With respect to several standards and regulations, battery packs must pass certain tests with respect to their abuse behavior. Consequently, specific requirements have to be addressed and considered within the design process. Especially, the thermal propagation, induced by one cell and resulting in a catastrophic failure of the whole pack, must absolutely be avoided. Hence, simulations of the applied battery cells and their interaction in the battery pack are required for an efficient optimization of the batteries system’s overall safety behavior. Aiming for an appropriate simulation model, a multi-physical model of single battery cell, which is capable to simulate the thermal runaway, has to be generated at first. To this end, a standardized and automatable generation methodology is introduced and applied. According to this, specific experimental investigations on the battery cell are performed. Besides an electrical characterization, this comprises electrical as well as thermal abuse tests. Afterwards, the relevant parameters are efficiently identified, and a multi-physical model is created in the commercial finite element code LS DYNA. In order to provide enough flexibility, various modelling approaches ranging from layer level models up to homogenized vehicle scale models are implemented and utilizable. To proof the practicality of the resulting models, some tests are exemplarily simulated and the arise of the thermal runaway is analyzed with respect to the state of charge and the location of the initial internal short circuit. Finally, one of the investigated models is integrated in an abuse simulation of a battery pack. Exemplarily, the influence of design measures targeting the avoidance of the thermal propagation are studied and discussed. Additionally, the change of the current flow induced by the internal short circuit is analyzed. Consequently, this contribution covers the full range from abuse testing of single battery cells to abuse simulation of battery packs.