Nikola has filed a patent for a system and method that allows for battery conditioning in high voltage electric vehicles. The system monitors battery temperatures and, if they fall within designated ranges, heats the batteries to ensure uniform performance and conditioning. The patent also describes an electric vehicle with a battery assembly that measures the temperature of each battery cell and heats the battery pack if necessary. GlobalData’s report on Nikola gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Nikola, Battery management systems was a key innovation area identified from patents. Nikola's grant share as of September 2023 was 48%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Battery conditioning for high voltage electric vehicles

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Nikola Corp

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230271512A1) describes an electric vehicle with an innovative battery assembly and control system. The vehicle includes a vehicle control module (VCM) and a battery assembly consisting of at least two battery packs. Each battery pack is electrically connected in parallel with the others. The battery assembly is designed to measure the temperature of each battery cell in each pack and send this information to the VCM. The VCM then determines if any of the measured temperatures are below a certain threshold and initiates a heating process for the first battery pack.

When the temperature of a battery cell is found to be below the threshold, the battery assembly closes the contactors of the first battery pack. If the temperature is below a second threshold, the assembly opens the contactors of the first pack and closes the contactors of a second pack. If the temperature is between the two thresholds, the assembly closes the contactors of the second pack and opens the contactors of the first pack. The battery assembly can also close the contactors of all packs if the temperature exceeds the first threshold.

To facilitate the heating process, the electric vehicle includes a thermal system that is connected to the VCM and thermally coupled to the battery assembly. When the VCM initiates heat conditioning for the first battery pack, the thermal system heats a coolant liquid and circulates it through all the battery packs.

The patent also describes a method for battery conditioning in a high voltage battery system. This method involves measuring the temperature of battery cells in each pack, determining if the temperature is below a first threshold, and heat conditioning at least one battery pack if the temperature is below the threshold. The method includes various steps such as closing and opening contactors of different packs based on temperature and current conditions.

Overall, this patent presents an electric vehicle with an advanced battery assembly and control system that allows for efficient temperature management and conditioning of battery packs. The inclusion of a thermal system enhances the heat conditioning process, ensuring optimal performance and longevity of the batteries.

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