit, typically brings together approximately 650 suppliers, plus engineers and battery technology innovators. It promotes itself as North America’s largest and most comprehensive advanced battery manufacturing trade show. 

Fact is, battery electric vehicle (BEV) growth is a significant trend worldwide. There is incredible technical progress being made right now, and many reasons to believe predictions the global vehicle segment will hit a tipping point in this decade. Keynote speaker Michael Sanders of AVICENNE Energy forecasted 26% CAGR for lithium-ion batteries (LIB) through 2030, with the biggest share coming in automotive and bus.

Here are my main takeaways from the show:

New regulations in the US and Canada
A hot topic was the recent California ban on the sale of new gas- and diesel-powered passenger cars and trucks by 2035. The state will also require medium- and heavy-duty trucks to be emission-free by 2045. Similarly, the Canadian province of Quebec will ban the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles in 2035. The EU is considering an even faster agenda by adopting the Euro-7 emission standard by 2025. This would require exhaust emissions so minimal as to effectively ban internal combustion engines (ICE). The U.K. has also announced a 2030 ban on ICE vehicles.

New EV commercial vehicles are (or are soon to be) hitting the road
OEM Navistar discussed its rollout of its all-electric CE Series of school buses starting in California. It is engineered to meet or exceed the performance of ICE diesel buses, with 75% energy savings and up to a 200-mile radius. The company is also rolling out, in 2021, a 335-horsepower medium-duty truck as part of its eMV concept series. 

Brett Pope, director of Electric Vehicles for Volvo Trucks North America, presented on his company’s Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions (LIGHTS) project. Volvo is deploying its all-electric VNR® Class 8 series trucks to the port of Long Beach, California, to be used for container transportation. In addition, 70 electric VNR trucks will be deployed to southern California fleets through a grant program in 2021. These trucks will provide lifetime emission reduction benefits in excess of 152.63 tons of NOx, 1.317 tons of PM2.5, and 53,160 tons of CO2. The project will also help Volvo gain real-world data to help it scale up these vehicles.

Worldwide, electric buses, heavy and medium duty trucks are expected to grow from about 100,000 units in 2020 to 800,000 units by 2030, according to AVICENNE.

The trend towards solid state batteries continues … and may be accelerating
The show demonstrated a continued focus on the development of sulfide-based, solid-state batteries (ASSB). Compared to LIBs, ASSBs feature no separators and a greater pack density. They produce greater energy, and are safer due to a lower risk of fire. 

Full commercialization of ASSBs is still expected by 2030, but advancements are happening more quickly than predicted even a year ago. Engineers are moving from sulfide-based materials to composites of different inorganic and organic materials. They are also working to resolve the issue of dendrites that tend to short the cell through the solid electrolyte.

New solutions for thermal management during fast charging
The ability to charge vehicles quickly is essential to the further acceptance of passenger and commercial BEVs. One of the hurdles to fast charging, however, is the high heat produced within LIBs. Without a sufficient thermal management system, it could generate enough heat to cause a thermal runaway event.

There was also discussion about Tesla’s Octovalve system, introduced with the Model Y. The Octovalve works as a heat pump that can cool or heat the battery pack (heating may be necessary during cold weather), along with the passenger compartment itself. 

It is worth noting other thermal management technologies in the works. At the WeAutomotive show in June 2020, specialty chemical manufacturer Lubrizol discussed an approach that immerses the cells directly in a pool of flowing, non-conductive, dielectric fluid. The fluid can thus remove heat very efficiently. Another manufacturer's “passive” solution uses an adhesive-backed thermal compression pad placed within the battery pack. This allows cells and battery modules to lower thermal impedance to the bottom of the pack to assist with cooling.

New technology to address thermal runaway protection
Thermal runaway remains an important technical issue. China’s newly released GB 18384-2020 EV safety regulation requires manufacturers to ensure vehicle occupants have five minutes to safely exit the vehicle from the time a thermal runaway is detected. In the EU, the UN GTR-Phase 2 standard provides for similar requirements to protect EV occupants.

Electronic connector manufacturer Amphenol presented a new technology using sensors embedded within a battery pack to warn occupants of thermal runaway events. This could potentially be used in conjunction with thermal runaway flame retardant materials and pressure-sensitive tapes.

EV engineers can rely on Avery Dennison Performance Tapes
This is an exciting time in EV development. Many of the technical hurdles that have prevented broad commercialization of EVs are being solved, and rapidly. Meanwhile, OEMs are bringing new electric models to the passenger and commercial vehicle markets. Our roads may look very different by 2030.

As EV manufacturers and suppliers look to this future, they can also look to Avery Dennison Performance Tapes. We offer more than 100 formulas with technologies that address extremes of high temperature, vibration, impact, thermal runaway. These include solutions for battery venting, emerging technologies such as ASSB, and thermal impedance reducing adhesives. Many of our adhesives and tape constructions can be customized to meet ULⓇ 94 V and other requirements for thermal runaway material bonding applications. And we can create unique constructions featuring PU foams, electrically insulative films, or other materials. 


About the author:
Michael VanHaerents is an automotive segment business development manager for Avery Dennison Performance Tapes. He leverages nearly 20 years of adhesive and sealant engineering and program management experience in the automotive industry to help build strategic relationships, create product specifications, and build new technology portfolios for new and existing adhesive and tape applications. Based in the Detroit area, he can be reached at michael.vanhaerents@averydennison.com, and welcomes your connection on LinkedIn

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