The all-new 2012 Ford Focus is only just being launched in Europe, but there are plans for a Ford Focus electric to hit international markets as early as next year. The latest development on the car is its cooling, and how Ford plans to keep the lithium-ion battery pack from overheating.
Like petrol-powered cars, electric cars generate lots of heat. The lithium-ion batteries can get quite hot and to overcome this, Ford has announced its Focus electric will use an “advanced active liquid-cooling and heating system” which will regulate the temperature of the lithium-ion battery packs.
It won’t work like a traditional radiator system like on a conventional car though. Instead of pumping warm coolant around a water-to-air heat exchange, the Focus electric system will incorporate the car’s air-conditioning unit which will refrigerate the coolant before it passes the batteries. This will bring temperatures down much lower and faster than conventional radiators.
Of course, the system won’t be engaged just when the vehicle is driving along. Lithium-ion batteries also generate quite a lot of heat during when they are being recharged. The Focus electric advanced active liquid-cooling system will initiate accordingly to maintain optimum temperature while the car is being recharged as well.
Dave Fabricatore, thermal program management team engineer, recently announced the technology:
“If the battery became too hot, we would have to limit the use of energy to protect it. The liquid cooled system allows us to reduce those constraints and get the most out of the battery. We’re helping owners by making sure their battery is always ready to go regardless of the weather.”
The Ford Focus Electric will go on sale in North America from the end of this year, with other global markets set to follow in the near future. Ford Australia has shown interest in the focus Electric but is yet to confirm if and when it will be launched locally.