New Marelli wireless BMS, 90% less cables in the battery of electric cars

The well-known automotive supplier Marelli has submitted a BMS (Battery Management Systemfor its acronym in English) wireless, which no wiring linking each cell with the control unit. With the Marelli wBMS communication between the management switchboard and the cells is carried out in a wirelesswhich results in greater ease of assembly, weight reduction and more space to place active material.

The BMS is an electronic system that manages the recharging and discharging of a battery. Among other things, it is responsible for preventing it from working outside its safe operating area by collecting data on its status, controlling the individual voltage of each cell and balancing it when necessary. It is an intelligent software whose algorithms may vary from one manufacturer to another and which is key to extending battery life. The BMS accompanies a communication system with the outside which is commonly known as the data BUS.

Marelli’s new wireless distributed battery management system (wBMS) will be available to manufacturers from the second quarter of 2022. The company will be in charge of working with each of its clients to help them implement the system in their electric vehicles.

Compared to solutions employing wired communication distribution, this patented system reduces the entire battery wiring harness by 90%, in addition to simplifying the design and installation of battery cells. It also offers a greater flexibility in the location of each module inside the package and creates more free space to place a greater number of cells.

“Marelli has designed both the wBMS like the Wired BMS from identical base architectures, compatible with two different forms of communication and interface”, explains Razvan Panati, director of power electronics in Marelli’s vehicle electrification division. “That way, our technology can be applied across multiple vehicle platforms with minimal changes.” It is precisely this flexibility of the solution that guarantees a significant reduction in engineering costs and allows “this cutting-edge technology to be affordable for the mass market,” he adds.

The Marelli Group was created in 2019 as a result of the merger between the Italian supplier Magneti-Marelli (formerly owned by Fiat-Chrysler) and the Japanese firm Calsonic Kansei (which has its roots in Nissan). At the end of November 2020, the company announced its intention to assemble electric drives in Cologne, Germany, starting in 2021. To this end, an 18,000-square-meter production line was set up in the Cologne-Niehl district, not far of the German Ford plants.

General Motors wBMS Ultium Battery
wBMS from General Motors.

The first wireless BMS was developed by General Motors for its Ultium batteries and presented in September 2020 Its wBMS, developed by Analog Devices for the American manufacturer, will be included in different types of vehicles from a common core. In the case of GM, this is another advantage of the wireless system, since it saves time when it comes to develop battery communications system which will be common to all the electric models of the group, avoiding having to develop complex wiring systems for each one of them.

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