Analog Devices recently Introduced First Wireless Battery Management System for EVs which enables automotive manufacturers increased flexibility to scale their electric vehicle fleets into volume production across a wide range of vehicle classes. The implementation of ADI’s wBMS eliminates the traditional wired harness, saving up to 90% of the wiring and up to 15% of the volume in the battery pack, as well as improving design flexibility and manufacturability, without compromising range and accuracy over the life of the battery. In his context, Mr. Srinivas Kantheti, Product Line Director – Automotive BU, Analog Devices spoke to Vaishali Umredkar of Electronics Maker about this product launch, its features and importance in Automotive.
Please tell us about electrification trends and the rise of the EV market.
The Automotive Industry globally is on the verge of another revolution and this is EV revolution. The urge to go green, urge to use renewable energy resources, the urge to reduce the running costs and the urge to innovate new technologies and grow is driving developed countries to look towards Electric Vehicles.
India is no exception but the electrification leaders are a category of OEMs namely the 2W and 3W as they are the primary market drivers in the country. Given the cost of Li Ion batteries and the monopoly and the global volumes, the adoption has been slow although the trend is changing. There were no major Li Ion battery manufacturers in India but now with the arrival of Nexcharge (Exide – Leclanche) and the interest from many other battery manufacturers, the scenario is changing.
On the other hand, there is quite a bit of technology development around the BMS (Battery Management Systems) and other allied technologies that support the EV development and the development of EV market in India. We have domestic leaders like Mahindra and Tata who have taken leadership in the development of core technologies and launch products in India.
There are some others who came up with revolutionary concepts like swappable batteries. This is particularly suitable for 2W applications as the weight of the battery is less, easy to charge at home and reduces the burden of cost for the customers as they buy energy as a service as against the purchase of a complete battery upfront.
All these developments and trends place India at the very centre of revolution in the transport industry. On its part, Government is promoting EVs with incentives, encouraging setting up charging infrastructure etc.
Please discuss the battery management system trends and its industry momentum.
Battery Management System is the heart of any Electric Vehicle. It monitors the battery, ensures its safety, provides the users with the energy it contains dynamically so the user as an opportunity to recharge. An efficient BMS ensures the users get the best performance out of the battery. Batteries are expensive and has precious metals that are difficult to mine and manufacture. Making the most effective use of the battery energy is a key imperative for any EV OEM and BMS plays a key role here.
At Analog Devices, we pride in delivering the BMS technologies that give the highest level of performance in monitoring the voltage, current and temperature apart from safety which is fast becoming a key factor as the market is expanding. Innovative technologies from Analog Devices also ensure scalability of BMS to support batteries that can power 48V to 800V and more and build very complex battery architectures.
Very recently Analog Devices also announced the Wireless BMS technology that can enable a number of BMS systems to communicate wirelessly. This unique technology enables OEMs to develop complex battery packs but yet be efficient meeting all the performance requirements.
What is special about wireless BMS, and how is it gaining importance?
Wireless Battery Management System is the new disruptive technology. Built upon existing components of the wired BMS, the wireless BMS solution reduces the weight of the batteries by reducing multiple wires and connectors. The weight of the car has a direct impact on the range and hence it translates into cost and alsouser experience. In addition, battery packs are often very difficult to assembly and maintain. Wireless BMS solves the problem by eliminating the wires. It is also cost-effective as it removes the inter-module isolation components. One more functionality of the WBMS is to make the design highly modular and scalable so that it can be reused across multiple car designs.
However wireless technologies do bring their own challenges, especially around critical systems like BMS. ADI has developed technologies that enable the communication to be fast, responsive, safe thus eliminating the concerns of the engineers designing the cars.
Please highlight your wireless battery management solution and its technical features like performance, lifetime, and others?
Wireless BMS uses a 2.4GHz radio technology for communication. Every (or some times a few) BMS ICs are paired with a Wireless transceiver (node) that communicates with a Master Wireless transceiver located at a distance in the pack. They constantly share the data about the cell voltages, cell temperatures and monitor the diagnostics of the BMS to ensure the safety of the battery. The Master in conjunction with a BMS Controller computes the State of the Charge and State of Health parameters for the vehicle at a battery level and provides confidence to the driver that the battery is good, safe and holding enough energy to drive.
In Summary Wireless BMS is a complex system to develop but reduces the complexity for the OEMs.
What are your expectations about the growth of this product?
The EV market is growing fast and is growing big. The future of mobility is all about Electrification. In a market with high growth potential, there will always be opportunity for wired BMS and wireless BMS based on the target application be it 2W, 4W cars, multi wheel trucks etc.
We believe that Wireless BMS will be growing in segments like 4W and trucks where the need for many batteries is high. Hence the initial growth will come from these segments as engineers developing 2W start to figure out how to use this innovative technology in their systems.
Do you find any challenges from an industry point of view?
Indian Automobile industry has gone through a very difficult market scenario between the transition to BSVI, slack in demand to COVID and is now showing signs of recovery. The transition to EV has long term benefits but need short term support through government policies, user adoption etc. As big OEMs work to refine their production lines and improve adoption of EVs, a number of small players need to develop the technologies to be deployed into the future vehicles.
Can you share any customer examples using your WBMS?
GM is the leading Auto manufacturer in the world and the link below gives details of the customer example using WBMS