While in use, battery modules and battery packs generate large amounts of heat, which needs to be accounted for. The main challenge in battery thermal management is the correct estimation of heat generation in the battery cell during charging/discharging. In this paper, a method to calculate accurate heat generation in one individual cell is provided. The heat generation is calculated by measuring the overpotential resistances with four different methods and entropic heat generation in the cell. The effect and contribution of entropic heat generation towards the total heat generation in the cell are also calculated and measured. Finally, calorimeter tests are carried out to compare the calculated and measured heat generation. The results indicate that except for direct current resistance measured by impedance spectroscopy, all the overpotential resistances are very close to each other. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.