If you’ve done much reading about electric vehicles, you’ll find that some people are pretty concerned about the ability of a battery-powered vehicle to operate in cold and snowy climates. We’d like to share some information with you on what Ford is doing to make sure that its battery-electric vehicles will give you less reason for worry than others.
“Batteries are similar to people, as they both achieve maximum performance working under moderate, unchanged temperatures,” said Sherif Marakby, Ford Director of Electrification Programs and Engineering. “Using a liquid-heated battery system allows Ford to keep the Focus Electric battery at a moderate temperature and improve performance whether you are charging or driving in a cold climate.”
Extreme temperatures can affect battery performance and reduce the range of electric vehicles. The range will not be impacted as much with a liquid-heated system compared to an air system. That’s why Ford will use 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.
“A liquid-heated battery can accept a charge faster from the regenerative braking that recaptures kinetic energy and sends it back to the battery, essentially providing longer range for the customer in real world cold weather conditions,” said Sherif. “Additionally, since acceleration in an electric vehicle comes from the power available in the battery, the customer will have more power available if the battery is warmer.”
The use of active liquid heating also enables owners of Focus Electric to automatically precondition battery pack temperature during daily recharging. While the vehicle is plugged in to the power grid, the vehicle system will be able to warm up the battery on cold days.
“Even when you’re parking in cold temperatures, as long as the vehicle is plugged in, you will warm up the battery,” explained Marakby. “Basically, customers will have the capability they need right off the bat. They won’t have to wait for the car to warm up.”
On cold days, heated liquid 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 to get good vehicle performance.
Electrification is an important piece of the overall Ford product sustainability strategy. The aggressive strategy includes five new electrified vehicles in North America by 2012 and Europe by 2013. Ford launched the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van in 2010 and in addition to Focus Electric in late 2011, will introduce C-MAX Hybrid, a second next-generation lithium-ion battery hybrid and the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid in 2012.
Ford has launched an Electrified Vehicle Facebook page to serve as a place where passionate enthusiasts or curious consumers can find and share information about the company’s electrified vehicles. The page, available at facebook.com/FordElectricVehicles, is part of the Ford efforts to educate consumers on the variety of choices available with electrified vehicles and what the company is doing to make an electric lifestyle as easy as possible.
The Ford Electrified Vehicle page for Facebook was developed to help consumers understand the differences between electric-vehicle technologies so they can make informed decisions about whether a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicle fits their driving habits. The page also creates a place where consumers can initiate and participate in conversations around Ford’s electrified vehicle offerings and gives Ford a forum to respond to consumers who are interested in electrified vehicles.