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03.4 Electric vehicle batteries

What is an electric vehicle traction battery?

An EV traction battery is rechargeable energy storage that supplies power to the electric motor very quickly, giving EVs high performance & rapid acceleration.

To better understand a traction battery, & the challenges of extinguishing one should it ignite, let's look at how EV traction battery packs are constructed.

Electric vehicle EV HV cabling X-ray side view.png

Traction battery

How an electric vehicle 
lithium ion traction battery pack is constructed

Multiple individual lithium ion battery cells are connected to make a battery module. A group of connected battery modules is contained within an enclosed battery casing with underbody protection. This is known as a battery pack.

In a passenger electric vehicle, the battery pack is typically located along the floor pan of the vehicle, in a rectangle or 'T" shape.

Commercial & public transport electric vehicles may have multiple battery packs located at the front, rear, sides & even the roof of the vehicle.


Battery cells

Cylindrical, prismatic & pouch lithium battery cells are most commonly used in electric vehicle traction battery packs. Blade cells are becoming more popular

Electric vehicle cylindrical lithium battery cell.png

(see below for detail)

Electric vehicle lithium pouch battery cell.png


Electric vehicle lithium prismatic battery cell.png



Battery modules


Battery cells contained within a module (these are prismatic)


Battery pack 

Electric vehicle battery pack exploded view.png

Battery modules connected in series create a pack


Electric vehicle chassis (exploded view)


Battery pack


Electric vehicle chassis


Battery pack contained in a battery housing with underbody protection & battery management system

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