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Future Says S5E6 Recap: Immersion Cooling and the Future of Battery Cooling

Large batteries like the ones found in electric vehicles (EVs) are marvelous pieces of technology, but they come with one caveat – like all electrical systems, they can get hot. This heat can cause malfunctions and serious safety risks within vehicles if not mitigated properly. The process of managing electrical systems’ heat is generally referred to as thermal management, and it’s a priority area to address for automakers looking to lead in the automotive industry’s electrified future. There can be no battery-powered vehicle without next-generation battery cooling techniques. 

Discovering new, innovative ways to cool batteries and battery systems is what Future Says season five’s latest guest, XING Mobility's Hsiou (Sherwood) Hochen, does day in and day out. As XING’s chief strategy officer, Hochen is responsible for developing XING’s direction and figuring out how to deliver the market’s best battery cooling solutions for vehicle manufacturers around the world. For XING, that strategy is an established technology just beginning to make its way into the automotive space: immersion cooling.


Proven Technology, New Applications

As Hochen explains, people are familiar with the concept of EV batteries. But they often don’t realize that much more goes into it, that an EV’s battery is only the lowest rung on the proverbial ladder. After all, a battery wouldn’t be much without the systems that allow it to deliver power to the drivetrain, infotainment system, and everything else in the vehicle that requires electricity. It’s this system level where XING has aimed its focus. “If we think from a layered point of view,” Hochen says, “we have [first] the battery cell, then the battery module, battery pack, and battery system – then the entire vehicle. XING Mobility manages everything in the middle, from the [battery] module to the system.”

Digging deeper, XING specializes in immersion cooling, which is the process of using a dielectric, electrically non-conductive fluid – which has a higher thermal conductivity than air – to cool the battery and its systems. It removes heat from a system by putting coolant in contact with hot components and circulating the heated liquid through heat exchangers. Immersion cooling can be more effective than traditional air circulation because, compared to air, liquid coolants can absorb more heat and better circulate through systems. 

Hochen notes that immersion cooling isn’t a new technology, but that it hasn’t traditionally been seen in the automotive space, which generally relies on air circulation. “EVs have been developing for 10-20 years, but battery cooling technology is really a new thing [in this space],” he says. “We see a lot of companies using immersion cooling in data centers, in chips – but these are stationary [use cases]. What we’re trying to do is commercialize this technology for vehicle makers.” OEMs have historically shied away from immersion cooling within EVs since vehicles are subject to hostile external conditions such as movement, shocks, vibrations, and temperature fluctuations. But Hochen says XING is ready to bring immersion cooling – which he says can be up to 1,000x more efficient than air cooling – to the global automotive market.


Meeting the Need for Better Cooling 

Hochen says that XING’s goal is to commercialize a battery cooling technology that will meet tomorrow’s needs in the automotive space and also for specialized vehicles in sectors like agriculture and mining. “We find that there is an urgent need for these vehicles to go electric because they are enterprise-level fleets, because of zero-emissions regulations, etc,” he says. To meet global sustainability targets, vehicle manufacturers of all types need effective, reliable battery cooling technology.

This, of course, isn’t without challenges. For example, vehicles – especially those used in heavy industry – endure difficult environments and life cycles. “[Vehicle makers’] fleets have to deal with a lot of extreme working conditions,” Hochen says. “For some of these companies, their machines work in both Siberia and the Sahara. They don’t want to have to use different sets of batteries, so [their batteries and systems] need to manage extremes.”

Luckily, Hochen believes immersion cooling has the potential to redefine battery cooling performance. “The efficiency of [traditional] thermal management systems is actually not as good as expected. If you have been experiencing battery decay or poor charging rates, that might be because of [poor] thermal management,” he says. He notes that with immersion cooling, vehicle makers may be able to boost performance and thus increase range, charging rates, battery longevity, and battery safety. These are all imperatives for a global industry looking to electrify as fast as possible. 


An Exciting Time to Prove a Technology

Founded in 2015, Hochen says XING is still approaching everything with a startup mindset. The company completed its Series B funding at the end of 2023, which was led by Kubota, the multinational Japanese company known for tractors and machinery solutions. That in mind, Hochen says it’s an exciting time to be pioneering the automotive immersion cooling space. “EVs, I think, are one of the biggest trends – alongside [technologies like] AI – in the upcoming 10 years.”

And even beyond immersion cooling, Hochen says XING is also exploring cutting edge data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to see how this can further improve the EV experience. In particular, data holds special value for companies like XING and their customers. “Data, whether it goes through over-the-air (OTA) transmission or is stored [centrally], will be critical for all vehicle makers to ensure batteries are being properly used,” Hochen says. Data and AI, he says, can go beyond cooling to help both manufacturers and customers understand things like optimal operating conditions, long-term battery health and usage trends, and much more. Very cool, indeed.

Click here to listen to the full episode with XING Mobility’s Hsiou (Sherwood) Hochen. To check out the rest of Future Says season five, visit And be sure to subscribe to Future Says on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music/Audible, YouTube Music, and Podcast Addict.