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OSTLER summary of progress in period 2

The project is now in its latter stages, WP2 was completed in Period 1, WP4 is nearing completion and WP5 is complete. The focus is now in 2 main areas, WP3 (Crashworthy battery pack and vehicle crash investigation) and the final stages of WP6 (Demonstrators). Both of these Work packages is taking more time and effort than originally planned to achieve the desired outcomes. As the technical work packages are completed the project is putting more focus into WP7 (Dissemination and exploitation)
Specific achievements in period 2 include:

  • WP3
    • Electrification of a CAE model of a passenger car
    • Defined the effect of large battery packs on the crashworthiness of vehicles
    • Reported on the validation of FE simulations for evaluating damage to large battery packs
    • Identification of expected real life loads for battery system and cells
    • Creation of a CAE model for Lithium-Ion pouch cells for future prototype testing
    • Design of a prototype battery pack
  • WP4
    • Definition of Main Battery Pack (MBP) general electrical specifications and requirements
    • Definition of MBP general thermal specifications and requirements
    • General Simulation of power and energy demand for MBP considering four different electrical vehicles
    • Detailed Simulation of MBP thermal behaviour using data from MIRA and CRF lithium cells
    • Definition of MBP electrical and thermal interfaces 
    • Specification of CAN signals communication (between MBP, VCU and RM)
  • WP5
    • Completed the studies related to a Removable Battery Pack System
    • Proposed an Interface definition between the RM system and the vehicle
    • Proposed a design guide for Removable Battery Packs (addressed to Tier1 suppliers) and a design guide for Cradles (addressed to OEM’s)
    • Production of the Removable Battery Pack Demonstrator.
  • WP6
    • Specification, build and commissioning of the base vehicle demonstrator
    • Specification, build and test of the MIRA Modular Battery Pack
    • Integration of the MIRA battery pack into the demonstrator vehicle and completion of successful vehicle trials

Expected Final Results and Potential Impacts

The main innovations that will be developed in the OSTLER project are:

  • Novel concepts for using inflatable elements to protect battery packs;
  • Identification of critical crash load cases for electric vehicles;
  • Test facilities and test set-up for crash testing of battery packs;
  • FE modelling techniques for vehicle batteries;
  • Mechanical integration guidelines for crashworthiness;
  • Novel concepts for thermal integration of modular packs;
  • Novel concepts for electrical integration of modular packs;
  • Demonstrators based on vehicle platform with electric powertrain.

A key part of the OSTLER project is the system integration activity, and the significant aspects that will need to be solved in this activity are the thermal and electrical integration.

The current state-of-the-art thermal management solutions are relatively unsophisticated. For example, the Toyota Prius Mark 3 uses passenger compartment air for thermal management of the battery pack. For future EVs more sophisticated thermal management is needed to achieve greater efficiency and reliability to assist with optimising the range and performance of the electric vehicle. Therefore, OSTLER will develop schemes for more efficient thermal integration.

In electrical integration, the interfaces are usually proprietary although standardisation mandates for the “charger interface” are emerging. To permit a modular approach for the main battery (traction battery), standardised interfaces are required without the packs being dedicated to a particular vehicle or manufacturer. Furthermore, it is usually not possible to integrate battery packs of different cell chemistries (even different variants of Lithium-Ion) due to variances in charge balancing requirements. Therefore OSTLER will propose standardised interfaces and a modular high voltage (HV) bus to permit a modular approach to battery packs, including user removable battery packs for the purpose of temporarily extending the vehicle range. Furthermore, the safety concepts and monitoring concepts for the battery packs need to be integrated with the vehicle’s on-board systems.

OSTLER will aim to develop smart concepts for the crashworthy physical integration of battery packs in the structures of electric vehicles. Apart from intelligent passive solutions, inflatable elements will be investigated to provide protection both to the battery pack itself and to the occupants of the vehicle. This includes the provision of protection in the vehicle for the battery pack installation, taking into account various potential pack-to-vehicle designs. The focus will also be on the external crashworthiness of the battery pack in order to prevent passenger cell intrusions, and to examine the effect of battery pack mass and stiffness on overall vehicle crashworthiness including occupant loading.

The project will establish the potential for battery damage by setting up FE models for at least two types of battery packs in order to perform CAE simulations of several vehicle collision scenarios with battery packs fitted in various locations. Laboratory tests on components will be used to validate the simulation results.
The principal European dimension to this project is to make a significant contribution to the ability of the European automotive industry and its supply chain to compete in the global market for electrically-powered vehicles. In particular, Asian OEMs such as Toyota are perceived as leading technology developers, specifically, the majority of volume suppliers of storage technologies are Asian or American. The OSTLER project represents an innovative approach to electric vehicle design led by the European supply chain that will give Europe a strong competitive position in global markets.

In the field of electric energy storage, the European industrial players must rather strive to catch up with their Asian and American competitors than compete with each other. Therefore, a European approach is appropriate here to enable as many European players as possible to benefit from the research results. Additionally, collaboration on smart electric storage integration at the European level will be a good starting point for future standardization activities. It is no longer appropriate for these to be done on a national level as the topic: the electrification of road transport is of European relevance.

OSTLER is fully in line with the objectives of the European Green Cars Initiative, which is not only to achieve a breakthrough in the use of renewable and non-polluting energy sources, but also in safety as mentioned several times in the Transport Work Programme 2010.