UL Solutions opens battery enclosure material screening laboratory in Japan, helping advance EV battery safety

UL Solutions, a global leader in applied safety science, has announced it opened a new battery enclosure material screening (BEMS) laboratory in Ise, Mie, Japan, to help automotive manufacturers and their suppliers to safely compare the performance of various materials to enhance electric vehicle (EV) battery safety.

Battery enclosures help protect EV occupants, and the materials the enclosures are made of play a critical safety role in case of a battery fire or what is known as a thermal runaway event. As the second UL Solutions facility with BEMS testing capabilities, following the company’s headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois, the UL Solutions Ise BEMS Laboratory is anticipated to help regional customers accelerate battery enclosure research and development and bring safer batteries to market.

“Manufacturers in the automotive industry are investing in researching and developing lighter batteries to extend electric vehicle range and stay competitive while keeping occupant safety at the forefront,” said Hidehiko Yamajo, regional vice president of Japan at UL Solutions. “We believe our new laboratory in Japan is well-positioned to meet the needs of global manufacturers and help them navigate complex challenges and shape the future of mobility.”

EV batteries typically cover the entire base of a vehicle. Materials used to house these batteries must be tested to determine their ability to withstand thermal runaway stresses. Thermal runaway is a chain reaction that can occur in lithium-ion batteries when the internal temperature of a battery cell reaches a critical level. It can produce fire, smoke and extremely high temperatures. UL Solutions BEMS offerings evaluate the performance of battery enclosure materials in a thermal runaway event, outlined under UL 2596, the Standard for Test Method for Thermal and Mechanical Performance of Battery Enclosure Materials.

The new UL Solutions BEMS laboratory is expected to help the automotive industry protect EV occupants with capabilities to conduct UL Solutions Battery Enclosure Thermal Runaway (BETR) evaluations and employ the UL Solutions Torch and Grit (TaG) test method.

  • BETR evaluates material performance by simulating a thermal runaway scenario. The evaluations entail testing material plaques versus the entire battery assembly using lithium-ion battery cells (18650 type), reducing testing costs and development time for resin manufacturers and material suppliers.
  • TaG incorporates small-scale testing and simulates high temperatures and mechanical impact stresses in a battery thermal runaway event, and ranks materials for battery enclosures.

The opening of this new testing facility in Ise is part of UL Solutions’ expansion of its mobility and new energy technology facilities in Japan. The Ise Campus is home to laboratories for safety, EMC, reliability testing, and large mobility as well as the CHAdeMO EV-Quick Charger Matching Center.

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