Intelligent battery cells for flexible usage of electric vehicles
Switching from internal combustion engine cars to electric cars of the next generation poses new chances and challenges. The change of the propulsion system allows a consequent individualization of the vehicle components and bears a potential for optimizations and savings in production and maintenance. This approach can be shown for the battery as major and most expensive component in electric vehicles. Substantial decrease of the vehicle costs can be achieved by realizing so called intelligent battery cells that are equipped with standardized connections. Intelligent battery cells provide their own intelligence, memory, and power electronics to enable control of energy flow. These cells can run a self-diagnosis and are able to communicate their state of health as well as their history. External commands can switch intelligent battery cells into different modes such as normal operation as an energy source or a passive mode, which shuts down all external power connections to prevent deep discharge for example. Furthermore, damage due to mistakes during the assembly or exchange of cells can be prevented since the cell can communicate as well as identify and disable itself. With this approach, conventional centralized battery management systems and communication systems are replaced by clusters of intelligent cells. The modular approach results in a scalable solution for adjustable storage capacity simply by assembling a varying amount of cells. Furthermore, not only different batteries but different energy storage types can be integrated into a car's energy storage system. For example, supercapacitors can be integrated in order to optimize the car for different driving purposes such as hilly or flat terrain. The approach requires no change in mechanical or electrical structure of the car's battery interface but only a different configuration of cells. Implementation of this approach will lead to a customized battery built for the customer's personal needs.