Li-Ion battery formats

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sTeamTraen
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Li-Ion battery formats

Post by sTeamTraen » Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:54 pm

With the exception of a couple of Nokia mobile phone models in the early 2000s, I don't think I have ever owned two rechargeable devices that used the same size and shape of Li-Ion battery.

I can understand that the entire battery pack of, say, a laptop needs to be a particular shape to integrate with the rest of the case, but even then "I would have thought" (in an ignorant lay person kind of a way) that there might be a way to make that outer package such that the cells inside could be generic models of a standard size.

Are there any [emerging or proposed] standards for form factors for these, along the lines of AAA-AA-C-D 1.5v cells? Maybe the impending EU "right to repair" rules will change this?
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Re: Li-Ion battery formats

Post by Martin Y » Thu Apr 01, 2021 9:31 pm

I have the impression there are some standard cell formats for laptops but a battery will incorporate a number of them in a custom-fit package used in a particular range of lappys.

Some electric car converters I follow on YouTube have been expressing regret that big manufacturers seem set to move away from battery packs made in simple generic blocks (which they find easy to repurpose) in favour of custom shaped batteries which are formed to fit the specific floor pan of a model of car so will be really hard to reuse in any other vehicle.

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Re: Li-Ion battery formats

Post by sTeamTraen » Thu Apr 01, 2021 9:59 pm

Martin Y wrote:
Thu Apr 01, 2021 9:31 pm
I have the impression there are some standard cell formats for laptops but a battery will incorporate a number of them in a custom-fit package used in a particular range of lappys.

Some electric car converters I follow on YouTube have been expressing regret that big manufacturers seem set to move away from battery packs made in simple generic blocks (which they find easy to repurpose) in favour of custom shaped batteries which are formed to fit the specific floor pan of a model of car so will be really hard to reuse in any other vehicle.
One of the things putting me off an electric car is the exposure of the owner (and, even more so, a subsequent second-hand buyer) to the risk of battery failure. I've seen four-figure prices quoted to replace some fraction of the cells in the Nissan Leaf. And for the e-Golf (at least, the early model I looked at), the field replacement part for the battery is... the entire battery (about €16,000 to you, squire). Renault's "own the car, lease the battery" model for the Zoe, at about €70 per month (including unlimited free charges at a Renault dealer) starts to look like a sensible way to go at that point.
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Re: Li-Ion battery formats

Post by Martin Y » Thu Apr 01, 2021 10:24 pm

I've become more reassured about battery reliability thanks to our very own Death of Fossil Fuels thread, where it's been explained that the original Leaf is a bit of an outlier as it didn't have the liquid cooling system which manufacturers now recognise is vital to long battery life, and that we can realistically expect batteries now to outlast the cars they're fitted in. (Which admittedly does rather make it look less sensible to make the battery only to fit one car.) I also gather that the battery-leasing option proved to be much less popular than had been imagined.

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Re: Li-Ion battery formats

Post by Martin_B » Fri Apr 02, 2021 1:00 am

My sister has just bought a second-hand hybrid Corolla from the Toyota dealer, and was told that the battery had a 20-year guarantee.

I'm not sure if Toyota have significantly better battery technology than anyone else (doubtful), and considering even hybrids are due to be phased out within the next ~20 years, I'm not sure that it's anything to be too worried about for car batteries.

It would be nice if other battery formats standardised, but from what I recall from my old radio-controlled car racing days, the rechargeable batteries followed the AAA-AA-C-D format of standard non-rechargeable batteries, albeit sometimes without the ability to recharge to full 1.5 V output (often only got ~1.2-1.3 V, but sustained power output for longer, so couldn't get quite the top speed cars using non-chargeable batteries got, but could go at full power for longer in the race!)
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Re: Li-Ion battery formats

Post by dyqik » Fri Apr 02, 2021 1:35 am

sTeamTraen wrote:
Thu Apr 01, 2021 9:59 pm
Martin Y wrote:
Thu Apr 01, 2021 9:31 pm
I have the impression there are some standard cell formats for laptops but a battery will incorporate a number of them in a custom-fit package used in a particular range of lappys.

Some electric car converters I follow on YouTube have been expressing regret that big manufacturers seem set to move away from battery packs made in simple generic blocks (which they find easy to repurpose) in favour of custom shaped batteries which are formed to fit the specific floor pan of a model of car so will be really hard to reuse in any other vehicle.
One of the things putting me off an electric car is the exposure of the owner (and, even more so, a subsequent second-hand buyer) to the risk of battery failure. I've seen four-figure prices quoted to replace some fraction of the cells in the Nissan Leaf. And for the e-Golf (at least, the early model I looked at), the field replacement part for the battery is... the entire battery (about €16,000 to you, squire). Renault's "own the car, lease the battery" model for the Zoe, at about €70 per month (including unlimited free charges at a Renault dealer) starts to look like a sensible way to go at that point.
Frankly, you've got more risk in an ICE car to lunching the engine and/or transmission than in an EV to the battery failing. Not dissimilar pricing for a like new replacement (with labour, assuming that that golf pricing is on the high side), and many more ways to kill an ICE (Oil loss, coolant loss, timing belt failure, turbo failure, bearing failure, piston rod failure, lean running, etc.).

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Re: Li-Ion battery formats

Post by philip » Fri Apr 02, 2021 9:53 am

18650 li-ion is widespread, it is found in everything from rechargeable shavers, to ebikes, cordless power tools and electric cars. For example, an ebike or a cordless drill will have a proprietary battery pack, but inside the plastic case there will be a number of 18650 cells.

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Re: Li-Ion battery formats

Post by Boustrophedon » Fri Apr 02, 2021 10:56 am

Electric cars are not a mature technology, the engineering is still evolving rapidly in response to both what the market is (led to believe) it wants, political pressure in response to ecological concerns and technological advances.

Complaining about the batteries not being in any way standardised when not even the charger technology is standardised is naïve.

I will buy electric when the charging is standardised, charge times are short and the batteries are seen to last.
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Re: Li-Ion battery formats

Post by sTeamTraen » Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:42 am

dyqik wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 1:35 am
Frankly, you've got more risk in an ICE car to lunching the engine and/or transmission than in an EV to the battery failing. Not dissimilar pricing for a like new replacement (with labour, assuming that that golf pricing is on the high side), and many more ways to kill an ICE (Oil loss, coolant loss, timing belt failure, turbo failure, bearing failure, piston rod failure, lean running, etc.).
Of course (garages hate EVs, they mostly only get to change the tyres and fill the windscreen washer bottle), but the battery will fade away over an uncertain period, and the kinds of people who buy new cars think quite hard about residuals. What's the resale value of a 7-year-old car with a 50km range and a €16k bill to fix it?

The lease deal with the Zoe is that they will replace the battery if range drops below 70% of the original. Even then, the sales person at the dealer where I enquired vaguely how the deal worked told me (perhaps indiscreetly) that they lose close to 40% of their value after a year.

I presume that at some point we will get to 400km range, 5-10 year battery warranties, and 200km worth of charge in 15 minutes, but for the moment PHEVs seem to have a bright 10 years ahead of them.
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Re: Li-Ion battery formats

Post by sTeamTraen » Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:45 am

Boustrophedon wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 10:56 am
Complaining about the batteries not being in any way standardised when not even the charger technology is standardised is naïve.
When I wrote the post I was actually thinking more about phones, tablets, and laptops. But maybe it will come for cars as well. I get the impression that at the moment the various manufacturers are using "our superior battery technology [partnership]" as a sales tool, so that proprietary-ness gets them an advantage. I don't know if batteries will ever become like tyres, but it might make sense if we ever got to a model where "fast charging" meant "swapping out the battery at a service station".
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Re: Li-Ion battery formats

Post by Boustrophedon » Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:47 pm

sTeamTraen wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:45 am
When I wrote the post I was actually thinking more about phones, tablets, and laptops.
OK fair enough, I didn't mean to sound as if I were picking on you. As mentioned up there, the 18650 format is common, but even there there is a minor but important difference between those that are internally regulated so you can't over discharge them and those that are not.
Tesla uses bundled 18650 (and bigger) cells to make their battery packs, others do not. BMW are looking to build bigger cells in house, so as to cut down on the weight lost to packaging on multiple little cells.

It should be much easier to open expensive battery packs, like say DeWalt or Makita use and replace the cells inside. Same goes for laptop batteries.

However form factors and shapes suffer from "market" pressures, tablets and laptops are getting thinner for no good reason other than "thinner is better" and phones are getting bigger, because "big screens are better." so the batteries that go in them have to change too. Remember when phones got so small as to be unusable just cos?
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Re: Li-Ion battery formats

Post by sTeamTraen » Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:55 pm

Boustrophedon wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:47 pm
However form factors and shapes suffer from "market" pressures, tablets and laptops are getting thinner for no good reason other than "thinner is better" and phones are getting bigger, because "big screens are better." so the batteries that go in them have to change too.
Maybe there will be a common battery for laptops and phones soon. (It seems that the word "phablet" ended up not getting much traction, mercifully.)
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Re: Li-Ion battery formats

Post by individualmember » Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:34 pm

Don’t get me started on camera batteries. My current collection, all 7 and a bit volts, all roughly similar size, the two on the left are pretty much identical except for the connectors.
E9F002B5-D8FB-4066-B9F6-539D0AA1D2C9.jpeg
E9F002B5-D8FB-4066-B9F6-539D0AA1D2C9.jpeg (703.96 KiB) Viewed 71 times

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Re: Li-Ion battery formats

Post by individualmember » Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:44 pm

^ this reminds me, I sold the Blackmagic to fund another purchase, so that EN-EL20 doesn’t fit anything I have. It fits some Nikon digital cameras (Blackmagic being a bit niche borrowed from Nikon rather than spec their own) so if anyone has a use for it PM me and you can have it.

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