As electric cars start to increase in power and range, so do the stresses and requirements placed on their oh so vital batteries. Most automakers have chosen to stick with lithium-ion batteries to power their new generation of electric vehicles and one of the crucial factors determining the performance of the power source is temperature.

Thermal management of lithium-ion battery systems is critical to the success of electric vehicles because extreme temperatures can affect performance, reliability, safety and durability. For Ford, and its upcoming 2012 Ford Focus EV, solving this issue required the use of an advanced active liquid-cooling and heating system to regulate the temperature of its lithium-ion batteries.

According to Ford, active liquid systems are more effective than air systems at regulating lithium-ion battery temperature. The active liquid cooling and heating system also enables the Focus EV to automatically precondition the battery pack temperature during daily recharging. When the vehicle is plugged in to the power grid, the vehicle system will be able to warm up the battery on cold days and cool it down on hot days.

The 2012 Focus EV is set to go on sale late next year but you can check out our road test of a prototype version by clicking here. The final version is expected to have a range of up to 100 miles.

[Ford]