Cloud Battery Management in Electric Vehicles - A Simple Intro

Cloud-Battery-Data-Forklift-EV-Electric

Managing batteries in electric vehicles or stationary grids is a challenge.

But: What if you could remotely track the performance of your batteries while in-use across entire fleets - directly from your own cloud server?

The recent trends in the electric vehicle (EV) industry, IoT, Cloud and AI create an urgent need for battery OEMs to start capturing their data to stay competitive.

In this article, we start by outlining how the EV battery industry is rising and the vital role of battery data.

Is this familiar territory?

If so, we encourage you to skip directly to our "why now?" section, followed by an overview of the top 9 strategic benefits of cloud telematics and provide clear direction on how to get started.


THE ELECTRIC VEHICLE BATTERY (EVB) INDUSTRY

Electric Car Sales 2040 Global Volume Share

KEY FACTS & FIGURES



Electric Vehicle Types Industry Global Market

MAIN ELECTRIC VEHICLE TYPES

Electric Vehicle Sales by Type 2040 Volume Global
Electric Car Lithium-Ion Battery

Electric Cars: With the advances in lithium-ion batteries, electric cars are rapidly growing with e.g. 2017 Q3 showing a 63% growth YoY vs. 2016. By 2040, there’ll be 560 mn electric cars on the road (33% of all cars)

Electric Bi-Cycle Lithium-Ion Battery

Electric Bi-Cycles: Already today a huge market of ~36 mn+ units sold globally (95%+ in Asia) - with e.g. 200 mn in use in China. Western EU see ~1.6 mn units sold annually, while North America is only at ~0.2 mn units per year

Electric Motorcycle Bike Scooter Lead Acid Battery

Electric Motorcycles & Scooters: As for e-Bikes, electric motorcycles & scooters are biggest in Asia, though growing fast in India. Significant advances are made in the technology, boosting speed and range massively in recent years

Electric Forklift Fuel Cell Battery

Electric Forklifts: Today, 60%+ of forklifts are electric (Class 1, 2, 3), up from 40% 30 years ago - with 600k+ electric units sold globally in 2017. This drives the markets for lead-acid, lithium-ion and fuel cell batteries

Electric Truck e-Truck Tesla Semi

Electric Trucks: Electric trucks are expected to comprise 15% of all trucks by 2030 with e.g. the recent Semi launch by Tesla paving the way for eTrucks within also the heavy-duty segment

Electric Bus e-Bus Lithium Battery

Electric Buses: Buses go electric faster than other vehicles. In Shenzhen, China, all public buses are now 100% electric - counting a bus fleet of 16k+ for that city alone. Globally there are ~385k electric buses (99% in China)

Electric Automated Guided Vehicle AGV

Electric AGVs: Electric Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) are portable warehouse robots. While still a small segment, the rise of e-commerce and Industry 4.0 may drastically boost their relevance and volume




EV Batteries Lithium-Ion Lead Acid Nickel Fuel Cells

ELECTRIC VEHICLE BATTERIES

Below we briefly recap the main battery types used in electric vehicles - expand to learn more!

Electric Vehicle Batteries - Details

Various batteries are used in electric vehicle applications, but the most common are listed below:

Lead Acid: Deep-cycle lead acid batteries represent a fairly mature and low cost technology. However, they also require frequent replacement and have a very low energy density (30-40 Wh/kg). Use cases incl. forklifts, bi-cycles and cars.

Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH): Also seen as a mature technology, this EV battery type comes with a better energy density than lead-acid (30-80 Wh/kg) and offers exceptional life-time. However, they are less efficient and have a number of other downsides.

Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion): Today, li-ion batteries are used in most EVs due to their 200+ Wh/kg density and strong efficiency specs. Recent variants reduce costs massively, while boosting lifetime towards 10-40 years.

EV Battery Electric Lead-Acid Lithium-Ion

Fuel Cells: Fuel cells play an increasing role in powering e.g. electric forklifts, with big players like Walmart and Amazon making the shift. They replace or work with a rechargeable battery and are emission-free, generating only heat and clean water. Advantages include faster recharging, lighter infrastructure, temperature stability and better life-time costs.





The Critical Role of Battery Data

To recap: There is no doubt that EV batteries are the future.

However, batteries are complex and need proper management to operate safely and efficiently.

Today, that's handled via the Battery Management System (BMS), acting as the "brain" of the battery".

Below we provide a light detailing of the BMS incl. useful links - but you can skip it if you're familiar with this.

Battery Management System (BMS) - Details

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 it's safe operating area
  • 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
Battery Management System Hardware Monitoring

EXAMPLE: 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 a 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 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 automotives, 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.

For more details on the technical aspects of BMS, we recommend the below reading:

BMS Battery Management System EV Vehicle CAN Bus

The BMS already plays a core role in battery management - but is it enough?

Just like telematics has become vital to vehicle fleet managers, battery telematics is becoming increasingly critical.

Yet, this area has in no way reached the penetration of vehicle telematics.

As a result, there's a unique window of opportunity:

By acting now, battery OEMs and EV end users can leap beyond their competition by fully utilizing their data!

In the below section, we outline the urgency and top benefits of battery telematics.



Today, most EV batteries are "closed systems":

The EV batteries generate tons of invaluable data - but this data is in no way fully utilized.

However, just like the rising trend of connected cars, there is a rising demand for connected batteries.

Four key driving trends are behind this:

Electric Vehicle Growth Trend

Rise of EVs: As EVs rapidly grow towards 2040, there will be a need for integrating battery telematics into commercial vehicle fleets - across trucks, vans, buses, forklifts, AGVs and more. As this market matures, so will the use of battery telematics

150+ mn
EVs by 2040
(vs 40 mn in 2017)

EV Cloud Battery Trend

Rise of Cloud: Like vehicles, batteries will provide tons of data that need storage and fast processing - but with the rise of cloud servers, this is becoming increasingly simple and cost-effective. Cloud computing also enables far more advanced BMS methods

$300 bn
public cloud market in 2021
(vs ~150 bn in 2017)

Internet of Things EV Battery Loggers IoT

Rise of IoT: Collecting battery data via WiFi / 4G has previously been costly and difficult. However, the explosive rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) now also brings low cost CAN bus IoT devices that easily enable the transfer of the battery big data

5+ bn
B2B IoT devices by 2020
(vs ~2.5 bn in 2017)

AI Artificial Intelligence ML Trend

Rise of AI: Finally, the use of advanced analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for EVBs has been beyond the existing BMS systems - but with the full set of big data in the cloud, next level battery optimization will be possible - and vital to stay competitive

50%+ CAGR
in global AI enterprise market
(~$1 bn in '17 to $30+ bn in '25)

Or, as stated in the below article published in the Power and Energy Magazine IEEE (2017):

"The continuing proliferation of and advances in information and communication technologies, development of powerful cloud computing capabilities, and a growing Internet of Things will significantly enhance or even transform the concept of battery management, as modeling and control of thousands of cells in large-scale battery storage will become easier."

- Hu, C. Zou, C. Zhang, Y. Li, “Technological Developments in Batteries: A Survey of Principal Roles, Types, and Management Needs


So, what kind of benefits can battery telematics offer?

Check our top 9 benefit list below!




Top 9 Strategic Benefits of Battery Telematics




CASE EXAMPLE: MONITORING FORKLIFT BATTERIES

For illustration, we provide below an example use case for the CLX000 CAN bus data logger in a battery OEM application:

LeadBats Co is a lead-acid battery manufacturer, building batteries for use in electric forklifts.

As part of their battery offering, they install a CL3000 WiFi CAN bus data logger in all batteries to record data while the batteries are in active use at customer warehouses.

The manufacturer agrees with end customers to set up local WiFi hotspots in the warehouse that collect data from the loggers and send it via cellular 4G connections to the manufacturer’s central cloud server.

Electric Forklift Battery Monitoring Cloud

This provides the manufacturer with a constant stream of data from hundreds of batteries in the field. The data is converted to human-readable form and processed in the cloud, providing the manufacturer with frequently updated KPI dashboards, analytical insights and warnings when deployed batteries require action. By leveraging this data insight, they are able to provide premium services to end users, save troubleshooting time and improve the time to market of future products.




SO, HOW TO GET STARTED?

Getting started with cloud battery management can seem difficult - but it doesn't have to be.

Below we list the basic things to consider and a step-by-step guide.


3 EARLY STAGE CONSIDERATIONS

Once you've decided to move forward we suggest to consider the following 3 aspects:

1# What bus technology do your batteries use?

CAN bus is the standard in BMS systems for EV batteries - but check with your tech staff.
The bus is important as it determines what data logger you should utilize.

For example, the CLX000 records ISO 11898-2 CAN bus data, which means it'll work in most EV battery systems.

2# Do you have the necessary data “conversion rules”?

Any logged CAN data will be in “raw” form - and must be converted by using the relevant “conversion rules” (e.g. a *.DBC file). If you’re the OEM, you’ll have these - while if you’re in the aftermarket, you’ll need to reach out to your battery OEM.

3# How do you prefer to collect the data?

To log battery CAN data, you’ll need a CAN logger, e.g. the CLX000 series. The CLX000 lets you log raw CAN data to an SD card and convert it using CANvas.

Two methods exist for retrieving the data:

  1. Manually, collecting it on-site from the SD cards routinely
  2. Automatically, using a CL3000 to push the data via WiFi to your server

The manual method costs less up-front in hardware costs, but it’s only suitable for ad hoc collection (cf. our CL2000 unit).

For scale solutions, we recommend sending the data via WiFi (cf. our CL3000) - this also allows more frequent data retrieval.





NEXT STEPS

We recommend the following:

  1. Contact us to discuss your needs - we’ll help you find the right solution
  2. Start a pilot with one or a few CLX000 units as a proof of concept
  3. Once the pilot is successful, you can scale the solution

If you’re prefer, you can also just skip to 2. above and purchase a single unit for just 399 EUR here

If you’ve got any other questions, just reach out - we answer quickly!

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