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Sensor shuts off HV battery during accident

February 09, 2011 // Christoph Hammerschmidt

Sensor shuts off HV battery during accident

Automotive supplier Continental has developed a sensor (satellite) for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles which will immediately shut off the high-voltage battery in the event of a collision while the vehicle is in charge mode. Thus, emergency service personnel can recover vehicles without running the risk of suffering an electric shock.

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The evSAT acceleration sensor is active in charge mode. It detects an accident and passes this information on to the battery management system which then shuts off the high-voltage battery, the company explained. The major benefit of the product is that it prevents fire and rescue service personnel sustaining high-voltage injuries when coming into contact with vehicle metal parts or if they have to cut through the vehicle to recover accident victims. Electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are powered by high-voltage batteries of up to 400 volts.

The evSAT sensor is only active during charging cycles. Otherwise, the airbag sensor assumes the task of switching off the battery in the case of an accident.

'evSAT' stands for 'Satellite for Electric Vehicles' and essentially consists of an independent triaxial sensor with a CAN interface. During the charge phase, other relevant vehicle electronics systems, including the airbag system are not operational.

Thus, in order to avoid the considerable expense of adapting the airbag system to meet new requirements, Continental has developed evSAT for the vehicle's charge mode. The accelerator sensor employs an algorithm to detect a frontal, rear or side collision with another vehicle and immediately transmits a signal via the CAN interface to the battery management system which then switches off the battery within half a second. evSAT reacts in the same way if it detects a rollover in driving mode. In this case, the battery is deactivated within four seconds at most. In the event of other types of driving accident, evSAT remains inactive. In such cases, the airbag system assumes the task of cutting off the battery. If the electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle has been switched off and is not being charged, the evSAT moves to a standby mode to prevent the battery discharging. As such, evSAT represents an additional passive safety system function for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

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