Almost everything you wanted to know about EV batteries

We are joined by special guests Chi-Hao Chang – Associate Research Scientist at Dow and John McKeen – Technical Director, Dow Mobility Science. They walk us through the depths of EV batteries, thermal runaway, EV battery fires and most importantly Fred has people to geek out with. Channel your inner science-self and download this one now.

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note: this is a machine generated transcript and may not be completely accurate. This is provided for convience and should not be used for attribution.

Anthony: All right. Let’s I’m gonna begin.

Let’s introduce, we’ve got some great guests today. We have. Sheha Chang, the Associate Research scientist at Dow. And John McKee, the technical Director of Dow Mobility Science. Welcome guys. Thanks for

John McKeen: joining us. Hey, thanks for having us today.

Chi-Hao Chang: Yes. Thank you for having us. Yeah.

Anthony: So we’re obviously on this show we talk a lot about EV batteries and how we can make things better cuz this is the future.

No matter what Fred says, this is the future. Batteries are coming along and so you guys are working in the thick of it and we’d love to have some insight versus the things that I make up of what potential will happen in my imagination. Yeah, I guess with that, can you guys just give us a quick background on

John McKeen: what you’ve been working on?

Yeah. I would say that you said batteries are coming and I might have actually said batteries are already here. EVs are already here, and yeah, I don’t know exactly what the numbers were last year, but something like 6 million EVs sold in China and 25% of sales. For the EV fleet.

So it’s not that they’re, it’s not that they’re just coming but they’re already here. And, this is a time certainly that’s ripe for innovation and DAOs trying to be, and is in the thick of that. I won’t give an infomercial here, but let me just maybe say a few things about the company and then we can dive into the battery safety piece.

Th Thao is probably one of the largest material science companies in the world. We’ve been around for 125 years. Roughly 8,000 r and d employees out of 37,000 total, working on a host of different things in many different markets. Mobility, just one of those. And certainly a lot going on there.

So we have a long history in automotive. I think maybe most people don’t know, but in fact, when the Saturn was introduced, I was in the polycarbonate business and we were actually a key player. In collaborating with General Motors and bringing that vehicle to market, we also have a long history in in automotive safety and being involved in products that are critical to occupant safety.

And today, supply a large volume of coatings for airbags to basically all of the major tier ones and tier twos out there making those things that keep us safe every day. In addition to kind of other things that go into the vehicle, including polyurethane, foams, lots of e p D and mo Lasters.

Impact modifiers that are used interior and exterior. And as Chiha is very familiar with many formulated products that go into, among other things the battery to ensure that it operates appropriately during normal and then also abnormal conditions. That, that’s a little bit about do and maybe, hopefully sets the stage a little bit for the conversation here going forward.

Fred: That’s great. Thank you for that. I met Chiha at an s SAE meeting in Washington and he was showing some materials that are basically silicon based materials that are very useful for iso, are producing the consequence of a battery fire, particularly for conventional lithium ion batteries.

And I got in a conversation with him about bad because that was very good, of course, but the other ways it could be used internally to the battery as well. And then we got into a discussion about battery chemistry and yeah. And I was already far beyond my competence by the time I just introduced myself with him.

But perhaps you guys could talk a little bit about. Safety writ large, but also, from the inside out, starting with the battery chemistry and then moving out towards ways of containing defects that might occur with various kinds of battery chemistry. And I know that’s really broad topic area, what we’re interested in our course is protecting consumers.

To the greatest extent possible, and with the coming of EVs, there’s a lot to be learned about this. So let me turn that over to you and ask you to go ahead and wax eloquent.

Chi-Hao Chang: I think I could go ahead. Yeah. So first all, good start with the Barry, how the basic right. So basically Barry has like full main components on the the positive material and negative material and a separator and electrolyte.

And then how do you think battery works? It basically just detail I moving back and forth between the cat, the positive and negative. And just think about, it’s more like two cups of water, pumping between itself. But in reality war it’s not like that cuz in reality, the cups has a lead.

So it’s pointing the, but a lot of water get wasted. So this is how the capacity would lo lawsuit. And also during this capacity losing process is a lot of side reaction can build up and the all side reaction will turns out a lot of heat. And then during the decomposition all these side reaction, this byproducts will generally even more heat.

So eventually this temp, the cell temp the cell will get heat up and then even more, more salary actually give and go over and then, At some set up points, it will, generate heat and add gas and eventually end up like fire. So there’s a lot of Safety device or safety function have been building on the cell level.

For example, the separator coding, coding on top of that to have better similar stability of a separat separator to make sure this the positive during the high temperature, it won’t after contact to each other. So you won’t get up the large the short circuit for, and then also electrolyte can add in more, more like Flynn Retardancy or better stabilizer.

Interface materials, so basically can make it more stable cell. And also on the ca the positive and the negative. They all have their own like safety. Like function in there and on top of that, cuz only cell got heat out as I mentioned. So this is also some thermal managing system.

You have to cool down the cells so you have a lot of cooling plate or like cooling water running around the cells to make sure the cells cool, cooled out. And then actually play a big role in this area cuz we have a lot of material goes in there to make sure is similar. Contact is very good.

So the heat can very effectively display from the the cell to the the cooling play. So make sure the cell is cooling down. But of course, it’s not like always running that normally. So the heat, maybe it will still go up and. Once it goes up, once the cells start fire up, you need, so that’s why show threat.

The signal phone or signal rubber you can place between the cells to make sure the heat or the fire will not propagate to the digital cell, the adjacent cells. So that can potentially stop the the sum of fabrication. And of course, improves EV safety.

Michael: So that’s basically you’re arresting the thermal runway potential with the silicone surrounding each cell.

Chi-Hao Chang: So basically, yes, you’ll protect that. And then silicon itself, it has a very unique property. It’s not I don’t wanna say other materials is bad, but it’s more silicon, it can form more like SL to inorganic material at high temperature. So it’s not other material you’ll burn, generate some tussic gas, hazard gas and the end, not even more severe, the summer events of fire events.

But silicon has, its a advantages. There, and then you can stop and then also prevent the the heat propagation or the fire propagation. Yeah,

Anthony: red metered himself. Fred’s figuring out mute. I have a question for you. So these thermal runway events is this something unique more to lithium ion because that’s what we see with, these Tesla fires that go off and then we need 30 fire trucks worth of water to put them out.

Is this something that’s less of a concern with the LFP batteries or some future technology that’s coming along? Is this is lithium ion kind of. Isn’t it an interim step? So you get to something that you go, oh, this is not gonna have this thermal

John McKeen: runway event.

Gee, how do you want to take that? Or do you want me to start? You

Chi-Hao Chang: can take, you can start it. Yes. Sorry.

John McKeen: Yeah I think that thermal runaway is an issue for any type of lithium chemistry, whether it’s L F P or some of the other NMC type materials. What makes them. What makes them particularly interesting is if you think about the fire triangle, right?

They generate upon decomposition of the solid electro interface, they generate their own their own oxygen to participate in the reaction. And you’ve got the stored electrical energy, you have hydrocarbons in there, in the form of ethylene, carbonate, dime, bicarbonate, other stuff in the electrolyte.

Plastic around the cell to encapsulate so you have a lot of fuel there, right? And so beyond the one X stored energy, you have several x of additional perhaps combustible materials and then you have oxygen from the decomposition of the electrode materials themselves. And you know that’s what’s particularly challenging about this and.

E even if it, even if and when, 20 years from now or whenever solid state actually comes to fruition, you remove the, you remove some of the combustible materials in terms of the electrolyte. But I think I heard even yesterday, so I met the Su Society of Automotive Engineers conference here and like yesterday, there was a whole day spent on battery safety in these discussions and even going to solid state.

You still have the possibility of generating tremendous heat, several thousand degrees. And so even though you remove perhaps some of the combustible electrolyte, you don’t get away from all of the potential energy that’s stored in the battery. I think that. Even going in that direction, we probably don’t know what all of the risks are because it’s not in the field yet, and there may be even others that we don’t see yet.

And just to even back up a little bit further, you mentioned consumer safety. And this the battery is a super complicated system and the we’re not is of course. And so I don’t wanna speak for them, but my observation is that they take this obviously, and thankfully, extremely seriously.

And, our many iterations, even though we’re still at the beginning of mass adoption of ev, this isn’t really that new to them. And they’re on, iteration, whatever it is of all of the batteries and are working to fail quickly. And you look at all the different systems.

It’s not just one system that is in place to ensure that occupants are safe or first responders are safe. There’s many different systems starting. Yeah. Even outside of the cell, but the battery management system, we monitor many different parameters for health of all of the different types of cells at a software level.

There’s various things inside the pack, like pressure sensors or detection of co2, detection of hydrogen, detection of hydrocarbons as a warning to the vehicle and then the occupants in the vehicle that. Maybe something goes wrong or is headed in a direction and you need to stop your vehicle or get outta your vehicle and hopefully prevent thermal runaway from ever happening.

And then there’s all of the different layers that Chiha was talking about, that if you do get past the point of thermal runaway where one cell gets too hot or has an internal defect that causes it to get too hot. Really the goal is to prevent propagation from one cell to neighboring cells.

And, there’s lots of different ways and you see a lot of innovation in materials towards achieving that. One thing that our observation of PAC design and cell design, they’re all designed to vent in a particular way. And the first kind of step to that is let’s direct all of the gases that come out of the cell when the case does.

Break open in a particular way and get all of that hot gas and plasma and hydrocarbon away from other cells, away from transferring heat to other cells. And the, they design packs, they design cells to do that. And then there’s all of these material innovations and material level plays where we’re particularly active in mitigating or helping prevent heat conduction, whether that’s through preventing.

You’re helping direct gas or preventing gas from one cell to the next cell, whether it’s preventing conduction or convection or as Chiha mentioned, really preventing or lowering the total fuel content inside the battery pack. Those are all just different layers of protection in either preventing runaway or buying occupants more time to get out of the vehicle.

Now, I think I also heard a statistic yesterday that. Compared to ice vehicles, I think EVs have a little bit better safety record to date. There’s obviously not that many on the road, but something like 4%, 4.5% of vehicles today in the US are electric vehicles. And if you look at all of the safety incidents associated with the whole fleet, they’re only like three and a half percent of total safety events.

So underrepresented in the total number of safety events compared to ice vehicles and. I think that speaks to all of the innovation and all of the focus that OEMs have on this. And so I’m optimistic, but certainly, things to continue to think about.

Fred: So this is pretty geeky so far, so let me try to trivialize it if I may.

So when you were talking Chi, how you, it made me think about tennis where, you’ve basically got two people on. Other side on either side of a barrier. And so the barrier’s kinda like the polyethylene separator that’s in a lithium ion cell. And then they’re batting a ball back and forth.

And what you’re saying is the anode cathode send the lithium ions back and forth across this barrier. And generally like tennis, it’s pretty benign. But every now and again you get a John McEnroe who builds up extra heat. In the exchange and it’s up to the referee to keep the John McInroy under control, and they usually do that.

But sometimes they don’t. And in that case, you gotta refer to a higher authority like the Tennis Association to control the heat being generated on the tennis court so that it doesn’t propagate into the fans. Excuse me. My, my mind works that way, so you have to forgive me for that. But what I was wondering as you were talking is, Are there ways of essentially improving the quality of the fence?

Are there, are there ways of improving the barriers internal to the batteries? Even if you don’t change the fundamental chemistry that could make the individual ion cells more reliable? Are, do you have advanced materials that might accomplish? That? That was my first question. My second question is, oh, okay.

Come on. It’s, is it true that whenever you take energetic material, And you put it inside of a hermetic wrapper, you are going to end up with something that’s somewhere between a firecracker and a hand grenade, ultimately, because you’ve got a lot of energy contained within a barrier that can generate tremendous pressure.

So those are my two questions at the moment, but take them in whatever order you’re like.

Chi-Hao Chang: I would take the, the first one, so the cell, I think the first one is asking basically the cell level protection or some event pre prevention the development. So there are actually a lot of development innovation around this one.

Like I mentioned, separate coding you, or separate itself, it’s already out there, like lemonade structure, the top and bottom is basically pp. Poly property, and then the middle is poly alene. So in the high temperature the middles there will basically melt and close the cell and then stop the, stop the the battery.

So they basically do one layer of the, one of the air to prevent some wrong way. And also, I mentioned the flame retardant or sometimes that. At a high temperature, a lot of decomposition of electrolyte will kill the cell or poisonous cell. That ba that also can function as a one function to pre improve a safety just for on a cell level.

And then I also heard, this is some separator, instead of using like poly property or polyethylene lows have less dimensional stability, meaning at height, temperature. And high temperature the separator come melt very quickly and then, or it will shrink very quickly. So we’ll have a very large the short circuit, but it potentially can replace that with something more like poorly a, it’s more very high temperature simple, st simple, stable.

Material. And that means at height, temperature, this still prevents a lot of short circuit between the e the positive and negative cells. Electros, so that can eventually, improve the cell safety like significantly. Of course, there’s a lot of. I should say incident accident happens.

You don’t know what’s going on in the cell when you’re running that, the driver, the occupant the driver. You don’t know how to, how they function. Their e how they use the ev People maybe step on the speed up very quickly and start supercharge charge, the fast charging every day that will kill.

Or make a cell age quickly and die quickly. So that actually make it, the safety wise. Yeah, a lot of risk to. Getting some events. So that’s why we need something more like you like you mentioned, the silicon or how material can direct the gas. How gas, how the venting to better prevent, better improve, further, improve the EV battery pack or EV battery the safety.

So those different layers, like I mentioned since layer, probably cell level, the second layer will be more like system. Device, battery measure system to detect the gas or detect voltage, impedance, or I dunno, more advance, you can look into more like pressure, temperature or even the lithium D dry.

And then the last layer will be, I think that will be the final layer. More like thermal, battery fire protection material. That second phone and a rubber or even some kind of sitting can help the, like I mentioned, the gas venting order to prevent the thermal propagation. I think this is three different layers.

You have to do that to, make sure EV safety.

Fred: Yeah, as our, oh, okay. So you mentioned poly. Is that known as Kevlar? Is that the same material?

Chi-Hao Chang: Yeah, this is port ame and yeah, this is more fiber. Yes. This information I got like yesterday in the SA material, I talked with Sigar.

I say, yeah, they got yeah, there’s some better separate out there. The port ame. Of course, this is money, right? It’s all about money. P is cheap. It’s cheap, and then they can make it very good. But the poor am. Yes, it does have performance, but it who, of course, if you want, willing to pay for that.

Yeah. Okay so those I can mail at 300 degrees C and then, but for pp, p ppp, they’re around like 150. Yeah. Okay. So basically top or temperature,

John McKeen: yeah. Oh,

Fred: 150. That’s not a lot. Yeah.

Chi-Hao Chang: Yeah. So it’s very easy to short. Yeah.

Anthony: Is that really not a high temperature for these batteries? What’s the temperature range they’re operating at in a vehicle?

Chi-Hao Chang: So currently I think the most common, the temperature range around minus 40 to 80 degrees C, right? Once everything beyond 80 degrees C, it will keep the hitting up. Cuz once beyond 80 degrees C you’ll start general gas. The general gas means you have more swatting become bigger and bigger, and then your internal resistance gonna higher and higher.

And then the heat keep, just keep build up. And then in a battery pack it is very, Cross pack, meaning the cell, the heat is not able to escape. Hypothetically. And then it is accumulate over there and then the heat just accumulate and then it getting harder and harder.

And eventually, yeah, everything start de composed. I mean from maybe from the separator, some melting down, and then a lot of short circuit start we call it Michael Short circuit. And then it will start happening and then a lot of hot spots start generate. And then with temperature hitting some temperature, the cattles that the positive ture of start degradation and Nigeria a lot of hydrogen electro, general hydrogen or the, some flammable gas and also the oxygen also in there because a lot of arguments in that.

Yeah. In the cell is basically, Vacuum seal. There’s no oxygen in there. But I don’t think that’s right. Because there’s a bunch of like electrolyte that generate a lot of flammable issue, flammable material. And then also when all these positive materials de degrade will actually generate a lot of oxygen in there.

So it’s like basically like a fire triangle, right? You have a few, you have oxygen, you have. Yeah, everything. Basically you fulfill the fire, you eventually get up and trigger the fire. Very easy. Yeah. It’s got had temperature.

Anthony: How quick does something like this happen? So some reason my EV battery hits 81 degrees Celsius and everything you just described.

Is this okay, this is gonna take a an hour or is this gonna be like, Hey,

Chi-Hao Chang: next exit you’re in. No, 80. So that’s why you need a thermal management system, right? You go out so you cool it down so you can make sure it is maintained in the right temperature range, operate well, but sometimes sustain what happens, right?

That’s called life, right? And then once it happen, go up to the, once you have a large separate, large, sep large. Area. Short circuit. I think that’s less than one second. You can heat up, temperature. You can look at that, the arc, there’s basically the temperature rise up front, maybe a hundred degrees C, 200 degrees C, and then jump down to the 800 degrees C just in a second.

Wow. Very easy.

John McKeen: Yeah.

Anthony: So I’m curious in these s SAE battery meetings you guys have. So from a consumers with EVs, they’re always talking about, oh, I need range. Because all of a sudden every consumer is Hey, every weekend I drive a thousand miles towing my boat. And I need range.

And right now I can just use my. Ford to F three 50 and I fuel up my tank in five minutes flat. I don’t know what world these people live in and maybe they’re all wearing diapers. And so they’re always talking about range and charge time, and I need charge time. It needs to happen as fast as fueling my car, which okay, I can understand range anxiety, I can understand charge time issues.

And I imagine this is something that you guys have discussed and how can we improve these things, but what we talk a lot about on this show is reducing weight. Because EVs, all of a sudden your cars weigh what, 50% to 150% more. Michael’s next car is gonna be the Hummer ev. Just because he hates the world.

And he’s Hey look, I wanna weigh 9,000 pounds going at 70 miles per hour, cuz physics is just fake. So what’s been happening to help try and reduce weight around batteries? Or is this something that you guys are just kinda let’s focus on what’s gonna sell today. Which is a fair question.

John McKeen: I think there’s a lot of focus not only in the pack, but in other parts of the vehicle as well. Because, if you can take it outta the pack, that’s great, but if you could take it somewhere, take it out somewhere else in the vehicle as well, that’s also important. But, if you look at how battery packs started and maybe how a lot of them are still constructed aluminum structures fairly robust, I think the philosophy was in the event of a crash, protect the cells and use a lot of metal and of course metal aluminum’s light, but plastics are perhaps lighter. And so I think, one of the, one of the areas we’re seeing quite a bit of innovation is in. Kind of design of the pack and integration of the pack and like most innovation, how sophisticated you, the sophistication changes over time.

We didn’t end up with the microprocessor after the transistor was invented. It took 20 years and trillions of dollars to get there, and so I think we’re seeing a lot of kind of quick innovation here, but certainly they’re taking weight out, weights being taken outta the battery pack by. By looking at different materials.

I think energy density is a key piece of that, right? And so I think that’s why you still see a lot of companies and a lot of cell manufacturers and chi, how, feel free to comment here. Looking at then using pouch cells, which are the most energy dense, right? If you either to address range anxiety or to have similar range at lower weight, that’s another way you can achieve that.

A lot of focus on. Kind of materials that do more than one thing. And so chi house’s example of silicone foam, right? That the foam you need something between pouch cells to that expands and contracts as the cells charge and discharge. You need something that prevents or helps prevent thermal propagation.

And so we’re looking to incorporate many different material, many different functions into kind of one material package. And so lots of focus on materials. Inventing new materials, formulating new materials that do all of these things. And then how do you bring that together in a full pack?

And SOIC, for example, has done a tremendous amount of work, work with higher retardant and. And different grades of polypropylene them and others, felonies, et cetera. DuPont us looking at how to improve existing materials that provide the appropriate mechanical properties, appropriate strength, appropriate longevity, better thermal properties, better fire resistance, for example, that protect occupants but also take some weight out of the pack.

And I don’t know exactly what those numbers are. It depends on the OEM design, we’re certainly seeing that. I think that said I don’t know that weight of an ev like the battery materials are just dense and they’re gonna continue to be dense. And so I think the numbers I’ve seen are something like the average EV today weighs 500 to a thousand kilograms more.

And, maybe the best we can hope for is getting on the parody with ice vehicles versus taking the weight down just given the nature of solid materials.

Chi-Hao Chang: Yeah. Yeah. The drones recommend. Yeah, basically, how do you improve the energy entity and the fast charging, the, of course you can start with a lot of acting material, silicon.

I think that’s very popular for the like next generation. Have much higher capacity, much higher energy, and also you can do fast charging, right? People saying that five minutes can do 80% and yes, that basically, just go to a gasoline station and then just fill that, fill the field.

That’s basically the same time. So that definitely can help improve, the fast charging and then the the mileage as well. And then of course for the pack level design, the second phone or some other really low density material that either safety prevention or the safety improvement or some thermal management system or some other materials going through there that can significantly reduce the weight so that, everything sums up.

You can improve the overall pet level or system level, any density, and then improve any density. That basically meaning is improve the mileage per charging. Yeah.

Fred: So in terms of. It’s battery safety. There’s this several strategies, right? One is to improve the materials that are internal to the battery cells using the current popular cell chemistries, lithium ion chemistries.

The second approach would be to wrap the individual cells or some cluster cells in insulating foam, particularly why am I blanking on that term? The blank silicon. The foam silicone foam. I’m gonna get there. I’m gonna get there to wrap the cells or the clusters in silicone foam to reduce the ability of the heat to propagate through and cause a large fire if a small fire stops.

And then the third approach is to change the fundamental battery chemistry so that it is inherently less. Volatile unless susceptible to a thermal runaway than the current chemistries. This is that

John McKeen: correct?

Chi-Hao Chang: Like John mentioned, right? Solid. The very, I think referring, it basically remove all this flammable, electric electrolyte, but I remember the solid electrolyte both in there, they getting sticker and then the weight getting higher.

So that’s why the usually use, they need to use, I would say in the must use the very, very high density material, basically lithium metal or silicon. So that, and then, Because of energy density, if I higher, and then the size, much smaller. So think about that once it, again, something happen.

The jaw, the heat release per volume or per size is actually much, much higher than the lithion battery the current Lithion battery. So I mean it that. High energy release or heat release, they actually melt out a lot of the packaging or that I mentioned, the high temperature, the catheter material or some active material will release oxygen.

So all these end up eventually still getting some fire. And then some of the salt, it actually is a polymer as a Saudi electro light. So I also melt and then getting fire as well. So I remember that’s, that was last year, one of the the EBAs using this. Saudi Saudi election, Saudi battery, the Saudi State battery, they’re actually still getting fired.

They still I would say it still happened. Maybe it’s maybe it’s safer, but it’s a hundred percent safer. I don’t, I still, I would say it’s still a question mark to me. Yeah.

John McKeen: Yeah. Fred, if I could, if I were to summarize, Maybe those approaches. I think looking at innovation inside the cell certainly is an area.

Chiha mentioned separator materials, but there are other approaches that people are using. I think a second is, preventing thermal runaway. By ensuring high quality cells. And folks work really hard to do all of that, all of those quality checks along the way to make sure they never leave the factory.

Tons and tons of work there. Three would be packed. Design and pack design and materials of choice. So silicon foam, we like that, we make that, but there’s other approaches. To doing something similar and it’s just like, how do you put those different layers together?

So people use mica, people use nomax, people use various other things to ensure either heat isn’t transferred or gases aren’t transferred, or gas doesn’t penetrate the case of the battery. And then there’s a battery management system. The software that kind of continually.

Checks in on how things are going and either takes action in and of itself or warns the occupants. And so that’s how I would summarize the various high level. Very high level now, like layers of protection.

Fred: When you protect the batteries from thermal runaway, do you make it more or less difficult to manage a subsequent fire by the fire department?

In other words, are you insulating it so that the water they would use to quench the fire as less effective, or is it equally effective?

John McKeen: Yeah, they’re all hermetically sealed, right? The packs are all hermetically sealed. And I think the so the materials that go inside the pack, I think you want to eliminate airspace in there so there’s less oxygen ultimately.

But I think the question of how do first responders deal with these things is, may maybe very applicable to all of the pack designs that at least I’ve seen today. Cuz they’re all phonetically sealed and so getting water inside is difficult. I’m actually not convinced that. Getting water on them is even the right approach.

It may keep things a little cooler, but ultimately you have to deal with it somehow. And like I, I’ve been thinking a lot about this and I, I don’t know what, it’s a challenge. I don’t.

Michael: Yeah we’ve talked about like the environmental effects here, where you’re pouring water onto burning batteries on the side of the road and that water’s washing off to God knows where.

And Fred even found out that one of the chemicals produced in some burning batteries is a homologue of sarin gas that was used in the Japanese subway attack. So who knows what’s going on when they’re just washing this stuff into stream. But that’s certainly been one of our concerns.

Another one, and another question I had was, Do y’all have any type of, I, I like stress testing that’s performed on, on, on batteries, or do you perform any type of, crash testing? I’m sure you’re not crashing cars at Dal, but do you work with manufacturers or other folks to, really see what happens when, you subject one of these battery packs to some of the, crash forces we see, say 55 or 60 miles per hour type situation.

John McKeen: So we don’t do craft testing. I would love to do that, but we don’t get to that level as a material designer or supplier. And I can’t honestly speak for the OEMs. I presume the answer to your question is yes. I think that I don’t know what the NITSA standards are for crash testing, but I presume all of the vehicles have to pass that stuff.

And I think maybe you all touched a little bit on this, actually on your first podcast about. What the requirements are. Something like they, the vehicles just don’t have to start on fire. But I’m not intimately familiar with what the crash test requirements are for EVs, but I presume not starting on fire is probably one of them.

At a material level and at a pack level. There, there are many folks and many organizations, ul, s a e I E Certainly the standards organizations in China and Europe. Many involved in what are the right material level, PAC level tests. And we certainly have done testing on our materials with various external partners.

There’s a half dozen or so companies and nonprofits that, that work on stuff like this with material suppliers like us and the OEMs that, that range from. Like a high temperature torch test, which is something we do internally with hot particles to mimic once an event has started.

How do the materials react to small mini modules where you might have nine or 25 little like double A type lithium ion batteries in there and you set one off and see how. The materials of construction, whether it’s between the cells or to prevent hot gases from coming out of the mock pack.

Like those tests get run at UL and Southwest Research Institute and the battery Innovation Center and in a number of other places. And, then I’m sure the OEMs, I’m sure that they do full pack level tests. I know that they do full pack level tests and learn a lot from that.

But It, it’s interesting, like I don’t, they’re probably not all super well defined yet or homolog accepted globally. I know there’s a lot of work going on with that, but Yeah. But going back to my original orig, just because there’s a standard doesn’t mean we’re testing the right things all the time either.

And I, going by original statement, like I think the OEMs take this really seriously and probably do and care a lot more. About their reputation and and potential liabilities than any standard maybe re require them to today.

Michael: Yeah, I mean, we’ve noticed that for sure. And, we see them being very careful when there’s battery issues from the gm issues we saw with their LG batteries a year or two ago to the recent the battery manufacturer.

At that was putting batteries in the F-150 lightnings that where they had to stop production for a couple of weeks recently. And, that’s what we like to see. They literally found a defect and stopped it. I think only two F one 50 s with a defect made it off of the company property.

So they’re really being careful around some of the battery issues. And that’s good. And. I think that’s because they’re so hard. It appears to manufacture in a way that’s, r reaches that quality standard where it’s not as subject to fire. It ju it seems very difficult, the battery manufacturing process.


Anthony: All right. Are we wrapped up with our guests here?

Fred: I, we can go on for a long, this is a fabulously interesting conversation. I, we could just go on for a long time. But I want to thank you for bringing some of these issues to the fore and certainly for all of your work to improve battery safety.

I, I do think the EVs are coming, like it or not, and, this is certainly gonna be a huge contribution to the safety of the public. So thank you for all that work.

John McKeen: Thanks for having us.

Anthony: What we wanna ask is in all of these meetings, talk about weight reduction

John McKeen: everything. Weight

Anthony: reduction,


Hey thanks again to Sheha Chang, associate research scientist to DAO and John McCain, technical director at Dow Mobility Science. Thank you so much, guys. This is incredibly informative. And you’re welcome. Fred’s gonna go buy an

John McKeen: EV

Chi-Hao Chang: now. It.

John McKeen: Thanks for having us. Thank you all.

Chi-Hao Chang: Thanks. Thank you.

Anthony: All right, Fred, do you wanna do your towel?

Fred: Sure, we can do that now. Now you guys are welcome to stay on if you want to do that. Listen to the towel of Fred, but let’s go with that.

John McKeen: Yeah.

Anthony: This week the tower, Fred, it’s the consumer AV bill of rights number 10.

Chi-Hao Chang: Woo,

VO: you’ve now entered the Dow of Fred.

Fred: We’ve been going through the consumer bill of our, because in general the entire conversation about self-driving vehicles has been dominated by the manufacturers, and the rest of us have been pretty reactive to it.

So we’ve gone ahead. And put together some standards that, that we think are the minimum standards that should be implemented before any of the avs are allowed on the road as useful for, public interest groups like ourselves, as well as perhaps people who are generating regulations for these vehicles.

This one this week is that AVS shall not sell or distribute. Personally identifiable information of any person to any third parties without their explicit consent. We think this is a sleeper issue because a lot of the mobility modeling that’s been done is associated with self-driving vehicles for hire rather than to be owned by an individual.

And if you do that, you’ve got a charge for it. And that would probably use a credit card if somebody is using an AV for hire. If you do that, you’re, in any case, you’re generating tremendous amounts of data in the av, how fast you’re going, where are you going when you’re going who is with you perhaps you’ve got video coming into the car, you’ve got video going out of the car.

Avs, they’re just generating tremendous amounts of data that can reveal intimate details of your passenger’s private lives, these and intimate details release.

Michael: No, it looks like we’re

John McKeen: losing Fred. Fred, your

Anthony: internet connection’s dying. I think Facebook, these would

John McKeen: be

Michael: intimate details of the type that back, the folks that Tesla were looking at a couple of weeks ago from their vehicles.

John McKeen: Yes. I don’t know.

Fred: They were intimate. That’s why I dropped off,

John McKeen: yeah.

Fred: I think you, anyway, intimate details that you know state. Am I still on? Am I still bad?

Anthony: Oh, it looks like it’s

Michael: getting better. You might wanna cut your video. That might help.

Fred: I can do that, but then you wouldn’t be able to see me.


Michael: this, it’s okay. Anthony’s already gonna edit all of this out. What? Oh, that’s a long part.

Fred: So is this better now? Yes.

John McKeen: Yes. Okay. All right. You’re

Anthony: talking loud. It’s selling intimate detail. Deta, do look at this. I can’t even, I’m so much editing this week.

John McKeen: Let me

Fred: just all right, details. So we got the lead in right?

AV shall Not Sell. Oh,

Michael: yes, we were right at the part of

Anthony: lot of video going in, a lot of video going

Michael: Intimate details.

Fred: So avs will generate a tremendous amount of data. In any case where are you going? When are you going, what are those intimate details? Who were you visiting?

When are you visiting them? A lot of information that could be useful to people who are trying to do harm to you. This may be, involved in litigation, it could be discoverable. It’s important that as a minimum the avs don’t provide that information to people who are not authorized to get it under court order.

Yeah, you’re gonna do what you need to do, but you don’t want to release that information to anybody without appropriate court orders. All of this information could be associated with you if you’re using AVS for hire, because you’re probably going to use a credit card, which is traceable to you to pay for the service.

So we, it’s important that, this information is very carefully controlled. There are no current standards for avs that document, or even suggest how this information should be controlled. And there are a lot of people a lot of OEMs that are looking at this information as a possible source of revenue.

And our opinion, the scope of the third party distribution prohibition has got to include not only the authorized user of the vehicle, But also whoever is or paying for the trip and the people who are otherwise in the car, additional passengers and also the people who are around the car. This facial recognition could do a lot about associating this car with other people or places or you or your passengers.

We really need to assure that the consumers are protected from the. I elicit or un unauthorized use of this data. So

Michael: I think there’s two sides to that too, Fred. It’s, it’s not just in how you design. The vehicles and how they’re capturing what goes on in the car, how they’re transmitting it.

But when you get into a ride share vehicle now, and I’m sure this isn’t going to change a whole lot, if these things take over our roads, you’re signing an agreement of some sort, and it’s not an agreement that you get to go into an edit to suit you. It’s a contract of adhesion, basically, where you’re signing off whatever’s in there and in there.

You’re probably going to be signing off some of the use of personal information whatever they can use to market. We know how mu, how how much companies and auto companies particularly these days want your data and want to be able to use it. But you’re also signing off on things like, binding arbitration and, you’re basically signing a contract that says that if something happens while you’re in that AV you’re not going to be able to take them to court.

So there’s a lot of issues here. It’s. In some ways the con this, this type of structure, who you’re sell, who this data is going to is baked into the contract you agree to at the time you hop in the vehicle. So there’re definitely some great care that needs to be taken in this area.

John McKeen: I love this one.

Anthony: I think it might be the hardest one though. Michael was saying. It’s not as my favorite as we covered last week in episode with the number nine with the big red button. But this is yeah, I, I. I don’t know. I don’t know how to, how do we do this? Cuz I call up that vehicle, it’s on my phone and there’s some long agreement.

You just go agree. And then the next thing you know, I’m on some Scandinavian website that people of a fetish are

John McKeen: watching me driving a car.

Fred: Sure, especially if the video’s available to third parties without your consent. We know that Tesla is casual about the videos that are being generated within the Tesla vehicles and putting them out to, third parties, but certainly viewing it in the lab and having a good laugh at people picking their nose as they wait for the light to change.

Anyway this is all subsumed under this basic heading of control of the information and that the. Person who is generating the information needs to be in control of the distribution of that information as well. I, Michael, is correct that this has gotta be handled at the state level, or is this something that people talk about at the federal level?

Or where does this go? Where do we go with this?

Michael: It’s being discussed at, on a lot of levels at this point. I think it comes up a lot in some of the right to repair laws that we’ve seen passed in Massachusetts and some that are, there’s a federal right to repair Bill on the way.

That’s, those types of bills are what ultimately is going to address, who owns the data generated by vehicles? Who owns the, the to use that data. And I think there are compelling arguments for manufacturers and automakers to have some of that data. They need a lot of the data that is generated by AVS to, for safety purposes, they need to evaluate, how passengers are responding in certain types of events and other things.

I don’t think we’re asking for a blanket prohibition where every consumer. Gets to tell the manufacturer what data they’re going to be able to have to address some of these issues. But I think when it comes to, personally identifiable information and other things that has to be put within the control

Fred: of the consumer it seems like it would be simple enough to have an opt in option available when somebody swipes their credit card for one of these rides.

Michael: I think that seems simple, but I just don’t know that’s something without, without a requirement being placed, that’s going to be put into place. I think it would have to be federally required. I’m not sure what the odds of that would be. I know there are some compelling arguments for manufacturers to have access to your data, whether, particularly I think as we move towards vehicles having.

Not even just avs, but vehicles having subscription models where you’re buying different components of your vehicle, like heated seats and other things. We’re hoping safety components don’t make it into the subscription world, but we’re already seeing some signs of that. There’s a lot to be done here.

There’s very little federally around this issue and states are struggling to keep up and I think. I’m hoping that in the next decade, nits is able to get on top of this issue and issue some sort of rule, at least to protect some of the more protect consumers from more the egregious or the, some of the worse incidents we’ve seen in this area, like folks at Tesla passing around videos of drivers because, That really undermines the general public’s faith in some of the technology that we really want to see.

That relies on cameras like driver monitoring systems. Having a firm rule in place there to prevent some of the bad actors from doing these types of things would really be great. To help push some of the safety technology that I think we’re gonna need in the next few years as this conditional autonomy.

And level three, you can sleep while your car’s driving down the interstate type of stuff comes to market.

Anthony: Hey, I’ve been sleeping in cars for years. I don’t even need self driving. And with that, this episode’s brought to you by the word ous, a word that Michael just made up.

John McKeen: Is it

Michael: egregious? I, sometimes I am, that’s my Mississippi education.

Sorry about that. That’s,

Anthony: oh, we apologize to the state of Mississippi.

John McKeen: Really

Fred: it’s nice to, it’s nice to see you in apartment after so long sleeping in cars, Anthony,

Chi-Hao Chang: I. Hey.

Anthony: Alright thank you listeners. Thank you again to our guests and we’ll be back next week. But the only way we’re coming back next week is if you go to auto g and click on the donate button and just keep clicking on and over again.

Probably fill out the form that comes up afterwards cuz it’s clicking on the button. That’s just, that’s a grudges

Chi-Hao Chang: behavior.

Anthony: Thanks everyone.

John McKeen: Till next week. Bye-bye Chi, how

Fred: John, thanks again. Bye. The way.


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