A truism about all rechargeable battery cells is that they are useless without a suitable charger. Portable battery packs will routinely need to recharge in difficult conditions, including extreme temperatures, high winds or submerged environments.
At industry level, large cells are required to undergo many cycles of discharge and recharge in a range of environments that are often less than ideal. It is up to the battery pack manufacturer to ensure their battery packs are designed appropriately and fully able to integrate safely with equipment and charger.
Battery chargers come in a range of styles and requirements to suit all manner of battery types. As well as smart chargers, which can react to the current charge and health of batteries, there are those that specialise in charging batteries quickly and others that charge over a longer period of time.
Ultra-fast charging is in demand in the electrical vehicle industry, where quick charging and high capacity are needed to avoid numerous lengthy charges. The process, in which up to about 70% of a battery’s capacity is charged quickly, is particularly stressful to cells and cannot be performed in extreme temperatures. Therefore, a battery pack manufacturer must be sure their battery pack design is robust enough to withstand the strain.
Though most batteries can operate in adverse temperatures, charging the majority of battery types in such conditions can be problematic. Batteries consisting of lead and nickel take longer to charge below freezing point, while many lithium-ion components will not accept any charge at all.
Industrial chargers are often made by third-party companies and can include specialised features, including the ability to charge some rechargeable cells in extreme cold. Though it is generally the case that battery performance, both in terms of recharge and discharge, is best in moderate temperatures, the fact that some chargers can operate in adverse conditions is useful in some industries.
The demands of industry, including fast charging and adverse conditions, work to the detriment of most batteries that require slow, steady charging and moderate temperatures to perform at their optimum levels.