The majority of lithium-ion vehicle batteries utilize a wired battery management system to monitor the state of charge and oversee battery health. A traditional wired system uses copper wires that physically connect to each of the battery’s cells – a design that can be unreliable and also costly. Visteon and GM wanted to improve on this design, Automotive News reports, and put their heads together to develop a wireless management system that is less complicated, lighter and less expensive to produce.
GM and Visteon’s wireless system uses a wireless transmitter connected to each of the Ultium battery’s individual cells. These modules communicate with a central module, relaying critical information about the cells’ state of charge and overall health.
Visteon’s system is modular, the company told AN, which will allow GM to easily utilize the system in different battery-electric products. The wireless battery management system will debut in the 2022 GMC Hummer EV, which is set to enter production later this year, but it’s very likely that other Utlium powered GM products will also utilize this technology.
“Scalability and complexity reduction are a theme with our Ultium batteries – the wireless battery management system is the critical enabler of this amazing flexibility,” GM’s director of electrification and battery systems, Kent Helfrich, said in a statement. “The wireless system represents the epitome of Ultium’s configurability and should help GM build profitable EVs at scale.”
While the wireless battery management system is simpler and lighter than a traditional wired system, there is one potential drawback: security. A wireless network could theoretically be hacked into, making cybersecurity an important part of the Ultium battery pack design. GM’s advanced cybersecurity measures will protect the brains of the Ultium system from outside attacks, keeping eco-minded motorists and their batteries safe from hackers.