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Understanding the Power of Battery Management Systems

Sambit Sengupta
Sambit Sengupta, Associate Director – Field Applications, Avnet India

According to the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), electric vehicle (EV) sales in India was 56,000 units in fiscal year 2018 – which is a 124% growth year on year. Even though the sales in fiscal year 2017 was a mere 25,000 units, the Indian market shows a peculiar trend of its own. EV sales is growing in 2-Wheeler (2W) and 3-Wheeler (3W). For last mile connectivity (such as short commutes from the metro station to your home or office, or a short commute to the nearby mall),EVs, particularly 2W and 3Woffer a great solution. With government backing for Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) and high subsidy for EVs,the future outlook for EV sales is very positive.There will be tremendous growth for EVs in 2W and 3W as there are lots of infrastructural incentives for the same.It is predicted that by 2030, every third vehicle will be electrically powered.

Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles

Equally astonishing is the growth spurt seen in shared and connected mobility. It is common sight to see people using a shared car, rented car or bike for their urgent commute requirements. This market is ready for induction of EVs, mostly 2W and 3W first, and eventually 4 wheelers so it is the ripe time to discuss the EV safety incidents (as we see from time to time in international news reports). An analysis of some 50 cases of EV incidents that have occurred globally since 2010 shows that as much as 50% were due to battery malfunction. This is unsurprising given that battery packs, the “heart” of EVs, are made up of thousands of monolithic lithium batteries. Among all commercially viable battery technologies, lithium batteries currently exhibit the highest energy density though they are naturally volatile and could potentially explode in the event of overcharge, overtemperature, overdischargeand other operating issues, or if there are issues in manufacturing techniques and structural materials. This is where BMS (battery management system)—a solution that enables lithium batteries to power EVs while controlling their volatile nature—steps in. BMS is a new technology that progressed alongside advancements in EV development. As safety requirements for automobiles are particularly stringent, people have naturally developed high expectations for the functionality of BMSs. For example, the ideal BMS must be capable of preventing overcharge/overdischarge, regulating temperature, maintaining battery voltage and temperature equilibrium, predicting remaining battery capacity and remaining mileage etc. They must also be capable of real-time monitoring and adjusting battery management parameters while working in conjunction with other parallel subsystems. In short, BMSs are monitoring systems that must be able to monitor, analyze, control and provide feedback on power batteries to ensure efficiency and operational safety.

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