Henkel Adhesive Technologies

Henkel Adhesive Technologies

Making EV batteries better from design to manufacturing



4 min.
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After a 100-year reign, internal combustion engine (ICE) automobiles may have met their match. In support of climate change initiatives, electric vehicles (EVs) are poised to replace the long-standing ICE. For automotive manufacturers, this is an exciting - and highly challenging - time of transformation.

That’s because, across the value chain, the automotive industry employs some of the world’s most advanced automation, state-of-the-art technology, and innovative manufacturing processes. This sophistication has been built on sizable investments of time, resources, and money. In addition, the automotive supply chain is one of the most complicated in the world, tasked with providing 20,000 parts* for a consumer vehicle and involving thousands of suppliers. Further amplifying these changes are the new materials needed to create innovative EVs. In addition, production process reinvention is needed as many current ICE processes do not transfer to EV manufacturing.

Altogether, these realities are a potent combination, escalating the magnitude of EV changes and challenges. And the core to solving these challenges is pinned directly to the heart of the EV: the battery. Let’s look at what this means for EV batteries - the component that has an outsized impact on overall EV performance.

EV Battery

Ultimately, the success of mainstream EV adoption is tied to solving battery design, production, and performance. EVs, relative to their ICE counterparts, must progress further in the following four key areas to power more widespread acceptance. Each factor is interdependent on the others, so solving them and optimizing EV battery performances is an iterative, multi-dimensional exercise that must address all issues concurrently. That’s why advanced materials are ideal - they use highly engineered, customized formulations that can solve several challenges simultaneously.

EV batteries need to address multiple priorities

Challenge #1: Increase EV affordability to be more closely aligned with ICE price points.

Why batteries are important in tackling this challenge.
EV batteries comprise almost 50% of the entire EV cost. Thus, the EV battery is a big lever in helping to decrease costs and make EVs more affordable.

How advanced materials can help solve this challenge
Reducing costs is directly tied to EV battery materials and the manufacturing process. Advanced materials, tailored to each manufacturer’s specific needs, can help catalyze lower costs in two areas: improved materials and increased manufacturing speed and efficiency.

Example
To increase the application efficiency in the EV battery manufacturing processes for one battery manufacturer, Henkel replaced an existing thermal propagation prevention (TPP) aerosol spray production process. The method was changed from an aerosol spray to a flat-stream application process, eliminating overspray waste—by 100%. This saved 180,000 kg of material each year, improved production efficiency, and reduced the environmental impact of waste while supporting safer EV battery functionality.

Challenge #2: Improve the charging duration of EV batteries, which currently spans 30 minutes to 12 hours on average. The time depends on battery size, starting charge, vehicle charging rate, charge point charging rate, and environmental factors. By contrast, fueling up an ICE at a gas station takes minutes.

Why batteries are important in tackling this challenge
Charging rates can be improved via better battery design and by using novel materials to boost performance.

How advanced materials can help solve this challenge
Advanced materials are vital to enabling innovative battery designs that can deliver faster charging capabilities.

Example
Electrode conductive coating for EV batteries helps reduce internal electrical resistance and improve the active material’s adhesion to the cathode. These factors help to improve the charging performance of the battery cells and can be applied in high-speed production environments.

Challenge #3: Decrease consumer range anxiety per battery charge as compared to a tank of gas for ICE vehicles. This is exacerbated by the stark contrast of at-every-corner gas stations vs. the current limited availability of EV charging stations.

Why batteries are important in tackling this challenge
At one-third of the entire EV weight, batteries are the heaviest part of an EV. More vehicle weight means less range and the corollary is true: Lighter-weight vehicles have greater range.

How advanced materials can help solve this challenge
Advanced materials are masterful at reducing weight without compromising safety. Consider chemical gaskets and seals that can replace heavy hardware closures.

Example
Tailored chemical formulations—such as gaskets, adhesives, and sealing solutions—can replace heavier mechanical closure options on EV batteries. These materials improve range by mitigating battery performance degradation or failure by locking out moisture and dust from the battery pack. These advanced materials also improve manufacturing automation, resulting in more accurate and cost-effective production.

Challenge #4: Safety is an absolute requirement from a regulatory and consumer adoption standpoint. It is and will remain an ongoing lever to EV adoption.

Why batteries are important in tackling this challenge
Li-ion batteries employ a chemical reaction that generates heat. Thermal runaway must be prevented to ensure safe operation.

How advanced materials can help solve this challenge
Advanced materials are formulated to maximize safety.

Example
In addition to the TPP example above, foams can be automatically dispensed at high efficiencies to fill battery packs and augment flame-retardant properties. By blocking cell-to-cell heat transfer, rigid foam blocks help to prevent a thermal chain reaction.

Learn More

As the heart of electric vehicles, EV batteries are central to helping solve multiple, intertwined challenges as manufacturers transition from ICE to EV materials and production. Tailored advanced materials can answer these complex needs in a multi-tiered, balanced manner to make EV batteries and their manufacturing process more efficient, safer, and better for consumers. In short, better EV batteries make a better EV.

To speak with a subject-matter expert, please reach out here. A more in-depth discussion of how advanced materials can improve the design, production, and efficiencies of EV batteries is linked here.

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