Bus Industry News, Charging Infrastructure, Electric Buses

New Webasto battery all about safety through quality

Webasto’s latest CV Standard Battery and other additions showcase the company’s willingness to go the extra mile to keep Australian electric buses as safe as possible

There’s no denying that electric buses hold a critical piece of the sustainable transport puzzle when it comes to urban areas. Its popularity in these regions has made battery electric buses an exciting way forward.

Yet with this new technology comes its own discussion around safety concerns. To address this, global top 100 automotive supplier Webasto has designed its own range of innovative solutions to ensure safety is at the forefront for its e-mobility partners and customers.

“As a major supplier to the global automotive industry, Webasto’s products not only meet the applicable standards, but are designed to exceed the industry requirements regarding reliability and safety,” Webasto CS sales and service director in APAC David Byrne told ABC.

“Unique testing and validation ensuring the highest quality and safety levels are part of Webasto’s automotive DNA. With an in-house design, prototyping and comprehensive range of facilities, Webasto tests and validates all components from cells to full systems for buses.”

This complete package of internal testing includes functional, thermal, environmental, mechanical shock, vibration and electrical testing.

These assessments have resulted in the Webasto CV Standard Battery. Produced in a state-of-the-art German facility, the CV Standard Battery is part of a homologated system designed specifically for the world’s commercial vehicles like buses and coaches.

Webasto says its robust design and housing result in the battery being used on buses as well as in off-road construction machinery.

“This modular scalable battery system offers a range of safety features that are essential for the safe operation of electric vehicles,” Byrne says.

“With its integrated BMS, the system is constantly monitoring key performance and safety critical factors such as voltage, current, temperatures, state of health and charge at a cell, pack and module level.”

Also included in every Webasto CV Standard Battery pack is insulation measurement, high voltage interlock and contactor monitoring. It all results in safe operations for buses and coaches within its designed parameters.

Webasto says the CV Standard Battery System has also been designed to feature integrated thermal runaway detection.

In the event of a fault or malfunction, the system will automatically detect any abnormal changes in temperature, voltage, current and other critical values to shut down the system long before it can reach any state in which harm can be possibly caused to human life and the customer’s property.

If the risk ever spirals into an unlikely thermal event, the highly sensitive system will automatically detect any sharp increase in temperature and carbon dioxide levels to give the driver time to safely evacuate the vehicle.

Byrne says specially designed degassing units on each layer of the system provide pressure relief in a controlled manner.

“In normal operation, these units also act as pressure equalisation devices and ensure the battery is always maintained at the correct pressure if there’s an altitude change for the vehicle,” Byrne says.

Byrne says one of the key safety features of the CV Standard Battery System is its physical separation between high voltage and cooling connectors. On top of this, the system also includes desiccant cartridges to avoid condensation over the lifetime of the battery pack, preventing moisture from damaging the battery.

If growing operators want to use multiple battery packs in their buses or coaches, they can be connected via Webasto’s vehicle interface box (VIB). As well as acting as a master BMS, the VIB allows for power distribution and a two-way communication interface with the vehicle, including receipts of critical safety messages like crash detection that would then lead to the automatic shutdown of the battery systems.

“Complementing the intelligent thermal management within the battery system is the development of Webasto’s eBTM 2.0,” Byrne says.

“This is a stand-alone battery thermal management unit that aims to regulate the temperature of the battery pack and maintain it within a safe operation range.

“It does this by combining heating and cooling elements with sensors and control systems that monitor and adjust the temperature as needed.”

Webasto’s eBTM 2.0 is especially designed to allow for optimal functioning of its water-cooled battery packs that are used in electric commercial vehicles.

Its compact design includes all components needed for heating and cooling such as pumps, heaters, compressors and DC/DC converters.

Byrne says this underlines the simple ‘Plug & Play’ principle and allows for flexible installation of the system onto a bus’s roof or within its chassis.

This provides a wide range of benefits that makes Webasto’s new battery packs safer and more innovative than ever before for electric buses.

“One of the key benefits of a properly functioning thermal management system onboard a bus is improved battery life,” Byrne says.

“Batteries, commonly used in electric buses, are sensitive to temperature fluctuations. If it’s then exposed to high temperatures for long periods of time, it can cause accelerated aging and reduce its lifespan.

“By regulating the battery temperature, the system lowers the risk of performance reduction that could limit the bus’s range and driving behaviour.” 

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