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John O | August 2018

New Tesla patent highlights attempts to make battery pack systems safer

By Josh Perry, Editor


According to a recent report from Teslarati, Tesla has received a new patent for and energy storage system that isolates damage from failed battery cells, preventing damage to functional cells and making the battery pack safer.


Tesla has received a patent for a new battery pack with novel safety components. (Wikimedia Commons)


Batteries release heat when charging and discharging and failing cells release hot gases that could impact the integrity of nearby cells. To prevent this type of chain reaction, Tesla’s design uses two interconnects positioned over the cells.


“Multiple first cell connectors connect the positive terminal of the battery cells to the first interconnect, while multiple second cell connectors connect the negative terminal of the battery cells to the second interconnect,” the report explained. “A top plate with an interior and an exterior side is placed over the first and second interconnect.”


There are weak areas in the plate that will rupture when failed battery cells release heat and contain the damage to specific parts of the battery pack.


The patent details this technology further:


“During operation of the energy storage system, the battery cells generate heat. The system may include features or material to thermally insulate the battery cells from the heat generated by other cells (and/or other electrical components), such as a polymer-based insulating material or another type of insulating material. The system may also include features, such as a cold plate or heat pipes, to remove heat generated by the battery cells during operation of the energy storage system. The features or material to perform this electrical insulation may include the interstitial material or a sleeve, as further described below. In alternate embodiments, an air gap may provide the necessary electrical isolation.


“Further, the battery cells may fail and discharge its contents as hot gases that are caustic to the other battery cells and other portions of the system. The energy storage system may include features or material for directing the hot-gas discharge during failure of a battery cell. In certain embodiments, the features or material for insulating the battery cells from heat generated by other battery cells (and/or other electrical components) and the feature or material that directs the discharge of the hot gases during battery cell failure may be the same. In other embodiments, separate features or materials may both insulate a battery cell from the other battery cells and also direct the discharge of any hot gases.”

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