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GE develops intelligent monitoring system to increase EV battery life

07 August 2012

Engineers at GE Global Research are building what they describe as a new 'battery brain' that will make car batteries powering electric vehicles (EVs) smarter and last “significantly” longer.

In Focus: ultra-thin smart sensors and new battery analytics will put fresh muscle inside EVs
In Focus: ultra-thin smart sensors and new battery analytics will put fresh muscle inside EVs

At the core of the system are sophisticated ultra-thin sensors that monitor and manage battery vitals such as temperature, voltage and current. The tiny sensors fit inside the battery, out of reach of existing technology. 

Using the sensor information, algorithms and real-time modelling technology will optimise and manage the battery, with the aim of extending its life. The GE team has partnered with Ford Motor Company, which manufactures the Focus EV, and researchers at the University of Michigan to develop the sensors.

“The car battery remains the greatest barrier and most promising opportunity to bringing EVs mainstream,” said Aaron Knobloch, principal investigator and mechanical engineer at GE Global Research. “Improvements in the range, cost and life of the battery will all be needed for EVs to be competitive. With better sensors and new battery analytics, we think we can make substantial progress at increasing battery life. This, in turn, could help bring down its overall cost and the cost entitlement of buying an electric car.”

GE recently announced the development of a new EV traction motor that is substantially more powerful than any currently commercially available unit, and which is claimed to improve efficiency by up to 5 percent.

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