As the Foundation for Transport and Energy Research and Development, Cidaut works closely with the automotive industry on new roads of research that redefine how today’s organisations power their vehicles. Spanning both the transport and energy sectors, electric vehicle (EV) technology is a key focus of this research, particularly where it crosses into accident studies and road safety. As part of a new line of research delving into the interaction of EVs and the environment, Cidaut contacted Emtez. Our knowledge of the risks surrounding EV batteries, combined with our manufacturing excellence, allowed us to offer the solutions that would help Cidaut to safely crash-test this emerging technology.
Crash-test risks with electric vehicles
Crash tests are integral to Cidaut’s research into EV safety. But due to the lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries used to power EVs, the vehicles used have very specific storage requirements.
- Li-ion batteries can catch fire very rapidly when damaged.
- They’re very difficult to put out using traditional fire safety measures.
- Even after they’ve been extinguished, fires can actually reignite for up to three days.
It’s therefore vital that any organisation using EV batteries has the means to quarantine them in a safe place. In Cidaut’s case, this meant having the ability to safely store and quarantine the EVs after a crash test (with the Li-ion battery inside). The vehicle can’t be left in an exposed place or in the open air. Once the vehicle has been stored securely in such a container, the battery could also then be removed and secured in a safety box.
This last step is important as the safety box also serves as a transport for the damaged battery, keeping it isolated from the outside environment until it reaches its final destination at the battery treatment plant. The team at Cidaut quickly recognised that off-the-shelf solutions didn’t come close to the level of specificity it required.
Our expertise in the field of Li-ion batteries, coupled with our extensive solution design and manufacturing capabilities, meant we were the only provider capable of developing a container that did.
A flexible approach to product design
Acting as key account manager on this project was Emtez’s Juan Carlos Serrano (Export Sales Manager), with the assistance of Remi Tourtet (Regional Sales Manager). Juan Carlos and Remi met with Cidaut’s Susana Escalante (Laboratories Manager) and Sergio Alonso (Project Manager: Vehicle Passive Safety) to better understand the team’s requirements. At this point Cidaut didn’t have a clear set of specifications, meaning we needed to maintain a flexible approach to the product design. Our ability to offer customised solutions goes hand-in-hand with our belief that safety isn’t one-size-fits-all. The personalised experience offered by Juan Carlos and Remi, and the flexibility of the engineering team behind them, meant that over the course of six months we were able to design and built an effective EV battery container solution in what is otherwise an unregulated field.
Our commitment to excellence extended beyond the design phase. Upon delivering the container to Cidaut, we diligently carried out thorough safety and functionality checks, all of which produced highly successful results.
This is why our ability to accompany and advise the customer from the beginning of the process to the end is so important. Any storage container design for any type of battery, from EVs and motorbikes to e-scooters and energy storage [racks], can be extrapolated and adapted. The key has always been, and always will be, to understand the customer's needs and adapt or create a design that meets it.
Juan Carlos Serrano, Emtez
Cidaut research protects drivers. We protect Cidaut.
For a foundation like Cidaut, dedicated to innovation across the automotive space, it’s vitally important to operate responsibly, with the appropriate level of safety measures throughout its operations. The field of EV battery storage is huge and there are still no specific regulations governing it. While we continue working with the official organisations to change this, these kinds of specialist solutions build much-needed safety, security, and resilience into a company’s operations. Our containers complement Cidaut’s existing suite of world-class safety and security testing measures.
At a company level, Cidaut is a pioneer in the use of these products. They have anticipated having a solution before a problem arises.
Juan Carlos Serrano, Emtez
The final solution would not have been possible without Cidaut’s close involvement across the product development phase (they were searching for a solution that simply did not yet exist in the market). And, in turn, the experience of our engineering department, allowed us to adjust the container’s design and manufacture in line with Cidaut’s precise needs.
As a brand new product, this collaboration was key to hitting the brief and delivering a solution that would continue to enable Cidaut to test and drive the future boundaries of automotive.