Auto Electronics

Ricardo establishes hybrid/electric vehicle battery development center

Ricardo, Inc. has established a Battery Systems Development Center at its Van Buren Twp., Michigan, headquarters to offer turnkey engineering and development of high-voltage battery-pack systems for hybrid (HEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and electric vehicles (EV). The center will feature three lithium-ion (Li-Ion)-capable development chambers, large HEV/EV-capable battery cyclers and equipment to facilitate the development of battery systems in simulated vehicle environments.

The Battery Systems Development Center will be used to validate Ricardo's design, analysis and simulation of advanced high-power battery packs. Ricardo also offers pack/vehicle integration, hybrid transmission development, and vehicle development capabilities, and can provide turnkey vehicle battery systems development.

"Up to half the development cost of a battery system can be the robust integration of battery cells into packs," said Ricardo president Dean Harlow. The Battery Systems Development Center, projected to grow to a staff of 32, will focus on engineering complete Li-Ion and nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) battery-pack systems, as opposed to the development of battery cells.

"There are critical items to address, such as control algorithm robustness, accurate state-of-charge estimation, fault-tolerance design, thermal management optimization, shock and vibration robustness and cost management," added Wayne Thelen, Ricardo's chief engineer for Advanced Technology.

Prototype pack systems will undergo exhaustive development in three specially built development chambers equipped with robust safety and filtration systems. Each will feature high-capacity EV/HEV-capable battery cyclers, high-voltage instrumentation, hardware-in-the-loop systems and other equipment to enable the development of battery systems in simulated vehicle environments. Once a battery pack design is verified in a safe, simulated environment, the battery system can be integrated into and further developed on a vehicle in Ricardo's adjoining garage facility. The first chamber is scheduled to be commissioned by mid-summer.

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