Wireless electric future at GM
There’s no denying that electric vehicles (EV) are no longer a thing of the future but very much at the forefront of the automotive industry. GM is leading this advancement with its latest announcement of an all new wireless battery management system (wBMS) to be integrated into all future EVs.
After seeing these wireless battery sensing systems crop up in other, mainly industrial domains, GM jumped at the opportunity to begin integrating such systems into its vehicles to increase not only range and performance but also efficiency and overall design of its future EV and hybrid vehicles.
“Our focus is scalability, reliability, and efficiency”, explained Fiona Meyer-Teruel, Lead Technology Development Engineer for Battery Electronics at GM, “and a wireless battery really fits that idea.”
THE ADVANTAGES OF WBMS
The integration of a wireless battery management system, a system that wirelessly speaks to the car and all components through radio waves and antennas, opens up a whole new world of vehicle design and integration.
“Cell chemistries are changing and so is the management system”, said Meyer-Teruel when speaking about GM’s reason for wanting to introduce this new battery technology into their already successful systems. “We’re benefitting from having a lot of new technology in this system to drive better battery performance and range.”
The advantage of using radios means the system is only getting better and smaller. Those better, smaller radios replace the complex wire structure and do a lot of processing, which means more functions can be added such as continuous sensor monitoring systems, automatic updates and health checks.
HAND IN HAND
“We can now play around with the module layout and design, and we can use the same system for any platforms that are working on battery power or that we want to work on battery power”, said Meyer-Teruel of GM’s plan for the wBMS wireless battery system.
GM plans to integrate it across its lineup in every car that will feature the Ultium propulsion system, including hybrids, with its very first introduction appearing in the recently unveiled Hummer EV.
“The wBMS is integral to the Ultium module design. [It] allows for the flexibility and scalability that makes Ultium invaluable”, explained Meyer-Teruel. “Ultium, along with the wBMS, debuts together in the Hummer EV.”
BETTER FOR THE EV
Because of the reduction of bits and pieces (wires and connectors), these new wireless batteries are much lighter than traditional ones. By reducing the overall weight of the vehicle, they increase the range capability of EVs and hybrids. The smaller overall size of the wireless battery also lends itself to designing and engineering installments for lower-profile vehicles.
“Adding modules doesn’t have to mean a redesign”, Meyer-Teruel admitted happily.
Aside from the reduction in weight and size, the advantages of a wireless battery management system also affect vehicle health and communication with onboard systems. It is able to “speak” with the vehicle on a regular basis and update itself, just like your smartphone, when updating via WiFi.
“The wireless system can also do real-time battery health checks and optimize how the vehicle is performing”, Meyer-Teruel explained, “to make sure the battery is working to the best of its ability.”
THE FUTURE IS NOW
This is extremely important for those who own a battery powered vehicle in colder climates. Battery performance tends to lag in the colder months and being able to properly monitor and watch your vehicle’s battery health over those months could help increase range and performance.
GM’s all new wireless battery management system is definitely a step in the right direction for all automakers with electric vehicles. It opens up possibilities for increasing range and safeguarding battery health over the lifetime of the vehicle without sacrificing interior space or overall design.
Article by MIRANDA LIGHTSTONE (Page 12-13 of Auto-Innov)
Photo : GM