Battery Management Systems (BMSs) are gaining traction in the Electric Vehicle (EV) market due to improved performance and cost savings for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)/suppliers. This Research Highlight identifies the seven most prevalent trends defining the BMS software space.
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- The Battery Management System (BMS) consists of the hardware and software responsible for managing the operations of an EV battery. It regulates the charge and discharge of the individual cells in the battery to ensure that the current, voltage, and temperature all remain within the limits for safe operation. It provides insight into the condition of the battery by estimating the State of Charge (SoC) and State of Health (SoH).
- The wireless BMS (wBMS) will be the dominant solution over wire harnesses due to ease of manufacturing and maintenance. General Motors (GM) and other automakers using the Ultium platform will be responsible for almost all shipments until 2024. Moreover, wBMS uptake rates will be initially lower outside of North America as GM is responsible for a smaller share of overall sales outside of the region.
- ABI Research expects EV OEMs to begin adopting wBMSs in 2024, with 1.2 million shipments forecast for the year.
- By 2028, the number of annual wBMS shipments will have skyrocketed to 23.8 million units.
- Advanced BMS software also represents an enormous cost savings opportunity because it increases the proportional usable capacity of a battery and, therefore, decreases its overall size without affecting range.
- Savings include only the cost of cells, not the pack, as some components may not be proportionally scalable in the same way. These include components such as power electronics, the cooling system, structural supports, and the BMS itself.
- In 2023, ABI Research forecasts a global cost savings of US$6 billion by adopting advanced BMS software, with the Asia-Pacific region accounting for US$4 billion alone. By 2030, the cost savings opportunity will increase to about US$18 billion globally.
“The Battery Management System (BMS) plays an essential role in battery operations by monitoring and controlling the individual cells that make up the battery. If a cell’s voltage becomes too high and it is overcharged or if it becomes too low and is overdischarged, this will damage the cell, causing premature degradation and leading to performance and safety issues. The BMS ensures that cells remain within their safe operating bounds.” – Dylan Khoo, Industry Analyst at ABI Research
Key Decision Items
EV Manufacturers Are Increasing Automotive Safety
EV supply chain partners are looking to the BMS to improve driver safety by reducing the risk of defects leading to battery fires. Battery fires are damaging to an automaker’s brand, threaten the safety of drivers and passengers, and can lead to expensive recalls. The BMS can provide insight into the cells in an EV battery by looking for abnormal responses that can be indicative of internal faults. This means it can detect defective cells before they cause a fire and warn the driver ahead of time not to use their car or to take it to be serviced.
Improving EV Performance Is a Key Focus
Advanced BMS software can allow for greater charging speeds and driving range, while extending the battery’s useful life. Charging speed and range are key differentiators in the EV market that customers look for when purchasing vehicles, so improvements in these specifications are highly valuable for OEMs. Increasing the battery’s life span can allow for longer warranties, another differentiator that will be of particular importance in the commercial market.
Reducing EV Battery Sizes and Lowering Vehicle Cost
In the same way that the BMS can increase an EV’s driving range, it can reduce the required battery size needed to achieve the same range. Battery supplies are a bottleneck for the EV industry, so this could allow more vehicles to be sold and the cost to be reduced. The global EV industry could save US$18 billion per year in this way by 2030.
Push for a Circular Battery Economy
Another key trend in the EV space is the need for accurate State of Health (SoH) measurements. SoC measurements will be an enabler for the circular EV battery economy and allow batteries to be reused in stationary storage applications after they are no longer suitable for e-mobility. The BMS can determine attributes such as remaining available capacity and number of charge cycles completed, which will be a mandatory part of the European Union’s (EU) Digital Battery Passport (DBP). These data are important for determining which battery packs are economically and technically viable for second-life use.
Connecting to the Cloud
Advanced BMS software will connect to the cloud, supplementing the in-vehicle BMS with additional computing power, storage for historical data, and data from other vehicles that can be used to improve analysis. This capability could be used to identify systematic problems and assist in developing remote updates to resolve issues that can be addressed through software. Cloud-based digital twins will improve SoC and SoH estimates through greater awareness of the behavior and condition of individual batteries.
Out with Wired BMS Communications, in with Wireless Solutions
The wireless BMS (wBMS) will become the preferred solution over the current wired communications systems. A wBMS reduces weight and complexity by removing the wires and instead transmitting the data wirelessly; this will reduce complexity and cost for both manufacturing and maintenance, making it an attractive solution. General Motors (GM) is currently the only mass market manufacturer using a wBMS, but it will be adopted by all OEMs in their next-generation platforms. Many of these new all-electric platforms will begin production in the middle of the decade, bringing global shipments of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) equipped with wBMSs to 24 million by 2028.
Lithium Iron Phosphate Amassing Popularity among EV OEMs
Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) batteries are gaining market share outside of China with manufacturers, such as Tesla, Volkswagen (VW), and Ford, adopting them. LFP batteries behave differently from ternary batteries, such as Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) and Nickel Cobalt Aluminum (NCA), when discharging and charging, with a smaller change in voltage for the same change in SoC. This means that different techniques are needed to accurately determine the SoC of LFP batteries, such as Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS).
Key Market Players to Watch
- Analog Devices Inc
- CATL Qilin
- Ford Motor Company
- General Motors Corporation
- NXP Semiconductors
- Volkswagen Group
Dig Deeper for the Full Picture
ABI Research recently published its Battery Management Systems for Electric Vehicles report, providing an in-depth analysis of the market. By downloading the research report, you’ll come away with the following benefits:
- Better understanding of the technologies shaping BMS solutions
- Identify cost savings from deploying novel BMS technologies
- Pinpoint where growth opportunities exist for connected services and second-life applications made possible by BMSs
Not ready for the report yet? Check out the following Research Highlights:
- Electric Vehicle Smart Charging: Preventing the Dreaded Grid Blackout
- Charting an Unbeatable Fleet Electrification Strategy for Managers and Solution Providers
This content is part of our Electric Vehicles Research Service.