Lithium Ion Battery Durability and Europe’s New Mennekes Type 2 Connector


I was hon­ored to mod­er­ate a panel last week dur­ing the Advanced Auto­mo­tive Bat­tery Con­fer­ence in Pasadena, Calif., that fea­tured four speak­ers – Erik Spek of the TÜV SÜD Canada bat­tery test­ing firm, Keith Wil­son from Soci­ety of Auto­mo­tive Engi­neers, Galen Ressler, Gen­eral Motors (who has worked on the Chevro­let Volt’s bat­tery pack per­for­mance) and Kevin Konecky of Fisker Auto­mo­tive, who had a lot to say about test­ing li-ion bat­ter­ies under a wide range of ther­mal con­di­tions. Spek talked about lessons learned from nickel metal hydride bat­ter­ies used in hybrid elec­tric vehi­cles; Ressler talked about OEM field expe­ri­ence while man­ag­ing a project like the Volt; Konecky described the bat­tery degra­da­tion and dura­bil­ity fac­tors that have to be tested to make a reli­able elec­tric vehi­cle bat­tery pack.

Keith Wil­son, tech­ni­cal project man­ager, global ground vehi­cle stan­dards for SAE Inter­na­tional, talked about stan­dard­iza­tion issues for charg­ers, which has been a debated issue over whether Japan’s CHAdeMO fast charger con­nec­tor stan­dards or the SAE’s more recent combo stan­dards (mak­ing Level 1 and Level 2 AC charg­ing and DC fast charg­ing acces­si­ble at the same port) should be adopted by global OEMs. Con­di­tions in Europe changed recently after the Euro­pean com­mis­sion approved the Men­nekes “Type 2” charge con­nec­tor, which was har­mo­nized with the SAE combo con­nec­tor. “This means that an OEM can design and man­u­fac­ture their charg­ing sys­tem to work with either the SAE combo con­nec­tor for use in the US mar­ket or the Men­nekes’ ‘Type 2’ for use in the Euro­pean mar­ket,” Wil­son wrote to me in a follow-up email. – Jon LeSage