Sabic has developed a plastic-intensive electric vehicle (EV) battery pack concept using a systems-engineering approach, underscoring the value of lightweight plastics to address critical industry needs for flexible design and performance.
Compared to conventional battery pack designs using traditional materials such as aluminium and other metals, Sabic’s concept using lightweight thermoplastics can potentially realize 30 to 50 percent weight savings per component, improve energy density, simplify the assembly process, reduce costs, improve thermal control and safety and enhance crashworthiness.
“Our work on vehicle electrification technologies extends beyond simply pairing materials to individual components within existing designs,” said Abdullah Al-Otaibi, general manager, ETP & Market Solutions, Sabic.
“Our teams of experts take the complete EV battery system and vehicle structure into account so we can properly assist and enable our automotive customers to achieve their most critical vehicle development objectives.”
The Sabic-developed battery pack concept leverages the properties and strengths of thermoplastics to improve performance, reduce costs and weight, and support mass production. Highlights of the concept include:
• Integration of individual batteries into pouch cells placed within a thin-walled housing molded with a 30 percent glass fiber filled, flame retardant (FR) Sabic® polypropylene (PP) compound.
• Geometric features such as a double-wall construction, a novel rib pattern and creative functional integration – all enabled by Sabic thermoplastics to reduce weight and meet structural requirements.
• Creative use of the anisotropic thermal conductivity of plastics to optimize thermal management performance.
• Integrated plastic-metal hybrid structures with STAMAX™ FR long glass fiber PP material for the battery tray to optimize thermal transfer, meet drop test requirements and absorb the significant impact energy that side frame members can experience.
• A battery pack enclosure or cover molded with STAMAX FR resin. Use of this material meets the UL94 V-0 flammability rating and allows the cover to be metallized for electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI) shielding.
• Parts reduction and assembly efficiency, resulting in cost savings – enabled through the inherent design freedom of thermoplastics.
“We are talking about a seismic shift in the automotive ecosystem,” said Al-Otaibi. “The industry can only build and improve upon today’s EV technologies if the entire supply chain is working together. This has long been Sabic’s way of thinking and style of operating. We will continue to pursue collaborative opportunities and partnerships that encourage innovation to thrive.”
Through ongoing work with the industry, Sabic expects several large battery enclosures, molded with its thermoplastics, to be used in production EVs as early as 2024. One plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) model in China is already using Sabic PP compound instead of aluminium for its battery pack cover, providing weight savings, expanded design freedom, warpage control and other benefits.
Other EVs in production today around world are using several Sabic materials for components such as cell carriers and housings, battery modules and battery enclosures. – TradeArabia News Service