There is little doubt that electric mobility is the future: with the rise of electric vehicles and the necessity to drive without emission, questions around the sustainability and safety of the batteries that are incorporated in the vehicles are becoming more and more relevant each day. As a result, people often wonder which battery is the better choice. Let’s dive into the battery basics to answer this question properly.
LFP vs NMC batteries
There are several battery types, of which lithium-ion is the most common choice for application in Electric Vehicles. NMC is the most frequently used type of lithium-ion due to its higher energy density. Some believe that this helps to increase the range of the vehicle and therefore choose this battery for application in electric vehicles. However, range is not the most important factor for EV buses. The main, and most important factor of the buses, is that they are made to move people. Therefore, the safety of the passengers and drivers is more important than anything else when selecting a battery.
By choosing LFP batteries, you choose for safety first. But what makes LFP safer compared to any other battery on the market? The main reason is the composition of raw materials that the batteries are made of. Where NMC exists out of Nickel, Manganese, and Cobalt, LFP batteries are made of Iron and Phosphorous. Not only does the LFP battery not contain cobalt, of which the mining is highly environmentally damaging, it also has no substances which, singly or mixed, may cause a fire. NMC batteries, on the other hand, have substances that are not flammable by themselves but can cause a chemical reaction that can lead to fire when mixed with one another.
To fully understand why LFP is the safer choice, it is interesting to look at the thermal runway of both batteries. If the substances of the NMC battery get in contact with each other, the temperature of the battery can rise 154°C per second, which will occur immediate ignition. When the same happens with an LFP battery, the temperature will rise only 6,6°C per second and will only cause smoke. As you can imagine, the damage that will be done in both cases will be significantly different: thus the application of LFP can be life-saving.
Prevention is better than cure: monitoring battery safety
To prevent any of this from happening and ensure all batteries are in optimal condition, Ebusco offers a data monitoring system called Ebusco Live. With this online tool, all buses are monitored, including the state of the batteries. For each bus, a BMS helps to see how many kilometers the bus has been driving, how much battery capacity it still has, and what temperature each battery pack has. By monitoring the battery state closely, it is possible to act upon battery changes before any damage has been done.
In the unlikely event that something happens to the batteries, the system will indicate this, and the battery system is fully switched off after which the bus indicates that maintenance is required and can be acted upon immediately.
All in all, the choice for the right batteries is not an easy one, but Ebusco has studied it from the start to offer optimal safety without compromising battery efficiency. It is an area where continuous change is taking place and development is still in full swing. It is important to keep up and contribute to these developments while always putting safety first.