Challenges in Transition towards Electric Vehicles
- Recently, an 80-year-old man died at his home in Telangana’s Nizamabad district after the battery of an electric scooter exploded while being charged, there are many such incidents which have occurred recently.
- After the enquiry, the Ministry of Road Transport intends to issue guidelines for EVs, including tests for compliance with safety norms.
Why the transition is required?
- Concerns about climate change have prompted international attempts to electrify the transportation sector. Parallel to this, the cost of Li-ion (Lithium-ion) battery technology has plummeted by an order of magnitude in the last decade.
- The globe has taken notice of this moment, with governments providing incentives to speed up the shift and private sector preparing to seize market share.
About the Li-ion battery:
- The anode, which is typically graphite; the cathode, which is typically based on a nickel, cobalt, or manganese-based oxide; and the electrolyte, which is typically a lithium salt in an inorganic solvent.
- Manufacturing a battery is a complicated process that involves making anode and cathode sheets and arranging them into a sandwich structure separated by a thin separator.
- Separators, which are roughly 15 microns thick about a fifth of the thickness of a human hair play a key role in preventing shorting between the anode and cathode.
- Accidental shorting of the electrodes is a known cause of fires in Li-ion cells.
Reasons for the fires:
- Battery fires, like other fires, start when three elements of the “fire triangle” collide: heat, oxygen, and fuel.
- The internal temperature of the battery can rise if an undesirable event occurs, such as a short circuit, because the anode and cathode discharge their energy through the short.
- As a result, a sequence of reactions in the battery components, particularly the cathode, might occur, releasing heat and oxygen in an uncontrolled manner.
- Such events also cause the sealed battery to break, exposing the components to the outside air and the second part of the fire triangle, oxygen.
- The liquid electrolyte, which is combustible and serves as a fuel, completes the triangle.
Source: THE HINDU.
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