The combination of electric vehicles and mobility services is expected to radically transform transportation, and the batteries serving as the backbone for the propulsion systems of those cars will undergo elevated stress from rigorous duty cycles, putting them at risk for early wear or premature failure.
Technology supplier Bosch may have the answer. A newly developed real-time, cloud-based battery analysis fueled by artificial intelligence identifies potential issues before they become chronic. The idea also utilizes a so-called swarm principle, or the ability to gather battery data from an entire fleet of vehicles, rather than individual units, to identify stress factors more quickly.
Bosch estimates the technology could reduce wear and tear on the battery, which is the most expensive component of an EV, by 20%. It also has secured its first customer, Chinese mobility services provider DiDi. A pilot vehicle fleet equipped with the service will be launched in Xiamen, part of a 5 million-resident metropolis on the southeast coast of mainland China.
“Bosch is connecting electric-vehicle batteries with the cloud,” says Markus Heyn, a member of the board of management at Robert Bosch. “Its data-based services mean we can substantially improve batteries’ performance and extend their service life.”
Not unlike humans, stress takes a toll on batteries. Elements such as rapid charging, a high number of charge cycles, aggressive driving or high and low ambient temperatures make batteries age faster. Bosch says its service will recognize and counter those stress triggers.
“Powerful batteries with long service lives will make electromobility more viable,” Heyn says in a statement announcing the service.
Here’s how it works: All relevant battery data, such as ambient temperatures and charging habits, is transmitted in real time to the cloud, where machine learning algorithms perform an evaluation to accurately forecast remaining service life. A display on the dashboard of the vehicle shares information with the fleet operator or owner.
For example, at high- or low-ambient temperatures a fully charged battery will age more quickly. Bosch says its service would halt a full charge by just a few percentage points when it is too hot or cold outside to prevent stress to the cells. A battery fault or defect also could be identified sooner to prevent irrevocable damage or premature failure.
The system will make for safer charging, too, Bosch says. Continuous charging, as would occur in a mobility services fleet, puts stress on the battery but the Bosch software in the cloud would tailor an individual charge curve to the vehicle. That way, the battery is always charged to the optimum level to preserve cell life.