Testing Electric Vehicles Using Battery Emulation

Testing Electric Vehicles with Battery Emulation - NH Research (NHR)

Today, next generation battery emulation provides a competitive advantage for testing electric vehicle (EV) components and systems. Battery Emulation is ideal for testing the electric powertrain, DC fast charging and other EV applications in which a battery is required for testing.

Using batteries as power sources for testing is an extremely time-consuming and costly challenge across the transportation electrification industry including EV, aerospace, and e-mobility markets. The transition from traditional to modern electrification architectures, require flexible and scalable testing methodologies. Testing with batteries can delay projects, increase safety risks and hinder engineering productivity. As electrification is evolving to higher power demands, the ability to emulate a battery or energy storage systems with speed and accuracy is critical. Battery emulation can substantially reduce test time, energy consumption and operating costs.

Battery Emulation Testing vs. Real Battery Testing

There are 3 key benefits to testing electric vehicles with battery emulation or battery simulator testing, rather than using a real battery. Battery emulation dramatically reduces testing time, provides highly repeatable test results, and creates a safer test environment. This results in preparation time, operator errors, and result variations due to battery temperature or aging, being eliminated.

Testing EVs with Battery Emulation Reduces Testing Time

Testing a real battery often requires operator preparation for each step. Batteries must first be charged, or discharged, then allowed to rest, and finally tested. The significant battery preparation time can be avoided by using an emulated battery. Emulation can reduce total test times by more than 70%.

Battery Emulation Provides Repeatable Test Results

Over time, batteries provide inconsistent test results, wear out, and need to be replaced. Battery age, internal temperature, and cycling are all contributing factors to the limited battery life-span. Manual battery operation, including rest time facilitation, can also cause inaccurate test results. Battery emulation provides consistent and repeatable test results, unlike those from real battery testing, during which battery changes and operator errors cause variations in test results.

Battery Emulation Improves Safety

Although batteries are generally safe when operated within normal operating ranges, they are high energy devices that may pose serious risks upon battery or unit under test (UUT) failure. Such risks include exposure to dangerous gases, fires, explosions, or corrosive chemicals. These concerns have led to safety policies stating that tests must be conducted and monitored during working hours. Furthermore, testing extreme cases of over-discharged or over-charged batteries can pose unpredictable risks and safety hazards. Battery emulation creates a safe testing environment without any of the concerns that arise when real batteries are used. Also, emulation safely verifies UUT behavior when a battery is outside a normal operating condition.

Not all Battery Emulators are Created Equal

While testing with real batteries is possible, it can seem quite impractical. Using battery emulator or battery simulator testing produces test results faster, provides a consistent test, and can safely test power electronic devices that typically require a real battery.

However, not all battery emulators, regenerative DC sources and DC common bus architectures are optimally designed to provide accurate and timely results. There are key technology considerations when selecting a battery emulator for your application. Contact us to learn what battery emulation capabilities are the right approaches for faster, scalable and more repeatable testing.

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