For most EVs, low-voltage lead batteries (also known as auxiliary batteries) are a key component of the multi-battery system present in the vehicle. In combination with the high-voltage battery system, low-voltage EV lead batteries ensure the vehicle can function and provide power for critical safety features.
In 2021, a CBI blog on the critical role of lead batteries for EV safety was published by the World Economic Forum(WEF), demonstrating the importance of the technology for this application which is driving policy changes across Europe and the globe.
You can read about the various ways that 12 V lead batteries are powering critical safety functions on-board EVs here, but I want to look at some of the ways this market is proving so important for the global lead battery industry and how our industry is innovating to meet evolving technical demand.
Across Europe’s 27 member states, it is predicted that 50% of newly registered vehicles by 2030 will be plug-in hybrid EVs and full EVs, and the importance of lead batteries for these vehicles to provide safe and reliable baseline of power will only grow in significance.
As a battery technology, lead batteries provide a reliable storage device with an inherent safe chemistry and a sustainable closed-loop raw material cycle, with almost 100% recycled at end-of-life in Europe and North America. The unique benefits of the technology will be important to meet growing consumer expectations for safety, comfort and connectivity.
The advanced lead batteries used for these low-emission vehicles are continuing to innovate and develop based on the evolving needs of the market.
As more advanced driver assist sensor systems like lidar-, radar- and optical AI- systems are added to vehicles with the goal to enable autonomous vehicle functionality at level 3 and above, there will be an even greater reliance and predictability on the low-voltage battery.
An integrated part of the power train, the storage system needs to self-diagnose potential issues in the battery before they happen and anticipate required maintenance or replacement. The storage system also needs to provide emergency power critical for EV and autonomous vehicles and to be capable of communicating this capability to the drive train.
So the role of the lead battery in an EV is changing from an engine-starting application, to the new low-voltage storage systems for the specific duty cycle of an auxiliary battery system.
All of these elements are driving the innovation underway in low-voltage lead batteries to ensure the highest performing lead batteries are provided for the automotive industry.
Clarios, a global leader in advanced lead battery technology, has announced a smart AGM battery system which will sense, diagnose and communicate in real-time the condition of the battery in an electric vehicle. This functionality will be combined with the ability to support safety critical functions as well as anticipating required maintenance or replacement.
Clarios’ newest innovation is seizing the opportunities present in the growing global market for electric vehicles and is due to debut in the next two to three years.
This innovative battery is just one example of the way in which our industry is innovating to meet future market opportunities based on the global shift to a cleaner, low-carbon future.
By Dr Christian Rosenkranz, Chair of CBI and Vice President Industry and Governmental Relations EMEA at Clarios