The growing importance of battery and fuel-cell powered vehicles also has
increased the need for leak-testing on automotive production lines to assure
the quality of these alternative drive systems.
Electric and hybrid-electric vehicle batteries, for example, need to be
leak-free and protected from humidity and water for 10 years or more.
Fuel-cell vehicle components have unique leak-detection requirements as
A new e-book from INFICON, “E-Mobility: Leak Testing for Electric and Fuel
Cell Vehicles,” describes available leak-detection technologies and explains
how manufacturers can use them through various phases of development and
The comprehensive 53-page e-book points out that modern tracer-gas test
methods are the most suitable for most testing tasks for alternative drive
components. In fact, tracer-gas tests can detect leaks that are 1,000 times
smaller than air tests currently in use.
“Leak tests have long been one of the most critical quality-control checks
performed by automakers and their suppliers,” explains Thomas Parker,
INFICON’s North American automotive sales manager. “Electric,
hybrid-electric and fuel-cell powered systems require even more precise
Parker notes that tracer gases provide the necessary sensitivity and
reliability to meet today’s demanding safety requirements and consumer
Reliable leak testing of battery cells is crucial because the highly
flammable electrolytes they contain can spark fires. Even small amounts of
humidity in a battery module can cause the system to short circuit, reduce
service life and degrade performance, including a vehicle’s driving range.
“It’s vital to prevent electrolytes from leaking from the battery cell or
coming into contact with water under any circumstances throughout the
production process and life of any electric or hybrid-electric vehicle,”
There also are special leak-testing considerations for an EV’s high-voltage
electric/electronic components (motors, controllers, sensors), and cooling
Fuel-cell vehicles have their own unique requirements. In addition to their
battery and electrical systems, these vehicles also need to have leak-tight
fuel-cell stacks, bipolar plates and hydrogen tanks.
“Our new e-book explains which vehicle components should be tested, the test
methods that should be used and the leak rates that guide each method,”
Parker explains. “Proper quality-control leak testing for fuel-cell and
electric-vehicle components is increasingly important for automakers and
their suppliers as these vehicles gain market share.”
INFICON’s e-book is designed for manufacturing engineers and quality control
managers, as well as for engineering students. It can be downloaded free of
charge at https://bit.ly/3sdRKxq.
Leak-detection training also is available through the INFICON Webinar
Program, which offers free, interactive instruction on basic leak-detection
methods and provides information on a wide variety of industrial
INFICON is one of the world’s leading developers, producers and suppliers of
instruments and devices for leak detection in air conditioning,
refrigeration and automotive manufacturing. The company has manufacturing
facilities in Europe, China and the United States, as well as sales and
service offices throughout the world. More information about INFICON
automotive technology is available online at www.inficonautomotive.com