Electrification is taking the Heavy Duty Industry by storm. Most companies are either in the process of ordering and implementing an EV Fleet, or are planning the start of an EV Fleet. Further, most Fleets and OEM’s are focusing the majority of their resources and bandwidth on vehicle specification, on-road functionality, battery range, etc. Indeed, these are all pressing and important considerations.
OK, fast forward just a bit. Once the trucks are at dealerships ready for sale, on the road and operational, or in need of some battery service – What is the service plan on how to manage battery issues? Since the battery is the key component to truck EV propulsion systems, it makes sense to start thinking now about how to manage battery issues that will present themselves to Fleet Maintenance organizations.
These are the type of Battery Applications that will require attention:
- Pack Removal – The beginning stages of a Fleet Service Strategy will likely start with removing faulty battery packs from the vehicle and sending them to an authorized service center for them to diagnose & repair or replace the pack.
- To remove the pack lid and work inside of a battery pack it is recommended to reduce the pack voltage by discharging to a lower State of Charge (SoC) prior to disassembly.
- Transportation – It is recommended practice that when transporting any battery pack the power should be reduced to 30% SoC prior to transport. This would apply to transporting packs between Fleet central maintenance facilities where spare packs may be inventoried to local service shops; or transporting a faulty pack to a designated OEM service center. Regardless, you’ll want to reduce pack power to 30% SoC to be assured safe transport.
- Crash Discharge – When accidents happen, and they will, the objective is to safely neutralize any risk from damage to the battery by depowering it to 0% SoC as quickly as the circumstances permit. Some companies already have designated containment areas for crash vehicles to address the risks of battery volatility.
- Module Level Service – As EV truck volume grows, Fleet Maintenance team, dealerships and authorized service providers will most certainly evolve to pack level service because Pack Swapping will become cost prohibitive. Generally, maintenance teams performing pack level service will be replacing modules within the pack that can no longer meet specification.
- When installing a replacement module into a pack, it is essential to balance the State of Charge of the new module with the existing modules. Accurate balancing ensures full performance from the serviced pack.
Just as Truck Electrification adoption is part of everyone’s strategic planning today, processes and equipment to service the battery packs and maintain Fleet uptime and operational efficiency must be a focal point as well. The imperative when working with High Voltage Battery Systems is choosing discharging and module balancing tools that that are 1) Safe to users and vehicles and 2) Cost Effective and Easy to Use.