Lithium Battery Containers

Randy Anderson, National Technical Sales & Training Manager

So, in the last of our series on lithium batteries, our topic today is "Lithium Containers: What do they come in? What do they look like?" Well, we're starting to see a lot of BCI sizes come on to the market in North America, and this would be sizes like our traditional North American-size batteries, U1s, Group 24s, 27s, 31s, and these are typically small packs that come in polypropylene containers. So they would very much resemble a regular lead-acid automotive battery.

In the larger footprint sizes, when we start getting up into the 24s, 36, 48 multi-packs 2 to 5 kilowatt-hour, we're going to find these in metal containers, either aluminum or steel. They're a little more durable, a little more rugged. And obviously, we need that strength that the large polypropylene container may not endure. The large packs of the containers, they should all have a BMS. We've talked about BMS's before, but we're seeing a lot of product come into North America now again in BCI footprints that has no BMS on board. So beware of that, you definitely want a BMS in that container. 

Our Discover Advanced Energy products have data logging and displays typically installed in the case. So you're actually going to be able to see a small display screen and that will have data logging capability that will give you some readouts on the top of that case. You won't find this typically in the small polypropylene cases because they're trying to replace automotive sizes and it's not really that important. But again, in the larger packs, there should be some type of data logging display on there.

Most of the larger-pack batteries that you're going to find in the larger packs are going to have either a CAN or USB interface on them. Now, if it's directly in a machine of some type, some type of electric floor scrubber, robot, or whatever it might be, they may actually be integrated already into the vehicle dash system with CAN or USB. But again, most packs should have a CAN or USB that give you the ability to display and/or pull information out of that battery pack on cycle history, operator history, and the likes of that.

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