The electric vehicle (“EV”) industry represents one of humanity’s greatest attempts at cutting down on carbon emissions and making sure the planet remains habitable for future generations. However, carbon based energy has powered humanity to civilization, and the young electric vehicle industry has a long way before seeing 100% adoption. For that to happen, EVs must become more affordable and efficient than internal combustion engine vehicles.
Unlike conventional vehicles, EV makers haven’t had decades to research and perfect their technology. It’s still a work in progress, with firms constantly tweaking and improving on the technology to make it more efficient and boost customer experience. One way manufacturers have done that is by introducing artificial intelligence (“AI”) and Internet of Things (“IoT”) solutions to battery management.
Most electric vehicles on the market are powered by lithium-ion batteries which usually have longer lifespans and a higher energy density giving you more range. A battery management system (“BMS”) is used to monitor the state of the battery as it charges and discharges. However, these management systems have to be properly evaluated and monitored constantly. According to Vinay Gunasekaran, a tech leader working at the intersection of batteries, motors and power electronics, a lot of these challenges can be managed by gathering onboard sensor data through IoT and running it through physics and AI based models to evaluate the performance and robustness of the system.
“You could quickly perform accelerated experiments on a few individual Li-ion cells to understand their full charge/discharge patterns, partial charge/discharge patterns, stress patterns (including thermal stress) and collect data at each step. With this data, and using physics behavioral equations, you could characterize models, integrate AI algorithms and deploy them on a server. Now as this server monitors vehicles using IoT, these models would be able to present you insights on the exact state of charge, state of health and remaining capacity for the battery packs of the EVs,” says Vinay. He worked at MathWorks in the U.S. for 5 years helping a major automotive OEM in the Detroit area in building models to predict the health of their lithium-ion battery packs.
“After my stint in the U.S. I came back to India to head R&D AT Ecozen as the VP technology where we designed, developed and deployed 20,000+ power electronics+motors+IoT systems with remote performance monitoring and predictive diagnostics. From the design stage itself, we started using IoT data and AI-based models to evaluate system performance and extrapolate future trends to predict how these systems would start wearing under different conditions.” It is highly likely that major players in the EV sector, such as Nikola Corporation (NASDAQ: NKLA), have teams looking to design and deploy better IoT and AI systems in all upcoming EVs.
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