Ford announced yesterday it will be using liquid cooling and heating for its upcoming Ford Focus Electric’s battery system to help maximize the range for drivers. This electric car is currently set to debut in late 2011 in the United States and 2012 in Europe.
Ford said this liquid cooling system will use “cooled and heated liquid to regulate battery temperature, extend battery life and maximize driving range,” allowing for the all electric vehicle to “operate efficiently in a range of ambient temperatures.” Ford went with this thermal management technique over traditional air cooling methods because it believes “the larger, more complex lithium-ion battery technology powering Ford’s all-electric vehicles” needs a more robust solution.
Ford explained that the liquid cooling system in its vehicle, in order to help with optimal charging, 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.” On hot days, it was added, “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.”
“All-electric vehicles do not have a conventional engine on board, so it is critical we maximize the performance of the battery under various operating temperatures,” said Sherif Marakby, Ford director, Electrification Program and Engineering, in a statement. “Active liquid systems are more effective than air systems at regulating lithium-ion battery temperature. As a result, the active liquid system on Focus Electric will play a key role in providing our customers with the best performance possible.”