New Details About the Rivian Electric Truck's Battery Pack Design Revealed

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【Summary】Rivian announced that it will be introducing a new design for the RT1 electric truck battery pack using an integrated cooling plate. The cooling plate is responsible for the battery pack’s thermal management.

Manish Kharinta    Jan 28, 2019 6:00 AM PT
New Details About the Rivian Electric Truck's Battery Pack Design Revealed

Electric truck startup Rivian recently unveiled its battery-powered pickup the R1T and all-electric SUV R1S during this month's 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. The company also announced that it will be introducing a new design for the battery pack, which consists of 2170 cells, (named for its approximate 21mm diameter and 70mm length) housed in a double stacked unit with a 7 millimeter thick cooling plate seperating the two sections. 

The cooling plate is sandwiched between two layers of battery cells on each side and is solely responsible for the battery pack's thermal management. Sandwiching the cooling plate between the cells means that both layers of battery cells can be cooled simultaneously.

The company claims that this will help in increasing the range of its cars by reducing the amount of energy consumed by the system. This layout also helps in making the battery pack denser, as it offers tighter packaging of cells. The company says that this layout offer 25 percent more density over other EV battery packs available in the market today.

Rivian has not officially disclosed the company that is supplying the battery cells, however, customs import records show that battery maker LG Chem might be the manufacturer. Just like the cooling system used by Tesla for the 'track mode' feature on the Model 3, Rivian will pre-cool the battery packs before a charging session, which optimizes the charging time.

The Rivian RT1, the world's first electric pickup truck.

To protect the battery pack, Rivian's engineering team used a "ballistic shield" made up of carbon composite shells. This not only protects the battery pack in case of a collision, but also prevents any punctures from a foreign object. 

Unlike Tesla, which uses a snake design in the electric Model 3 sedan, Rivian's flat plate design will help in a tighter packing of battery cells. In addition to taking on the duties of thermal management, the flat plate gives the battery pack increased structural support. 

The Rivian RS1 Electric SUV

Other automakers like GM, Jaguar, Audi, Porsche and now Rivian, incorporate flat plate designs in their vehicle's battery packs. This flat plate allows for an extra 8 degrees C of higher operating temperature.

This flat plate design also helps the battery pack in surviving low temperatures during charging and is much easier and cheaper to assemble compared to Tesla's cooling snake, giving Rivian a technicial advantage over Tesla's design.

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