OCoil explores a shared and modular battery solution for Electric Vehicles

At EVreporter, we strive to highlight the innovations and technological advancements that can help propagate clean mobility and improve the value proposition of electric vehicles for all stakeholders. In this article, we talk about OCoil – an innovation by Daniel Roddy – former engineer at US Naval Research Laboratory and Andrew Scogna – veteran of US Army.

Rather than focusing on building a new or better battery, OCoil’s founders Daniel Roddy and Andrew Scogna have designed a flexible and modular energy solution that leverages existing battery technology. Their patented system is called COIL, for Cylindrical Objects Individually Linked, and accounts for potential future battery developments.

“COIL, at its heart, is one cell with one mechanical link, slid into one segment of “conduit” that makes the electrical connections. Such links and the mechanical systems have been in use by the military for around eighty years”, informs Daniel.

COIL creates a system, mechanically linking individual standard cells together (such as the 18650 cell) with individual standard links into belts of any length. The length of the belt can vary depending on the application e.g. one cell for a flashlight to 100 for a small scooter to 1000 for a motorcycle or auto-rickshaw to anywhere from 5,000-10,000 for a car or truck to 50,000 for a tractor trailer to 100,000 or more for a train or ship. Every application (mobility or stationary energy storage) uses the same standard cells and standard links, facilitating reuse.

COIL will make Refuelling easier

One of the major areas of concern for potential buyers of electric vehicles is the time taken to recharge. Years of ICEs use has conditioned consumers to a re-fuelling process that takes no more than 5 minutes. Considering long recharge times of battery packs, many commercial entities such as EV fleet operators are implementing Battery Swapping solutions to cut on waiting time for battery recharge.

COIL offers the flexibility to swap out individual cells, or the entire belt or parts of the belts as necessary. Swapping the entire belt allows for rapid re-energizing of the whole system.

“In this model, batteries can be more fluid and “liquid”, akin to how gasoline fuels vehicles from a consumer-convenience perspective”, adds Daniel.

Handling Cell Failure

Presently, cells are formed into proprietary packs, with cells rigidly welded in place. If one cell goes bad, it can potentially drag the whole pack down.

COIL is designed to swap batteries down to the single cell. This allows failed cells to be easily removed, preventing degradation of the pack and eliminating the risk of thermal runaway.

In the COIL system, when one cell fails, it can be detected as a voltage drop in the battery bank where the cell sits. The belt can then be shifted until the bad cell is out of an active bank and into an unused zone with no electrical connection. When the bad cell exits the bank, the bank’s voltage will go back to normal, indicating the position of the bad cell on the belt as it exits the end of the bank.  

The cell can even be removed and replaced automatically in the vehicle as seen below from one  of their patent images.

Enables a sharing model for battery

Talking about the potential advancements this technology can bring to the domain, Daniel says that COIL creates the opportunity for a leased battery model, sharing cells between energy storage and electric vehicles. A large pool of leased cells and the infrastructure to support it will allow for the flexibility in use of cells between vehicles for the daily commute and power at the office or the home at night. The same cells are shared in all of the systems, by design.

Technology Readiness

Currently OCoil has patents and proof of concept for their core background technology and the founders are focused on getting COIL to market through licensing and strategic relationships in multiple markets.

Visit our Battery section to know about alternate battery technologies that have the shown the potential for EV application.

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