With electric vehicles becoming more and more popular these days, it’s only natural for people to be curious about the technology and start asking question. One such person is Twitter user Xavier Naxa, who asked on the social media platform: “Can the lithium-ion battery in an EV last in the Malaysian heat?”

Great question, you must have wondered as well. According to Malaysian engineer Ahmad Syahid Ahmad Fawzal (also known as Aid Fawzal), the battery pack in a modern EV would have been designed with its own cooling system, many of which are liquid-cooled instead of air-cooled. This is because the latter would introduce noise much like that of a vacuum cleaner due to the use of an air pump, he said in a Facebook post.

A water cooling circuit is more efficient for thermal regulation (also extremely crucial for high kilowattage DC charging). Ahmad Syahid also explained that automakers would have tested the EV multiple times in a climatic chamber to make sure that the car can withstand extreme temperatures, cold or hot. Fun fact: a lithium-ion battery has a much narrower operating range of about 15 to 45 degrees Celsius, whereas the ICE can operate from -30 to 50 degrees Celsius.

In reference to the photo below, Ahmad Syahid said the process of making an EV battery pack is a lot more complicated than one would think. There are material and cost factors to take into consideration, then the battery modules would have to undergo hundreds of hours of CFD (computational fluid dynamics) simulation before any form of mass-market packaging and integration can be done.

“Car manufacturers not only do their best to safeguard their technology, but also their reputation. This is why they go all out to make sure that their products sell well,” he said, adding that “the Malaysian Road Transport Department (JPJ) also has a technical guideline for all cars sold in Malaysia. This is for the safety of all road users.”

In short, yes, an electric vehicle can and will withstand the hot and humid Malaysian weather. What about the battery’s lifespan, then? Well, automakers typically don’t provide a definite figure, but the estimated length of service you can expect is 10 years or 160,000 km before battery degradation sets in. Note that the battery will still be usable after this point, just with a slight compromise in range.

Last but not least of all pertains to flammability. Should the battery be punctured in the event of an accident, will it send the car up into a ball of flame? Technically, yes. Lithium-ion battery is combustible – it has power cells that can cause short-circuiting if damaged, but the risk of fire explosions is much lower compared to a gasoline engine.

Ahmad Syahid shared that EV batteries are usually encased in a protective shroud, and on top of that have an electrical fail-safe mechanism to prevent short-circuiting. Kia, the Korean automaker also explained that EV battery packs are installed in an array rather than being a huge singular chunk, thus preventing damage from malfunction.

Interesting stuff, isn’t it? Oh, by the way, Ahmad Syahid is a PhD holder whose mathematical formula – the Fawzal Number – helped create the cooling system for the Ferrari SF90 Stradale. The breakthrough equation was initially called the (rotor) Cooling Performance Index (RCPI).