Driving Today

Ford Focus Electric Keeps Cool

Maintaining an even temperature for lithium-ion battery pack is critical to gaining best performance...

The phrase “Keep your cool” has a new meaning when it comes to battery electric cars -- like the upcoming Ford Focus Electric, which will launch later this year in 19 pilot markets. To maintain the best performance and longevity from the lithium-ion battery pack, it is important to keep it at room temperature at all times. With this in mind, the engineers at Ford have developed a system that cools the battery in the all-new Focus Electric and keeps it working at its prime -- even in the hottest of conditions.

“If the battery became too hot, we would have to limit the use of energy to protect it,” says Dave Fabricatore, Ford’s thermal program management team engineer. “The liquid-cooled system allows us to reduce those constraints and get the most out of the battery. We’re helping owners by making sure their battery is always ready to go, regardless of the weather.”

The vehicle uses an integrated cooling system to keep the different systems in the vehicle at their optimal operating temperatures. The air-conditioning system uses a chiller to refrigerate the coolant going to the battery. As the coolant passes through the chiller, it’s brought down to the temperature that the battery requires. Temperature sensors placed all over the vehicle let the cooling system know when it needs to kick into action. The cooling system can even work when the car is charging, so it can help reduce the charge time in hot climates because the battery will be kept at a desirable temperature.

“Batteries can heat up when they’re charging or being used, and it’s made worse by ambient temperatures,” says Fabricatore. “Controlling the temperature lets us deliver the best range and power for the customer, while improving the longevity of the battery.”



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