Lithium Ion Family Battery Systems

The Lithium Ion family of technologies are the primary technology for plug-in and electric vehicles but, it is also being found in hybrid products. Each family can have a different discharging voltage characteristic which effects vehicle and Scan Tool diagnostics. This five-part series will provide the necessary information on all of the Lithium technologies, cell balancing systems, failure modes, diagnostics, and how these battery packs can be repaired instead of replaced.

At the conclusion of this course from SAE training partner FutureTech*, you will will be able to identify the various Lithium formats, aspects cell aging, rebuilding concepts, and understand how to use Scan Tool PIDs to help analyze, diagnose and repair the battery pack. GM, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Tesla, Toyota electric and hybrid vehicle products are featured.

What Will You Learn

By participating in this on-demand course, you'll be able to:
  • List the advantages and disadvantages of lithium technologies and the automotive lithium battery formats
  • Describe the discharging and charging process of a lithium battery cell
  • Describe the operation of a battery module/cell temperature sensing circuit
  • Describe the purpose and operation of battery pack contactors, the battery pack Pre-Charge circuit, and the battery pack Current Sensor
  • Identify the components in air and liquid cooling system for lithium battery packs
  • Identify and describe the components of a battery management system cell balancing system
  • Explain the difference between how vehicle instrumentation displays battery pack SOC% vs. actual battery pack SOC%
  • Relate in how SEI Layer growth effects battery cell operation
  • Describe how failure modes on the positive and negative electrode evolve
  • Compare the difference between battery power vs. capacity
  • Explain the battery pack Stress Test process and how the results can help determine what actions are needed

Course Information

11.00 Hours
90 Days

Is This Course For You

Engineers with limited or some knowledge or experience with high voltage Lithium battery pack education will find this course of benefit. There are also areas within the course that could benefit more seasoned battery pack professionals. Whether an Engineer is involved with HEV, PHEV, BEV, EREV or FCEV products, this course will provide information on Lithium cell operation, Battery Management System operation, battery pack hardware systems, battery cell failure modes, cell/module testing methods, battery stress testing, and how this differs from NiMH Systems.


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Click on the Requirements tab to make sure you are properly equipped to interact with this course.


*FutureTech develops and delivers comprehensive Vehicle Electrification solutions that include technical training, specialty diagnostic equipment and, professional support services to automotive service professionals. Its highly qualified network of suppliers, affiliations and, partners encompasses over 32 years of commercial experience focused in Vehicle Electrification education and technology development.

Materials Provided

  • 90 days of online single-user access (from date of purchase)  to the 10 hour presentation
  • Online learning assessment
  • Course handbook (downloadable, .pdf's)
  • Instructor follow up to your content questions
  • 1.1 CEUs*/Certificate of Achievement (upon completion of all course content and a score of 70% or higher on the learning assessment)

*SAE International is authorized by IACET to offer CEUs for this course.

Course Requirements

  • Windows or macOS
  • Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari (Other OSs and browsers including mobile devices are not supported by may work)
  • Broadband-1Mbps minimum


Part 1:  Lithium Ion Battery Families: Cell Construction and Operation

  • All Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV)
  • All Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV)
  • Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) - Examples
    • Buick LaCrosse
    • Chevrolet Malibu (e-Assist)
    • Ford Fusion (2013) & C-Max
    • Honda Civic (2013)
    • Hyundai Sonata/Kia Optima
    • Mercedes-Benz S400
    • VW Jetta

Part 2:  Lithium Product Systems

  • Battery Pack Hardware
    • Temp Sensors
    • HV Contactors and Pre-Charge System
    • Current Sensor
  • Battery Pack Cooling Systems
  • Battery Heating Systems
  • Hardware Diagnostics

Part 3:  Vehicle Performance Changes Due to Lithium Aging and Cell Balancing

  • Ensure/limits Cell Overcharging
  • Differences in Cell Aging/Degradation
  • Differences in Balancing Load Currents
  • Differences in Cell Temperatures
  • Ensure Cells are not Undercharged
  • Permits Battery Cells to be “Top Balanced”
  • Provides Superior Battery Pack Performance
  • Lengthens Life of Battery Pack

Part 4:  Failure Modes and What Causes Cell Aging or Loss of Capacity

  • SEI Layer Growth = Capacity & Power Reduction
  • Effects of Lithium Aging on Vehicle Performance
  • DTC Criteria
  • Effects of Lithium Cells on Vehicle Performance
  • Battery Cell Cycling:  Performance & SOH Testing

Part 5:  How to Test/Diagnose Plug-In and EV Battery Packs Using the Scan Tool

  • Stress Test Data PIDs
  • Battery Cell Voltages and Stress Testing
  • Stress Test Voltages During Stress Test
  • Stress Test Process

Recommended Content

Professional Development Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) Hybrid Battery Systems
Professional Development Introduction to Hybrid Electric Vehicle Systems
Professional Development High Voltage Vehicle Safety Systems