Thursday, May 2, 2013

Electric Race Car Demonstrates New Battery Management Systems

EVE-race-carRange anxiety has proven a harsh mistress when it comes to electric vehicles, and even the much-vaunted Tesla Model S was the center of a range-induced controversy regarding how much mileage was actually left in its battery pack. But a new prototype sensor and battery management system could help get even inch of range even out of a mostly-depleted battery pack, making these battery packs far more efficient.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS have built the EVE, an all-electric race car with an 8 kWh battery pack with an estimate range of 22 km, or about 14 miles. Two 60 kw electric motors drive the rear wheels, giving the EVE a top speed of about 87 mph.

Nothing record breaking here, but the point of this project is develop inglorious sensors and battery management systems, systems that could make battery electric vehicles far more appealing. While modern EVs need multiple sensors to measure battery pack energy and flow, two 3D magnetic-field sensors can accurately measure the charge level of individual cells within a battery.

Typical EV batteries can only operate as far as the weakest cell will allow, leading to inaccurate range-remaining readouts and leaving unused energy on the table. But these 3D sensors can pinpoint individual weakened cells and maximize energy output, shifting energy between the cells to maximize both range and battery longevity.

I don't cover stuff like this all that often because I mostly find it dull and boring. But the fact is, technology like this could lead to a better, more-efficient battery pack that makes EVs go a lot farther, without adding a lot in the way of cost.

Source: Green Car Congress

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