The CTC Technology Centre is creating a virtual model of the lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles to develop a predictive system to assess how electrical charges and discharges affect the health of these components and to anticipate malfunctions. The BAT-VIA initiative is funded within the call for R&D projects in the automotive 2022 sector, promoted by SODERCAN.
This research will be key, on the one hand, to increasing the safety of electric vehicle users and, on the other, to reducing the costs of maintenance or the need to replace batteries earlier than planned.
The Technology Centre will study the open data available on measurements of lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles and the technological tools manufacturers use to calculate the durability of their cells. Through artificial intelligence algorithms, CTC will exploit this data to generate a virtual model based on advanced thermal simulations.
This simulation will show how heat is distributed throughout the battery during the charge and discharge cycles of electricity over its different lifetimes. Understanding and knowing its thermal behaviour helps deduce its ageing and which parts of the component will be most affected. Several battery cooling strategies will be designed to reduce the temperature of the batteries to the minimum necessary, slow down the decline in use and thus extend their lifetime.
Lithium-ion batteries are critical elements of electric vehicles. Thermal stability and minimum electrical charge storage capacity are essential for safe transport. The components in charge of monitoring the operation of the battery cells are known as battery management systems (BMS). This market has become one of the most important in electric cars. So much so that in 2019, it was estimated to be $5.81 billion, and it is expected to reach $24.83 billion by 2027.
The only technology centre in Cantabria is working on the BAT-VIA project with the primary mission to improve the capacity of BMS further and thus increase the lifetime of batteries. CTC seeks to generate an innovative virtual model capable of estimating the health of these components and predicting their ageing in real-time. This solution will also allow predictions of failures by applying artificial intelligence techniques.
Thanks to this model, the electric vehicle BMS systems can control the operation and functioning of the batteries to increase the safety of users and ensure the proper use of the vehicles. It will also allow manufacturers to improve existing battery designs.
It is worth noting that this project is part of CTC’s strategic line to work on artificial intelligence techniques linked to the field of rechargeable batteries. In fact, the only technology center in the region continues to work for the European Space Agency (ESA) in an initiative whose purpose is to reduce the analysis time of battery cells used in the space field from the current two years to less than five months.