One of the challenges faced by manufacturers looking to expedite the development and production of electric cars lies within the battery management system (BMS).
To ensure the pack provides a good service life and power, the BMS must monitor the cells and use that information to optimise and protect the battery.
However, in a centralised system, the BMS needs to be connected to every cell or groups of cells – entailing lots of heavy, complex wiring.
Cells or groups of cells can alternatively be controlled by individual controllers, reducing complexity but increasing cost.
GM, in order to circumvent such issues, has developed an almost completely wireless battery management system (wBMS) in conjunction with US technology company Analog Devices.
Its standalone cell-sensing modules report wirelessly to the battery manager, which can then regulate the cells to deliver the best capacity and lifespan.
The new system reduces the wiring requirement for batteries by up to 90 per cent, which cuts the size of the pack by up to 15 per cent.
This simplifies design, packaging and construction, making it easier to scale production of both the packs and associated cars.
Using a wBMS has additional benefits as retired packs can easily be repurposed into secondary applications without requiring complex rewiring.