Maguire, P., Baek, H., Liptak, S., Lomax, O. et al., "Thermoplastic Enclosure for a High Voltage Battery System," SAE Technical Paper 2017-01-1190, 2017, doi:10.4271/2017-01-1190.
As electrified powertrains proliferate through original equipment manufacturer vehicle offerings, the focus on system cost and weight reduction intensifies. This paper describes the development and evaluation of a High Voltage (HV) battery system enclosure molded from High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) to deliver substantial cost and weight opportunities. While previous HV battery system enclosure alternatives to steel and aluminum focus on thermoset composites and glass filled polypropylene, this solution leverages select HDPE design techniques established for fuel tanks and applies them to an HV battery system. The result is a tough, energy absorbing structure, capable of hermetic sealing, which simplifies manufacturing by eliminating nearly all fasteners. The authors evaluate performance with respect to crashworthiness, fire resistance, electro-magnetic compatibility and other challenges; using comparative research, computer analysis, and physical testing to demonstrate the system capabilities. The result is a compelling argument for employing HDPE to enclose and protect a HV battery system, yielding cost and weight reduction opportunities over conventional solutions.