QuantumScape has been granted a patent for battery packs and interface modules that interconnect electrochemical cells and provide heat distribution. The interface module has a minimal space requirement and is made from a single sheet of metal. It includes multiple bus bars and thermistors, and is substantially orthogonal to the end frames of the battery pack. The base of the module is made of an electrically insulating material that is also thermally conductive. GlobalData’s report on QuantumScape gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on QuantumScape, Hydrogen storage alloys was a key innovation area identified from patents. QuantumScape's grant share as of September 2023 was 38%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Battery pack interface module with minimal space occupation

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: QuantumScape Corp

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11777153B2) describes an interface module for a battery pack. The module includes two or more bus bars made of electrically conductive material and a base made of electrically insulating material. The bus bars are mechanically supported by the base and are configured to electrically interconnect a plurality of electrochemical cells arranged between two end frames. The interface module is positioned orthogonally to the end frames and extends parallel to the top cover of the cells, to which it is electrically connected. The base of the module is thermally conductive, with a thermal conductivity between 2 W/m-K and 100 W/m-K.

The patent also claims that the bus bars are electrically connected to the terminals of the electrochemical cells in a way that avoids any electrical shorting. Additionally, the interface module may include voltage sense leads that connect the bus bars to the module. These leads have a substantially planar shape and are of the same thickness as the bus bars. The bus bars and voltage sense leads may form a monolithic structure.

The interface module may further include a connecting portion with multiple connecting leads, with each bus bar having a separate electrical connection to one of the leads. The voltage sense leads are used for the electrical connection, and their thickness is the same as that of the bus bars. The voltage sense leads may be coplanar with the bus bars and may also form a monolithic structure with them.

In addition, the interface module may have a thermistor module with multiple thermistors positioned in different locations. Each thermistor has a separate electrical connection to one of the connecting leads. The base of the module is flexible, allowing the bus bars to move with respect to each other. The overall thickness of the interface module is less than 10 millimeters.

This patented interface module provides a means for electrically interconnecting electrochemical cells in a battery pack while avoiding electrical shorting. The use of thermally conductive material in the base allows for efficient heat dissipation. The inclusion of voltage sense leads and thermistors enhances the monitoring and control of the battery pack. The flexibility of the base allows for movement of the bus bars, potentially accommodating variations in cell placement. Overall, this interface module offers improved performance and safety in battery pack applications.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.