Novelis Inc. developed a new aluminum sheet battery enclosure solution to address customers’ needs in the battery electric vehicle market — which is expected to more than triple globally by 2025. The battery enclosure was built as part of the Novelis Alumineering® solution portfolio, a collection of design solutions for the automotive industry.
“This is the first project resulting from Novelis’ recently launched Customer Solution Center network, which brings research and technical platforms, operations and commercial development together to increase collaboration and innovation with our partners,” said Pierre Labat, vice president, Global Automotive, Novelis. “With our investment in design, joining and crash management capabilities, we were able to create a stronger, more efficient, and more cost-effective enclosure that can be fully customized to meet our customers’ needs.”
Using Novelis Advanz™ highly formable aluminum alloys provides automaker with the ability to achieve deep drawn, complex shapes tailored to specific vehicle design requirements. As a result, the enclosure is up to 50% lighter than an equivalent steel design. The lightweight, high-strength battery enclosure can also help extend range, allowing vehicles to go 6-10% further on a single charge. With safety as a top priority, Novelis conducted extensive testing simulations to ensure its innovative, high-strength materials will protect batteries from road debris and vehicle crashes.
As a result, it matches the best energy density in the industry by enabling more than 160 Wh per kg, an extremely efficient design for OEMs and Tier 1 battery pack manufacturers. It can also accommodate all battery cell types and is designed particularly for battery electric vehicles with larger power packs, such as pick-up trucks, sport utility vehicles, and crossovers. For mass production electric vehicles, the aluminum sheet design is the most cost-effective solution when compared to aluminum extrusion and casting-intense designs, with a lower cost per kg compared to equivalent steel designs at substantially lower weight.
The design incorporates direct feedback from industry partners as well as automotive design engineers. It also leverages the inherent benefits of aluminum being more corrosion-resistant, easily recyclable and having better thermal conductivity, which helps keep battery cells cool and increases its lifespan as compared to steel designs.
Kai-Uwe Salzmann, vice president and CTO, EDAG Inc., an automotive engineering company, stated, “Novelis’ approach to the battery enclosure opportunity focuses on smartly balancing lightweighting with production cost, structural and thermal efficiency, and crash management, which we believe are the key drivers for adopting an aluminum-intensive solution for the marketplace.”