If we want a battery cell to last a lot of cycles, extend the life in a power application or to ensure the available power is consistent then we need to set a usable SoC window that is smaller than 100%. That is we will limit the top end charge to perhaps 95% SoC and the bottom end discharge to 5% SoC.
High SoC and hence high cell voltage stresses the cell and significantly reduces the lifetime. Going over the maximum cell voltage risks safety of the cell and pack. Although this top end SoC is controlled by cell voltage, any error in SoC estimation needs to be taken into account when setting the SoC limits.
At low SoC the Open Circuit Voltage (OCV) is decreasing and the internal resistance of the cell increasing. Hence with a discharge load the cell voltage will drop even further and more rapidly approach the minimum cell voltage. This minimum cell voltage will be set by the cell manufacturer to avoid damage and extend the cell lifetime.
The downside is the usable energy has just been reduced by 10%.
For higher power packs the usable SoC window will be even smaller. A high power hybrid battery pack may have a usable SoC window of just 30%. This is required to allow the pack to operate with a more consistent power capability and to extend the lifetime with very high micro-cycling.
Examples of usable SoC windows:
- 95.4% Mercedes EQA 250 66.5kWh usable (69.7kWh total)
- 92.5% Nissan Leaf 37kWh usable (40kWh total)
- 92% Ford F-150 Lightning 131kWh usable (142kWh total)
- 90% Porsche Taycan EV 83.7kWh usable (93.4kWh total)
- 90% Renault Zoe ZE 40 41kWh usable (45.3kWh total)
- 87.5% Formula E 2014-18 28kWh usable (32kWh total)
- 82% BMW 330e PHEV 9.8kWh usable (12kWh total)
- 40% Ford C-max Hybrid 0.56kWh usable (1.4kWh total)
State of Charge, abbreviated as SoC and defined as the amount of charge in the cell as a percentage compared to the nominal capacity of the cell in Ah.