A123 Systems, the battery manufacturing company that supplies Karma, General Motors and Smith Electric Vehicles, has released an announcement regarding a hose clamp misalignment that could affect the battery cooling system of the battery it supplies to Fisker for the Karma electric vehicle (EV). This misalignment could potentially cause a coolant fluid leak, which could lead to a short circuit in the battery pack. Fewer than 50 customer cars were impacted by the result of this finding, and steps have already been taken to correct the issue on future production.
EVs are having a hard enough time gaining sales traction as it is, with reports of early adopters running out of juice and limited driving range impacting consumer’s thoughts on the viability of the EV to replace their conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. Stories like this only raise the wariness factor among those that were already less than enthused about the whole EV idea. Too, it shows the importance of having a long-term research and development effort having gone into the development of the battery system that is to be at the very heart of the electric car. Nissan has been working on this challenge for almost 20 years. The Nissan Prairie EV was the world’s first electric car with a lithium-ion battery in 1995. The original Nissan EV lithium-ion battery system was a collaboration between Nissan and Sony that reaches back to 1992. Many of today’s battery systems use variations of laptop batteries. If you’ve ever worked with a laptop on your lap you know how warm that these batteries can get. Currently Nissan uses no active battery cooling system, as the construction of the battery pack is designed in such a way as to make an external cooling system unnecessary. This provides for a simpler, safer and lighter battery construction. Once Nissan gets full battery production capacity at all of their planned worldwide battery plants, we could see Nissan become a battery provider to other manufacturers should we continue to see these mishaps by other battery makers.