General Motors’ Future Electric Vehicles to Debut Industry’s First Wireless Battery Management System

Technology developed in collaboration with Analog Devices, Inc.

2020-09-09


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OSHAWA, Ont. (Wednesday, September 9, 2020) – General Motors will be the first automaker to use an almost completely wireless battery management system, or wBMS, for production electric vehicles. This wireless system, developed with Analog Devices, Inc., will be a primary driver of GM’s ability to ultimately power many different types of electric vehicles from a common set of battery components.   

The wBMS is expected to drive GM’s Ultium-powered EVs to market faster, as time won’t be needed to develop specific communications systems or redesign complex wiring schemes for each new vehicle. Instead, the wBMS helps to ensure the scalability of Ultium batteries across GM’s future lineup, encompassing different brands and vehicle segments, from heavy-duty trucks to performance vehicles.

Much like the pack design of GM’s Ultium batteries, which is flexible enough to incorporate new chemistry over time as technology changes, the wBMS’ basic structure can easily receive new features as software becomes available. With expanded over-the-air updates provided by GM’s all-new Vehicle Intelligence Platform, the system could even be upgraded over time with new software-based features via smartphone-like updates.

“Scalability and complexity reduction are a theme with our Ultium batteries – the wireless battery management system is the critical enabler of this amazing flexibility,” said Kent Helfrich, GM executive director of global electrification and battery systems. “The wireless system represents the epitome of Ultium’s configurability and should help GM build profitable EVs at scale.”

The wBMS will help GM’s electric vehicles balance chemistry within the individual battery cell groups for optimal performance. It can also conduct real-time battery pack health checks and refocus the network of modules and sensors as needed – this helps safeguard battery health over the vehicle’s lifespan.

By reducing wires within the batteries by up to 90 per cent, the wireless system can help extend charging range by creating lighter vehicles overall and opening extra room for more batteries. The space and flexibility created by this reduction in wires not only enables a cleaner design, but also simpler and more streamlined battery restructuring as needed and more robust manufacturing processes.

This wireless system also provides a unique repurposing capability for battery reuse in secondary applications more easily than conventional wired monitoring systems. When the wireless packs are capacity-reduced to the point where they are no longer ideal for optimum vehicle performance but still functional as consistent power supplies, they can be combined with other wireless battery packs to form clean power generators. This can be done without a redesign or overhaul of the battery management system traditionally required in second-life usage.

GM’s wireless battery management system is protected by cybersecurity measures that are foundational to the company’s all-new electrical architecture or Vehicle Intelligence Platform. The DNA of this system includes protective features at both the hardware and software layers, including protection of wireless communications.

“General Motors is paving the way toward an all-electric future, and Analog Devices is proud to work with this highly respected automotive leader on the next generation of electric vehicles,” said Greg Henderson, Analog Devices, Inc. senior vice president of Automotive, Communications, and Aerospace. “Our collaboration is aimed at accelerating the transition to electric vehicles and a sustainable future.”

The wireless battery management system is expected to be standard on all GM vehicles powered by Ultium batteries.

About General Motors Canada

General Motors of Canada Company markets Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles through our strong Canadian network of dealers, as well as OnStar services. Headquartered in Oshawa, Ontario, GM Canada is a recognized leader in advanced manufacturing, green operations, active safety, and autonomous and connected vehicle technology research and development. More information on the company can be found at www.gm.ca or by following @GMcanada on Twitter or Instagram.

Analog Devices, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADI)
Analog Devices, Inc is a leading global high-performance analog technology company dedicated to solving the toughest engineering challenges. We enable our customers to interpret the world around us by intelligently bridging the physical and digital with unmatched technologies that sense, measure, power, connect and interpret. Visit http://www.analog.com.

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GM’s wireless battery management system is expected to drive the company’s Ultium-powered EVs to market faster, as time won’t be needed to develop specific communications systems or redesign complex wiring schemes for each new vehicle. The wBMS helps to ensure the scalability of Ultium batteries across GM’s future lineup, encompassing different brands and vehicle segments. Photo taken in GM's Battery Electrical Lab on Feb. 25, 2020. This facility now follows GM-mandated guidelines to help protect against the spread of COVID-19, including mandatory use of face masks and social distancing. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)

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General Motors' Ultium battery technology roadmap includes silicon anodes and lithium metal anodes, which will improve vehicle range, affordability, and reduced dependence on rare and costly metals. It is already demonstrating automotive-grade durability and significantly higher energy density.

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