At recent 2023 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Sony and Honda revealed their first electric vehicle prototype, which is equipped with 45 cameras and sensors, as well as Electric Rearview Mirrors. Electronic rearview mirrors have already made an appearance on roads in many countries. A question has been raised: will traditional rearview mirrors eventually become obsolete in smart cars? In this article, we will delve into this inquiry.
Steel vs. Aluminium vs. Carbon Fiber
Steel is a traditional material that offers high strength and durability. However, steel is heavy and prone to corrosion, which can reduce the energy efficiency and lifespan of the battery. In addition, steel has high thermal conductivity, which affects the battery performance and safety. Aluminum, in contrast, is preferred due to its lightweight and high strength-to-weight ratio. It is also more resistant to corrosion than steel.
Sounds like aluminum wins in every way, no material is without its challenges, however. There is also the poor impact performance of metal materials. Carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP), a newer and more innovative composite material, offers lightweight, anti-impact, durable and flexible performance. However, it is also more expansive. Moreover, its thermal expansion mismatch with the battery cells, which makes it still a cautious choice.
Design to Improve Cooling Efficiency
Other than material selection, the factors such as structure optimization, thermal management system, etc., are also crucial. The modular design with multiple cooling channels and the use of cooling fins and heat sinks can enhance the cooling efficiency of the battery pack. Therefore, the surface area for heat transfer increased, allowing air or liquid to flow through the channels. If the heat, generated by battery cells during operation, is not dissipated properly, can reduce the lifespan of the battery, and even cause safety hazards.
Multi-layered Housing Structure
Another important aspect of the battery pack housing design is the protection against mechanical and thermal shocks. A multi-layered housing structure consisting of an outer layer of aluminum or steel, a middle layer of insulation material, and an inner layer of polymer film can balance the pros and cons of different materials.
This structure protects against physical damage to the battery cells from external impacts or vibrations, and protects against thermal runaway, which can occur when the battery overheats and triggers a chain reaction leading to a fire or explosion. The insulation layer prevents heat from spreading to adjacent cells and absorbs impact energy, while the polymer film acts as a barrier to prevent oxygen from entering the battery and fueling the combustion.
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