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ANSYS makes electric vehicle batteries more practical

One year into a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funded project, ANSYS, General Motors LLC, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and ESim are leveraging engineering simulation technology to optimize electric and hybrid vehicle battery performance. The team achieved significant milestones during the past year in support of the DOE’s Computer Aided Engineering for Electric Drive Vehicle Batteries (CAEBAT) project.

GM awarded ANSYS a subcontract to develop battery software tools that will help accelerate development of next-generation electric vehicles (EV). The project is a result of a competitive procurement through the DOE’s NREL that was presented to GM last year.

The main goal of the CAEBAT project is to incorporate existing and new battery models into engineering simulation software to shorten design cycles and optimize batteries for increased performance, safety and life span. The project is driving EV innovation.

The GM-ANSYS-ESim team’s achievements over the past year include prototyping and validating three electrochemistry modeling approaches. The partners also prototyped a co-simulation feature, which blends battery multiphysics and system simulation technologies that enable engineers to shed unnecessary details and increase simulation efficiency without compromising the accuracy of the model.

“Traditionally, the EV battery industry depends mostly on the expensive and time-consuming process of design-build-test-break for prototyping and manufacturing these batteries,” said Jan Aase, director of the vehicle development research lab at GM Global R&D. “However, the virtual development of engineered products has proven to be an effective way of evaluating many design alternatives. This specific team was selected because of their individual track records of success in their respective fields for providing reliable technologies that lead to efficient products.”

The team is leveraging NREL’s considerable experience in multiphysics, multi-scale modeling of lithium-ion battery systems. The resulting design tools will be made commercially available through ANSYS. GM plans to validate and apply the model to its electric vehicles in development.

NREL expects that the resulting systems will become commercial offerings in about two years. This initiative is funded by DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Program in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.