Improving Battery Design with Electro-Thermal Modeling

Desikan Bharathan, Ahmad Pesaran, Andreas Vlahinos, Gi Heon Kim

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

16 Scopus Citations


Operating temperature greatly affects the performance and life of batteries in electric and hybrid vehicles. Increased attention is necessary to battery thermal management. Electrochemical models and finite element analysis tools are available for predicting the thermal performance of batteries, but each has limitations. In this study we describe an electro-thermal finite element approach that predicts the thermal performance of a cell or module with realistic geometry. To illustrate the process, we simulated the thermal performance of two generations of Panasonic prismatic nickel-metal-hydride modules used in the Toyota Prius. The model showed why the new generation of Panasonic modules had better thermal performance. Thermal images from two battery modules under constant current discharge indicate that the model predicts the experimental trend reasonably well.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2005
Event2005 IEEE Vehicle Power and Propulsion Conference, VPPC - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: 7 Sep 20059 Sep 2005


Conference2005 IEEE Vehicle Power and Propulsion Conference, VPPC
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityChicago, IL

Bibliographical note

For preprint version see NREL/CP-540-38621. (Title changed at publication.)

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-540-41751


  • Battery model
  • HEV (hybrid electric vehicle)
  • Nickel metal hydride
  • Simulation
  • Thermal management


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