The Rise of Telematics in future Li-ion Battery Packs

The country is going crazy about electric vehicles (EVs). Recent reports have confirmed that EVs in India will be entering their fastest phase of growth. As per a report by IESA, the total MWh addition in 2018 hit 4.75 GWh and expected to grow till 28.0 GWh by 2026 (CAGR of 30%). In the National EV (NEV) scenario, it is predicted that the market will grow rapidly with support from the government to achieve the targets defined under the FAME-2 scheme & NEMPP2020. Policies such as banning the sales of ICE 2W & 3W in highly polluted cities, scrapping of old vehicles, stringent emission norms, etc. will further drive the sales. State governments will also facilitate in accelerating the deployment of EV’s to achieve the targets defined under their EV policies.

In EV it’s important to balance vehicle performance with battery life, which is critical to the electric vehicle. Management of battery is proving to be the differentiating factor amongst EV manufacturers and service providers. Further, the availability of infrastructure is a key factor in the general acceptance of Electric Vehicles.

Telematics will be crucial for EV's, the hardware of which will be a standard feature built into the cost of the vehicle, and services will be bundled with the lease plan drivers are going to opt for battery and energy subscriptions Telematics has several viable opportunities in future mobility trends. The number of telematics applications will rise owing to several government policies across the world that are implemented for regulating the e-facility and electronic logging device in the transportation system. Stringent government regulations to reduce the emission of CO2 from vehicles for preventing air pollution will help to propel the growth of the electric vehicle (Ev) telematics market.

Challenges with the BMS

The Battery Management System (BMS) serves as the 'brain of the battery' - ensuring efficient & safe operation. However, the BMS is offline with limited or zero data storage - making it difficult to manage batteries at scale and remotely. The solution is EV battery telematics aka 'connected batteries' - enabled through recent megatrends. The BMS is an electronic system that integrates with rechargeable batteries to monitor critical data parameters.

These include e.g. state, voltage, current, and temperature.

Based on the data, the BMS performs vital tasks:

  • • Keeping the battery inside its safe operating area(SOA)
  • • Monitoring & reporting the battery state (SoC, SoH, ...)
  • • Balancing cells to ensure a similar state of charge
  • • Prolonging the life of the battery
  • • Communicating with e.g. chargers or external devices

Once the battery is not in SOA, it could lead to thermal-way or damage the electronics present inside and the users have no clue what went wrong until field engineer gives him some kind of insight like how and what. Once the vehicle is a breakdown in the middle, operations are affected and their FTC costs as well.

The breakdown can be certainly due to the SW bug as well which possibly a corner case. Under such cases, it is also sometimes quite difficult to reproduce the exact chain of events and even to do that, it is required to open the battery pack to access the data stored which has a huge economic impact and time consuming as well.

Example: The role of BMS in charging

In lithium-ion batteries, overcharging can lead to overheating - potentially resulting in catastrophic events. Conversely, discharging the battery below e.g. 5% capacity can lead to permanent capacity reduction. In both cases, the BMS manages the charge to avoid thresholds being passed. An example of more advanced use of BMS is in “intelligent batteries”. Here, the BMS provides data to an “intelligent charger” on the battery’s specs, condition, and usage history - allowing the charger to perform optimal charging.

In an automotive context, the BMS needs to be able to communicate with other sensors and ECUs in the vehicle. As CAN bus is the standard in automotive, it's also the de facto standard for EV batteries. As such, it's possible to record data from the BMS of most EV batteries using a CAN bus data logger.

Specifically, batteries often rely on the CAN bus protocols SAE J1939 or CANopen - providing data on a range of parameters, e.g. temperature, pack voltage, cell voltage, current, errors, SoC. In general, EVs will require more data and as such, CAN FD will also play a core role in enabling future growth.

The need for Telematics in a battery pack

TCU is a multi-faceted approach of collecting and analysing electric power and vehicle data used to ultimately determine battery state of charge (SOC) and battery state of health (SOH) in both pre- and post-sale environments. Traditional methods of battery SOC analysis include labour-intensive processes such as going out to the site of an individual vehicle(s), gaining access to the vehicle battery, and then after the vehicle electrical system obtains its quiescent current level, performing a battery voltage check. This time-consuming manual method can practically only cover a small percentage of the vehicle population. In using the vehicle communication capabilities of Telematics, electric power, and vehicle data are downloaded, compiled, and post-processed using decision-making software tools. This allows for automation of the labour-intensive manual data collection processes and makes possible for an extremely large number of vehicles to be included in the data analysis. It also involves diagnostics and prognostics of inadvertent loads, early detection of field issues, verification of software operation and calibrations, and battery life prediction. Telematics Battery Monitoring has many applications well beyond the battery and electric power system itself

Telematics systems allow the sending, receiving, and storing of telemetry data collected from vehicles. By incorporating this inside of an EV battery, it will allow OEMs to better monitor battery performance and help identify actions that negatively impact battery life and utilization. A telematics system can analyze each battery in the fleet, monitoring real-time critical battery status, and enforcing proper maintenance schedules.

As OEMs collect more detailed data from EV vehicles including charging and discharging characteristics of the battery system, they will be able to streamline operations and design a battery system that will include greater range and battery life.

Why in Batteries but not in Vehicles?

While the OEMs are kept trying to reduce the price of 2 wheeler/3 wheeler electric vehicles which is forcing them to have no CAN protocol communication with the battery inside the vehicles. In this scenario, the vehicle telematics will monitor and provide the data related to vehicle end like the speed, current, direction, location (optional), etc.

But the real concern is to monitor the health and several other essential parameters of battery to overcome the challenges faced in BMS.

Benefit of Telematics

The advances in battery telematics systems have already contributed towards extending battery life, driving range, as well as safety. As OEMs begin directing their focus towards battery telematics, they will be able to track and analyze the relevant battery metadata in the cloud - allowing manufacturers to improve system design, as well as diagnose and resolve issues remotely, reducing vehicle downtime and FTE costs.

1. Improved battery charging & life:

a. Monitoring State of Charge (SoC) remotely in near real-time enables e.g. warehouse managers to optimize charging, reducing downtime and improving battery life

2. Fewer EV battery breakdowns:

a. Using predictive maintenance, end users can auto-process e.g. battery pack temperatures and currents to minimize the risk of e.g. lithium plating or thermal runaway

3. Warranty & claim optimization:

a. EV battery breakdowns can be extremely costly. Storing all historical operational data in the cloud can be key in insurance/warranty cases - and simplifies compliance

4. Faster development & diagnostics:

a. The EV battery market develops fast. To minimize time to market, OEM engineers can collect real usage field data remotely to e.g. diagnose and fix issues much faster.

At EXICOM

In India, fleet operators prefer to have a swapping solution for mainly E2W and E3W. As the charger infrastructure needs a whole setup in a systematic development until then swapping model is preferred. This also helps the fleet operators to regularize their work operations

Understanding the needs and requirements of the operators, we at Exicom introduced the TCU in the battery in 2019. Ever since then, we are upgrading and bringing up a new set of tools. Tons of rides are being completed daily and the data of those rides tell us where we stand. The team is analyzing the data and providing their input on how to optimize it more. Currently, we are developing new tools and a secure cloud platform. Improving the data privacy and security. By ensuring proper charging and maintenance

schedules and conditions, battery telematics monitoring will allow for better rotation of equipment and boost productivity.

Our USPs: small in size with a wide input range and optimized the current consumption under different modes of operation. Providing LED indication for User understanding. Over the air firmware updated for both telematics and BMS without interrupting the on-going operation. Dual Communication protocol (CAN protocol or RS232 protocol) between TCU and BMS.

Security:

There are instances where a 3rd person tried or had stolen the batteries. To track and find them, of course, GPS is there but to prevent them from using, geo-fencing is available and via SMS or Server pack can be made immobilized as well.

As an extra layer of security, we have a tamper switch inside in case someone tries to open it and IMU in case of a drop or harsh battery usage which helps in warranty void situation.

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